As broadband and cellular data connectivity spreads and improves, streaming movies and TV shows is becoming an increasingly viable option. Many film streaming services are available in India at pretty nominal rates, and quite a few of these have been optimised for slow Internet connections too. If you are a film buff, you might want to check out these services. They’re all legal, reasonably priced, and with a good selection of films and TV shows on offer too.
Star group’s app Hotstar is great for watching live sports, but it lets you stream a wide range of TV shows and films as well. To top it off, Hotstar is completely free. It has a fairly big collection of TV shows and films that you can watch for free on its website without signing up, and on your smartphone via its Android and iOS apps. Apart from English and Hindi, Hotstar has content in various Indian languages as well.
Price: Free (with ads)
Download: Hotstar on Android, Hotstar on iOS, or visit its website
Spuul was one of the first players to enter the video streaming business in India. Spuul does not have English language content, but it lets you watch some films for free without registration, but not all the films on Spuul are free. A subscription fee of Rs. 300 per month lets you access its entire catalogue on the website and apps. The free catalogue is pretty good to start with, and includes classic TV shows such as Fauji, Dekh Bhai Dekh, and Malgudi Days, and you will find plenty of recent Hindi films in the free catalogue as well.
Price: Rs. 300 per month
Download: Spuul on Android, Spuul for iOS, or visit its website
(Also see: Netflix Is Here, and No, It Is Not Censoring Any Content)Netflix is also more expensive compared to the competition, with plans starting Rs. 500 per month, but we feel that its superior UI, the collection of Netflix Originals you won’t find anywhere else, justifies the price. The one dealbreaker could be the fact that it doesn’t have offline support. If you have a flaky Internet connection, Netflix is a bad idea.
Price: Starts at Rs. 500 per month
Download: Netflix for Windows Mobile, Android, iOS, and Web.
Muvizz aims to be a hub for independent films and you can see that in its catalogue. The service features more than just mainstream Bollywood films, highlighting some underrated gems such asTahaan. It also features short films and documentaries, which makes it a little different from other services in India. Some films are free, and you can watch all the films for a fee of Rs. 300 per month.
Price: Rs. 300 per month
You can check out the Muvizz website
Hooq has a fairly big catalogue of films and TV shows, which even features Doordarshan classics such as Nukkad. Hooq’s UI is nicer than some of the alternatives mentioned here, which is a plus. It has a free 14-day trial after which you will have to pay Rs. 199 per month.
Price: Rs. 199 per month
Download: Hooq for iOS, Hooq for Android, or visit its website
Also check out
The services above should serve most people’s needs, but if they don’t serve yours, you can check out the following:
BigFlix is among the big video streaming players in India. It lets you watch a 10-minute preview of some films for free without registration, and you can continue watching for free after registration.
Eros Now: Eros Now has a pretty big catalogue of films and Sony’s TV shows, and it plans to air a few original shows online too. It’s free with ads and the subscription fee starts at Rs. 49 per month.
BoxTV: BoxTV also has a reasonably big catalogue of films and TV shows. Its plans start at Rs. 199 per month but it has a free tier where you can watch some films with ad breaks.
Sony LIV: Sony LIV is a good choice if you want to watch Sony’s TV shows, but the service also lets you watch films. Sony Xperia smartphone owners usually get a short subscription for free with their devices.
YuppTV: YuppTV lets you watch live TV apart from films. The subscription fee starts at Rs. 620 per month.
Ditto TV by Zee: Ditto TV lets you watch its catalogue of films and TV shows for Rs. 149 per month.
Ogle: Ogle charges a fee of Rs. 249 per month for films, TV shows and some live events, but its registrations were closed at the time of writing. The service opens registrations periodically.
Hungama: Hungama Movies also lets you stream films at Rs. 249 per month. The service works is available on the Web, and has apps for iOS and Android.
Which is your favourite service for streaming films? Let us know via the comments.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in November 2015. It was updated in January 2016 with Netflix replacing BigFlix as one of our top picks.