How to Save Money on Video Streaming
In the current cost of living crisis, we’re all looking for ways to reduce spending and save where we can. Guest writer, Emma, explains ways to spend less on streaming your favourite TV series and the latest films.
Photo by JESHOOTS, Pexels
More people than not pay for a video streaming subscription. In fact, according to recent YouGov data, seven in ten Brits are signed up to at least one service every month.
With shows spread across a variety of platforms, it can be easy to be lured into another sign-up. If you’re not careful, though, that can soon all add up to be an expensive outgoing. Let’s use this as an example: if you wanted to stream The Boys, Ted Lasso, Ms. Marvel and Sex Education, you could end up splashing out over £300 a year! Here are a few ideas to help you save yourself a bit of money while keeping up to speed with the latest box sets.
Save money on streaming TV by sharing accounts
Most services currently allow multiple users or devices. Speak to your family and friends to see if you can work out a system to share log-ins. Maybe you have a NOW TV account, and you have a friend signed up to Amazon Prime. Do they both have an available user slot you can each use? Just be aware, Netflix has started to crack down on log-in shares. If someone outside your house persistently signs into an account, it will force you to authenticate that device. It’s also carrying out trials on extra costs for sharing between households. It may be that others follow suit.
Think about signing up to a family or premium account
If a group of you want to watch the same shows, you might save more money in the long run by signing up to a larger premium package and splitting the cost. Again though, check if there are any restrictions in place. If it’s a family package, you’re usually supposed to be in the same household. A good example of this is ‘Amazon Household’.
Make the most of student discounts
Incentives for streaming services are quite common. A quick hunt around shows you can currently get 15% off an annual Disney+ subscription through Unidays. Check out whether there are any bundled deals you can get from another utility bill as well. For example, it’s not uncommon for offers to come up on streaming services when switching broadband providers or signing up to a new phone contract. A comparison site will make it easy to see whether there are any free gifts available to new customers.
Cycle your TV streaming services
Although annual subscriptions are available, it’s more common for a streaming service to be charged monthly. Take advantage of the fact there’s no long contract. Sign up for one service, watch everything you want, then cancel and move onto the next! You could even rotate through a different service each month. Content is refreshed all the time, so by the time you’ve cycled round, new shows and movies will be available.
Take advantage of free trials
Keep your eyes peeled for free trial offers. You’ll probably have to pass over your card details to get these to work, though. Make sure you make a note of when the trial ends, to cancel before you are automatically charged for the next month.
Invite friends in to watch together
It may sound obvious but making an event over a great film or a series and inviting mates around for a weekly viewing session is a good, old-fashioned way to save a bit of money between a group. And it makes for a cheap, fun evening. Maybe you can make a deal? You’ll pay for the streaming services that month if they bring the pizza!
The hidden costs – is your broadband up to scratch?
Nobody wants to spend an evening watching a frozen screen. Bear in mind you’ll need a decent broadband package to keep things running smoothly. Nowadays, you could get away with streaming on ADSL, but for a reliable, HD picture, it’s best to opt for a fibre broadband package. 30Mbps+ will be fast enough to allow everyone in your home to carry on using the internet as normal without forfeiting a seamless stream.
If you’re not sure whether your broadband is up to scratch, it’s worth running a speed test to check what you’re currently getting. Do this before you sign up to a streaming service, as you’re unlikely to get a refund just because your internet connection isn’t fast enough.
About the Author
Emma is a freelance writer and photographer, with 20 years of experience writing about consumer tech for print and online. She studied Contemporary Media Practice at the University of Westminster.
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