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Ireland's TV players and streaming apps

Updated: Jan 19

The Covid-19 pandemic crisis has catapulted online TV streaming services from ‘Netflix n chill’ to ‘Watch me for thrills.’ This technology has been a real godsend while we’ve been ordered to stay safe at home.

But before all this happened things were changing anyway. With new platforms like Disney+, Apple TV and Now TV all introduced to the market, it means that Netflix and Amazon Prime can no longer dominate your screens.

In fact, it’s fair to say that there’s probably too much choice these days, especially when you have to pay for that bigger choice.

So, does Netflix still offer the most bang for your buck, and how attractive are some of the new kids on the block?

We take a look at what’s on offer below.





RTÉ Player

What it costs

This service is free on the island of Ireland, though rights are restricted on some programming within Northern Ireland.

How it works

Stream live TV. Catch up on shows watched recently. Classic old Irish and US series included.

What’s on?

All the best local programmes, live sport and news that RTÉ has to offer. Plus, some old US classics. Highlights include: Love/Hate, Room to Improve, The Shield, Frasier, Melrose Place, Dawson’s Creek.

Any limits?

The app is free to so everyone can watch once downloaded. You might consider the content limited depending on your viewing tastes. Unlike some streaming services, it doesn’t contain algorithm-driven recommendations on what to watch. Works with Google Chromecast.

Any ads?

Yes.

Virgin Media TV

What it costs

Like RTE Player this service is free in Ireland.

How it works

Stream live TV on any of your devices via a browser. Very limited number of TV series (around 60 at when we checked).

What’s on

Apart from what Virgin are showing live, shows include: Ru Paul’s Drag Race, Grey’s Anatomy, Darklands and more.

Any limits?

Can’t cast through Chromecast but can do through a Google Chrome browser. Doesn’t work with Apple TV. As per RTE, they don’t have recommendations on what to watch based on your previous viewing history.

Any ads?

Yes.

All 4 app (Channel 4)

What it costs

This app is free and most content can be streamed in Ireland.

How it works

Stream live TV. Catch up on shows aired recently. Watch a large selection of box sets.

What’s on

Apart from live TV you can enjoy highlights such as Catastrophe, The Inbetweeners, Father Ted, Derry Girls, Made in Chelsea, The Undateables, Shameless, Skins and more.

Any limits?

None, as app is free – and there’s around 370 shows with an IMDB rating of 7 or over to enjoy.

Any ads?

Yes.

Sky Go Extra

What it costs

Free to those who have a Sky Go subscription (can be part of the main TV service).

How it works

Like having SKY TV on your phone or tablet. Watch content live. Catch up and record on your SKY TV box.

What’s on

Depends on what content you’ve paid for.

Any limits?

Need to pay for Sky TV to enjoy access. Irish channels won’t work while streaming. Doesn’t work with Apple TV.

Any Sky Go hacks?

If someone you know has a Sky Box but doesn’t use Sky Go – you can use it for free on your devices.

Any ads?

Yes.

Now TV

What it costs

Modular: - Usually €14.99 a month for cinema or entertainment packages.

How it works

Sky’s dedicated streaming platform – you can watch live TV, catch up on shows and a big selection of box sets.

What’s on

Now TV has a huge range of content including bit hitters Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, Chernobyl, Downtown Abbey, Billions, Succession, Family Guy, Band of Brothers and more.

Any limits?

Add up to 6 devices and watch on any 2 at the same time.

Any NowTV hacks?

Pigsback and Groupon often have great value deals. You can also regularly find offers or discounts through Avantcard Advantages or Visa Rewards Cashback deals (AIB, Bank of Ireland, PTSB and Ulster Bank customers can all avail of these).

Any ads?

Yes.

Amazon Prime Video

What it costs

It’s free with Amazon Prime membership. As a standalone it costs £7.99 a month. As their pricing can be hard to find please see full list of pricing here.

How it works

Stream TV series and movies and music. Plus enjoy discounted books, free deliveries on Amazon purchases and more. And you can stream on 3 devices simultaneously.

What’s on

Perhaps Netflix’s biggest rival the channel initially struggled to rival them for original shows but is starting to catch-up. Some shows like the Man From The High Castle or Transparent have rated well. Other shows include Top Gear, Lost, Fleabag, Downton Abbey, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, The Americans, The Walking Dead… and more. Based on justwatch.com, Amazon in Ireland have more than twice the amount of high-rated (7+ on IMDB) movies than Netflix.

Any limits?

No live TV. But lots of TV series and movies

Any Amazon Prime Video hacks?

Lots at the moment:

· Students can get 6 months free.

· Ask a friend who has it if you can be one of their 3 assigned devices.

· If you sign up with Eir TV packages, Amazon Prime is free

Any ads?

One ad per show (at start of content).

Disney+

What it costs

€6.99 a month, but you currently can get a 7-day free trial.

How it works

Similar to Netflix you can stream TV series and movies. However, unlike most Netflix shows they release a series on an episode-by-episode basis instead of in one go.

What’s on

All Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and National Geographic back catalogues.

Any limits?

You can create 7 user profiles under one account and watch on 4 different devices.

Any Disney+ hacks?

As up to 4 devices can stream simultaneously, share the monthly subscription with a few friends/family members.

Any ads?

No.

Netflix

What it costs

· Basic - €7.99 a month

· Standard - €10.99 a month

· Premium - €13.99 a month

How it works

Netflix is the most popular streaming platform, though now has lots of rivals. Stream a wide range of Netflix series and movies, plus lots of critically acclaimed series and movies.

What’s on

There is a wealth of movies, TV series and documentaries including The Irishman, Marriage Story, The Crown, Stranger Things, The Witcher, Better Call Saul, Orange is the New Black, Narcos and more.

Any limits?

With the basic plan you can watch one device at a time. With the standard you can watch on two. With premium you can stream on four devices simultaneously.

Any Netflix hacks?

You can share premium between you and three other people - €3.50 per month each.

Any ads?

No

If you're still undecided about which is best for you, click here to check out the latest deals and discount codes.


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