STARZ vs. Showtime: which service is right for you?

Woman watching TV

If you’re in the market for a premium channel to add to your streaming subscription or subscribe to as a standalone service, STARZ and Showtime are some of the best options. Each boasting of an impressive content lineup and a host of premium features, the two services aim to enhance your online streaming experience.

With each of these services, you get live access to broadcasts from the respective channels. Plus, you can also watch select titles on-demand. In spite of all these similarities, it’s good to note that STARZ and Showtime each have a unique selection of exclusive originals.

So if you’re having trouble choosing between the two, this post gives you a detailed STARZ vs. Showtime comparison to help you make the right choice.

Plans and pricing for STARZ vs. Showtime

Monthly price$8.99$10.00
Free trial length7 days30 days
Number of channels1711
Original content available?YesYes
Simultaneous streaming43

At $8.99/mo., a STARZ subscription costs slightly less than Showtime, which will set you back $10/mo. But it also has a shorter free trial period of 7 days, while Showtime lets you try out the service for an entire month.

With that said, STARZ has a more expansive channel lineup, giving you 17 options while Showtime offers 11. Through these channels, you can access an impressive lineup of popular movies and shows as well as exclusive originals.

STARZ also has another leg-up over Showtime in terms of simultaneous streaming. The service lets you stream from up to 4 devices at one time. Meanwhile, Showtime will let you stream the service from up to 3 devices at a time.

Comparing the STARZ vs. Showtime experience

How it works

Both STARZ and Showtime work the same way. They’re premium channel networks that you can either add to your cable or streaming subscription or get as a standalone service. Your subscription gives you access to the respective network channels, through which you can watch live TV programming and select on-demand titles.

User experience

Looks-wise, the user interface for STARZ and Showtime is comparable. They both use dark themes with the menu option at the top. So it’s pretty straightforward and wouldn’t be too confusing for new users.

But the STARZ layout is slightly less intuitive than that of Showtime. For instance, the web interface displays the STARZ TV schedule in a list format with the option to select the channel from a drop-down menu. That means you’ll have to browse through a whole lot of programming to find something to watch.

On the other hand, the Showtime web interface displays the TV schedule in a grid-style format, with each column featuring the programming for one channel. It also adjusts the size of each grid based on timing and duration so viewers can visualize how much time to set aside for each program.

App usage

The STARZ app experience leaves little to be desired with a lot of lagging and glitches that make it difficult to enjoy your streams. On Chromecast in particular, the app has a hard time communicating the viewing progress and frequently pauses to load in the middle of playback.

Showtime doesn’t fare too well either in terms of mobile app usage. Although it doesn’t encounter as many crashes and lags as the STARZ app, its playback controls aren’t too intuitive. For instance, you won’t get the option to skip the opening theme or credits. On the plus side, the app doesn’t have any major issues on streaming media players and TVs.

Device compatibility

STARZ works with the following devices:

  • Amazon Fire TV devices
  • Amazon Kindle Fire phones
  • Amazon Kindle Fire tablets (2014 and newer)
  • Android phones and tablets (running Android 4.1 or greater)
  • Android TVs
  • Apple devices (running iOS 8.1 or greater)
  • Apple TV devices (3rd generation and newer)
  • LG TVs (running WebOS 3.0or higher)
  • Roku devices (2nd generation and newer)
  • Select Samsung Smart TVs
  • Select Sony Smart TVs
  • Xbox One and One S

Showtime works with the following devices:

  • Amazon Fire TV devices
  • Amazon Kindle Fire phones
  • Amazon Kindle Fire tablets (2014 and newer)
  • Android phones and tablets (running Android 6.0 or greater)
  • Android TV devices
  • Apple devices (running iOS 9.0 or greater)
  • Apple TV devices (3rd generation and newer)
  • Chromecast
  • LG Smart TVs
  • Oculus Go
  • Oculus Quest
  • Portal TV by Facebook
  • PlayStation 4
  • Roku devices (2nd generation and newer)
  • Samsung Smart TVs
  • Xbox One


Both STARZ and Showtime allow some level of personalization, although not entirely robust.


With STARZ, you can only have 1 user profile. This means you won’t have the option to create watch lists and get recommendations personalized just for you. Showtime allows up to 5 user profiles, so this offers much better personalization than STARZ.

Setting controls

With both services, you can personalize your settings with features like parental control. Both STARZ and Showtime give you the option to set the maximum ratings to allow for each profile.


The additional features for both services are comparable, too, as they each offer simultaneous streaming capabilities but lack cloud DVR storage.

Simultaneous streams

STARZ allows up to 4 simultaneous streams, while Showtime curbs this limit to 3 devices.

STARZ vs. Showtime content


Your STARZ subscription comes with 17 channels:

  • Indie Plex
  • Movie Plex
  • Retro Plex
  • STARZ Cinema
  • STARZ Comedy
  • STARZ Edge
  • STARZ Kids & Family
  • STARZ in Black
  • STARZ Encore
  • STARZ Encore Action
  • STARZ Encore Black
  • STARZ Encore Classic
  • STARZ Encore Espanol
  • STARZ Encore Family
  • STARZ Encore Suspense
  • STARZ Encore Westerns

Through these channels, you can watch a wide range of programming ranging from iconic classics like Days of Thunder to contemporary hits like Frozen. Plus, you can access exclusive originals like Ash vs. Evil Dead, Party Down, Sweetbitter, Vida,and more.


Showtime comes with 11 channels:

  • Flix
  • SHO Next
  • SHO Women
  • Showtime
  • Showtime 2
  • Showtime Extreme
  • Showtime Family Zone
  • Showtime Showcase
  • The Movie Channel
  • The Movie Channel Xtra

These channels give you access to classics like Face/Off, The Brady Bunch Movie, The Money Pit, and more. And you also get exclusive originals such as Couples Therapy, Moonbase 8, Shameless, and The Circus, to name a few.

The final cut

Both STARZ and Showtime are impressive in their own way with access to premium programming and simultaneous streams. It’s all a matter of whether you prefer the STARZ content lineup over Showtime and vice versa. Before you decide, it’s best if you sign up for a free trial of STARZ and Showtime to see which one you like more.

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