Video streaming services in Singapore, compared
Image adapted from: Ian Ling
The video streaming wars are in full swing. With the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, many Singaporeans are choosing to stay home, so it’s understandable if you just want to watch it all: Narcos, Crash Landing on You and all 70 episodes of Story of Yanxi Palace.
The list of video streaming services is long: there’s Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, meWATCH and many others. But we all know how these pesky monthly bills can stealthily drain your bank account, so we’ve done a deep dive into each of these streaming services to rank them in terms of pricing, device compatibility and content.
We’ll start with the stuff nearest and dearest to us Singaporeans – free services: meWATCH, HOOQ and Viu all offer free content for you to enjoy. If you’ve recently snagged an iPhone or one of the many eligible Apple devices, Apple TV+ is also free for a year.
Those lucky enough to be surrounded by fellow binge-watching kakis might want to take advantage of family sharing features of some services. Netflix supports up to 5 users on an account from $2.40/month per user, while Amazon Prime Video allows up to 10 “family members” to share a subscription, reducing the cost to $0.30/month per person.
Otherwise, for die-hard drama addicts, a long-term subscription is a great way to lower the cost. An annual subscription to HOOQ brings the cost down to $2.92/month, while meWATCH Prime costs $5.94/month with a 6-month subscription.
Basic prices of video streaming services available in Singapore
Each video streaming service has its strengths – some have standout TV serials, while others either focus on having more regional or international content. Here, we list the top content on each service and rate the range based on how up-to-date, varied and popular the most-watched shows on each platform are.
Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and HBO Go provide a range of original content – shows you simply cannot watch anywhere else.
Netflix Originals like Crash Landing on You is one of the most popular shows now
Image credit: Netflix
Netflix has a solid range of old and new, Asian and Western content, encompassing both movies and serials. Iconic Studio Ghibli films are also available on the platform, letting you enjoy Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro and Princess Mononoke.
Popular Netflix serials: Stranger Things, Altered Carbon, Crash Landing On You, Friends
Popular Netflix movies: Marriage Story, Inception, Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
HBO GO isn’t too shabby, with iconic originals and plenty of popular content to keep you entertained. Apart from the must-watch Game of Thrones series, HBO GO also offers all 8 Harry Potter instalments, alongside a smattering of older A-list classics like The Matrix, The Avengers and Jurassic Park.
Popular HBO GO serials: Game Of Thrones, True Detective, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Popular HBO GO movies: John Wick Chapter 3, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Crazy Rich Asians
The Grand Tour is an automotive show that is exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.
Image adapted from: IMDB
Amazon Prime Video is most notable for The Grand Tour, an original car programme featuring ex-hosts from Top Gear. Other original content include The Man In The High Castle, a series where Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan occupy the US after winning WWII. Amazon Prime Video also carries popular licensed serials like Hannibal, Curb Your Enthusiasm, House M.D. and Parks and Recreation.
Popular Amazon Prime Video serials: The Grand Tour, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, The Man Man In The High Castle, The Office
Popular Amazon Prime Video movies: The Avengers, Sherlock Holmes, Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Classic Singaporean movies like I Not Stupid (2002) are free to watch on meWATCH
Image credit: IMDA
The content on Hooq, meWATCH, Viu and Apple TV+ does not enjoy the same variety as the other services. Hooq has some older Western movies including some superhero titles, while meWATCH specialises in reruns of Mediacorp celestial TV programming – much of which can be accessed for free.
Viu is a good choice for Korean drama fans, offering titles like Hotel Del Luna. Apple TV+ is still in its early stages, but it offers a sizable roster of original content featuring Jennifer Anniston, Steve Carrell and Jason Momoa.
With screens everywhere in our lives, it’s important to ensure your video streaming service works across all your devices. That way, you can carry on watching on a plane, a train, or in the comfort of your living room.
For our gadget-crazed generation, you’d be pleased to know that all these services work on your handsets, tablets and online platforms. If those tiny screens aren’t cinematic enough for you, AirPlay, Chromecast, or a trusty ol’ HDMI cable will let you cast content right onto your TV!
Larger international streaming services like Amazon Prime Video, HBO GO and Netflix even offer compatibility with your Xbox One and above and Playstation, meaning you don’t have to purchase extra hardware for convenient cable-free entertainment if you already own a console.
*You will be able to cast media from your smartphone/tablet to most modern TVs via Apple TV or Google Chromecast add-on.
If you just splashed serious cash on a high-quality home theatre system, you’d definitely be looking out for streaming services that offer high-quality video and audio.
The quality of each actual show on each service might vary, and it pays to check if your favourite titles are available in 4K, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos for the ultimate sensory treat.
For quality, Netflix, Apple TV+ and Amazon Prime Video trounce the others with content in crisp 4K resolution, greater detail with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos spatial audio for realistic sound effects – all around you.
Nobody likes being behind the latest trends, especially when it comes to TV shows. Think of the last time you awkwardly stood by whilst all your friends gushed over that series which of course, you hadn’t watched.
For FOMO Singaporeans looking for the most popular service, it’s an obvious choice with 46% of all local paying viewers subscribed to Netflix according to a study.
If you’re as kiasu as the next Singaporean, you’ll likely be comparing the prices of these streaming services. However, there’s more than meets the eye – from content to quality, it pays to consider each service holistically. You might even be able to watch shows you like – absolutely free!
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