Netflix and Amazon Prime Video launched in India in 2016, Hotstar which started off a year in 2015. There are also numerous other premium and free services in the country with content in various regional languages as well as Hindi and English.
I hope to give you a clear picture of what’s on offer, how much it costs, what kind of equipment you’ll need, and which of these services can help you get the best out of your.
LET GET STARTED…..
Streaming Services | Content
I have taken a look at what i think is the top streaming services in India, which offer subscriptions, rentals, or purchases looking at Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar, Google Play Movies, and Apple TV.
These streaming services follow different pricing models Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hotstar are subscription services, while Google Play Movies and Apple TV offer individual movie titles for rent or purchase.
Apple TV+ is a service within the Apple TV offering exclusive content through a subscription model.
All of the services in our comparison feature a combination of English, Hindi, and regional language content for India.
Apple and Google offer access to recent movies through a rent-or-purchase model. Rentals are priced lower but expire within a certain amount of time, so you’ll only really be able to watch each one a time.
Subscription | Rent | Purchase
The streaming services being compared here are priced quite differently, based on the usage model as well as the various offer. While some are expensive, others are much more affordable with Indian pricing.
The most expensive of the services here is Netflix.
- Rs. 199 per month for the mobile-only plan,
- Rs. 499 per month for the single-screen standard definition plan,
- Rs. 649 per month for the two-screen, up to full-HD plan,
- Rs. 799 per month for the top-tier plan that lets you watch on four screens simultaneously, and includes up to Ultra-HD and HDR streaming.
The service does offer a lot of Ultra-HD and HDR content in the Dolby Vision standard,
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video comes as part of the Amazon Prime subscription in India. This also includes shopping benefits such as free shipping for many orders and early access to deals.
Amazon Prime Music streaming and Prime Reading ebooks. All of this is available for
- Rs. 129 per month
- Rs. 999 per year
Making this the best value offering in the segment in India.
Hotstar follows a system with different subsets of content available. The more affordable VIP plan is priced at Rs. 399 per year with access to Disney+ shows, movies, and kids’ content dubbed in Indian languages, plus live sports, recent Indian movies, exclusive Hotstar specials, and the latest episodes of Indian TV shows.
The more expensive Premium plan costs Rs. 299 per month or Rs. 1,499 per year, and has all of the above, along with Disney+ original shows and other content in English, and licensed movies and shows.
Google Play Movies
This service is pretty much the same as YouTube movie and TV show rentals, with purchases and rentals between the two regardless of which service you use.
Google Play Movies isn’t a subscription service, you rent or buy movies which can then be viewed on any supported device.
Rentals are naturally much more affordable starting as low as Rs. 25, but Purchases cost around Rs.500 and up.
The advantages of Google Play Movies are access to recent movie releases and excellent support for Android devices and the Android TV platform.
Apple TV / Apple TV+
Apple TV works with titles available for rental or to purchase. The content library consists of movies, including many popular new titles that are available soon after their theatrical releases
Apple TV+ is a subscription service within the Apple TV that costs Rs. 99 per month. It offers a original shows produced by Apple.
Application Support | Devices Support
Netflix and Hotstar support the most operating systems and devices, and give a fairly uniform user experience regardless of what device you’re using them on.
Both work on Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV, Apple tvOS, Android TV, and through a Web browser on most computers.
Amazon Prime Video is also available on all major device platforms in India, but has the best user experience when used with Amazon’s own Fire TV devices such as the Fire TV Stick 4k.
Google Play Movies works best on Android and Android TV, and also on iOS for the service.
Apple TV and Apple TV+ are primarily available for Apple devices, including the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV.
The service was made available for Amazon Fire TV devices last year as well.
Some of these services also work on the Samsung, and LG smart TV and Roku and other streaming device platforms.
With Ultra-HD and Dolby Vision available on televisions priced at under Rs. 30,000 now, quality content to play with the hardware is even more useful. Netflix.
Amazon Prime Video, and Apple TV all offer huge catalogues of Ultra-HD content, with practically all original shows and movies on these platforms now being produced at the highest resolution.
Google Play Movies and Disney+ Hotstar max out at full-HD in India for now. Both services offer 4K resolution content in other countries.
Picture | Sound
Netflix and Apple TV lead the way in India with support for high dynamic range content up to the Dolby Vision standard.
Netflix and Apple for their streaming platforms are created supporting Dolby Vision, with Netflix even offering this on its new movies and TV shows being produced in India.
Amazon Prime Video doesn’t offer Dolby Vision in India but movies available with HDR10 encoding. Disney+ Hotstar and Google Play Movies don’t offer any picture enhancing technologies, you only get basic standard dynamic range here.
If you have a decent audio system connected to your home viewing setup, or your mobile device supports sound enhancement technologies, some of these streaming services offer additional features.
Dolby Atmos is supported on limited titles on Netflix and Apple TV, while regular Dolby Audio and 5.1-channel surround sound are supported on a much wider range of movies and TV shows, even on Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ Hotstar.
Picture and Sound quality largely depend on the hardware being used, some streaming services are doing their part by offering good quality, high bit-rate streams.
Services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Apple TV are stable and offer good picture and sound quality even with slow internet connections.
Hotstar and Google Play Movies don’t quite match up to standards set by the others in this comparison for number of reasons.
Their low peak resolutions and lack of picture enhancement technologies holds them back, while low bit-rates also tend to affect how clean the picture looks.
On technical part, there are two clear winners here.
- Netflix and Apple TV offer the best picture and sound quality, with much of their catalogues geared for Ultra-HD resolution, Dolby Vision HDR, and Dolby Atmos sound.
- Amazon Prime Video follows closely behind, falling short only on lack of support for Dolby Vision.
- Hotstar and Google Play Movies trail on these parameters, resolutions at full-HD and overall picture quality falling a bit short.
In terms of content diversity and quality.
All of the services here have some advantages.
- Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ have huge catalogues of original and exclusive content.
- Disney+ Hotstar benefits from Disney’s global productions and Hotstar’s excellent Indian language and sports content.
- Apple TV and Google Play Movies offer access to new movies, usually much earlier than when they become available on the other streaming services.
- Netflix is the most expensive of the services here, but offers enough by way of content and performance to justify the price. If you have a high-end Ultra-HD television with support for Dolby Vision or even a decent smartphone that supports HDR, I recommend you get the Rs. 799 per month plan.
- If you’ve got Apple devices, giving Apple TV and Apple TV+ a try will be worth.
- Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ Hotstar have their drawbacks, but both of these services are also very affordable and offer good quality content.
- Google Play Movies is a good option to try if you have an Android or Android TV device, and want to watch some of the newer movies that you missed catching in the theatres.
THANK YOU FOR READING.