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What is BritBox? Everything you need to know about the UK TV streaming service
UK-based television shows have for decades been acclaimed as some of the best TV in the world. Now there’s a streaming service that’s dedicated to this type of programming. It’s called BritBox, and it has been making its mark among the huge crowd of similar services. So, what is BritBox? Is it just for fans of UK television, or can its shows attract a larger audience? Here’s a look at what you need to know about the service and whether you might want to try it out for yourself.
Read more: Best video streaming services
You can sign up for BritBox right now at the link below.
So, what is BritBox anyway?
The service is a joint venture between the publicly-funded BBC TV network and the privately-owned ITV. It launched in the US in March of 2017. It offers classic and current TV shows from both networks and shows from the UK-based Channel 4 and Channel 5. It also has a small but growing number of exclusive original shows. As of October 2020, the service has over 1.5 million paid US subscribers.
How does it work?
Like most streaming services, all you need to do is access the service from a computer, phone, or other supported device, select the show you want to watch, and start streaming.
Once you are connected to BritBox, you can browse through the on-demand content of movies and TV shows. There are specific content collections in categories like Drama, Mystery, Comedy, and Docs & Lifestyle. There are also special content collections for Classic Doctor Who, Death in Paradise, and the Now collection, which concentrates on day-and-date programming like news programs and the UK’s popular daily soap operas.
The media files themselves are kept on a remote server, and as long as you have a consistently good internet connection, you shouldn’t experience any stutters or pausing. BritBox recommends a minimum speed of 3Mbps for streaming content on a PC or smart TV and 1.5 Mbps for iOS and Android mobile devices. It also recommends 5Mbps for HD streaming.
Is BritBox worth it?
The service has a relatively low price, and for that cost, customers can get access to classic and more recent TV shows and movies that are not available anywhere else. If you live in the US and have loved TV shows from the other side of the pond, the content that BritBox provides is more than worth the price, from classic drama to hilarious comedies, to documentaries, and especially the service’s offer to let users watch programming just a few hours after they are shown in the UK.
Where is BritBox available?
As we mentioned, the service first launched in the US in 2017, and in 2018 it expanded to Canada. In late 2019, the service finally launched in the UK itself. It expanded again to Australia in 2020, and in 2021 it debuted in South Africa. It’s expected to expand again sometime in 2022 to Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland.
How much is BritBox?
You can get BritBox for $6.99 a month or $69.99 for an annual subscription in the US. In Canada, it’s available for $8.99 CAD per month and $89.99 CAD for an annual subscription. In the UK, the price is £5.99 per month.
Is there a free trial?
Yes! Users in the US and Canada can access a seven-day free trial, while the UK audience gets a much more generous 30-day free trial. If you live in the UK and sign up for BT Broadband, you can get BritBox for free for six months. EE smartphone customers on a pay monthly plan, or SIM-only customers with Smart Benefits, can access BritBox for free for as long as their contract lasts.
What platforms support BritBox?
The service has apps for iOS and Android devices, the Roku and Amazon Fire TV sticks, set-top boxes, and TVs. It’s also available for Apple TV set-top owners, Samsung smart TVs (2015 models or newer), and LG smart TVs (2016 models or newer). In addition, the BritBox channel is available via Amazon Prime Video and the Apple TV OS. Finally, PC owners can watch Britbox via its official website. If you live in Australia, you can access the service via Telstra TV and Fetch devices.
What are the best shows on BritBox?
BritBox has several different categories of TV shows and TV movies you can watch. We’ve broken down the best shows on BritBox by genre below. These shows are available on the US version of the service and do not reflect its programming in other markets, especially the UK.
The UK has no shortage of mystery and crime shows, usually featuring detectives different from what you might find on US shows. Here’s just some of the mystery shows you can binge-watch on BritBox:
- Father Brown — You can watch all seven current seasons of this hugely popular mystery series. It’s set in the 1950s in a small town, where a Catholic priest solves murders.
- Vera — Actress Brenda Blethyn plays the role of DCI Vera Stanhope in this ITV series. She may not look or act like the standard police detective, but she always solves the case.
- Maigret — Rowan Atkinson ditches his normal comedy personas of Mr. Bean and Johnny English to portray the legendary French fictional detective, based on the novels by Georges Simenon.
As with mysteries, there are also lots of acclaimed straight drama series to stream on BritBox:
- Dickensian — What if many of the fictional characters in the novels and stories of Charles Dickens lived in one London neighborhood? That’s the premise of this one-season series.
- MI-5 — This spy thriller series that looks inside the UK’s real spy organization may make you forget all about James Bond — almost.
- Our Girl — This series tells the story of a young female army medic and her experiences in Afghanistan and other hot spots.
Many people in the US consider UK TV comedies to be the best around. Here are just a few of the shows you can laugh with on BritBox:
- Gavin and Stacey — Before becoming a US late-night talk show host, James Corden co-created and appeared in this sitcom about the romance between the two title characters. You can see not only the three classic seasons on BritBox but also the 2019 Christmas special.
- Blackadder — Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis co-created this classic sitcom, with Atkinson playing the anti-hero Edmund Blackadder. He plays basically the same character in all four seasons, even though each season takes place in different historical time periods.
- Fawlty Towers — For some truly classic UK comedy, watch this 1970s series starring John Cleese, the owner of a run-down hotel. Some people have called this show the best sitcom ever.
Classic Doctor Who
While the rebooted version of the legendary BBC sci-fi series has materialized its TARDIS on HBO Max, BritBox has nearly all of the classic Doctor Who seasons to stream and binge-watch. You can watch almost all of the available seasons of the first seven Doctors. In fact, the service even adds previously missing and restored (with animation) Second Doctor episodes.
That’s not all. You can also stream special shows dedicated to the first seven actors to play the space and time-traveling Time Lord. There’s also a docudrama movie, An Adventure in Space and Time, that recounts how the BBC first created the show. Finally, you can watch Dr. Who and The Daleks, and Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150, two feature films based on the first two Doctor Who stories that feature his biggest enemy. Those movies feature Peter Cushing playing a non-canonical version of the character.
There are a few other sci-fi-themed shows on Britbox, including the classic Blake’s 7 and the first TV adaptation of Dirk Gently.
One of the biggest draws for BritBox for US and Canada subscribers is that it streams many shows hours after they are first shown in the UK. That includes new episodes of EastEnders’ highly popular soap operas, Coronation Street, Holby City, Casualty, and Emmerdale. It also includes daily new episodes of the news and talk show program Good Morning Britain.
BritBox is also the home to many great documentaries from the UK. It also has some reality shows like the UK edition of Antiques Roadshow. Finally, comedy news shows like Mock the Week and game shows like IQ are also available to stream.
BritBox original shows
So far, BritBox has a small but growing selection of original series for the UK market. A show that might appeal to US audiences is Will Bill. Rob Lowe (yes, that Rob Lowe) plays a former Miami cop who moves to the UK (specifically, Boston, Lincolnshire) and takes on the role of the town’s Chief Constable.
Other original BritBox shows for the US version include:
- There She Goes — Doctor Who’s David Tennant plays a father in a family unit that includes a young girl with learning disabilities.
- Confession — Martin Freeman portrays a real UK police detective, Detective Superintendent Stephen Fulcher, who has to solve the disappearance of a young woman.
- The Mallorca Files — Set on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca, this series follows a female UK police detective and a male German detective. They are asked to team up by the local police to solve crimes.
- Isolation Stories — The BBC filmed this mini-series during the COVID-19 quarantine. It features stories of people who have to stay at home and the difficulties they have to deal with during the pandemic.
- Line of Duty – BritBox is the exclusive streaming home for this long-running UK police drama, now in its sixth season.
- The Syndicate: Double or Nothing – Employees at a kennel think they have it made when their collective lottery ticket is a winner. However, they soon have to play detective when the ticket gets stolen.
- Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? – This adaptation of a classic Agatha Christie mystery novel was written and directed by Hugh Laurie. It’s about two young people who find a man dying on a golf course, who in his last breath says the title of this series. It’s up to this couple to solve the mystery of who killed this man, and why did he say that odd sentence.
There are certainly ways to watch even more British TV via streaming services. Here are just a couple of other alternatives to BritBox that are available:
Acorn TV is perhaps the closest competitor to BritBox in terms of content. Launched in 2013, it offers subscribers access to some popular and highly acclaimed TV shows, documentaries, and TV movies. Most come from the UK, but some content has come from Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, and Mexico. The price is also slightly lower than BritBox, at $5.99 a month.
However, Acorn TV is actually an even more niche service than BritBox. It has no real comedies, no daily news or soap opera programming, and very little in the way of documentaries. It mostly concentrates on drama and mysteries. Therefore, unless you are a huge fan of those genres from the UK and have run out of things to watch on BritBox, you might want to stay away.
Netflix, the biggest streaming service of all, includes some top-rated UK-produced TV shows in its lineup. That includes originals like the Netflix megahit The Crown, along with other shows like Sex Education, Peaky Blinders, Bodyguard, and of course The Great British Baking Show. However, the price for a Netflix subscription is on the high side, at $9.99 a month for its cheapest plan.
Q: Does BritBox offer streams in 4K?
A: At the moment, the service does not offer 4K streaming shows.
Q: Does BritBox have a free plan?
A: Currently, the service does not have a free plan.
Q: Does the service feature advertisements?
A: No, there are no ads while streaming shows on the service.
That’s everything you need to know about BritBox. We will update this post if more features are added and more shows are included.