Pay as you go and monthly subscription streaming services get you exclusive access to must-see TV, the latest movies and crown-jewels sports fixtures. Best of all, they let you enjoy watercooler TV without committing to a lengthy contract.
Here, we'll run the rule over some of the most popular streaming services, so you can see what exactly what kind of programming is available and how the likes of Netflix, Now TV and BlinkBox compare.
Now TV is Sky's pay-as-you-go streaming service and is available in a range of sign-up options.
Now TV Entertainment Pass
This operates on a monthly subscription model and enables you to watch 10 pay-TV channels, including some of Sky's most popular premium TV channels. The full list takes in Sky Atlantic, Sky One and Sky Living, as well as Comedy Central, Fox, Gold, Discovery, MTV, Disney and Sky Arts.
Here are some of the main selling points of the Entertainment Pass:
The service works on a rolling contract model, so you're free to cancel at any time with no penalty.
Shows you can expect to see with the Entertainment Pass include Game of Thrones, Mad Men, 24 and Modern Family.
You'll also be able to watch entire series of top, US TV shows on-demand.
You can register four devices on which you'll be able to watch Now TV. These include PCs, Macs, iPads and iPhones, so you can enjoy Now TV on the go.
You can also watch Now TV on your TV if you register your Xbox 360, PS3, Roku or the new NowTV Box or on an LG Smart TV.
Now TV Movies Pass
As its name suggests, the Movies Pass is focused on cinema and gets you access to Sky's movie channels, which have big-money content contracts in place to ensure they air premieres of the biggest movies before anyone else.
The Movies Pass's big selling points are:
The latest films, with up to 16 new movies added monthly.
Access to 20 curated collections of movies, bringing the total number of films up for streaming in any one month up to 800.
A rolling contract, so you can cancel at any time.
Now TV Sports Pass
These 24 hour passes buy access to Sky's six dedicated sports channels. A Now TV Sports Pass is perfect for your team is playing in a live game on Sky Sports because it allows you to see just that fixture in the comfort of your home without committing to a subscription.
Unlike the Movies Pass and Entertaiment Pass, you can't sign up for a monthly Sports Pass. They're solely available for 24 hours.
Sky Sports' coverage of sports events takes in:
- Barclays Premier League
- Formula 1 2014 World Championship
- UEFA Champions League
- International Cricket
- ATP Tour Tennis
- Sky Bet Championship
Watching Now TV
You can register four devices on which you'll be able to watch NowTV. These include PCs, Macs, iPads and iPhones, so you can enjoy Now TV on the go. You can also watch Now TV on your TV if you register your Xbox 360, PS3, Roku or on an LG Smart TV.
However, if you don't own any of those consoles, that's not a problem. You can still watch Now TV on your TV by buying a Now TV Box for £9.99.
NOWTV Box bundles
These feature a NOWTV box with a pass that gets you access to premium TV programming for up to six months. They're also themed around 'Entertainment', 'Movies' and 'Sports' and can work out much cheaper than a standard Sky subscription.
BlinkBox is Tesco's subscription-free, pay-as-you-go streaming service. It works like a video rental shop, allowing you to pick and choose films and only pay for what you watch.
BlinkBox's key selling points are:
No subscription and no commitment. Rent a movie and you have 30 days to watch it.
An impressive selection of the latest blockbusters.
The option to buy your favourites too.
You can watch BlinkBox on your TV via an Xbox 360, Blu-rays or set top boxes. Or you can watch it on your Mac, iPad or PC or on a SmartTV.
Amazon Prime Instant Video
This was formerly known as LoveFilm and offers unlimited streaming of more than 15,000 movies and TV episodes. Amazon Prime Instant Video costs £5.99 per month and can be cancelled at any time.
Alternatively, you can sign up for a year at £79, which gets you the same unlimited streaming access to the service's library as well as one-day delivery when you buy goods from Amazon.
Devices compatible with Amazon Prime Instant Video are desktop PCs, laptops, Macs, Kindle Fire HD, iPad, iPhone, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii and Wii U.
You can also enjoy Amazon Prime Instant Video on smart TVs and with standard TVs through set-top boxes and Blu-ray players from LG, Sony and Samsun.
at £5.99, Neflix is priced comparably with rival streaming services and offers thousands of movies and TV shows for streaming, including House of Cards which is exclusive to the service.
Netflix can be watched on PS3, Wii, Xbox, PC, Mac, as well as mobiles and tablets.
Want to know more about streaming services? Check out our dedicated streaming services news section