No matter what COVID does to our holiday plans, you may still find some time to expand your streaming service horizons this winter. Cutting the cord to your cable TV provider has never been easier. We start with our top 11 streaming apps and finish with a Gluu FAQ answering the most popular questions we get about streaming apps. Let’s dive in.
Gluu's Top 11 Streaming Apps
Here is our list of the top streaming apps and why they are worth your time and money. All but one of the apps on our list require you to pay to watch. Many of these services offer a free trial, giving you a chance to see if the subscription fee is worth it. When you find an app you like, consider buying a monthly subscription. This way, you can cancel it if the shows are no longer of interest. In that case, move on to the next streaming app. That’s one way to beat the COVID blues.
Netflix is perhaps the most well-known streaming service. It started as a mail-in video rental service in 1997, and it began streaming services in 2007. Netflix has a massive collection of original and licensed content.
This year alone, Netflix is expected to spend $17B to create original programming only available to Netflix subscribers. The app offers a wide range of movies and TV shows spanning across all genres suitable for people of all ages and interests, from classic movies to children’s programs to documentaries and sitcoms—and their library just keeps getting bigger.
Netflix is a monthly subscription service. Prices start at $9.99 a month.
Gluu Tip Netflix now allows you to download movies and TV shows to your device. Download your favourite shows and watch when you’re offline—a great tip for traveling.
Gluu Tip Keep track of the TV shows and movies you want to watch later by adding them to your ‘My List.’
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is tech giant Amazon’s streaming service. Like Netflix, it boasts a growing collection of original and licensed content. Amazon Prime Video has a more extensive selection than Netflix, yet many claim Netflix content is of better quality.
If you are an Amazon Prime Member, you get access to Amazon Prime Video for free. An Amazon Prime Video subscription on its own is $8.99.
CBC gem is CBC’s streaming service. The app offers a wide selection of new and old TV shows, CBC originals, live CBC TV, movies and sports. The app focuses on Canadian content and has programs from all over the world, including the United States and Britain. The CBC Gem has a similar layout to other streaming services.
CBC Gem is a free streaming service.
BritBox has all the best content from the BBC and ITV. The original Office, Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife, Midsomer Murders, Vera… the list goes on. If you are a fan of British TV, the BritBox app might just be worth a monthly subscription. It’s definitely worth checking out for the free trial week.
7-day Free trial
$8.99/month or $89.99/year
If you love PBS Masterpiece but are like us and keep forgetting to record your favourite shows, the PBS Masterpiece app might be the ticket. This app holds most of the shows seen on Masterpiece Theatre, Masterpiece Mystery, Masterpiece Classic, and Masterpiece Contemporary in one place. Full seasons of The Durrells in Corfu, Grantchester, NOVA, Frontline, and the even the Joy of Painting are available… just to mention a few.
If you donate at least $60/year or $5/month to PBS, you may be able to use this app for free. It can be confusing to find out, though. Contact PBS for details if you are a donor. For the rest of us, the PBS Masterpiece app will cost $6.99 per month. Sorry, no free trial.
Disney+ is Disney’s streaming service. You will find new Disney features, Disney classics, Pixar movies, National Geographic documentaries, Marvel movies, Star Wars Movies, and more on the app. Many people think Disney+ only offers children’s programming. While Disney+ does have a lot of programming for children, it also has lots of content for older adults.
Gluu Tip You can have up to four different devices watching Disney+ at the same time.
Disney+ is $11.99 a month. No free trial.
Crave TV is a streaming service by Bell Media. It offers a range of movies and TV shows, including HBO originals, sitcoms, thrillers, CTV originals, documentaries, Canadian content, and more.
7-day free trial. A subscription for Crave TV is $9.99 a month.
Paramount+ is a streaming service by Paramount. The app features an array of up-to-date news, TV sitcoms, Reality TV, Live sports, movies, documentaries, and more.
A subscription to Paramount+ is $5.99 a month.
Apple TV is a streaming service offered by Apple, but it’s not just for Apple devices. Apple TV is available on most SmartTVs, mobile devices, and gaming consoles (PS4, Xbox, etc.). The app has original content and loads of movies not available anywhere else.
Gluu Tip If you buy a new Apple device, you will get a free trial of Apple TV+. It is an excellent way to try it out and see if you like it. Call Apple to see if you qualify for their free trial.
An Apple TV subscription is $5.99 a month.
Samsung TV Plus
Samsung TV Plus or Samsung FREE is a streaming service offered on newer Samsung devices. You can watch live TV, comedy, children, sports, crime, and more. Best of all, Samsung TV Plus is free. If you have a Samsung device, this app is definitely worth checking out.
Samsung TV Plus is free but you may see commercials.
DAZN caters to sports fans that are into sports that are more difficult to find on traditional Canadian TV. Sorry hockey fans, this is not the app for watching your favourite hockey teams. The app streams various live sports, including Major League Baseball, NFL Football, Premier League Soccer, Rugby, Boxing, Tennis, and more.
DAZN is a whopping $20 a month and is ideal for a sports fan. Good thing they have a 1-month free trial.
Streaming a TV show or movie is almost the same as watching cable TV, but it has more advantages. Once you pay for a subscription, you have access to all the titles in their library with no need to select specific packages or channels to watch. You avoid commercials and can watch on-demand complete seasons. Some apps allow you to download titles to watch when offline.
Here are answers to the most popular questions we get about streaming apps.
What is video streaming?
Video streaming, commonly called streaming, is when you watch a video over the internet using a browser or an app without downloading first.
What is downloading?
Downloading is when the entire video is chosen from a video library service, for instance, through the internet to your device. When you download, that video file now lives on your device. When streaming, the video is being watch over the internet, the video file doesn’t live on your device.
What is a streaming app?
Streaming apps allow you to view tv shows and movies using an internet-connected computer, mobile device, SmartTV, or gaming console. Streaming apps let you watch shows whenever you like without any commercials. Movies, TV shows are common forms of streaming content.
Why use streaming apps?
To get access to TV shows and movies you can’t get elsewhere, and maybe to save money over cable TV charges such as Game of Thrones, Midsomer Murders, and even the I Love Lucy Show. Some of the best new TV shows and movies being made today are only available on streaming apps such as Nomadland, The Irishman, My Octopus Teacher, and about a million other amazing titles. You can watch these at any time. Just press play. Many people have given up on their traditional PVR cable service and use only streaming apps. This saves money and gives you control over what you watch and when.
Do all streaming apps have the same shows?
No. As you browse through the shows on these streaming apps, you’ll notice that some shows are available on multiple apps, or you might see that shows bounce around, available on one service and a few months later available on another. We recommend browsing the show listings on a streaming service before you commit to a monthly subscription.
Where do I get a streaming app?
You get streaming apps from your app store (Apple App Store, Google Play, etc.). Some of these apps may already be downloaded on your device. If not, go to your App Store to find them. Downloading the app is free, but viewing their shows is not (unless we’re talking CBC). Be prepared to use your credit card to sign up even for a free trial.
If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can subscribe to many streaming apps from within the Amazon Prime app. You will still be able to take advantage of the free trial, but the subscription fee will be billed through your Amazon account if you want to continue watching. Amazon Prime is a handy place to keep all of your streaming apps in one place. The streaming apps are easy to find within the Channels section of the Amazon Prime app.
The gift of streaming
For less than the price of a bottle of wine, you can give the gift of binge-watching some great shows that are not available anywhere else. Check with each streaming app for details on how to give the gift of streaming.
What is binge watching?
When you watch multiple episodes in a row of a television show, generally without much of a break. The Crown, Game of Thrones, Grace and Frankie, The Queen’s Gambit, The Office, Schitt’s Creek —all popular binge shows. We are pretty sure it’s not a healthy habit, but it sure is a fun way spend an evening—in moderation of course 😉