Image Wading through the stream: The definitive guide to streaming platforms in Ireland
Image Daragh Cassidy
Head Writer

There's now a host of streaming services available for Irish viewers to choose from. Here’s all you need to know about the best ones.

There's a plethora of subscription video on demand (SVOD) services currently entertaining Irish audiences. But with a range of different shows, movies and packages to choose from it's become pretty difficult to know where to start when trying to choose one!  

So, we've decided to sift through the top streaming platforms to bring you the definitive guide to the biggest and best of the SVOD services currently available in Ireland.

1. Netflix 

Price: €7.99 - €17.99 per month

Netflix - now almost an eponym to refer to streaming services at large - was founded all the way back in 1997 when Americans Marc Randolph and Reed Hastings joined forces. 

Netflix began its humble journey in DVD rental and sales, joining the streaming revolution when it first introduced streamable content to its subscribers in 2007, now over a decade ago.

The streaming services we are now all familiar with have been pioneered by, or at least have taken some inspiration from, this aforementioned Streaming Colossus.

Offering

Netflix still offers a 30-day free trial period as part of its streaming package but at this stage it probably doesn't really need to, with well over 200 million subscribers worldwide. Conveniently, customers will be reminded three days before their trial ends, and you won't be charged so long as you cancel at any time before your 30 days are up.

Netflix has three distinct streaming plans. All three include unlimited, ad-free programmes and films, and you can cancel at any time.

The Basic plan starts at a relatively inexpensive €7.99 per month, which is hard to argue with when you take into account the sheer scale and bank of content that's now available to view. This plan however only allows you to stream on one device at any one time and does not include streaming in high definition or HD.

The Standard plan starts at €12.99 a month and includes all of the above plus HD streaming and the ability to view on two devices simultaneously - handy for roommates sharing in college or couples at home.

The Premium plan, and coming in on the more expensive side of things at €17.99 a month, is certainly tailored towards families. Again this plan comes with all of the above but with the inclusion of 4K+HDR streaming and the option of multi-device streaming on up to four devices at any one time.

As well as being able to stream content from multiple devices, online or using the Netflix app, subscribers have the added option of saving data by downloading episodes of their favourite shows to watch offline or while on the go - pretty neat.

2. Prime Video

Price: £5.99 per month (note charged in sterling) 

The next big-hitting streaming service likely to roll off the tongue of anyone asked is the increasingly popular Prime Video from Amazon. With just over 100 million subscribers worldwide, Prime Video places a clear emphasis on original content, developed in-house through Amazon Studios.

Available in Ireland since the end of 2016, readers might remember the great launch of ‘The Grand Tour’, one of the more memorable Amazon originals, which was the tongue-in-cheek follow-up to ‘Top Gear’ from messers May, Clarkson, and Hammond. Other popular shows of late include the multi award-winning ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ as well as the Ridley Scott produced 'The Man in the High Castle', based on a novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick.

Viewers also have the option of subscribing to Amazon Prime (which comes with Prime Video) for £7.99 a month or £79 annually. Amazon Prime offers free, priority delivery on a host of products ordered through Amazon, access to Prime Music and of course Prime Video. If you go down this route, you'll get a 30-day free trial.

Offering

Unlike Netflix, Prime Video offers only a week’s free trial. 

The lower price compared to Netflix may be indicative of the lack of more mainstream movies and shows on the service, but its bank of material is ever growing and of substantial quality nonetheless. And notably, many of the movies made by Amazon have been widely lauded, including ‘You Were Never Really Here’ starring Joaquin Phoenix, the Oscar nominated 'Sound of Metal', and a remake of Dario Argento’s horror classic, ‘Suspiria’.

Like with Netflix, a subscription to Prime Video entitles subscribers access to unlimited, ad-free movies and TV shows.

Prime Video allows subscribers to stream in HD, 4K, and even 4K Ultra HD (for more recent additions to the catalogue) at no extra cost. To check what TV shows or movies are compatible with 4K or HDR streaming just click into your selection and the presence of the little 4K or HDR icon will let you know.

If all this still hasn't won you over, as well as all of the above, Amazon has agreed a deal with the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) to show all the top-tier men's tennis tournaments over the next few years, including the US Open in New York as well as the year-end finals in Turin.

Prime Video is a great service with an increasing bank of top-notch shows. If your interests lie with original content and giving Hollywood a run for its money then Prime is definitely a worthy addition to Netflix if you're happy to fork out on a second subscription. However a bugbear is that a lot of content is still only available in the US so this is something to be aware of before signing up for a specific show or movie.

3. NOW 

Price: €15 (package dependent)

Launched onto the Irish market in April 2017, NOW (previously NOW TV) is an on-demand online entertainment and streaming service from Sky.

Viewers can watch on their TV, phone or laptop. To view on a TV, you can purchase a portable NOW streaming stick. All you have to do is plug the small device into a compatible TV, connect to your WI-FI and away you go! Navigation with the remote that comes with the device is a breeze and all of the content is neatly organised into searchable categories.

If you want to watch on your phone or tablet just download the app and if you want to binge watch shows on your desktop just head to the website and sign in.

Offering

Subscribers can choose from a range of niche 'memberships'. Each membership comes at a different price for a varying time period, so it’s quite refined in this respect.

The memberships available include, but are not limited to, the Entertainment membership and Cinema membership, which both come with a free trial for seven days and are then €15 per month unless cancelled. On the other hand, should you want access to Sky Sports for example, daily, weekly and monthly memberships are also available at €10, €15 and €39 respectively. Half-price discounts are regularly run for all memberships though.

NOW not only allows customers the ability to stream movies and box sets on demand, but to watch live television too. If you purchase the Entertainment membership you'll get access to over 10 live TV channels including the much-coveted Sky Atlantic, as well as Sky One, Fox, Gold, Sky Living, Comedy Central, the Discovery Channel, Sky Arts, MTV, SYFY and Nat Geo Wild.

4. Apple TV+

Price: €4.99 per month

Apple TV+ is the streaming service from Apple, and the tech giant certainly didn't hold back when launching the service in 2019 with a cornucopia of the world’s biggest actors and celebrities present.

Apple is offering new sign-ups a seven-day free trial of the service, after which the price rises to €4.99 per month. However anyone who buys a new iPhone, Mac or iPad will get three months' access for free.

Offering

Each subscription allows steaming on up to six devices simultaneously, which is pretty nice for only €4.99 a month. 

Apple TV+ subscribers can watch on their iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch or Mac through the Apple TV app. Apple TV+ is also available to watch on the web at tv.apple.com/ie

If you're a customer of Sky you can now easily access Apple TV+ through Sky Q (just search via the homepage or the apps page). 

Like Netflix, users can download content to watch offline. So whether you’re on your morning commute or sunning yourself in the garden, watching your favourite show is possible almost anywhere.

However, compared to Netflix and even Amazon Prime Video, the amount of content on offer is still small. This will no doubt improve as the service becomes more established but for now don't expect huge choice.

Recent hits include 'The Morning Show' starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon and the award-winning comedy 'Ted Lasso'. 

If you're a fan of binge watching an entire series of your favourite show in one weekend as soon as it's released, you should know that Apple+ has decided to go against the grain of most streaming platforms nowadays by releasing most of its new shows on a weekly basis. 

Another bugbear is that it can sometimes be difficult to tell which movies are available to download as part of your Apple TV+ subscription and which are just available as part of Apple TV and therefore cost extra. 

5. Hayu

Price: €5.99 per month

Hayu is a streaming service that specialises in showing the most popular reality TV shows. 

Offering

Hayu offers subscribers access to the most popular reality TV shows such as KUWTK (over 350 episodes alone) and the The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and Melbourne, and Chesire, and Atlanta, and Sydney, and Vancouver, and Auckland and... you get the jist!

New subscribers get a seven-day free trial and then it's €5.99 per month thereafter.

NOW is also offering customers access to Hayu for €6 per month with seven days' worth of a free trial to begin with.

Hayu is available to stream online at hayu.com and on mobile via the iOS App or Android App.

Although not for everyone and distinctively niche, Hayu provides a substantial catalogue of prime reality TV shows and is literally calling out to all reality fans out there.

6. Disney+

Price: €8.99 per month / €89.90 annually

An iconic company and a name familiar to both adults and children alike, Disney launched its own streaming service, Disney+, in the US and Canada in late 2019, and in Ireland in March 2020.

With 10 million people signing up within the first day of launch in North America alone, the service has gone from strength to strength but perhaps suffers from a perception as being mainly for children.

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Currently available on the platform are Disney+ originals like 'The Mandalorian', a Star Wars spin-off story following a bounty hunter five years after the Return of the Jedi, plus Disney's entire back catalogue from 'Fantasia' to 'Freaky Friday'. There’s also every Star Wars film in 4K HDR, a vast majority of the Marvel movies and almost every Pixar film ever made. And did we mention there's every episode of The Simpsons too!?

Subscribers also get access to the National Geographic channel as well as new channel Star, which is intended for a more adult audience and features a mix of original and iconic TV shows such as Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives.

With Disney+ you can watch on up to four devices at a time, make multiple downloads, and get personalised recommendations. You can also set up to seven different profiles, and set Kids Profiles to keep your younger ones safe from any slightly racy content, although being Disney it's tough to imagine much on here that could harm even the youngest of viewers. 

If you're a Sky customer getting Disney+ is easy. The Disney+ app will be available on Sky Q, following a new multi-year deal Sky signed with Disney. This means customers with an existing Disney+ subscription will be able to log in and start watching via the Apps page on their Sky Q box, or they can easily “open Disney” using their voice remote.

Since April 2020, customers can also subscribe to Disney+ directly from Sky for €8.99 a month (notice period 31 days). They’ll get one combined bill and Sky TV and Disney+ recommendations side-by-side on the Sky Q home page, making it an easy and slick integrated experience. For everyone else, visit disneyplus.com to get going. 

7. Peacock 

Price: Free (supported by ads) as part of a Sky TV or Now package  

Peacock, owned and operated by America's NBC, is one of the latest streaming services to launch in Ireland. Its name comes from the famed peacock in the NBC logo. 

In the US the price starts from $4.99 a month supported with ads (though a limited version is free).

However in Ireland it is being offered for free, with ads, to just customers of Sky TV or NOW.   

Offering

Peacock offers both original programming as well as existing content from NBC’s vast library of titles.

However a lot of the content such as Downton Abbey, Suits, Superstore, and The Office is available for now on other streaming services, while its original content output has suffered due to Covid-related lockdowns affecting film and TV production.

As mentioned, the service is only available for now if you're a Sky TV customer or a NOW subscriber, where it will be included for free as part of your package. Sky and NOW are both owned by US telecoms giant Comcast, which is also the owner of NBC.

It remains to be seen if the service will become more widely available over the coming years.   

8. All 4

Price: Free (supported by ads)

All 4 is the on-demand streaming service from Channel 4 and unlike its bigger cousin, the BBC iPlayer, is available to access in Ireland for free by everyone.

Viewers can download the app for free and watch on their phone or tablet, or view on the web at channel4.com.

Offering

All 4 offers viewers the ability to watch Channel 4's TV channels live from the platform, while also offering access to a wide range of shows on-demand as well as access to Channel 4's substantial archive, which to be fair has some great gems. 

While nothing on the likes of Netflix or Prime Video, what All 4 does offer is an ability to watch great British and international content for free, such as It's a Sin, Derry Girls, Catastrophe, Gogglebox, This Way Up, The Inbetweeners and much more.

Unsurprisingly for a free service, viewers will be subject to advertising. However you'll usually have to sit through far fewer ads than if watching live on your TV.

Platform

Price per month

Free trial period

Streaming quality

Downloadable content

Notable titles

Netflix

€7.99-€17.99

30 days

HD/Ultra HD (package dependent)

          ✓

The Irishman, Black Mirror, The Crown, Squid Game, The Queen's Gambit, Money Heist, You, Sex Education, Selling Sunset

Prime Video

£5.99

7 days

HD, 4K, 4K Ultra HD (select titles)

          ✓

The Grand Tour, The Man In The High Castle, Good Omens, Suspiria, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, ATP tennis

NOW 

€15 (package dependent)

7 days

HD, Ultra HD

          ✓

Sky Atlantic, Sky Cinema +more

Apple TV+

€4.99

7 days

HD, 4K

          ✓

The Morning Show, See, For All Mankind, Ted Lasso

Hayu

€5.99

7 days

HD

          ✓

Kardashian content, Project Runway

Disney+

€8.99 or €89.90 annually

7 days

HD, 4K HDR

          ✓

Entire Star Wars franchise, The Simpsons, Pixar movies, WandaVision

Peacock

Free, with ads

Free

HD

         ✓

Suits, Superstore, Saved By The Bell

All 4

Free, with ads

Free

HD

          x

Derry Girls, Catastrophe, Gogglebox, This Way Up, First Dates

Let's hear from you

So there you have it, the definitive list of the most in-demand on-demand services currently available on the Irish market.

Are you a subscriber to any of these? What do you think is the best value for money? We’d love to know what you think. Let us know in the comments below or drop us a message over on Facebook or Twitter.