With cable premiums at their highest and the ever-increasing availability of live players like BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and Netflix, cord-cutting is a hot topic for TV viewers around the globe. International television viewing has become as popular as destination travel and far more prevalent. Thanks to convenient and inexpensive apps, today there are roughly 65 million viewers who know how to watch BBC shows outside the UK. While those figures could be perceived as a real threat to the ROI of this world-renowned streaming channel, the BBC is choosing to look at it from a different perspective.

What do you like to watch?

What do you like to watch?

According to a BBC study, 75% of those 65 million streamers are currently paying for a streaming service (just not BBC iPlayer). If that’s the case, then these hijackers are just a fresh vein of potential customers waiting to be sold to.

All this is an interesting concept that sales and marketing managers at the BBC should be pouring over presently. In the meantime, the real question for TV viewers is this: which media streaming options are better, the UK versions like BBC iPlayer or BritBox or the US TV streaming stations like Hulu and Netflix? After all, if there’s going to be a full-on competition between the brands for your membership fee, you may as well know which one will deliver the most. So, here’s a head-to-head comparison of some of the biggest streaming services to see how they hold up against the competition.

BBC iPlayer

Obviously, the first choice for viewing UK TV, BBC iPlayer has all of the BBC content you could think of. Everything from live sporting events to on-the-scene news reporting is available when you have a BBC iPlayer membership. You can also get great drama series like EastEnders, Casualty, and Trust Me, documentaries like Ambulance, or talk shows like The Graham Norton Show.

This iPlayer is not available to people outside of the UK though, so you will have a difficult time accessing these forms of entertainment...unless you use a workaround.

Netflix US

You can stream most of your favourite BBC shows using your Netflix US account. A good chunk of the British series end up on this player including popular shows like Doctor Who, Call the Midwife, and Peaky Blinders. So, you can really enjoy most British viewing pleasures on Netflix...it just might take a while till they get to you.

Netflix has great original content that viewers devour too. Everything from Altered Carbon and Black Mirror to Orange is the New Black and Stranger Things. Netflix also has the most award-winning movies from any streaming service out there.

Hulu Plus

If you’re into the oldies but goodies of British television, then Hulu Plus is a good option for you. This streaming service has a larger than most variety of classic British shows including Top Gear, The Thick of It, and Peep Show.


The lovechild of BBC and ITV, BritBox is meant to fill the void for easy streaming service for UKers. It will have the widest library of British content in the world and promises juicy new content as well. After its successful beta launch in the US, BritBox announced that it would soon be available for the British public. What’s the catch? BritBox doesn’t touch current shows. So this isn’t really a competition for BBC iPlayer, it’s a supplement.

UK vs. US TV: You decide

Which one is the best? That depends on how much you want to wait to binge out, and how much you want to pay. Of course, if you’re using a workaround, none of this matters. Whether it's Peter Kay's Car Share, a sizzling episode of Line of Duty, or the laugh out loud comedy of Not Going Out you're craving, you can enjoy all those BBC favourites from anywhere you are in the world...with or without a subscription.

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