Which is better for British TV, BritBox, Netflix, or Hulu?
Thanks to the huge variety of on-demand services, there’s never been more choice for fans who want to stream British TV.
Netflix — often regarded as the master of on-demand content — houses plenty of British movies and shows, and even partners with channels like the BBC to co-create series. The platform also recently announced it would be investing $500 million in British-made TV.
Despite all that, Netflix has some competition. Hulu — a service that boasts more than 30 million subscribers — holds exclusive rights to the streaming of some British content. For example, it’s one of the only places you’ll find the reality show that captivated the globe, Love Island.
And then there’s BritBox. A much smaller affair with just a million subscribers, it’s a haven for lovers of British TV. Only streaming content from British channels, including the BBC and ITV, you’ll find classic comedies and murder mysteries alongside newer dramas and a handful of original content.
So should you go for BritBox or Netflix? BritBox or Hulu? Here’s how all three services compare.
Plans and pricing for BritBox vs. Netflix vs. Hulu
Here’s how much you can expect to pay for each of the three services:
|Starting monthly price||$6.99||$5.99||$8.99|
|Free trial length||7 days||7 days||N/A|
|Number of titles||300+||5,000+||5,000+|
What to watch on BritBox vs. Netflix vs. Hulu
Although BritBox offers a lot less content than Netflix and Hulu, it houses every genre you can imagine. There are classic British comedies like The Office, Fawlty Towers, and Gavin and Stacey as well as soaps in the form of Eastenders and Coronation Street. Well-known titles like Doctor Who also appear along with shows US viewers will never have had access to before.
Plus, you can catch episodes a few hours after they’ve aired in the UK and see your favorite British talent in their early roles — think the likes of a young Daniel Craig and Emily Blunt.
The service is amping up its original content throughout 2020. BritBox’s first original show, The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco, tells the tale of female war codebreakers who go on to solve crimes. It’s set to be joined by other titles in the coming months and years.
Hulu has a ton of British comedies, from the hilarious Absolutely Fabulous and Blackadder to Ricky Gervais’ The Office. Some of the UK’s most gripping crime dramas are also available. These titles include Spooks, Idris Elba’s Luther, and Prime Suspect starring Helen Mirren.
But one of the biggest shows Hulu has to brag about is the British version of Love Island. The original edition of the reality show, the UK’s Love Island, sees a group of single men and women effectively locked in a villa in a bid to find love. The challenges and confrontations make for unmissable viewing.
A similar number of British comedies, dramas, and mysteries can be found on Netflix. The Office is joined by another show set in a mundane workplace, The IT Crowd. In the world of drama, you’ll find Richard Madden’s The Bodyguard, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock, and Cillian Murphy’s Peaky Blinders. And who can forget the dystopian thriller, Black Mirror?
Documentaries also crop up. Many, such as Blue Planet and Planet Earth, focus on the natural wonders of our planet with the great David Attenborough narrating.
Comparing the BritBox vs. Netflix vs. Hulu experience
There’s no option to set up user profiles via BritBox or to add on any extra features. But you’ll still see content recommendations tailored to the types of shows you watch. Subscribers also have access to parental controls. Simply enter a four-digit PIN and select an age rating. Anything from that rating and above can then only be watched with the PIN.
Hulu, meanwhile, offers several add-ons. For $11.99/mo., you can access everything in the service’s on-demand library, view content without ads, and download titles for offline watching. Hulu + Live TV costs $54.99/mo. and gives you access to live TV as well as the on-demand catalog. Premium channels like HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime can also be added for an extra monthly fee. (However, British TV fans are more likely to find suitable content in the on-demand library.)
Each individual family member can create their own Hulu profile, so they can quickly pick up where they left off. Kids’ profiles can also be set up, providing a safe space for young viewers to enjoy shows and movies.
As Netflix is an on-demand only service, there aren’t any add-ons to invest in. But you can choose between three different plans, depending on how many simultaneous streams you want. A single Netflix account can have up to five user profiles, so each family member can have their own watch lists and see personalized recommendations. Parents can opt for kids’ profiles for younger users, and set up a PIN to stop them from watching mature content as well as specific shows and movies.
BritBox doesn’t come with a long list of features, but it does allow for 5 simultaneous streams — so everyone in the family can watch exactly what they’re in the mood for. The number of simultaneous streams Netflix provides depends on which plan you choose. The Basic $8.99/mo. package only allows 1 stream at any one time, the Standard $13.99/mo. plan gives 2 streams, and the Premium $17.99/mo. package allows 4 simultaneous streams.
Hulu’s plans, however, only provide 2 simultaneous streams. But subscribers can pay an extra $9.99/mo. for unlimited streaming. (Unlimited means everyone at home can watch Hulu at the same time, plus 3 outside streams.) If you opt for a live TV plan, you’ll get 50 hours of DVR storage. To increase the recording limit to 200 hours, you’ll need to pay a further $9.99/mo.
The final cut
If you’re looking for the most extensive British TV catalog, opting for BritBox is a sensible option. But don’t dismiss Netflix and Hulu. Both have enough titles to keep you entertained for months and come with added benefits like award-winning original content. And with Hulu, you can even opt for a plan that includes live TV. Can’t make up your mind? Why not start a free trial of each? It’s the quickest way to find out which one’s best for you.
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