What is TV streaming?
TV streaming services allow you to watch TV shows, movies and live TV online from a device with an internet connection.
Most are a subscription service, which you’ll need to pay either monthly or annually.
Who offers TV streaming services?
There are five main video streaming services in Ireland.
- Amazon Prime Video
Here’s a look at the shows and movies you can view and the price you’ll pay for each service.
Amazon Prime Video
Watch recent movie releases, Amazon Originals, TV shows and live sport on Prime Video on up to three devices at the same time.
You can either pay monthly for Amazon Prime Video only or join Amazon Prime and access it as one of the many benefits of Amazon Prime membership.
What’s on Prime Video?
You can view exclusive Amazon Originals and thousands of popular movies and TV shows via Primevideo.com.
Here’s a taster:
- Amazon Original movies like Hustlers and the latest releases like A Star is Born and Parasite
- Award-winning TV series like Jack Ryan, The Boys & The Man in the High Castle
- Exclusive access to live sports events like the Autumn Nations Cup
- The latest season of The Grand Tour, The Expanse & This is Us
- Add-on channels like ITV Hub, HAYU, MTV, Shudder, Discovery Kids, Starzplay
To find out more about Amazon Prime Video, read our guide Should you get Amazon Prime Video in Ireland?
You can try Amazon Prime Video with a 7-day free trial* and if you like what you see, pay €5.99 per month to continue watching.
*As an Amazon Associate Switcher.ie will earn from qualifying purchases.
However, the complete Prime Video catalogue on Amazon.co.uk is only available to Prime members living in the UK.
Disney+ is the most recent addition to the streaming services family, it launched in March 2020, rivalling Netflix and Prime Video for high-quality video content.
You can enjoy family favourites from Disney, Pixar and Marvel or get stuck into cinematic epics like Star Wars from the comfort of your living room.
What’s on Disney+?
Disney+ has recently announced a huge expansion of its video content to include over 50 new Star Wars, Marvel, Disney and Pixar series and movies over the next few years. You can meanwhile enjoy:
- Exclusive Disney+ Originals like The Right Stuff, Wanda Vision & Marvel’s Hero Project
- Stars Wars movies past & present, including Star Wars episodes I to VIII, The Mandalorian & The Clone Wars: 2008-2020
- Family favourites like Frozen, The Lion King, Toy Story 1-4 & High School Musical: The series
- Marvel blockbusters like The Avengers Endgame, Iron Man 1-3 & Black Panther
- Popular musicals like Hamilton, Beyonce’s Black is King, Frozen 2 and soon to be released, Aladdin
- Fascinating National Geographic documentaries like The World according to Jeff Goldblum & Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
- New channel, Star, featuring a wider range of movies and TV shows, like Die Hard, The X Files, Deadpool and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
To find out more about Disney Plus, read our guide Should you get Disney+ in Ireland?.
There’s no Disney+ free trial running at the moment but you can sign up to Disney+ for €8.99 per month or save 16% and pay €89.90 for the year.
Netflix is the most popular streaming service showing unlimited films, TV programmes and more. Netflix offers three plans which you can cancel or change whenever you like.
Here’s how Netflix plans compare:
|Plan||No. of Screens||Resolution||Video quality||Price|
What’s on Netflix?
There’s a huge amount of content on Netflix, including award-winning TV, films, documentaries and Netflix Originals. Just sign in to Netflix to watch instantly on the web at netflix.com or on any internet-connected device with the Netflix app.
- Critically acclaimed TV series like Mindhunter, Better Call Saul, Peaky Blinders, Stranger Things & Schitt’s Creek
- Award-winning movies like The Revenant, Gladiator, The Irishman, Mad Max, Fargo, Roma & The King’s Speech
- Netflix Original series like The Queen’s Gambit, The Crown, Kingdom, Ozark, The Umbrella Academy & Narcos
- American, British & Irish comedy including The Kominsky Method, Derry Girls, After Life, Sex Education & The Office
- Family favourites like Minions, Madagascar, Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Happy Feet & Monster House
Free trials for Netflix are not currently available but you can sign up to a plan and choose a Basic, Standard or Premium package. Prices start from €7.99 a month.
Now, formally NOW TV, is the ‘no strings’ streaming service from Sky. You can still watch the same great TV shows, movies and live sport you’d expect from a Sky TV package, but without the monthly contract.
There are TV and Sports memberships you can buy, depending on the type of content you want to watch.
- Entertainment is perfect for box-set bingers and TV fans. Game of Thrones and channels like Sky Atlantic are all yours. Plus, keep your family entertained with ad-free Kids TV.
- Cinema is ideal for movies lovers. The latest Sky cinema releases and 1000’s of classic films are ready to view.
- hayu is the ultimate reality TV channel offering over 8000 episodes of reality TV shows online.
- Sports gives you 11 Sky sports channels to stream from - a must for sports fans looking for live action and Premiership football matches.
- Sports Extra gives you access to 6 BT Sports and Premier Sports channels.
Bundle the Sports and Sports Extra memberships together and save 50%. Pay just €36.50pm for the first three months then €39pm for Sports and €34pm for Sports Extra.
If you’d like to know more about how to watch Now and the content available, visit A guide to NOW - the ‘no strings’ streaming service.
Hayu is the home of reality TV. They get lots of U.S. reality shows on the same day as the states. You can subscribe and watch on-demand or download episodes or whole seasons.
What’s on Hayu?
- Over 3,000 episodes of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, plus spin-offs like Life of Kylie and Kourtney & Chloe
- Popular reality TV shows including Ru Paul’s Drag Race, Made in Chelsea, Mariah’s World, Below Deck, Real Housewives & Million Dollar Listing
- Shocking True Crime docu-series like Snapped Up, Vanished, In Ice Cold Blood and The Disappearance series
You can get a 7 day free trial of hayu, and after that it’ll cost €5.99 per month. Cancel anytime.
Are there any free alternatives?
If you don’t want to pay a subscription but you still like to watch content in this way, there are some free players out there, such as:
- RTÉ Player: lets you catch up on all of the latest TV shows from RTÉ 1 & 2, RTÉjr, and RTÉ News Now. You can also catch up on series like Dancing with the Stars. There’s some exclusive content on the Player, too.
- Virgin Media Player: allows you to watch Virgin Media One, Two and Three live, as well as catch up on any shows you’ve missed. There is also a decent library of binge-worthy boxsets, such as over 100 episodes of Red Rock.
How to get started
Getting started with streaming services on TV is really straightforward.
Just sign up to a TV streaming service of your choice and then download the dedicated app onto your preferred device. Your chosen subscription service will guide you through any start-up process.
What you need to stream TV & movies
To stream movies, TV & live sports straight to your device you’ll need:
- a streaming service subscription
- an internet-connected device to watch
- a good broadband connection
- a generous data allowance
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How to watch
- Smart TVs
- Smartphone or tablets
- Computer or laptops
- Game consoles
- Blu-ray players
- Some set-top boxes
If your TV isn’t WiFi-enabled, a streaming device can be a great solution. These devices simply plug into your TV, but you may have to pay for extra content.
You can use an Amazon Fire Stick, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Roku media player, NOW box or the new Nvidia Shield TV to connect to your streaming service.
Best broadband for streaming
You don’t necessarily need fibre broadband for streaming TV, but a fast, reliable connection to reduce buffering or connection issues is advisable.
If you are thinking about changing your broadband, our free comparison tool can help you choose the best broadband in your area.
Streaming TV FAQs
Can I download films and TV shows from streaming services?
Yes, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV, Disney+ and hayu all allow you to download TV shows or films onto your device to watch away from home or on the go.
In most cases, you’ll need a WiFi connection to download successfully because downloads on 3G or 4G are not possible.
Is it illegal to stream TV?
No, streaming TV such as 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, it’s illegal to stream content for free that you’d 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.
What broadband speeds do you need to stream?
It’s a good idea to check that your broadband speed and data allowance are high enough before you sign up to a streaming service.
You can check how fast your current broadband is on our speed checker.
- A minimum broadband speed of 3Mbps to stream without buffering issues.
- At least 2GB to stream a two-hour movie. The data allowance required will depend on whether you watch in standard definition, HD or ultra-HD.
Which streaming services offer live TV?
- Amazon Prime Video offer some live sports and also live TV via its subscription Channels
- Hayu streams content from the US and broadcasts it the same day in UK and Ireland
- Now TV broadcasts live sports events and matches as part of the Sports Pass and streams movies live with the Sky Cinema Pass
- Netflix and Disney+ do not stream any live TV at the moment