You can’t look for on-demand and catch-up services in 2014 – they’re literally everywhere, on smart TVs, on phones, tablets, connected Blu-ray players and games consoles.
But which is the best? Netflix and Prime Instant Video are doing their best to shake up traditional broadcasting schedules by commissioning their own original content (House of Cards, Extant) and bringing cancelled shows back from the grave (The Killing, Ripper Street).
BBC iPlayer has been given a big overhaul this year, making it easier to find the shows you love and Now TV has barrelled out of the gates, bringing some of the best content that Sky TV has to offer to non-Sky TV subscribers. But which on-demand service has taken home the trophy in this year’s Recombu Awards?
After much deliberation we picked BBC iPlayer. The revamped interface makes it easier than ever to find the content you’re after and the responsive, unified design means whatever device you’re using, the experience will roughly be the same.
In 2014, BBC iPlayer conforms to the screen size, resolution and capabilities of the device you’re using, whether that’s a 4-inch Android phone, an iPad Air 2 or you’re watching through Chrome on your desktop.
Perhaps the best thing about the iPlayer this year is that the BBC has smashed that old seven day catch-up window, giving us up to 30 days to catch up with missed shows.
On top of this, it’s all free – no adverts, no subscription costs. Entrenched opponents of the licence fee may argue that nothing from the BBC is ever ‘free’ but then again if you’re do fundamentally opposed to paying what amounts to just over £12 a month – roughly equivalent to having a Netflix and a Prime Instant Video subscription – you can always opt out of paying and still access catch-up (but not live) content. Doing so means you also lose the right to complain about ‘the standards of TV these days’ and mumble something about ‘left/right wing bias’, but you probably will anyway.
The nominees for Best On-Demand TV Service of 2014 were:
- Amazon Prime
- BBC iPlayer
- Now TV