What is BritBox? BBC and ITV’s Netflix rival explained
(Pocket-lint) – BritBox is a subscription video streaming service from UK broadcasters BBC and ITV. It is available to try for free for 7 days and can be viewed across multiple devices, including iOS, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast, Xbox consoles and smart TVs from Samsung, LG, Sony and Panasonic. Here we explain everything there is to know about BritBox, including how it works, what you are likely to see on the service, and how much a monthly subscription costs.
What is BritBox?
It is an original, paid-for, streaming service available on multiple devices, much like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+. However, its mandate is more specific; it hosts the “biggest collection of British content on any streaming service”. In addition, it is home to a lineup of exclusive, original shows from British production companies – such as the relaunched Spitting Image.
Box sets from the BBC and ITV, plus fellow broadcasters Channel 4 and Channel 5 can be found on BritBox, with a much larger selection of British-originated shows available than on any other platform.
BritBox claims to host the largest amount of British box sets of any streaming service. That currently stands at more than 300 different titles from the Beeb, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. Included among those are Cracker, Downton Abbey, Broadchurch, Spooks, Only Fools and Horses and many more.
The entirety of Doctor Who, from 1963 to 1989, is also available – covering every available episode featuring the first eight Doctors. And, if you want a real slice of nostalgia, all of Grange Hill is being added gradually. There are also many classic British movies, including Carry On films, The Ipcress File and Hitchcock thrillers.
New, original programming includes Spitting Image. The 80s satirical comedy puppet show returned in 2020 and is exclusive to BritBox.
What devices will BritBox work on?
BritBox is available to watch through the following devices:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Android phones and tablets
- Apple TV
- BT TV
- Bush smart TVs
- Google Chromecast
- Hisense smart TVs
- Hitachi smart TVs
- iPod touch
- JVC smart TVs
- LG smart TVs
- Logik smart TVs
- Mac or PC (via a web browser)
- Panasonic smart TVs
- Polaroid smart TVs
- Roku streaming devices
- Samsung smart TVs
- Sony smart TVs
- TalkTalk TV
- Toshiba smart TVs
- Xbox One & Xbox Series X/S
How much does BritBox cost?
BritBox costs GBP5.99 per month for HD video across “multiple screens and devices”. That’s cheaper than most rivals in the UK.
Netflix, for example, costs GBP8.99 per month in the UK for access to HD content, while Amazon Prime Video is GBP7.99 per month if you subscribe to the streaming service outside of Amazon Prime yearly membership.
BritBox free trial
If you are new to BritBox, you can get a 7-day trial period for free before the first payment is due. Find out more on the official website: britbox.co.uk. Alternatively, if you are an EE pay monthly customer you can sign up for 6-months’ worth of free BritBox access.
The offer is now available to all UK EE pay monthly customers: find out more here. BT is also offering 6-months’ free access to BritBox. Like the EE offer, once the trial is up, you’ll be charged GBP5.99 a month.
Is BritBox UK the same as BritBox US?
BritBox is relatively new to the UK, but has been available in the US and Canada for years. Also a venture of the BBC and ITV, the North American BritBox was launched in March 2017. It is slightly different, however, in that it is simply a portal for British programming, with a smaller selection of archive and recent shows available on demand.
There is no original programming on the BritBox US proposition.
Haven’t the BBC and ITV done this before?
The BritBox concept was first explored by the BBC and ITV, along with original partner Channel 4, in 2008 under the name Project Kangaroo. That was to be a subscription-based streaming service for box sets from the three broadcasters but it was turned down by the competition commission at the time as it “would restrict competition in the supply of video on demand (VOD) services in the UK”. The project was eventually killed in 2009 after tweaks to the concept were also rejected.
Instead, the UK video on demand market is now largely dominated by American services.
Is BritBox the end for ITV Hub, BBC iPlayer, All 4 and My5?
As a paid subscription service, BritBox is not pitched as a competitor to the free on demand services from individual broadcasters. The BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 have no plans to devalue their own free online offerings. Also, while BritBox is a direct competitor to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, BBC and ITV shows will continue to be hosted by those services too.
They just won’t get the amount of programming available on BritBox.
Writing by Rik Henderson.
- ^ try for free for 7 days (www.britbox.co.uk)
- ^ BBC (www.pocket-lint.com)
- ^ ITV (www.pocket-lint.com)
- ^ Netflix (www.pocket-lint.com)
- ^ Amazon Prime Video (www.pocket-lint.com)
- ^ Disney+ (www.pocket-lint.com)
- ^ Amazon Prime yearly membership (www.couponmatrix.uk)
- ^ britbox.co.uk (www.britbox.co.uk)
- ^ find out more here (ee.co.uk)
- ^ find out more about the BT offer here (www.awin1.com)