TV streaming in Ireland
Streaming is getting more and more popular all the time - we’ve got all the info you need on how to stream your favourite content.
What is TV streaming and how do I do it?
TV streaming allows you to instantly watch content from your chosen streaming service through a variety of internet-connected devices, such as smartphones and tablets, smart TVs, game consoles, streaming media players, or your laptop.
Getting started with streaming is actually really straightforward. You’ll just need to sign up with a streaming service - such as Netflix, NOW TV, Amazon Prime Video or hayu - and then download the dedicated app onto your preferred device. Simple as that!
Who provides TV streaming services and how much does it cost?
In Ireland, the main paid streaming services are Netflix, NOW TV, Amazon Prime Video and hayu. Here’s what you need to know about each of these:
- Netflix offers a huge catalogue of movies, TV shows and documentaries, and has some of the best original programming around. You can sign up for a month’s free trial and after that there are three plans to choose from - Basic, Standard and Premium - depending on how many people in your household want to stream Netflix content at once, and whether you want to watch view in SD, HD or UHD. Prices range from €7.99 to €13.99 per month.
- NOW TV is the streaming service from Sky. There are four main Passes available for NOW TV, depending on whether you want access to entertainment, kids TV, cinema or sports. You can try the Entertainment, Kids and Sky Cinema passes free for two weeks, but there’s no trial available on the Sports Pass. However, NOW TV regularly runs discount offers on Passes, so it’s worth keeping an eye on this.
- Amazon Prime Video hasn’t really taken off here yet, but content is starting to improve, so we may see more people signing up. You can sign up for a week-long Prime Video free trial, and after the trial period it will cost you €2.99 per month for the first six months, and €5.99 per month after that.
- hayu is a little more niche than the other streaming sites, as it specialises in reality TV. It has over 3,000 episodes of shows like Keeping Up With The Kardashians, and many shows are available on the same day as the U.S. You can get a one-month free trial of hayu, and after that it’ll set you back €4.99 per month.
If you don’t want to fork out a subscription, but you still like to watch content in this way, there are also some free players out there, such as:
- The RTÉ Player, which lets you catch up on all of the latest TV programmes from RTÉ 1 & 2, RTÉjr, and RTÉ News Now, as well as watching these channels live on your preferred device. You can also catch up on entire series of the likes of Dancing With the Stars and there’s some exclusive content on the Player, too.
- The Virgin Media Player, which allows you to watch Virgin Media One, Two and Three live, as well as giving you access to look back on the shows you’ve missed over the last while. There is also a decent library of binge-worthy content, such as over 100 episodes of Red Rock.
What do I need to stream TV?
The main things you’ll need in order to stream content are: a subscription to a streaming service, a device you’re happy to watch on - be it a smart TV, smartphone, tablet, or laptop - and a decent internet connection and data allowance.
What broadband speed and data allowance do I need to stream?
You will need a minimum reliable broadband speed of around 3Mbps in order to stream from all of the main streaming services without buffering issues.
The data allowance you’ll need will depend on whether you watch in standard definition, or you’d prefer to watch in HD or ultra-HD. You can find out the recommended speeds for each streaming service - and the data allowance used by each one - in our dedicated guide.
Is it illegal to stream TV?
Streaming TV via the likes of Netflix, NOW TV, Amazon Prime Video and hayu, as well as online players like the RTÉ Player and Virgin Media Player is all completely legal.
However, where issues arise is with ‘Android boxes’ and websites that allow you to stream content that you would normally have to pay for, for example sports channels or events, TV programmes that are exclusive to certain channels - like Game of Thrones - or movies that have just been released in the cinema.
Best superfast broadband deals for streaming
You don’t need incredibly high speeds for streaming, but you will definitely want a reliable connection to help you avoid any dreaded buffering issues, and opting for an unlimited deal will help you to avoid any charges for going over your data allowance.
Virgin Media was named ‘Fastest Broadband Provider’ at the 2018 Switcher.ie Broadband Awards and has been awarded Fastest Broadband in Ireland by Ookla for three years running, so if you are looking for superfast broadband, one of their plans might work for you.
However, if you can’t get Virgin Media’s plans where you live, there are plenty of providers offering plans with speeds of up to 100Mbps, which should be more than enough to guarantee you a reliable streaming experience.