Streaming Services

STARZ Review: An HBO Alternative Worth the Free Trial

In a world where HBO and Showtime reign supreme, STARZ is still worth a look. STARZ is home to the hit drama Power and is far cheaper than both of its primary competitors. Our STARZ review tells you everything you need to know about the services, including the ultimate question: Is it worth your money?

What is STARZ?

Source: STARZ

STARZ began as a premium movie channel for cable and satellite TV users nearly 30 years ago in 1994. Owned by the movie production company Lionsgate, STARZ now offers several channels, including its flagship, STARZ, and genre-specific channels, including STARZ Cinema (for indie films), STARZ Comedy, STARZ Edge (for young adults aged 18-35), STARZ in Black (targeted to black audiences and focusing on the black film industry), and STARZ Kids & Family.

The STARZ on-demand service offers all of STARZ's unique content and movie options from across its different channels. The service delivers a wide range of original content in every major TV and movie entertainment genre. And you can watch it on a wide range of devices with supported apps.

A STARZ 60-Second Review

When put up against HBO Max's ad-free plan, STARZ offers over 1,400 titles. Its content library isn't quite what you'll get with HBO Max (3,000+ titles), but it's more than you'll get with Showtime (500+ titles). It also has over 300 titles that are both "Certified Fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes, and carry at least a 7/10 on IMDb, meaning its library isn't packed with filler.

The biggest flaw you may find with STARZ is the lack of big-name originals. Both HBO and Showtime have more heavy-hitting and must-see original content. STARZ got into the original content game much later, and its original content library is sparse. Even still, the service offers a respectable library for a fair price.

The STARZ Pros and Cons

Streaming fans might find STARZ has what they need, while others could find some areas that make this service a limited option.


  • Low cost. STARZ has a comparative advantage over its higher-priced competitors.
  • Large content library. The service offers over 1,400 titles, many of which have good ratings.
  • Hit original content. STARZ is the only place to watch new episodes and seasons of Power, Outlander, and Rook.
  • Wide device support. This service is available to stream on a large number of supported devices.
  • Two device streams. The service lets you share your subscription.


  • Limited original content. Showtime, HBO, and most other streaming services have STARZ beat on this end.
  • Comcast blockade. If you get STARZ through Comcast, you can't use the STARZ app. You must use Comcast's Xfinity streaming app.
  • Limited payment options (if subscribing directly). STARZ only accepts VISA, Discover, and Mastercard. Fortunately, STARZ is available through numerous other platforms.

The STARZ Plans & Pricing

There's only one plan available through STARZ on-demand.

Unfortunately, STARZ only accepts a limited number of payment methods. You can pay with VISA, Mastercard, or Discover cards, which is a significant limitation for those who like to use other payment methods like PayPal. However, read on to learn about a number of other ways you can subscribe to STARZ.

Obsessable original series
Hit movies
Full downloads

What are some STARZ Alternative Sources?

You may not want to purchase STARZ as a standalone streaming service. Instead, you can add it to one of several streaming services currently available. If you want to make STARZ part of a package of other channels, you can add it to the following streaming services as an add-on.

Sling TV

Sling TV is among the oldest live TV streaming services on the market. And since its launch, it's always emphasized user choice in the programming package. Unsurprisingly, that includes the option to add premium channels like STARZ.

Sling TV offers 30 to 40+ channels on the Blue or Orange subscription tier or 45+ channels with an Orange+Blue subscription. You can Add STARZ to your subscription with an add-on package. It includes the main STARZ channel as well as 5 others: West, Edge, Comedy, Kids & Family, and Encore.

30+ Channels
1 simultaneous stream
45+ Channels
3 simultaneous stream
50+ Channels
4* simultaneous stream

For more details on Sling TV, you can check out our review of the service.


Philo is a low-cost live TV streaming service that offers 60+ channels. The service recently added STARZ as an add-on network. It includes 3 STARZ channels: STARZ, Encore and Kids & Family. However, you can use your Philo account to sign in to the native STARZ app and access the complete on-demand library.

What makes Philo different? It delivers an all-entertainment service with no sports or local broadcast networks in the package.

65+ Channels
Unlimited DVR
7 day trial
Only $25 a month

If you're interested in Philo, you can read more from our full review.

Hulu + Live TV

Now owned and operated by Disney, Hulu + Live TV is the combination of the original Hulu on-demand streaming service, with a robust package of live TV channels.

This service provides subscribers with 75+ channels. You can add STARZ to your package through an add-on deal. You can also use your Hulu credentials to use the native STARZ app.

Award winning Hulu originals
Thousands of shows and movies
Award winning Hulu originals
Thousands of shows and movies
67 Channels
2 simultaneous streams
ESPN and Disney
67 Channels
2 simultaneous streams
ESPN and Disney

Interested in learning more? Read our full Hulu + Live TV review.


DirecTV STREAM plans start with the basic Entertainment plan and has the Premier subscription as their high-end subscription tier. It offers a large number of premium add-on channels, including STARZ. However, STARZ is more expensive on DirecTV STREAM when compared to the competition, making it the least preferable source to get STARZ access. Also, for some reason, you're not able to use your DirecTV STREAM credentials to log in to the STARZ app.

75+ channels
Stream on unlimited devices at home
Unlimited cloud DVR
Regional sports networks included
105+ Channels
Stream on unlimited devices at home
Unlimited cloud DVR
Regional sports networks included
140+ channels
Stream on unlimited devices at home
Unlimited cloud DVR
Regional sports networks included
150+ channels
Stream on unlimited devices at home
Unlimited cloud DVR

Curious if DirecTV STREAM can satisfy your needs, you can read more in our full review.

Amazon Prime Channels

Amazon's Channels service lets you subscribe to a variety of individual channels and access them all through your Amazon Prime account. STARZ is available through an Amazon Prime add-on channel.

Popular movies and TV
Award-winning Amazon Originals
Live events

If you're interested in adding Amazon Prime Video to your streaming lineup, you can read more about its plans and pricing in our in-depth breakdown.

YouTube TV

Google's YouTube TV service is wholly separate from the original YouTube. YouTube TV offers 80+ channels in its package. You can select STARZ as an add-on and get a whopping 12 STARZ channels to watch.

Unlimited DVR space.
6 accounts for 1 price
85+ broadcast, cable, and regional sports networks

You can learn more from our review if you're unsure if Youtube TV is worth your money.

How is the STARZ On-Demand Streaming Quality?

If you want the best streaming quality possible, STARZ might not be the right app for you. That said, we found the streaming quality was generally decent. We'd also love to show you a few screenshots, but unfortunately, STARZ protects its streams against screenshots.

While streaming, you can't screenshot STARZ's broadcasts on any device. Nor can you use a screenshot app, or even the "print screen" button on your computer. STARZ will simply blank out the screen when you attempt to do it.

As such, we couldn't fully verify the streaming quality. However, we can verify that the quality was good, and we didn't experience any issues common with poor quality, such as buffering, or grainy videos.

All videos we tried to stream also loaded quickly. The only downside is that STARZ makes you sit through an ad or two for other content it has on its service, similar to what Amazon Prime Video currently does.

The service streams well on both desktop browsers and through its dedicated mobile apps.

The STARZ Device Support

STARZ has a broad range of device support even for a service that lives in the shadows of more popular brands.

With STARZ on-demand, you can watch through the following devices:

  • TV streaming media players: Apple TV (3rd Generation or 4th Generation running tvOS 9 or newer), Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick, Nexus Player, Razer Forge, NVIDIA Shield, and Roku (2nd Generation Roku 2, 3 or 4, and Roku Stick)
  • Smart TVs: Sony TVs (2014 or newer running Android 5+), Samsung Smart TVs with Smart Hub, LG TVs (WebOS 3.0 or higher)
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Android devices (4.1 or greater), iOS devices (iOS 8.1 or later), Amazon Kindle Fire tablets (2014 or later running Fire OS 5+), Kindle Fire phones
  • Game consoles: Xbox One and Xbox One S
  • Desktop browsers: Current versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox, or Safari on Windows 8+, or Apple OSX 10.5.7+

STARZ on Roku

The STARZ app is well-received among Roku users. The app has a 4.3-star rating on the Roku Channels Store, with over 170,000 Roku users rating it. That's a higher rating than the HBO app, which has a 3.5.

STARZ on Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV users like the STARZ app almost as much as Roku users do. The STARZ on-demand app has a 4-star rating from over 203,000 Amazon user reviews. That's slightly better than HBO, but not by much.

STARZ on Apple Devices

Apple TV shares its app store with iPhones and iPads. The STARZ app for Apple TV and other iOS devices is extremely well-received, with 4.8 stars out of 5 stars and over 330,000 ratings.

STARZ on Android Phones and Tablets

The STARZ app is available in the Google Play Store, with an impressive 4.5 stars from 155,000+ reviews. Users love its design and functionality, but there's a significant complaint regarding how to effectively cancel the service via the app.

How's STARZ Streaming Library?

STARZ has a large and growing streaming library with a good amount of hit content. You have access to all of STARZ's different channel content on-demand, although you can't watch anything live in the same way you could if you ordered the channel through a cable TV service.

Nevertheless, your options here are good. Over 1,400 titles are available, from episodic series to movies.

Source: STARZ

The service currently carries a good number of highly-rated and well-received shows and movies, including Toy Story 3UP, Miami Vice (original), Friday Night Lights, Power, The Rook, and more.

You can search through its content library based on genre, or you can search for a specific movie using the search function. Whenever you watch a show or a movie, STARZ on-demand also recommends similar TV shows or movies you might like, as well as adds your unfinished shows to your "List".

If you like a show or movie that you want to watch later, you can add it to your playlist.

And while not fully relevant to STAR on-demand users, you can also go to "Schedule" to see a list of shows and movies currently playing across STARZ's different TV channels. That's a good way to discover some of the content that's available, and you can click on any show at any time in the schedule to watch it on-demand.

Source: STARZ


Because all of the content is available on-demand, there is no DVR available. The closest you can get to a DVR here is adding items to your playlist.

How to Contact STARZ Customer Support?

STARZ offers two different types of customer support: email and live, over-the-phone support.

If you're like me and prefer live chat options, you'll be out of luck. As much as we searched, there's no option for that.

If you choose the phone option, be prepared to get pigeonholed into a recorded message and number-operated menu options that might not effectively describe your problem. As is typical with phone support, the system is designed to keep avoid you from getting to an agent as much as possible, but hang in there if you really need one.

STARZ uses an automated ticketing system with its email support. You'll receive a response to your ticket immediately, though it may take hours for you to receive an actual human response to your question.

Interestingly, you may be better off using both systems. STARZ gives a special customer service number for those with an email ticket number, so if you want faster results, create an email ticket, then call the number STARZ gives you in the email.

How to Cancel STARZ

You cannot cancel your STARZ subscription through the app. To do so, you'll need to open your account from a computer web browser, then go to Subscription and then Cancel Subscription at the bottom.

The STARZ app is somewhat misleading in that it says you cancel the subscription from the app via the Subscription Management section. However, we discovered that there's no cancellation option available within the app, despite what the app text says.

What's the STARZ Refund Policy?

You can use STARZ with its 7-day free trial. According to its Terms of Service (TOS), STARZ offers no refunds, account credits, or prorated billing for canceled subscriptions.

Enjoy High-Quality Programming with STARZ

STARZ is an interesting service to consider for cord-cutters. While it doesn't carry the same weight in its brand that HBO and Showtime do, it's also not one to be ignored so easily. The service offers a larger library than its two chief competitors and even still has access to some hit Disney content (although for how long is questionable with the launch of Disney+).

On the positive end, STARZ is a relatively inexpensive option to consider. At a low monthly cost, it has more than enough content to binge-watch at your leisure. Its device library is also extremely strong, making it a good contender overall on your favorite streaming device.

All of that said, the downsides to the service are somewhat glaring. Its original content library is severely lacking. Although its original program, Power, is favored, it's hardly buzzworthy. And in searching through its content, we found a fair amount of what STARZ does offer is older content, which helps explain why its library is larger than what HBO or Showtime offers.

Our best recommendation for STARZ is to give its 7-day trial a go. That will give you more than enough time to determine if its content library is worth the asking price.

Sam Cook

Sam Cook Author

Sam Cook is a full-time content strategist by day, a part-time freelance content writer since 2015. In another life, he was a high school English teacher for nearly a decade. Based in sunny New Orleans, he writes long-form educational content on technology, including Insurtech, Fintech, HRtech, and content streaming.

Davan Hamilton

Davan Hamilton Editor

Davan Hamilton is an editor and writer based in Jacksonville, FL. Holding a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, her writing spans a wide range, from essays on film criticism and analysis to surreal poetry. Now, she works for Flixed as an editor, continuing to ignore the list of passion projects she’s accumulated. When she’s not glued to her computer, you can find her building endless amounts of Lego sets, binge-reading manga, or playing with (fighting) her cat.

Affiliate Disclosure's contributors and editorial team will often recommend products we believe to be useful for our readers. We may receive an affiliate commission from product sales generated through these affiliate links.