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What is Showtime? Everything you need to know

Pricing, content, and everything else you need to know about the prestige cable streamer.
By
August 22, 2021
Showtime stock photo 2
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
Showtime is a legacy player in the premium cable space, with the kind of widespread name recognition that nearly guarantees you’ve heard of it.

With a quality streamer among its offerings, it’s also keeping up with the cord-cutting revolution, fighting for its spot in your home viewing heart before subscription fatigue sets in.

So, is Showtime right for you? Will it give you access to what you want to watch? Is it affordable? How does it stack up against its competitors? Read on for answers to all of these questions and more.

What is Showtime?

Showtime

Showtime Networks is an American premium cable network made up of numerous channels and a standalone streaming service.

Launched in 1976 and owned by ViacomCBS, Showtime quickly established itself as a 24-hour premium pay-TV channel and HBO’s main competitor, airing live concerts and events along with Hollywood movies for its subscribers.

It now offers a huge mix of content across channels and platforms. Standard Showtime fare includes feature-length theatrical films and original TV series and movies. This is supplemented by live boxing matches, UFC bouts, and comedy specials.

How does it work?

Billions on Showtime
Showtime

Showtime On Demand vs Showtime Anytime

While Showtime was an established cable brand long before streaming burst onto the scene, the company adapted quickly and has some options for the online-only crowd. The streaming side of Showtime functions along two, er, streams.  

Showtime On Demand, known simply as Showtime, is the stand-alone subscription service for cord-cutters and anyone else not looking for the Showtime cable channels. It gives you access to all of the content available on the cable channel, all on-demand or live as it airs, depending on your preference. 

Showtime Anytime is the streaming app that lets you make the best of your subscription, whether you subscribe to the cable channel or on-demand streaming service. If you’ve subscribed, you have access to Showtime Anytime at no additional cost and can watch all Showtime content on the device of your choice.

How do I sign up?

For a traditional cable subscription, you’ll have to sign up through your cable or satellite provider. Availability will vary according to where you are, so check your local options.

For the on-demand option, simply go to the Showtime website to sign up, and start watching right away.

Whichever option you choose, you can then download the Showtime Anytime app from your preferred app store and sign in using your subscriber info and password.

How much does Showtime cost?

Cable subscriptions vary by provider, so check with your local cable and satellite providers for pricing and availability in your area.

For on-demand streaming, Showtime costs $10.99 per month after a 30-day free trial period. Alternately, you can choose yearly billing, which will cost $99 per year, and includes the same 30-day free trial.

You can also get a discounted rate on Showtime through Spotify. There’s a catch though. You have to be a student. If you subscribe to Spotify Premium Student, you’re entitled to a Showtime subscription priced at $4.99 per month, after a 30-day free trial. That’s more than half off the standard price. Sign up at spotify.com/us/student/ to take advantage of this offer.

How do I get Showtime for free?

There are a few ways to get Showtime for free, besides piggybacking on your parents’ or friends’ accounts and “borrowing” their passwords.

The most obvious is to sign up and ditch the service when your 30-day free trial is up. You’ll sign up normally and give Showtime your payment info, and then just make sure you cancel the service before the 30 days are up. That’ll get you a whole month of free access. One word of caution: simply deleting the Showtime Anytime app won’t cancel your service. You need to log in and manually cancel.

If you want the service long-term, a way to squeeze a few more free months out of it is to sign up for a full year. Getting billed at $99 for the whole year effectively means you’re getting almost three months for free. That locks you into 12 months though, which is potentially more expensive, so make sure that’s what you want.

What devices does Showtime support?

Desus and Mero on Showtime
Showtime

You can use your subscription pretty much any way you want. If you prefer mobile, or like to have everything bundled on your gaming consoles, or like to watch on your home computer, you have a ton of ways to watch how you like.

The full list of supported devices is as follows:

Amazon:

  • Fire TV
  • Fire TV Stick

Android:

  • LeEco TV
  • Nvidia Shield TV
  • Sony Bravia
  • Hisense TV
  • Xiaomi MiBox

Apple:

  • Apple TV: third generation and later

Smart TVs:

  • LG Smart TV (with webOS)
  • Select Samsung Smart TVs

Roku:

  • Roku Streaming Device: second generation and later
  • Roku TV

Gaming consoles:

  • Playstation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Xbox Series X and S

Amazon:

  • Fire
  • Fire HD 6–10
  • Kindle Fire HDX 8.9
  • Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 WAN

Android phones:

  • Phones and tablets running Android 6.0 or later

Apple:

  • iPhone 4S or higher running iOS 11.0 or later
  • iPod Touch 5 or higher running iOS 11.0 or later
  • iPad 2 or higher running iOS 11.0 or later
  • iPad Mini running iOS 11.0 or later

Computers:

  • Windows 10 or later
  • Mac OSX 10.10 or later

VR devices:

  • Oculus Go
  • Oculus Quest

Other:

  • Chromecast
  • Facebook Portal TV

Minimum system requirements?

Computers:

  • Windows 10 or later
    Mac OSX 10.10 or later

Web browsers:

  • Firefox 78 or later
  • Safari 10 or later (Mac only)
  • Chrome 68 or later
  • Microsoft Edge 40 or later

Mobile devices:

  • iPhone, iPad and iPod touch running iOS 11.0 or higher
  • Android phones and tablets running Android 6.0 or higher
  • Amazon Kindle Fire 2014 or later (Fire OS 4 or later)

TV or streaming device:

  • Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick running Fire OS 5 or later
  • Android TV running Android 5.1 or higher
  • LG Smart TV (models released 2014 onwards) running WebOS
  • Samsung Smart TV (models released 2015 onwards) running Tizen OS

A Wi-Fi, 4G, or higher connection is required to stream Showtime content. The streamer strongly recommends using the streaming app with a Wi-Fi connection for the best video quality and to minimize data usage.

Showtime also recommends a downstream bandwidth of 5 Mbps or higher for tablets and mobile devices. Streaming quality is adjusted based on your bandwidth, so overall quality will be affected.

Can I download Showtime content?

If you want to make use of your Showtime account but don’t have access to a reliable internet connection, it’s not a problem. Like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video before it, Showtime has made it possible to download content for offline viewing.

As per standard practice, not all titles will be available, for various reasons. Some rights agreements have clauses limiting offline viewing, for instance.

Content that can be downloaded will have a download icon next to the title. When you click the download icon for the first time, you’ll be asked to select download quality. Your selection will be saved as the default for future downloads, but you can always change that in your settings if you wish.

Once the download is complete, you’ll be able to watch it at your convenience, whether you’re out camping, on a flight with overpriced Wi-Fi, or just watching somewhere with a spotty connection.

Where is Showtime available?

City on a Hill on Showtime
Showtime

Showtime is an American company. As such, it’s available nationwide. That applies to both the traditional cable channels and the streaming services.

For cable availability, you’ll have to check with your local providers to get exact details on the service you have access to where you live.

For on-demand streaming and the Showtime Anytime app, all you need is an internet connection anywhere in the US.

Outside the US, service availability will vary. Check with local cable and satellite subscribers to see what’s available to you. For streaming, you’ll want to check what’s available online. In Canada, for example, Showtime is bundled with HBO as an add-on to Bell Media’s streaming service Crave.

What can I watch?

Hustlers on Showtime
STXfilms

As companies continue to go solo, launching their own dedicated streamers, content offerings are getting more and more fractured. Unlike the old days, when you could pick between a few central streaming hubs, streamers are getting a little more niche now.

That means it’s more and more important to know exactly what you’re paying for and what’s not included in any given subscription. Below are the three broad categories of Showtime content you’ll get with your subscription: movies, Showtime originals, and sports.

Movies

Showtime has a long history of providing a vast library of Hollywood feature films. As the company’s original offerings have expanded, their library of film titles has kept pace. It’s still a great place to get a sampling of today’s hit movies.

Some titles currently available on-demand include:

Showtime originals

You’ll also have access to a library of exclusive content as a subscriber. Showtime original series include some huge, prestige titles across all genres. These include:

You’ll also have access to classic hits like The Borgias, Twin Peaks, Homeland, The L Word, Californication, and Dexter (including an upcoming reunion limited series).

Showtime also produces comedy specials, as well as the series The Comedy Store. And they’ve made a name for themselves with numerous acclaimed documentaries and docuseries like The Reagans, VICE, The Kingmaker, Couples Therapy, XY Chelsea, and more.

Sports

Sports fans will be happy to learn that Showtime is a hub for live events, most notably boxing and UFC matches.

In addition to hit sports podcast All the Smoke and many sports docs, subscribers can watch live events, including many upcoming fights.

How does it hold up against the competition?

Sports on Showtime
Showtime

If you’re looking for a streamer with a good selection of recent movies, Showtime is a strong contender. It’s similar to HBO and Epix, as a premium outlet for third-party movies, prestige original series, and live events.

For a one-stop streamer that offers a mix of original and third-party content, services like Netflix and HBO Max continue to dominate the field, with massive libraries. But of course, they’ll charge accordingly. HBO Max’s ad-free service will set you back $14.99 per month, and a premium Netflix account costs almost $20. Those prices are over 50 percent more than a Showtime subscription.

A more comparable service like HBO is also $14.99, so between the two, Showtime is pretty reasonable at $10.99, but Epix is even cheaper at $5.99.

Is it worth it?

The Reagans, and original Showtime docuseries.
Showtime

With a crowded field that includes the above streaming services as well as Disney PlusApple TV Plus, Mubi, Peacock, Shudder, Britbox, the Criterion Channel, and seemingly more new options every day, Showtime is a big player and a respectable premium option.

Your final choice will likely come down to the individual titles you’re looking for. If you’re a UFC fan, a movie buff looking to stay on top of what’s hot right now, or just really into a specific title like VICE or Billions, then you’re likely to find some appeal in Showtime.

Or if you’re looking to sign up to all the major services, then Showtime is likely to make your shortlist too.

Other FAQs

Q: Is Showtime available in 4K?
A: Some Showtime titles are available in 4K, but not all. Have a look at individual listings to find out if your favorite shows are on the list. Some examples of 4K content are Billions, Black Monday, and Penny Dreadful: City of Angels.

Q: Who owns Showtime?
A: Showtime belongs to Showtime Networks, which is a subsidiary of ViacomCBS. The company was launched in 1978 by Viacom. In 2019, Viacom merged with the CBS Corporation and formed ViacomCBS, which retained ownership of Showtime Networks. 

Q: Does Showtime have ads?
A: No. As a premium cable service Showtime does not have ads. This applies to all Showtime services, whether you have a streaming-only account or subscribe to a cable package.

Q: Can I watch Showtime on a Roku device?
A: Yes. Roku TV and second-generation or later Roku devices are fully compatible. Have a look at the full list of compatible devices in the “What devices does Showtime support?” section above.

Q: How do I get Showtime Anytime?
A: You can download the Showtime Anytime app from your favorite app store onto your device of choice. As long as you’re already a subscriber, whether through your cable provider or directly through Showtime, you can use your login credentials and start streaming everything from the Showtime library or live channels.

Q: Will I miss out on anything if I use the streaming site but don’t have a cable subscription?
A: No. Everything available on Showtime’s linear channels is available on the on-demand streaming site and Showtime Anytime app. You can watch as it airs (in Eastern or Pacific time) or play at your convenience.