Survival is dependent upon evolution, and no one in the streaming market has worked harder to survive than premium cable channels. Starting with HBO and then Starz, pay movie channels have used their independently produced content to retain customers who are fleeing cable contracts en masse. If you’re looking to cut the cord, it’s time to take another look at Showtime. The channel’s streaming app offers a broad range of original programming, hit Hollywood pictures, and unique features the competition can’t provide. Here’s what you need to know about Showtime Anytime before subscribing.
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Like HBO Go and HBO Now, Showtime and Showtime Anything essentially offers the same service. Both unlock the channel’s deep catalog of original content, documentaries, and boxing specials. The difference is that Showtime Anytime is used by traditional Showtime subscribers to access content on the go, while Showtime is also the name of the channel’s standalone streaming service, which can be acquired a handful of different ways. Making matters more confusing, Showtime tends to use the two terms interchangeably. If you’ve already got a cable package you’ll be streaming on Showtime Anytime. If you’re buying the channel somewhere else, it’s just Showtime. Now that you’re caught up on terminology, let’s talk price.
How much does Showtime cost?
How much Showtime will depend on your cable company. For example, Showtime on Comcast Xfinity currently runs $12 per month, while it’s $11 on AT&T TV Now. Verizon FIOS, by contrast, offers Showtime for $15 per month, but you can add another premium channel (HBO, Starz, Cinemax, or Epix) for an additional $10 per month. Most cable companies that have Showtime also support Showtime Anytime, including AT&T U-verse, Bright House Networks, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, Dish, and Time Warner Cable. You’ll need to login to the Showtime Anytime website however to find out if your local cable company is one of them.
How does Showtime work?
Once you’ve downloaded Showtime from the Apple App Store or Google Play, you’ll simply sign into the app using the same username and password combination you received from your cable provider.
Your subscription comes with exactly what you’d expect—free on-demand access to all of Showtime’s programming and movies—but the service also offers two live channels, Showtime East and West, which play whatever is on the main Showtime channels. Showtime is one of two movie channel services that currently allow users to download content to their mobile devices for offline viewing (the other being Starz). For travelers with tight data limits, this lets you stay up to date on Showtime series guilt-free.
Using Showtime Anytime is essentially the same, with a few minor differences. You’ll need to log in using the codes for your cable company account to utilize the service. However, once that’s done you get the same powers as the Showtime app, including downloadable content.
What about the Showtimes apps?
If you’re a cord-cutter, fear not: Showtime works with every major streaming platform, whether you watch on a smart TV, game console, or mobile device. You can even access its content by subscribing on Hulu (or Hulu with Live TV) or Amazon. No matter what method you choose, the interface is smooth and easy to understand. Here are a few of the most popular options.
After a free seven-day trial, you can stream Showtime via any Apple device, including Apple TVs, for $10.99 per month. You’ll download Showtime from the App Store to get started. It’s the same process as with Showtime Anytime, except you won’t be syncing it to a cable provider.
If you have Google Chromecast, it’s ridiculously easy to add Showtime as a premium channel. You’ll just download the Showtime app via Google Play and sign-up for $10.99 per month. Then you’ll cast the channel using your preferred Android device.
Sensing a pattern yet? No matter which streaming option you choose, it’s likely going to cost you $10.99 per month, and Roku is no exception. You’ll simply add the channel to your monthly contract.
If you already have Amazon Prime or subscribe to Hulu, then you can add Showtime as a premium channel. Showtime costs $10.99 per month on both Amazon Prime and Hulu, making them among the cheapest way to stream all your Showtime favorites. Given Amazon’s flexibility—it works with Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Fire tablets, computers, Android mobile devices, and iOS mobile devices—it’s a great option. You can also use your Hulu and Amazon Prime log in information to watch on the Showtime Anytime app..
Showtime‘s boxing events are starting to draw cards and ratings that rival HBO, long-considered the TV home of boxing. Regardless of whether you access via Showtime or Showtime Anytime, you’ll be able to watch all of Showtime’s non-PPV events. Your alternative would be to pay $14.99 for CBS All-Access, which includes a Showtime subscription ($18.99 per month if you want to watch it ad-free).
Showtime has an impressive back catalog of shows across every genre you can imagine. There’s the recent Twin Peaks revival that picked up where the original series left off. Dexter and Penny Dreadful scratch the itch of horror fans, while dramas like Billions and Masters of Sex give most of HBO’s shows a run for their money. Showtime’s reputation for smart programming has attracted stars like William H. Macy (Shameless), Don Cheadle (House of Lies), Paul Giamatti (Billions), Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie), Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds), and Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan). Here are five Showtime original series you need to see.
With so many shows being resurrected in one form or another to mostly diminishing returns, it’s only right that David Lynch returns to Twin Peaks to push the boundaries of what television can be. Again. The Return is everything fans expected: fascinating, horrifying, slyly funny, frustrating, and singular. Twin Peaks has the kind of versatility to be whatever it wants at any given moment, and that’s what makes it unmissable. Even at its low points, you’re still seeing things that you won’t forget. But at its best, The Return is as good as the form gets. —Eddie Strait
What Billions lacks in prestige it makes up for in terms of entertainment value. It’s a fun game of cat and mouse between Damian Lewis’ hedge fund banker and Paul Giamatti’s U.S. attorney. Billions strikes the right tone of melodrama and keeps the story moving. The show hit its groove in its recently concluded second season, setting expectations high for season 3. But sometimes it’s the simple pleasures that make a show worth watching. For Billions, that is Paul Giamatti’s intensity. When he takes things to 11, few actors are as amusing to watch. —E.S.
3) The Affair
Pretty people betraying each other. It’s about as standard issue as a drama premise gets. But The Affair makes the formula work to its advantage. The show explores an affair (obviously) and the way it affects the lives of the duplicitous couple (played by Dominic West and Ruth Wilson). The cast also includes Joshua Jackson and Maura Tierney, so basically it’s full of elite TV actors doing what they do best. The characters are well-developed, and the drama is incisive. —E.S.
Horror shows really have a short life, unless they go the anthology route. But that’s a cheat. Longform horror is as tough a task as there is in television. Penny Dreadful found that alchemy and churned out three seasons of the good stuff before surprising fans with an out-of-nowhere series finale. After the shock wore off, its was clear the creative powers that be made the right decision. Any show featuring Van Helsing, Victor Frankenstein, Dracula, and Dr. Jekyll is destined to burn bright and fast. Come for the gothic horror, stay for Eva Green’s devilishly good performance. —E.S.
For a brief two-season run, Ira Glass and his team produced episodes of their iconic radio show for television. The burden of TV production ultimately proved to be too much, but the episodes produced feature all the hallmarks of This American Life: thoroughly researched and off-the-map stories told with a humanist touch. If you’re a fan of the radio show/podcast, these episodes are essential. If you’ve never tried This American Life, this is a good way to give it a shot. —E.S.
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.
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