What’s the point of having a lovely television or sound system if you have nothing decent to play on it? That’s why the Streaming Service of the Year award is so important.
From Netflix to Spotify, streaming services are the latest media giants and they have broadcasters and music labels the world over running scared. The model is a brilliant one: pay a monthly fee and you can listen to or watch as much as you want. And if you fancy a month off, then you can cancel with no quibbles (well maybe a few, given half the time the cancellation policies on these services are a little hidden).
With both Netflix and Amazon offering original content, and Spotify serving up a heap of recommendations, these services have been built to last.
Here’s our pick of the very best in entertainment services and the devices you can use to access them...
Netflix went from strength to strength in 2016, with rock solid HD and 4K streaming, as well as some fantastic home-baked content. Stranger Things was arguably the hottest TV show of the summer.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime arguably came of age in 2016, with some superb content, a great user interface and the option of both subscription and on-demand viewing making it a serious contender for Streaming Service of the Year. Preacher, a fresh comic book adaptation, came out of left field and won over a big following.
- Best Amazon Prime TV shows you can watch right now
- Best Amazon Prime films: top movies to check out now
The world’s favourite music streaming service continued to do the business with its never-ending flow of tunes and playlists. A wide-selection of advanced functionality and features, such as the ability to import your own songs, copy playlists and perform advanced searches, make it a really attractive proposition for music lovers.
Sky’s online offering is a stunning mix of 11 channels of must-see TV, and Geordie Shore, with movies and sport on an on-demand basis. Seriously, never - like even if hell freezes over - watch Geordie Shore.
This has improved so much over the last year or so that it’s barely recognisable from when it was BT Vision. Now BT TV offers top, top, top live sport and movies in both 4K and HD.
Apple Music took on Spotify with an artist-centric approach and millions of tunes, with the option of iTunes downloads lurking in the background. There’s also a strong focus on discovering new things to listen to – both new releases and back catalogue material that fits your tastes - and Apple Music tries to do this intelligently, basing decisions on some simple guidance from you when setting it up, explicit feedback that you give it by marking things as ‘loved’, and your listening habits.
Do these features give it an edge this year?