Cancelling your cable subscription once meant giving up your favorite programming on Showtime. That isn’t true any more thanks to Showtime’s approach to streaming. Thanks to its deals with live TV streaming service and its own subscription streaming plan, Showtime lets cord-cutters watch all the programs, movies and sports on Showtime without cable.

This guide will explain why Showtime is a compelling choice for entertainment content, what devices you can watch Showtime on, and the many ways you can get Showtime.

Streaming TV services

You don’t need a cable subscription or a TV antenna to get your favorite TV channels. Streaming TV services use your home internet connection to deliver live TV to your connected devices. All of these streaming TV services offer premium subscriptions to Showtime.

DirecTV Now

 Live a LittleJust RightGo BigGotta Have It
Price$35/mo.$50/mo.$60/mo.$70/mo.
Channels60+80+100+120+
Simultaneous Streams2222
ESPNYesYesYesYes
Fire TV SupportYesYesYesYes
Roku SupportYesYesYesYes
Special OffersFREE FIRE TV DEALFREE FIRE TV DEALFREE FIRE TV DEALFREE FIRE TV DEAL

You can get more cable and broadcast channels from DirecTV Now than any other streaming TV service. For a fraction of the price of a cable subscription, you can watch your favorite cable channels and even get the local streams from NBC and other national networks.

DirecTV Now isn’t perfect, but it’s getting better. The service launched a couple of years ago without a cloud DVR which means you can’t record a ball game while away from home. DirecTV Now also limits you to streaming two channels at a time which could be a negative for large families.

Shortcode TV Subscription Desktop Directv black 700px

 

DirecTV Now’s parent company, AT&T will roll out big improvements to its streaming TV service in a few months. The upgrades will add a cloud DVR, increase simultaneous streaming to a third device, and add the ability to watch 4K Ultra HD content.

DirecTV Now offers apps on many of the most popular streaming platforms, although game consoles are notably absent.

  • Living room devices: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: None.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Android and iOS.
  • Game consoles: None.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome and Safari.

Sling TV

 Sling OrangeSling BlueSling Orange + Blue
Price$20$25$40
Channels304550
Simultaneous Streams134*
ESPNYesNoYes
Fire TV SupportYesYesYes
Roku SupportYesYesYes
Special OffersFREE ROKU DEALFREE ROKU DEALFREE ROKU DEAL
* You get one stream with Sling Orange and up to 3 simultaneous streams with Sling Blue.

Sling TV pioneered the streaming TV business and was the low-cost leader until the end of 2017 (sports-free service Philo is now a couple of bucks cheaper). Customization is now the biggest feature differentiating Sling TV from its competitors.

Once you choose a base plan — Orange, Blue, or the combination — you can add even more channels by subscribing to Sling TV’s Extras and Minis. These bundles wrap similar channels around themes like Kids or Sports.

 

Sling TV’s developers have had plenty of time to develop its streaming apps.

  • Living room devices: Air TV Player, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: Certain models from LeEco, LG, Samsung and ZTE.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Amazon Fire tablets, Android and iOS.
  • Game consoles: Xbox One.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome.

fuboTV

 Fubo PremierFubo LatinoFubo Português
Price$44.99/mo.$14.99/mo.$19.99/mo.
Channels60+13+6+
Simultaneous Streams222
Fire TV SupportYesYesYes
Roku SupportYesYesYes
Sign Up 7-DAY FREE TRIAL7-DAY FREE TRIAL7-DAY FREE TRIAL

Although fuboTV is a sports-centric streaming service, it gives its subscribers a nice selection of lifestyle and entertainment channels.

The fubo TV subscription comes with a cloud DVR that records up to 30 hours of programming. An upgrade will boost the recording capacity to 500 hours.

FuboTV Shortcode

 

FuboTV’s selection of apps is more limited than competing streaming services:

  • Living room devices: Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: None.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Android and iOS.
  • Game consoles: None.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome is recommended.

Hulu with Live TV

Hulu live tv
Source: Hulu

Hulu now lets you go beyond on-demand TV and replace cable entirely. Hulu with Live TV lets you watch live streams of local network channels and the most popular cable channels for a very reasonable $40 monthly subscription.

A 50-hour cloud DVR comes standard with the service as does the ability to stream to up to three devices at a time. A $15 monthly upgrade will let you record up to 200 hours of programming and another $15 monthly upgrade will let you stream to an unlimited number of devices on your home network. You can get both upgrades for only $20 per month.

Hulu with Live TV is very generous in its support for popular streaming platforms:

  • Living room devices: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: Certain TV models from Samsung
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Amazon Fire Tablets, Android, and iOS
  • Game consoles: Nintendo Switch, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Safari.

PlayStation Vue

No PlayStation needed to get Vue
Source: PlayStation Vue

Although the name makes it sound like Sony’s streaming service only works on game consoles, PlayStation Vue works on a wide range of streaming platforms. Add a rich, family-friendly feature set and a large channel lineup and you get a very strong contender in the cable replacement race.

  • Access: 45 channels for $40 per month.
  • Core: 60 channels for $45 per month.
  • Elite: 84 channels for $55 per month.
  • Ultra: 87 channels, including HBO and Showtime, for $75 per month.

You can record an unlimited number of shows with the PlayStation Vue cloud DVR. The only downside is that those recordings disappear after 28 days.

Large families can take advantage of the large five-device limit to simultaneous steaming. Those devices can be any of a variety of streaming platforms:

  • Living room devices: Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: None.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Android, Amazon Fire Tablets and iOS.
  • Game consoles: PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Microsoft Edge.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV Prices
Source: YouTube

YouTube TV launched in 2017 expanded market by market until it reached the one hundred largest TV market in early 2018. While that leaves YouTube TV inaccessible to more than half of the country geographically, those large TV markets represent 85% of the American ppopulation.

For only $40 per month, Youtube TV has a decent selection of cable channels and is the best streaming service for streaming the local ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC stations. The monthly subscription delivers more than fifty channels as well as some of the strongest features in the streaming business.

The cloud DVR will hold as many recordings as you want and won’t erase them until nine months later. Families will appreciate YouTube TV’s system of profiles which lets you create individualized experiences for up to six people. Each profile has its own favorites, recommendations and cloud DVR library.

Support for streaming platforms has gradually improved over the past year to the point that YouTube TV is available on the most popular streaming devices.

  • Living room devices: Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: Certain models from LG and Samsung.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Android and iOS.
  • Game consoles: Xbox One.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome.

Originals, Sports and More

Showtime got its start as a movie channel and continues that tradition with its on-demand service. The rotating catalog of movies includes recent releases and popular films primarily from the past thirty years. Period drama The Other Boleyn Girl, bio pic Ray, cult sci-fi film Dune and the anti-drug classic Reefer Madness are just some of the films you’ll find in the catalog right now.

Showtime’s sports programming is based on its long-running relationship with professional boxing. Showtime Championship Boxing features monthly bouts between the top boxers in the world. Younger fighters get a chance to prove themselves as rising stars on ShoBox: The New Generation.

Showtime Shameless
Source: Showtime

Showtime’s reputation for original content dates back to the 1980’s and 1990’s with comedies like Its Gary Shandling’s Show and science fiction originals like Stargate SG-1. More recently, Showtime brought the Twin Peaks sequel to life and has long-running hits with Homeland and Shameless.

Access Showtime Live and On-Demand

Showtime’s streaming service offers more than just on-demand content. It also lets you watch the live feed from its east coast and west coast channels, although you can’t record live programming. That’s not as big a deal for Showtime since on-demand content appears so quickly.

Movies and new episodes of scripted programming appear as on-demand options the minute they air in the eastern time zone. It may take Showtime a day to a day-and-a-half to post the video from sports events and news programming due to the extra processing live events require.

Subscribing to Showtime

Showtime subscribing
Source: Showtime

Showtime is available across the United States, its territories and possessions. Once you travel outside the coverage region, Showtime detects you’re out of the country and blocks your access.

After a seven-day free trial, you get to choose between one of three subscription options: monthly, annually, or in combination with CBS All Access. The monthly plan costs $10.99. That adds up over the course of a year to more than $130 which makes subscribing to Showtime’s annual plan for $109.90 a better deal.

Showtime + CBS All Access

You can get a better discount when you subscribe to both Showtime and CBS All Access (the same company owns both networks) for a combined $14.99 per month. An upgrade to $18.99 per month eliminates all of the commercials from the CBS programming. The combination subscriptions provide a $2 monthly savings if you planned to get Showtime’s monthly plan. If you get Showtime’s annual plan, however, then the combination deal is only break-even.

Related: CBS All Access Review for 2017 – Free Trial, Pricing, Channels, and Value

Where to Buy

All of these plans are available when you subscribe through the Showtime website. You can also subscribe to the monthly and annual plans through app stores on set-top boxes, smart TVs, game consoles, mobile devices and tablets.

The best value comes when you get Showtime as an add-on to streaming services. That lets you watch Showtime’s live streams and on-demand content from inside the service provider’s web interface and apps. When you register with Showtime using your service provider’s login credentials, you also get full access to the Showtime website and apps.

Sling TV

Even though our review dinged Sling TV for its not-quite-true claims to be an “a la carte” TV provider, the range of channels Sling TV offers makes it a good deal for people looking for an alternative to cable.

 Sling OrangeSling BlueSling Orange + Blue
Price$20$25$40
Channels304550
Simultaneous Streams134*
ESPNYesNoYes
Fire TV SupportYesYesYes
Roku SupportYesYesYes
Special OffersFREE ROKU DEALFREE ROKU DEALFREE ROKU DEAL
* You get one stream with Sling Orange and up to 3 simultaneous streams with Sling Blue.

Sling TV’s $40-per-month Orange+Blue plan delivers live streams and on-demand content from fifty-three channels. The only major exception is CBS which has been slow to join third party streaming TV services.  Extras packages let you further tailor your viewing around sports, kids and more. You can also subscribe to the four major premium channels: HBO, Cinemax, Starz and Showtime.

 

Sling TV charges more than the other services for a Showtime subscription – $10 per month – but you get a lot more for the money. Besides Showtime’s live stream, you get access to Showtime 2, Showtime Showcase, Showtime Extreme, Showtime Beyond, Showtime Next and Showtime Women. That’s a lot of Showtime for just a dollar more per month.

Amazon Prime Video

Showtime on Amazon Prime Video
Source: Amazon

Amazon Prime members get free on-demand access to thousands of movie and TV titles as part of their $99 annual subscription. Amazon lets Prime members expand their TV options by subscribing to what it calls “Channels”. These are either collections of videos curated by Amazon itself or subscriptions to third-party providers like Showtime.

After the seven-day free trial ends, Prime members pay $8.99 per month for the Showtime Channel. This may be the best value on the list since many people already have an Amazon Prime membership for the free shipping benefits.

Amazon’s video library is part of Prime’s bonus benefits. Prime membership lets you subscribe to more than just premium channels like HBO, Cinemax and Starz. Britbox, Acorn and PBS Masterpiece offer a variety of British period dramas and mysteries. Sundance Now and the Urban Movie Channel deliver movies you won’t find on mainstream TV.

Hulu and Hulu With Live TV

Showtime on Hulu
Source: Hulu

Hulu’s focus has always been on streaming current-run TV shows thanks to support from its owners including ABC, Fox, NBC and TBS. Participating networks allow their latest episodes to be streamed on-demand soon after broadcast. They also make their back catalogs available for binge-watching recent and classic TV series.

Besides the $7.99 per-month subscription for on-demand programming, Hulu is beta testing a live TV streaming service called Hulu With Live TV. For $39.99 per month, you can watch live TV feeds from more than fifty channels. Both services offer upgrades for ad-free viewing as well as the ability to add subscriptions to HBO, Cinemax and Showtime.

Hulu offers an $8.99 monthly subscription to Showtime that starts after a seven-day free trial. Hulu’s service, however, is more limited than Amazon’s. You can watch Showtime’s live stream through the Hulu website, but the various Hulu apps do not support Showtime live. Hulu refers customers who want to watch Showtime on mobile or TV-connected devices to Showtime’s apps.

Sony PlayStation Vue

Showtime on PlayStation Vue
Source: PlaysStation Vue

Sony’s streaming TV service got its start on the Sony PlayStation gaming console. PlayStation Vue is now available on a wide range of devices for mainstream subscribers. It has a strong lineup of channels, live streaming of local TV and upgrade options.

Subscriptions range from $39.99 per month to $79.99 per month and can include more than ninety channels. Subscription packs let customers add more channels devoted to sports, movies and Hispanic programming. Sony also offers add-on subscriptions to premium channels. This includes more niche channels like the martial arts focused Hi-Yah! channel and mainstream premium channels like Epix, HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime.

A Showtime subscription on PlayStation Vue costs $10.99 per month after the seven-day free trial. Owners of Sony’s game consoles who subscribe to PS Plus only have to pay $8.99 per month. Either way, PlayStation Vue grants you access to the main Showtime live stream as well as on-demand content.

YouTube TV

Showtime on YouTube TV
Source: YouTube TV

Google just launched its streaming TV service in early 2017. Since then, YouTube TV has grown to become a strong alternative to cable in markets covering half the country.

For only $35 per month, YouTube TV offers live and on-demand access to fifty channels. Its strength is in its support for local TV channels. YouTube TV offers local streams of ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC in most markets it serves. This is significantly better than most other streaming services. Its lineup of cable channels, however, has significant gaps including Travel Channel, Food Network, Nickelodeon, TBS and more. Premium add-ons include Shudder, Sundance Now, FOX Soccer Plus and Showtime.

The Showtime subscription on YouTube TV costs $11 per month. You can watch the network’s programming live and on-demand through the YouTube TV website and apps or through the Showtime apps.

Showtime Features

Showtime TV
Source: Showtime

Showtime, as mentioned above, does more than just give you access to on-demand content. You can also live stream the network’s east coast and west coast feeds to watch sports and the latest episodes at the same time as everyone else.

You will find several mobile-friendly features in the Showtime service. Resume Watching, for example, lets you pause playback on one device and resume on another.

Download and Go

The handiest feature for families heading out on vacation is the ability to download content onto smartphones and tablets for offline viewing. This is particularly useful when heading somewhere without internet service or when traveling outside Showtime’s US service area.

Families can download content to as many as five different devices and each device can hold up to fifteen titles.

You can choose the quality level of the downloads (up to 720p on smartphones and 1080p on tablets). You can also change the download path from the Wi-Fi-only default to cellular, although that will quickly eat through your wireless plan’s monthly data cap.

Licensing issues limit the number of titles in the Showtime catalog available for download. Some titles may restrict the length of time you can keep it downloaded.

Devices for Watching Showtime

Showtime maintains a wide range of apps across the most popular platforms including:

  • Set-top Boxes and Streaming Sticks: Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Roku, Android TV (NVIDIA Shield, Razer Forge TV).
  • Smart TVs: Android TV (Sony Bravia, LeEco TV) and Samsung Smart TV.
  • Game Consoles: Xbox One.
  • Mobile and Tablet: Android, iOS and Amazon Fire Tablets.

Showtime does not specify the resolution it serves up its high-definition content, adjusting it instead to the quality of your internet connection. It recommends a 3 Megabit-per-second connection for home use and an 800 Kilobit-per-second connection for mobile use.

Should I Get Showtime?

Showtime Movies
Source: Showtime

If you’re debating between the premium TV networks, Showtime’s $110 annual plan is significantly cheaper than HBO’s $180 annual cost. With Showtime, you get downloadable content and live stream of its national broadcast. HBO offers neither of these services. On the other hand, HBO supports a wider range of devices – including PlayStation 4.

Game of Thrones fans may want to give Showtime some thought during the long wait for season 8. Showtime is adapting Patrick Rothfuss’ series of fantasy novels, The Kingkiller Chronicle, to television. Emmy Award-winning director and composer of Broadway hit Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda, will executive produce the series and compose its music. No word on when it will premiere, but the same could be said of GOT’s final season.

If you subscribe to one of the live TV streaming services like DirecTV Now or Sling TV, then upgrading to Showtime is an easy choice. You’re getting all of the other benefits of Amazon Prime already, so the Showtime add-on is not a significant expense. Sling TV’s deal to offer live stream of eight Showtime channels makes its channel lineup even more compelling.

The most interesting feature Showtime offers is the download-and-play option on tablets and smartphones. If you plan to travel and want some good movies and TV to watch, then taking advantage of the free trial and low monthly fee is something worth considering.

With a wide range of high-quality original content and an interesting set of features, Showtime offers a remarkable value for a premium TV service. As you review your streaming entertainment options, Showtime ought to be a contender.