I’m at that stage in life when everyone around me is getting married and moving into new homes, and I can safely say that TV streaming services have officially taken over cable television. Most people I know have Netflix subscriptions, but only their parents still have “SCV”.
But while it is the most popular, Netflix isn’t the only competitive paid TV streaming service available in Singapore. Depending on your budget and preferred genre, you can pick from HOOQ, HBO Go, Viu and more.
Here’s a helpful comparison of what’s available, for your viewing pleasure.
Comparison of TV streaming subscription fees in Singapore
|TV streaming service||Subscription fee||Popular for|
|Amazon Prime Video||$2.99 monthly (comes with Amazon Prime membership)||Decent selection of older movies and shows at an affordable price|
|Viu Free and Premium||Free or $7.98 monthly for Premium||Korean dramas and variety shows|
|HOOQ||From $7.98 monthly||American TV shows and new movie releases (rental)|
|meWATCH Prime (previously Toggle Prime)||$9.90 monthly||Advanced viewing of Mediacorp dramas|
|Netflix||From $11.98 monthly||Netflix Originals like Stranger Things, Black Mirror, etc|
|HBO Go||From $13.98 monthly||Game of Thrones and other HBO Originals|
|Singtel TV Go||From $6.90 monthly||160+ live and catch-up channels|
|StarHub Go Max||$29.80 monthly ($10 off for first 12 months)||Over 80 channels
Free streaming platforms – Viu Free, Korean and Japanese shows only
Cheapest paid streaming service — Amazon Prime Video ($2.99 monthly)
Discounted rates for HBO Go — meWATCH Prime ($10 monthly for annual plan)
Discounted rates for Singtel users — HOOQ, Viu, HBO Go
MoneySmart tip: 8% cash back on your streaming subscription with Maybank Family & Friends card
Most credit cards exclude recurring subscriptions from their benefits scheme, but there’s one card in particular that rewards you for spending on TV streaming subscriptions — the Maybank Family & Friends card. With it, you can get 5% or 8% cash back, which is quite generous.
Do note that you must fulfil the minimum spending requirements to be eligible. If you spend $500 a month, it’s 5% cash back. If you spend $800 a month, it’s 8% cash back.
Alternatively, you can consider a “bao ga liao” card that rewards you for all spending. These include the AMEX True Cashback card, the Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback card and the Maybank FC Barcelona Visa Signature card.
Netflix — from $11.98 monthly, featuring originals like Stranger Things & Black Mirror
Netflix needs little introduction — Netflix is literally the American streaming service that disrupted the TV scene. It’s popular for having a wide, diverse catalogue of movies and dramas, including Netflix Originals like Stranger Things, Black Mirror, Money Heist and more.
Netflix subscription fees in Singapore
|Price||Things to note|
|Netflix free trial||$0||Valid for 30 days only|
|Netflix Basic||$11.98 monthly||No HD. 1 user only.|
|Netflix Standard||$15.98 monthly||Watch in HD, but not Ultra HD. Up to 2 users.|
|Netflix Premium||$19.98 monthly||Watch in HD or Ultra HD. Up to 4 users.|
There is no free version of Netflix. Nope, not even if you say you agree to ad interruptions and a limited show catalogue.
There is a 30-day free trial though, which I think is fair. If the show you want to watch has been fully released, you can get the free trial and binge-watch it before your time’s up.
If you decide to continue with the service, the cheapest plan is $11.98 per month. This is for those who want a personal subscription, because you can only use it 1 screen at a time. Also, it won’t be in HD.
Up a tier is the standard subscription, at $15.98 monthly. This is great for couples (up to 2 screens at a time), and streams in HD.
The most expensive Netflix subscription is Netflix Premium ($19.98 monthly). You can stream in Ultra HD — provided your device can support it — and share it on up to 4 screens simultaneously.
Sadly, there is no way to get discounted Netflix fees. It’s the same price with the telcos, and the only benefit is receiving a consolidated bill.
HOOQ — from $7.98 monthly, good for superhero shows & renting new movie titles
HOOQ is an up-and-coming service that’s similar to Netflix, but not quite as big yet. I took a brief look at their catalogue, and they seem to have quite a few superhero shows from the Marvel and DC franchises like Supergirl, Flash and more.
I also like that they do movie rentals. How it works is that you can pay a few dollars to rent a new show (fresh out of the theatres) to watch at home. From what I saw, I’m interested in renting Aladdin, Avengers End Game and Captain Marvel.
HOOQ subscription fees in Singapore
|Price||Things to note|
|HOOQ free trial||$0||Valid for 30 days only|
|HOOQ subscription||$7.98 monthly or $34.98 yearly||iOS follows the calendar month and year, while Android goes by 30 or 365 days|
|Singtel prepaid plan||$10 to $25||Bundled with a data plan|
|Singtel postpaid add-on||$7.90 monthly||Add-on for Singtel postpaid, broadband and TV customers|
Like Netflix, HOOQ has a 30-day free trial for you to “test water”.
The subscription fees are $7.98 monthly, or $34.98 yearly.
The way I see it, the monthly price is only slightly cheaper than Netflix, in which case you might as well top-up for a larger library.
The annual subscription, however, is super value-for-money. It adds up to just $2.90 per month, which is ridiculously affordable for what’s offered.
Note that there’s a minor difference between Apple iOS and Android subscriptions: while iOS follows the calendar month and year (regardless of the days), Android fixes it at 30 days (the “month”) and 365 days (the “year”).
Singtel mobile customers can also sign up for HOOQ as an add-on (or bundled with a mobile data prepaid plan) for discounts. It’s cheaper than the standard monthly rates, but is no fight against HOOQ’s annual plan.
Viu Free / Premium — Free version available, good for the Korean dramas & variety shows
If you’re into Korean shows, you would know about Viu. Viu is one of the most popular Korean drama viewing platforms because they have a free version.
You can watch popular dramas like Hotel De Luna, Doctor John and Shady Mom-in-law, and variety shows like Little Forest, Running Man and the Return of Superman.
Viu subscription fees in Singapore
|Price||Things to note|
|Viu Free||$0||Non-HD, limited shows, not TV-compatible, and only 1 downloaded show at a time|
|Viu Premium — free trial||$0||Valid for 7 days only, with the full features of Viu Premium|
|Singtel Viu Premium — no contract||$6.90||First 3 months free|
|Viu Premium||$7.98 monthly (previously $6.98 monthly)||Full HD, full range of shows, unlimited downloads, and compatible with TV apps and TV casting|
|Singtel Viu Premium — 1-year contract||$44.10||$4.90 monthly, first 3 months free|
The main difference between the free and premium versions is that the premium version is ad-free. Yup, that means hours of uninterrupted K-dramas for you.
Viu Premium also offers the current shows as soon as 8 hours after its original telecast, while the free one requires you wait at least 72 hours more.
Viu Premium is charged at $7.98 monthly as of 21 Jan 2020, but all users who already signed up at the former $6.98 price will continue to enjoy that rate as long as their subscription is recurring (i.e. if you cancel and re-sub, you will be charged $7.98).
Also, Premium streams in HD and is compatible with TV casting. For Viu Free, you can only watch on your phone, tablet or laptop, in 480p.
HBO Go — $13.98 monthly, good for Game of Thrones and other HBO hits
HBO Go is a streaming service for all 6 HBO channels (HBO, HBO Signature, HBO Family, HBO Hits, Cinemax and Red by HBO).
The channel was the most well known for Game of Thrones, but now that winter is over and all 8 seasons have been concluded, there’s one less reason to get HBO.
What else is left? Well, there are other shows like Westworld and Big Pretty Lies, as well the The Sopranos, which was HBO’s first big hit.
HBO Go subscription fees in Singapore
|HBO Go subscriptions||Price||Things to note|
|Singtel — Combo 6, 12, XO 78 and XO 108 mobile subscribers||$0||Free for 24 months (for subscribers after 7 Mar 2019)|
|Singtel, StarHub and meWATCH — no contract||$13.98 monthly|
|meWATCH — 1-year plan||$119.98||Annual plan, pre-payment required|
|Singtel — 1-year contract||$139.80||$13.98 monthly, but first 2 months free|
Because HBO Go is an on-the-go service, the channel comes bundled with other television providers. Currently, you can get it through Singtel, StarHub and meWATCH.
It’s the “cheapest” for selected Singtel customers — those with Combo 6, 12, XO 78 and XO 108 plans only — because it’s free, but for the general public, the best price is via Toggle.
Instead of $167.76 for 12 months, it’s only $119.98 for meWATCH’s annual plan. That comes up to less than $10 per month. The only catch is that you have to pay the yearly price upfront.
Amazon Prime Video — free with Amazon Prime, good enough for older American TV shows and movies
Given the film library, I probably wouldn’t sign up forAmazon Prime Video just for the shows. However, it’s not half bad if you already have an Amazon Prime subscription for your grocery shopping.
Some popular Amazon Originals include Good Omens, The Men in the High Castle, and more. You can also catch popular American dramas and sitcoms like The Office, Two and a Half Men and NCIS.
The movie catalogue is a bit “cui” though — all I found were old B-list movies (that are probably available on FMovies…). Think Mr & Mrs Smith, Love & Other Drugs, Mean Girls, etc.
Amazon Prime Video subscription fees in Singapore
|Price||Things to note|
|Amazon Prime (includes Prime Video access)||$2.99 monthly||All-in-one subscription with Amazon Prime|
Amazon Prime Video is the cheapest paid subscription in this list. It is part of the Amazon Prime subscription, which is only $2.99 per month.
meWATCH & meWATCH Prime — for Korean movies, HBO Go and/or Mediacorp dramas
Last but not least, there’s meWATCH Prime for Mediacorp dramas. The millennials probably think this is the lamest subscription of the list, but their parents, who still love watching local TV, may appreciate it.
To clarify, Mediacorp dramas are free — meWATCH Prime just lets you watch them in advance (i.e. before the telecast). meWATCH is also an online streaming platform through which you can subscribe to and stream HBO and tvN.
meWATCH & meWATCH Prime subscription fees in Singapore
|Toggle subscriptions||Price||Things to note|
|meWATCH — tvN Movies||$5.90 monthly or $25.90 for 6 months ($4.32 per month)||Korean movies|
|meWATCH Prime||$9.90 monthly or $35.64 for 6 months ($5.94 per month)||Mediacorp dramas and family shows from Miao Mi|
|meWATCH — HBO Go||$13.98 monthly or $119.98 for 1 year ($10 per month)||All HBO channels|
|meWATCH Prime + tvN||$18.90 for 3 months or $37.80 for 6 months ($6.30 per month)||Mediacorp dramas, Korean movies, and family shows from Miao Mi|
meWATCH Prime is $9.90 per month, or if you get a 6-month subscription, $5.94 monthly ($35.64 in total). It will also come with children shows on Miao Mi.
I found that meWATCH’s annual plan for HBO is also noteworthy: it comes up to $10 per month, which is way cheaper than the standard monthly price of $13.98.
What about Singtel and StarHub?
Since these TV streaming services are so popular, does it mean that the telcos are getting phased out?
I thought so, but when researching, I realised that they too have some competitive packages aimed at the younger, more tech-savvy crowd.
Note: I’ve excluded the sports channels because for those, it’s a whole different ball game. For this article, we’re comparing general entertainment genres like movies, dramas, sitcoms, etc.
Singtel TV Go
|Price||Things to note|
|Singtel TV Go — plan 1||$6.90 monthly||160+ live and catch-up channels including HBO, Fox, KBS World and tvN|
|Singtel TV Go — plan 2||$9.90 monthly|
If you want a good, generic mix of channels for sports, news, entertainment, K-dramas, etc, I think the Singtel TV Go plans are quite value for money. At just $6.90 or $9.90 per month, you get access to 160+ channels, which is a lot.
The package even includes HBO, Fox, KBS and other popular channels.
|Price||Things to note|
|StarHub Go Disney||$4.90 monthly||Disney shows|
|TVB Anywhere SG Premium||$4.98 monthly||Hong Kong TVB dramas|
|StarHub Go Select||$9.90 monthly||Mostly Asian dramas|
|StarHub Go Max||$29.80 monthly ($10 off the first 12 months, UP $39.80 monthly)||80 channels covering sports, news, entertainment, kids, Asian channels and more|
StarHub Go‘s all-in-one plan is not as cheap ($29.80 monthly), but they have some good deals for the standalone channels.
For instance, StarHub Go Disney and Anywhere SG Premium subscriptions are under $5 per month. The Asian drama one (StarHub Go Select) is $9.90 monthly.
Which paid TV streaming service is your favourite? Is Netflix really the best? Tell us in the comments below.