There’s no shortage of choice when it comes to streaming services in India – but which one is right for you?
Not long ago, the streaming market in India used to be fairly limited. That all changed in 2016, when Netflix and Amazon both launched their platforms globally and started to invest in content for the local Indian market. That, coupled with a spike in mobile data usage and a revamp of local service Hotstar made more users interested in the many ways in which they can stream TV shows and movies online.
Fast forward to 2019 and you’ll notice there are plenty of services available that cater to video enthusiasts. Whether you’re looking for Bollywood movies, Hollywood blockbusters, US series or regional content, there’s something for everyone. And the best part? Some of these platforms are incredibly affordable (or even free!), so there’s a good chance you’ll find one that best suits both your needs and your budget. Without further ado, read on to find out which popular streaming services in India offer the most bang for your buck.
Streaming subscription services
Streaming subscription services offer users access to a library of content for a set monthly fee. These are the kind of platforms, like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, that most people think about when they talk about streaming.
Most of these services come with a mix of TV shows, movies, comedy specials and documentaries, so it’s unlikely you’ll run out of content to watch if you subscribe to any of the platforms listed below. On the same note, their catalogues are a combination of international shows/movies and local titles to attract as many users as possible.
Additionally, they usually offer free trials as well, which means that you can give the service a spin before you actually start paying to stream the content. That allows you to browse the service’s library and assess the streaming experience to figure out if the platform is worth your cash.
Streaming subscription service providers
Hotstar advertises as India’s largest premium streaming platform, offering more than 100,000 hours of drama and movies in 17 languages. It was initially intended as a mobile app that would support streaming of the 2015 Cricket World Cup, but gradually expanded its catalogue to become a streaming giant, boasting exclusive deals with HBO and offering live coverage of IPL and cricket.
Hotstar offers a mix of free and premium content, has a friendly user interface and allows users to stream sports live, so there’s no wonder the platform is extremely popular in India, despite being relatively unknown in the rest of the world. The video-on-demand service from Star India is also planning to heavily invest in original content in the coming years, which will appear under Hotstar Specials.
Users pay INR199/month or can opt to pay INR999 in advance for an entire year. New subscribers get a free seven-day trial. There’s also an All Sports pack which offers unlimited access to all live sports, including cricket, Premier League, F1, tennis and more. This one costs INR299 for an entire year.
Although pretty much dominating the streaming industry worldwide, Netflix hasn’t received the same amount of love in India. The service became available here in early 2016 with a limited content library. Since then, Netflix invested in local original content and managed to add more titles to its catalogue, but the price seems to be the factor that keeps it from really exploding.
Prices start at INR500/month for a Basic subscription, but this only gets you access to SD content and you can only watch on one screen at a time. The Standard plan, at INR650 comes with HD titles and two simultaneous streams, while the Premium subscription costs INR800 and offers Ultra HD streaming quality on four screens at the same time.
The good thing is that you can access the entire library of content regardless of the plan you choose. Even better, there’s a one-month free trial that should help you assess if a subscription is worth it. All Netflix original content is available as well as some fast-tracked US shows and a decent collection of movies, documentaries and comedy specials. Plus, the service has great device compatibility, so you can watch your shows on pretty much any gadget imaginable.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is free with your Amazon Prime subscription – so if you shop online a lot, getting access to a generous catalogue of movies and TV shows for free is a nice perk. The service became available in India at the end of 2016 and has grown significantly, investing heavily in original local content.
An Amazon Prime subscription costs only INR129/month, or you can pay INR999 in advance for an entire year. Besides access to Prime Video, this gets you ad-free music along with unlimited free, fast delivery on eligible items and exclusive access to deals. A 30-day free trial is available for new customers.
Amazon Prime Video also comes with great device compatibility as well as a library brimming with blockbuster Bollywood movies, regional films, Hollywood hits and original productions. Fun fact: worldwide speaking, Amazon Prime is cheapest in India. As a comparison, Americans pay US$12.99/month for Prime, which works out to a little over INR900.
Free for Jio users, JioCinema offers a vast library of movies across all genres as well as exciting TV shows, clips and music videos. You can stream via your phone or tablet, add titles to My Watchlist and even download content to watch later.
The platform allows you to browse the library both by language or genre. One huge selling point for JioCinema is that it currently hosts content from Disney India, which means you get access to a wide range of titles from Marvel, Pixar, Disney and Star Wars right at your fingertips.
If you’re a Jio user, all you need to do is download the app from the App Store or Google Play or access the website and then sit back and enjoy. The fact that the service is completely free with Jio, at least for now, is a huge plus, so you should definitely give it a go. JioCinema supports Chromecast, so you can watch titles on the big screen.
HOOQ offers around 30,000 hours of premium Hollywood and local movies/TV series as well as the ability to rent recent releases fresh from the cinema. You can enjoy unlimited entertainment on up to five devices and stream or download on two of your devices at any given time. Moreover, you can watch on the big screen via Chromecast, Airplay or Android TV.
A HOOQ subscription costs INR89/month, while renting a recent release costs INR59. The platform offers several shows express from the US, which means that you can watch new episodes immediately after they air over there. The list includes titles distributed by Warner Bros like The Big Bang Theory, Arrow, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and more. All seasons of Friends are also available on HOOQ.
Besides US titles, HOOQ also offers a wide catalogue of British television and cartoons. As for renting, you have 30 days to start watching before it expires and 48 hours to view the movie once you hit play.
Voot is another free streaming service that allows you to watch over 35,000 hours of content from Viacom 18. That includes titles from TV channels like MTV, Colors, Vice, Nickelodeon and more as well as a wide variety of movies in several languages. The platform also hosts original shows like It’s Not That Simple, Time Out or Untag.
The great thing about Voot is that it acts like an entertainment hub for the entire family. You can catch up on news, allows the kids to watch cartoons or unwind with a movie or TV show – all completely free. Device compatibility isn’t great, but you can stream content to your TV using a digital media player like Chromecast.
The Voot interface is also very user-friendly. You can sort by language, genre or channels, so you can easily access your favourite titles. There’s also an entire section of kids shows, so it’s easy to keep an eye on what they’re streaming.
Besides offering a great catalogue of TV shows and movies, the main selling point for SonyLIV is that it brings users live sports. You can watch live cricket, football, WWE and more. Most content is free, but to access some of it, you will need a Premium subscription. The app also enables you to watch live TV and rent movies.
The video-on-demand service of Sony Pictures Networks India costs INR99/month for a Premium subscription, which gives you access to live TV channels, movies, English TV shows and workout videos. Users can also opt for a three-month and one-year subscription, priced at INR149 and INR999, respectively.
A lot of content is available for free, including sports, so you can get access to a wide library without even creating an account. Even so, if you register, you will be able to enjoy additional features like the ability to like a video, add it to your “Watch later” list and so on. Furthermore, SonyLIV also enables you to rent movies and offers original series made exclusively for the web, like #LoveBytes 2.
The service offers two subscription plans, Plus and Premium. Plus costs INR49/month, which gives you access to titles in SD with no subtitles. Premium costs INR99/month and offers HD quality and closed captions. It also enables you to watch content offline. You can save with yearly memberships – INR470/year for Plus and INR950/year for Premium. You can also create a Basic account and enjoy limited content for free.
Original shows on Eros Now include titles like Smoke, Enaaya and Side Hero. The service offers a wide catalogue of movies and comes with great device compatibility, so you can get access to your favourite content at anytime, anywhere. Music videos are also available on the platform.
The streaming service sells 3-month and 12-month subscriptions at INR100 and INR300, respectively, which enables you to unlock everything the service has to offer. A free version is also available, but this only comes with limited content. However, it does enable you to get a feel for the platform and to determine if it’s worth the investment.
Unfortunately, international content is minimal, but if you’re a fan of Bollywood and regional movies or TV shows, this may be an inexpensive streaming service for the entire family. You can stream on up to five devices at the same time, so an ALTBalaji subscription is easy to share with your loved ones.
BigFlix is one of India’s premier movies on demand services, with a catalogue offering 1000+ movies in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Punjabi and other languages. You can sign up for a free account, but this only enables you to watch movie trailers.
However, a premium subscription unlocks the entire BigFlix movie catalogue for INR50/month or INR500/year. You can enjoy the service free for one month. You can browse movies by language, so you can find something to stream more easily. There are also a few Collections available, including Best of Comedy, Best of Thrillers and so on.
BigFlix also has a Pay and Watch section with select titles available to watch for INR80. This can be useful if you’re only interested in one or a few titles from the library and don’t want to get a streaming subscription.
ZEE5 offers several types of subscriptions. The All Access Pack opens up everything on the platform for a cost of INR99/month. If you enjoy it, you can also purchase an All Access subscription for six months (INR599) or an entire year (INR999). Alternatively, you can opt for a regional pack to access premium content solely in the language you’re interested in – Tamil, Telugu or Kannada. These packs cost INR49/month or INR499/year each.
Whichever subscription you choose, you get to watch movies, TV shows and live TV on up to five devices at the same time. ZEE5 offers over 90 TV channels, regional and international movies and TV shows as well as original productions.
A free Spuul account gives you access to a limited number of movies for free. However, if you’re a serious movie buff, you might want to invest in a Premium subscription. It provides access to unlimited movies from the platform’s library for INR99/month or INR999/year. With Premium, you can download titles to watch offline.
Spuul also enables users to rent movies for a set price. These are separate from the monthly Premium subscription. You can browse the platform’s library for free to see if it’s the right fit for you.
A Viu Premium subscription costs INR99 for two months, INR299 for six months or INR599 for an entire year. You can watch tons of Viu originals, along with a great collection of TV shows and movies in several languages, ad-free.
Users can create a basic account for free, which will enable you to get a feel for the service and browse the catalogue. You can also stream a lot of content with a Basic account (with ads), which is always a plus.
Most titles on Tubi TV are in English, but there is some foreign-language content available as well. Also, don’t expect any blockbuster hits to pop up here as the service specialises in more underrated gems. However, considering that it’s a free alternative to the likes of Netflix, it’s well worth a try.
A MUBI subscription costs INR500/month, bringing you a handpicked selection of highly acclaimed flicks. If you’re a true lover of quality cinema, the price is definitely worth it. There is a one-week free trial when you can test drive the platform, and you have the ability to download movies to watch when you’re offline.
Primarily a music service, Hungama can be considered a one-stop entertainment platform that hosts music, movies and TV shows. There are three monthly plans available, so you can choose the one that suits you best. You can also access the service for free, with ads, but a Premium subscription comes with unlimited downloads and the ability to listen/watch offline.
A Movies & TV shows subscription costs INR99/month and offers access to 8,000+ Hollywood, Bollywood and regional movies as well as TV series and Hungama original productions. Entertainment Unlimited combines music and movies/TV for INR149/month, while Music Pro costs INR99/month and brings you 10 million songs and music videos. You can also opt to pay for a plan for three or twelve months in advance.
The fun thing is that you can also purchase a subscription with Hungama coins, which you can earn by using the platform. For instance, you get 500 coins when registering an account and 25 coins for every song you play. An Entertainment Unlimited Plan costs 6,000 coins.
The Viral Fever started as a YouTube channel and grew so much in popularity that they now operate their own video platform. TVFPlay caters to all those who want to have a premium content experience, but cannot find anything worth watching in the traditional channels.
The service hosts all of TVF’s premium shows, including Pitchers, Barely Speaking with Arnub and Permanent Roommates as well as shows and content from around the world which TVF believes its audience will enjoy watching. The platform is free to access, but you will need to register to create a watchlist.
Muvizz offers cult, classic and independent films, with titles ranging from short films to documentaries to feature films in various languages. You can create an account and start streaming free movies available on the platform, with ads, or get a premium subscription and enjoy access to the entire catalogue ad-free.
Muvizz costs INR80/month or INR800/year. The platform also puts an emphasis on socialising – there is a section called The Diary where people discuss social issues using cinema. You can easily sign up for free and browse the library to see if the catalogue of content is a good fit for you.
Hoichoi is an on-demand platform focusing exclusively on Bengali language content. They offer an impressive collection of movies, TV shows and Hoichoi original productions as well as music streaming.
Users can subscribe for one year for INR399 or three years for INR999. This brings you the ability to watch offline, without ads, and on a variety of devices. According to Hoichoi, music streaming is free if you download the app. As for movies and shows, you can see a sneak peek of what’s available on their website.
Sun NXT offers 50,000 hours of live TV content, movies, originals, kids content and music across four South Indian languages – Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. Some content is available for free, but it’s limited.
To watch all the content, you will need to create an account and then choose a subscription plan. Access to Sun NXT costs INR50/month, INR130 for three months or INR480 for an entire year. The platform has a user-friendly interface and is very easy to navigate. You can browse by language or category – movies, TV shows, live TV, music videos, comedy and so on.
Live TV / Catch-up TV services
While some of the apps listed above offer access to live TV channels, there are a variety of apps that focus solely on this, with catch-up features also available. These allow you to watch TV live via the Internet on your favourite device. Here are a few of the most popular.
YuppTV is one of the most popular Internet TV platforms available, with 180+TV channels as well as catch-up TV and movies. Some content is available for free, but a premium subscription comes with perks. You can watch content in 13 Indian languages with up to 7 days to enjoy the catch-up service ad-free. A Day Pass for YuppTV costs INR5, a Weekly Pass INR30 and a monthly pass INR99. The app works on a variety of devices, including smart TVs, smartphones and tablets.
Free for Airtel clients, Airtel TV offers live TV in 10+ languages as well as a catch-up feature. You can also stream movies and TV shows, but that will require additional costs. The app is available on both smartphones and tablets, or you can watch on TV via Chromecast.
Offering both live TV and a catch-up service, JioTV lets you enjoy 575+ live TV channels, including 60+ in HD. You can pause and play live TV programs from the point you left off and catch up with shows that aired in the past seven days. The app, free and exclusive for Jio customers, is available on smartphones and tablets.
Download streaming services
While streaming services generally allow you to watch as much content from the catalogue as you can over a set period of time, download streaming services allow you to pay as you go. In other words, you find a title you like, purchase it and have access to it anytime via the Internet.
While purchasing movies can get expensive, especially if you binge-watch a lot, these are a good alternative for users who only tune in from time to time or want to own their favourite titles. Here are some of the most popular platforms from where you can buy movies in India.
iTunes enables you to purchase tons of content, including music and movies. Certain titles are also available to rent. The range of titles is pretty extensive, with prices also varying depending on title.
YouTube also allows you to purchase and rent movies. All you need to do is access the YouTube Movies channel, browse the catalogue and see what’s available. Prices are listed below each title and vary based on video quality and whether you’re looking to rent or buy.
You can also shop for movies on Google Play, with titles available for both rent and purchase. Similarly to iTunes, prices vary.