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Best Streaming Service in India


With Prime Video now available in the country, there are plenty of great options for streaming video on the go.

Best overall

Hotstar

See at Play Store

Hotstar is easily the best streaming service in India. At ₹150 per month, it is affordable, and offers a wide variety of content — both in regional languages and English.

With a catalog that has close to a thousand TV shows and nearly three thousand movies, you won’t run out of things to watch on Hotstar. And as the service is owned by STAR — the largest broadcaster in India — you get access to live cricket matches.

Hotstar is available on Android and iOS, and the web.

Bottom line: If you’re looking for a streaming service that offers the best TV shows, movies, and sports content, look no further than Hotstar.

One more thing: Although Hotstar isn’t available on Android TV, the service supports Google Cast, allowing you to stream content to any Chromecast or Cast-enabled device.

Why Hotstar is the best

Hotstar offers a healthy mix of local as well as international content, and most of it is stuff you’d want to see. The service has tied up with HBO and National Geographic, and you’ll also be able to access over 69 TV shows from STAR World. The service’s catalog includes the likes of Game of Thrones, Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother*, Westworld, Silicon Valley, Homeland, and more.

At ₹150, the cost of the monthly subscription isn’t too costly either. That gives you access to nearly two thousand movies in regional languages, and 600 TV shows. Its international catalog includes 253 TV shows and 275 movies, and while that isn’t a lot, it includes some of the most-watched shows in the country.

Furthermore, with HBO’s TV channel subject to Indian broadcast regulations (no swearing or nudity), your best chance of seeing its original programming the way they were meant to be is through Hotstar.

And then there’s the sports-related programming. As Hotstar is owned by STAR, you get access to live cricket matches. That alone pushes the service above the rest of the offerings available in the market.

Hotstar lets you view content on the web, on your phone, tablet, and while there’s no Android TV client, you can throw content via Google Cast.

Also good

Amazon Prime Video

Prime Video

See at Play Store
Sign up for Prime

Prime Video has finally made its debut globally, and the service is off to a great start in India. Amazon has tied up with several production houses in the country to offer a smorgasbord of regional content, including the latest Bollywood movies and TV shows.

Prime Video even offers regional subtitles for international content (your Seinfeld viewing sessions will never be the same again). The service also offers downloads, allowing you to take TV shows and movies offline for viewing without an active internet connection.

That said, there are a few issues. Prime Video is the only service on this list that is censored. Shows like Amazon’s own Transparent are unwatchable, and even its flagship program, The Grand Tour, is neutered as one of the episodes features Jeremy Clarkson driving a car made out of animal carcases.

So, should you stay away from Prime Video? If you’re okay with its self-censorship stance, then you should take a look at the content on offer. What is sure to cement the service’s position in India is its pricing. Prime Video is free to all Amazon Prime subscribers in India — which in itself costs just ₹499 ($7.50) for the first year. Prime will go up to ₹999 ($15) from next year, but that still comes out to under ₹100 for all the benefits you get.

The pricing alone makes Prime Video a prime contender in this space.

Bottom line: Self-censorship takes a lot of fun away from Prime Video’s original TV shows, but the service is worth looking into if you’re already subscribed to Prime.

One more thing: Prime Video isn’t available on Android TV, nor does it support the Cast protocol. However, most smart TVs sold in the last few years have the app pre-installed.

Great, but flawed

Netflix

Netflix

See at Play Store

While it’s great that Netflix is in India, the service doesn’t provide a whole lot of value. With monthly plans starting from ₹500 (going all the way up to ₹800), it is the costliest streaming service in India. And for that amount, you don’t get much in the way of content.

Netflix’s Indian catalog is paltry when compared to what customers in the U.S., Canada, or the UK receive. Although the service costs the same as it does in other countries, the catalog in India is one-tenth the size of that in the U.S., and with Netflix now in the country for almost a year, it doesn’t look like we’ll see that issue being rectified anytime soon.

To put things in context, Netflix in the U.S. has over 5,500 titles available across genres. Netflix India has less than 750. That list includes most of Netflix’s original programming, but TV shows that are a huge hit in India — the likes of Friends, How I Met Your Mother, and others — are not available for streaming in the country.

Bottom line: Netflix has a lot of great content, but most of it isn’t available in India. That said, you do get a majority of the service’s original TV shows and movies. If you don’t mind the asking price, it’s worth taking a look.

One more thing: Netflix recently rolled out offline viewing, allowing you to download TV shows and movies on your phone or tablet.

Conclusion

With 4G slowly gaining momentum, expect to see fierce competition in the streaming space in the coming years. For now, Hotstar has the lead in this segment, but with Amazon throwing money at its Indian business, that can change soon.

Best overall

Hotstar

Hotstar

See at Play Store

Hotstar is easily the best streaming service in India. At ₹150 per month, it is affordable, and offers a wide variety of content — both in regional languages and English.

With a catalog that has close to a thousand TV shows and nearly three thousand movies, you won’t run out of things to watch on Hotstar. And as the service is owned by STAR — the largest broadcaster in India — you get access to live cricket matches.

Hotstar is available on Android and iOS, and the web.

Bottom line: If you’re looking for a streaming service that offers the best TV shows, movies, and sports content, look no further than Hotstar.

One more thing: Although Hotstar isn’t available on Android TV, the service supports Google Cast, allowing you to stream content to any Chromecast or Cast-enabled device.



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