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Cancelling your cable subscription once meant giving up your favorite programming on Showtime. That isn’t true any more thanks to Showtime’s streaming service. It lets cord-cutters watch all the programs, movies and sports on Showtime without cable.
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’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.
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.
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.
Optimum, an internet service provider, sells Showtime as an add-on for its customers as do the streaming services Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Sling TV, Sony PlayStation Vue and YouTube TV.
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?
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.
The most compelling 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.