Best TV and Movie Streaming Services to Offer This Holiday Season

This story is part of 2021 Holiday Gift Guide, our list of ideas, by theme, by recipient and by price, to help you discover the ideal gift.

Holiday shopping was stressful enough before the pandemic, but the expected supply chain shortages this year might seem like a nail in the proverbial coffin for procrastinating shoppers. Even if you have a color-coded spreadsheet of stores to visit, sales, and giveaways to grab this season, it’s not a bad idea to have a backup.

Besides helping you stay comfortable at home when the weather gets colder, choosing a TV and movie streaming service is an easy last-minute option that can come in via email and won’t be broken. of stock. Whether you buy a gift card in-store or online, the service should have a section dedicated to using gift card codes when your loved one wants to activate the subscription.

Netflix? Disney Plus? There are dozens of streaming services out there that make giveaways quick and easy.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Before you embark on this giveaway path, there are a few things to think about beforehand. Your giveaway will need a streaming device or smart TV to enjoy the service. (If they don’t have one, congratulations! You’ve stumbled upon another gift idea. CNET can help you navigate affordable and quality streaming devices and smart televisions.) In addition, once the gift card or gift subscription is exhausted, access to the service is naturally also. If they want to continue using the service, they need to add a credit card for payments.

Here is a list of some of the most popular (and more specialized) services you can offer your family and friends this year:

Netflix

The Netflix streaming veteran – like Hulu – offers gift cards online or in-store through retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, and Kroger. Netflix offers three subscription levels: Basic ($ 9 per month), Standard ($ 14 per month), and Premium ($ 18 per month).

Netflix is ​​full of original movies, shows, documentaries and content. With a subscription, you can also view mobile games on the Netflix app at no additional cost.

Hulu

You can purchase physical or digital Hulu gift cards from retailers like Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon, Walgreens, Kroger, and Paypal. Hulu offers multiple subscription levels, such as Basic Hulu ($ 7 per month) and Basic Hulu Ad-Free ($ 13 per month). You can also subscribe to Hulu Plus Live TV ($ 65 per month) or Hulu Plus Live TV ($ 71 per month) ad-free.

Hulu is home to a huge catalog of original movies, shows, documentaries and content.

For more, read our Hulu review.

Disney

Disney Plus features new releases like Shang-Chi, classic Star Wars, Pixar, and Marvel movies, as well as Disney Vault movies and fun documentaries. Disney Plus is currently offering a one-year gift subscription offer to new subscribers. A Disney Plus membership normally costs $ 8 per month or $ 80 per year, but the service has a special deal that will only charge you $ 2 for your first month. The deal runs until November 14. You can also check out the Disney Plus package, which includes Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus for $ 14 per month.

To learn more, check out our Disney Plus review.

Show time

One of the most generous free trials on the market

Show time

Showtime, a more direct competitor to HBO, includes award-winning shows, movies, documentaries, pay-per-view fights and more. You can get a Showtime Gift Card at several retailers like Barnes and Noble, Best Buy, CVS, GameStop, Walgreens, Walmart and more. Showtime also offers gift cards for its online store, but these gift cards cannot be applied to a streaming subscription.

Most recently, Dexter: New Blood, a continuation of the original series starring Michael C. Hall, premiered on the service. A Showtime subscription typically costs $ 11 per month, or $ 99 per year, but the service has a special limited-time offer to pay $ 4 per month for your first four months after a free trial. You can also bundle Showtime and Paramount Plus for $ 12 per month after a 30-day free trial.

Paramount Plus

Paramount Plus, formerly CBS All Access, includes content from CBS, BET, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV, and Smithsonian Channel, as well as sports content from the NFL, SEC and more. Paramount Plus’s basic plan is $ 5 per month after a seven-day free trial. You can also upgrade to Premium for $ 10 per month after the free trial.

You can purchase a Paramount Plus Gift Card in-store or online from retailers like Best Buy, GameStop, Walmart, Sam’s Club and more.

Screenshot by CNET

Bribox is one of my favorite niche streaming services. You can discover original content like The Long Call, fascinating mysteries like Luther, The Fall, Poirot, classic comedies like Keeping Up Appearances and the Vicar of Dibley, dramas like Downton Abbey and MI-5 and much more. Britbox costs $ 7 per month or $ 70 per year after a seven-day free trial.

You can gift a one year Britbox subscription over the holiday season with just a few clicks on the website.

Screenshot by CNET

No more breaking the bank buying theater tickets or browsing the dark corners of the internet for a bootleg. BroadwayHD includes musicals, Broadway classics, Tony Award winners, Shakespeare, ballet and more.

You can gift a month of BroadwayHD for $ 12 or an annual subscription for $ 130.

Screenshot by CNET

Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime have plenty of Korean dramas (my heart hasn’t recovered from Netflix’s Crash Landing on You personally), but if you’re looking for a service dedicated to Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, and Japanese shows and movies. You can watch Viki for free with ads, or subscribe to the Viki Pass for $ 50 per year or Viki Pass Plus for $ 100 per year. Viki Pass unlocks more shows and movies, features ad-free HD quality content, plus first-time access to exclusives, originals and more.

Unfortunately, the service has run out of gift cards, so if you want to purchase a Viki Pass for a loved one, your best bet is to purchase a prepaid payment card that the recipient can use for the subscription.

Apple

Apple TV Plus – Apple’s $ 5-per-month streaming service – has released popular exclusive shows like Ted Lasso, The Morning Show, Dickinson, and Schmigadoon. The service also offers documentaries and original films like Finch, starring Tom Hanks, Coda and Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry.

There is no dedicated Apple TV Plus Gift Card, but you can purchase a regular Apple Gift Card that the recipient can use for their subscription.

Screenshot by CNET

In the same vein as BroadwayHD, the theater lover in your life might benefit from a subscription to Met Opera on Demand. The service includes full operas like Madama Butterfly, Die Walküre, Aida, Carmen, etc. Met Opera on Demand also includes a Live in HD series, which adds new titles every month.

Offer a one-year subscription to Met Opera on Demand for $ 150 through its website.

Sundance Now / Screenshot by CNET

Sundance Now offers collections of award-winning dramas, thrillers, documentaries, real crime, international films and more. The service is a great place to explore high-quality, off-the-beaten-path titles like One Million American Dreams, God’s Own Country, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamar Story, She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, and more.

The service costs $ 7 per month or $ 60 per year after a seven-day free trial. Sundance Now does not offer a subscription giveaway, but you can still purchase a prepaid payment card that the recipient can use for the subscription.

Moose photos

Just because stores have replaced Halloween decorating with Christmas trees doesn’t mean that scary movies should be put aside as well. Shudder is the ultimate streaming service for horror movie fans. With a subscription, you can watch classics like Children of the Corn and Carnival of Souls, as well as Shudder Originals, sci-fi, creature features, psychological thrillers, and more.

A Shudder subscription costs $ 4.75 per month after a seven-day free trial. Like some of the other services on this list, it doesn’t offer a dedicated gift card, but you can purchase a prepaid payment card that the recipient can use for the subscription.

Criterion

The movie buff in your life will love a Criterion Channel subscription. The service includes over 1,000 classic, contemporary, author, international and independent films. With a subscription you can watch movies like The 39 Steps by Alfred Hitchcock, An Affair to Remember, Bride of Frankenstein, The Gold Rush by Charlie Chaplin, Paris is Burning, Frances Ha and more.

You can offer a subscription to Criterion Channel on their website. Choose a one-month subscription for $ 11, up to one year for $ 100.

Crisp

You can find a good selection of anime on other streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu, but Crunchyroll is a well-known hub for manga, games, news, as well as popular anime shows like Attack on. Titan, Bleach, My Hero Academia, Death Note, Inuyasha and more. You can use Crunchyroll for free, but the Premium tier unlocks an ad-free HD viewing experience across multiple devices. Plus, you’ll get early access to anime titles within an hour of the original airing in Japan, along with discounts on DVDs and more.

Crunchyroll offers three premium levels: Fan ($ 8 per month), Mega Fan ($ 10 per month), or Ultimate Fan ($ 15 per month) after a 14-day free trial. You can offer a premium subscription level through the website.

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