Watching TV Online


In recent years, we have found more and more individuals and homeowners deciding against a TV and instead focusing on purchasing only laptops and desktops. Multi-functional, multi-purpose and starting at around £200 (although obviously, this is the lower end of the spectrum) they are a fantastic investment that allows you to both work and play.

Devices like laptops, tablets and handheld devices  also allow you to save on the costs of purchasing and the maintenance costs of a TV as well as the cost of a TV license (although this may still be needed in certain circumstances). Essentially, purchasing a laptop means you can still enjoy all the pleasures of your sitcom or drama without having the expense or burden of an actual TV. However, with so many ways to watch TV online, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. A particularly important decision when you are trying to cut down on costs and save. So to help you make that decision we have compiled a list of the options on the market alongside their costs, pros and cons. 


With a heady mix of both its own signature, award-winning shows including The Crown and Orange is the New Black, as well as old favourites like Friends or older favourites like The Breakfast Club, Netflix has a fantastic array of TV, films and documentaries. Not only that, but it also has a separate option entirely devoted to children with the ability to put a pin on any programme that is unsuitable for those under the age of 18. This makes Netflix into a fantastically safe and secure option. You also have the option of downloading programmes onto your tablet which makes it a helpful option for those who travel both nationally and internationally. 

That being said, Netflix does discriminate according to geography which means that we in the UK could not see the same content as those who live in Stateside. Moreover, there are a number of complaints that the Netflix library isn’t updated enough, meaning the content is becoming rather out of date and stale. 

Of course, when all is said and done Netflix is the market leader with good reason. They have invested a huge amount into original programming and also offer fairly reasonable rates. This means you are able to benefit from a 30-day free trial after which you pay, £5.99 for a basic plan.  £7.99 per month for two screens and £9.99 for a subscription with four screens. 

Amazon Prime

Costing £79 a year and allowing you access to far more than just TV programming; Amazon Prime means you receive free next day delivery on a range of products, shopping delivered to your door, access to free books on your Kindle as well as a range of other benefits. However, amongst these fantastic options, you will also have access to the, often underrated, but incredibly strong Amazon video library. This includes some critically acclaimed Amazon only shows such as The Marvelous Mrs.Maisel and Transparent both of which have received rave reviews from both critics and commercial audiences. 

The advantages of Amazon Prime Video is that there are absolutely no adverts, and if there is a title you want, but isn’t available on Prime you could in theory, pay for it. Similarly to Netflix, you can also set up security controls for children which will be a huge relief to parents and you can also 30 days free as you try the plan and see if it’s right for you. 

However unlike Netflix, it doesn’t make personal recommendations based on your previous choice of show, although you can browse based on theme and genre. 

As with Netflix you are able to get a 31 day free trial with Amazon Prime, although do be careful with this as if you don’t cancel before the due date the money will be taken out of your account. 

BBC iPlayer

Available only in the UK and to those who have a TV license (mandatory whether or not you actually have a TV), BBC iPlayer allows you to watch some of the nation’s favourites such as The Apprentice and more recently, The Missing with Jenna Coleman. You are also able to download most of these shows onto your Tablet and watch them for the following thirty days. This feature allows you to watch the show even when you’re abroad, although you would have to download it originally in the UK. Just like BBC television programmes,, there are absolutely no adverts which allows you to enjoy your favourite TV program uninterrupted. 

The cost of using BBC iPlayer is the cost of a TV Licence which is £105.50 for a colour TV and £50.50 for a black and white TV licence. This price is inclusive of 15 units after which you have to pay an additional £105.50 for every extra 5 units.  However, if you are aged 75 and over, a care home resident, or registered as blind you may well qualify for a reduced rate on the price.

ITV Player

The first on our list with a free option, ITV Player shows some of our favourite guilty pleasures such as Summer’s seminal Love Island utterly free of charge. The only downside to this is that you do have to watch adverts – although you are able to pay £3.99 a month to gain access to something called ITV Hub, which includes ad-free programmes and the ability to download your favourite shows. Again, with this option, you are able to gain a month’s free trial before you start.

TV player

TV player offers you access to hundreds of channels which you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to view on your laptop, including:

  • Channel 4
  • Dave 
  • Comedy Central 
  • CNN 

To name just a few. Coming in three subscriptions and with the ability to watch the television you want anywhere it can be an incredibly useful tool for those who would like to watch their favourite shows even outside of the UK. With TV player you have three options: 

  1. Basic- this is free and allows you to watch free to air channels with adverts 
  2. Premium – this costs £6.99 a month and includes 80 channels as well as the option of recording live TV.
  3. Premium+ – this costs £9.99 a month and includes over 90 channel as well as catch up on demand.

If you are interested in learning more about responsible spending please do take a look at our guide to budgeting here. And, of course, if you are interested in taking out a loan please take a look at our free comparison guide here. 


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