This Holiday Season Give the Gift of Streaming
“He went to Jared” is the last thing we want to hear this holiday season. “He paid for a year of Netflix,” however, would make us very merry. Indeed, access to streaming sites makes a great gift. Here’s what each service offers — and where to buy subscriptions online and in stores.
Once the Blockbuster Video-by-mail, Netflix offers hundreds of its own shows, like prison dramedy Orange Is the New Black (above), plus imports of top-tier foreign TV, like German drama Babylon Berlin (see page 48). Deals with producers Shonda Rhimes (Scandal) and Ryan Murphy (Feud) guarantee that Netflix will continue to have exciting content. Gift cards are sold at Walmart.com, Amazon.com (Netflix has links to the sites under your account tab) and Walmart, Target and Kroger stores. Plans range from $8 to $14 per month
Amazon Prime Video
Access to favorites like FX’s The Americans, originals, live sports (plus free shipping on Amazon.com!) make Prime feel like several presents in one. Buy subscriptions on Amazon.com and pick when your recipients get the emails revealing your gift. $39 for three months; $119 for one year
BritBox and Acorn
The Anglophiles you know need both services to immerse themselves in British TV. The former streams chat programs, game shows and soaps usually right after they premiere. Acorn offers a dizzying array of smart detective series like cozy Agatha Raisin, classic Miss Marple and dark Line of Duty (with Thandie Newton, below) — plus Aussie dramas. Gift subscriptions are sold at BritBox.com and Acorn.tv. BritBox: $69 per year; Acorn: $49.99 per year
The place for network TV lovers, Hulu gets new episodes of ABC, Fox, The CW and NBC shows (like This Is Us) after they air (and some cable picks too, like South Park). It has an optional live-TV service. And the library is drool-worthy (for example, 30 Rock, St. Elsewhere and The X-Files). Hulu also makes originals, like Emmy winner The Handmaid’s Tale. Gift cards are sold in stores and online at Target, Best Buy and GameStop. Plans range from $8 to $40 per month
CBS All Access
Besides a 24/7 live stream of the network and CBS’s library (think: every Blue Bloods!), All Access has web-only hits like The Good Fight and Star Trek: Discovery. Next year, Jordan Peele (Get Out) reimagines The Twilight Zone for the streaming service. Gift cards are sold in stores and online at CVS, Walmart and Best Buy. Plans range from $6 to $10 per month
This article also appeared in the Nov 12 - Nov 25 issue of TV Guide Magazine.