It’s been a while since I’ve had a hankering for watching The Invention of Lying, a Ricky Gervais classic that had been on Netflix just a few months ago.
Today, it’s nowhere to be found on the streaming platform. It’s a maddening conundrum, considering how reliant I’ve become on Netflix to satisfy my entertainment needs.
Sooner or later, I’ll have to face facts. The video streaming market is rapidly saturating. In the US, American sitcom Friends has been pulled out of Netflix and sent to HBO Max. It’s only a matter of time before a close competitor surpasses our beloved streaming OG.
Perhaps now is the time to rethink your entertainment choices. This boils down to the type of shows you’re into, and the amount of money you’re willing to shell out on a monthly basis.
If you’re a K-drama fanatic who can’t be bothered about American sitcoms, Viu is the way to go. If you belong to the community of Office, Community and Parks and Rec diehards, you’ll want an Amazon Prime subscription, not a Netflix one.
Here’s a breakdown of every major streaming service in Singapore to help you determine which of these is the best for you in 2020.
Founded in 1997, Netflix has been around for ages, but has only risen to an unprecedented level of influence in recent years. The king of all streaming sites with an Internet slang of its own (‘Netflix and chill’), it not only hosts an enticing variety of movies, TV shows and documentaries, but also produces originals such as Stranger Things and Orange is the New Black that rival Hollywood theatrical releases.
Will its popularity last? Considering the growing number of competitors in the video streaming scene, it’s possible that every major network will begin launching their own platforms and pull out of their partnership with Netflix, leaving the latter with a scarcer catalogue of entertainment options. But Netflix still produces an immense number of its own Originals.
If you’re looking for a single-user personal account, its $11.98 monthly fee isn’t the cheapest. Your best bet would be to invest in a Standard or Premium subscription, and split the cost with four other friends, so you’ll just have to fork out about $3.19 or $3.99 a month.
|Free Trial||Unlimited movies and TV shows for 30 days.||$0|
|Basic||You can watch videos on only one screen at a time in Standard Definition, and download videos on just one phone or tablet.||$11.98 a month|
|Standard||You can watch videos on two screens at a time in HD (1080p), and download videos on two phones or tablets.||$15.98 a month|
|Premium||You can watch videos on four screens at a time in HD and Ultra HD (4K), and download videos on four phones or tablets.||$19.98 a month|
While Amazon Prime Video offers fewer entertainment options than its rivals, the quality of its catalogue remains top-notch. Viewers can expect gems like The Office, Parks and Recreation, Community, The Grand Tour as well as a slew of Amazon originals such as The Man in the High Castle, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, and Fleabag.
Not to mention, at $2.99 a month, its subscription plan is the most affordable. Apart from its Amazon Video offerings, the membership also benefits frequent Amazon shoppers, offering free shipping on select items and early access to promotions.
|Free Trial||Unlimited movies and TV shows for 30 days.||$0|
|Standard||Amazon Prime subscription, including access to Amazon Video.||$2.99 a month|
HBO Go is an on-the-go streaming service, which is available through three operators (Singtel, StarHub, and meWATCH). It offers six HBO channels—HBO, HBO Signature, HBO Family, HBO Hits, Cinemax, and Red by HBO—without the need for you to get a cable TV subscription.
Indulge in cult classics such as Game of Thrones, Westworld, The Sopranos, and Big Little Lies, all of which can be downloaded onto your device and streamed on two screens at a time.
Its fees vary, based on the type of plan you sign up for. For Singtel subscribers with a Combo 6, 12, XO 78, or XO 108 plan, the first 24 months of your membership will be free. An ordinary, no-contract plan, on the other hand, will set you back $13.98 a month. As for its selection of shows, there’s a possibility that you might grow tired of the limited offerings very quickly.
|Singtel – Combo 6, 12, XO 78 and XO 108 plans||Subscribe to any of the listed Singtel plans, and get free access to HBO Go for 24 months.||$0|
|Singtel, StarHub, meWATCH – No contract||Unlimited access to HBO Go’s channels and shows.||$13.98 a month|
|Singtel – One-year contract||You’ll get the first two months for free, after which you’ll be charged $13.98 a month.||$139.80|
|meWATCH – One-year contract||This annual plan includes pre-payments.||$119.98 ($9.99 a month for a year)|
If you’re more interested in binge-watching Korean dramas, consider Viu. Its basic tier can be accessed for free, although you won’t be enjoying the HD, ad-free experience. Opt for the Premium subscription for unlimited downloads and TV casting of a larger range of your favourite variety shows including Running Man and Little Forest.
While the free version only airs new episodes around 72 hours after the original telecast, the Premium tier brings them to you after about an eight-hour wait.
|Viu Free||Get a limited range of dramas and variety shows in Standard Definition, including ads, which you can watch on any device except for a TV. Viewers are also only entitled to one download.||$0|
|Viu Premium – Free trial||Free access to Viu Premium for seven days.||$0|
|Viu Premium||Get unlimited downloads, and a wide range of dramas, variety shows and movies in HD, including TV access and no ads.||$7.98 a month|
|Singtel Viu Premium – No contract||Including a three-month free trial period.||$6.90 a month|
|Singtel Viu Premium – One-year contract||Including a three-month free trial period.||$4.90 a month|
HOOQ is a relatively new, Singapore-based streaming service that also allows you to rent the latest movie releases for a low price. Backed by Sony Pictures, Warners Bros, and Singtel, it carries a catalogue that’s mostly populated by Marvel and DC blockbusters, Hollywood classics, local TV shows as well as Chinese, Korean and Pinoy hits.
For rentals of movies like Joker and Detective Pikachu, you can either fork out a couple of extra dollars along with your subscription or purchase a new subscription (at least 30 days) to redeem a ticket, which you can use to rent a film. Get a year-long plan for $34.98, the most economical option that amounts to about $2.90 a month.
|Free Trial||Free access to HOOQ for 30 days.||$0|
|HOOQ subscription||Unlimited access to movies, shows and rentals.||$7.98 a month, or $34.98 a year|
|Singtel HOOQ subscription – No contract||Including a one-month free trial period. Exclusive to Singtel Postpaid Mobile, Fibre Broadband, and Singtel TV customers.||$7.90 a month|
|Singtel HOOQ subscription – One-year contract||Including a three-month free trial period. Exclusive to Singtel Postpaid Mobile, Fibre Broadband, and Singtel TV customers.||$4.90 a month|
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By Marie Cheng
Marie is a self-diagnosed cheapskate, who once went dumpster diving and returned with a luggage of free loot. Nothing excites her more than stumbling upon vintage gems with wholesale price tags at the flea market.