- Starz is a sometimes-overlooked streaming option for screening movies at home, or on the go via the Starz app), though it’s also building a reputation for its original programming.
- Starz is $8.99 per month or $74.99 for an annual subscription; there’s also a limited-time offer of $24.99 for six months currently available.
- Starz offers original shows like Power, Hightown, American Gods, and Outlander in addition to a sizable movie library.
- Starz is viewable through its own app, through popular devices like Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV, as well as select smart TVs and Xbox One gaming consoles. It’s also a standalone channel on Amazon Prime Video and available as an add-on through a number of streaming services.
- Starz is available on a seven-day free trial, and new Sling subscribers can take advantage of a limited-time offer to get access to Starz (plus Showtime and Epix) for a month.
The days of needing cable to access your favorite movie channels are long gone. Thanks to the streaming revolution, cord-cutters can subscribe to a movie channel with plenty of selections. HBO, Showtime, and Hulu are all long-established names you’re familiar with, but there’s another gem in the streaming universe you might not have considered: Starz.
Here’s everything you need to know before subscribing.
- How much is Starz?
- What’s on Starz?
- Starz original series
- Starz streaming devices
- Starz downloads and multiple screens
- Starz vs. the Competition
- Is Starz worth it?
- How to sign up for Starz
How much does Starz cost?
Cost is one of the biggest selling points of the Starz package. While HBO Max will set you back $14.99 a month, and Showtime is $10.99 a month if you subscribe direct, a Starz subscription is just $8.99. That’s cheaper than a basic HD Netflix account. AT&T TV Now subscribers can get it for $8 a month. While that’s not much of a discount, it adds up over time. With a free seven-day trial, there’s no risk of giving it a try.
Starz also has a limited-time offer going—the first six months is just $24.99, with the next six months at $43.99. (That represents $9 savings from the usual annual rate.)
AT&T TV Now subscribers can pick up the channel for $8 per month. It’s an add-on option for Sling users for $9, though new subscribers can access it for a month just for signing up. Hulu users can add it on for $8.99 a month. It’s also accessible via Amazon Prime Video at that same rate.
What’s on Starz?
Starz launched back in 1994, and while it’s sometimes overlooked as a premium channel, its recent investment in ambitious original programming has people more curious than ever.
A Starz subscription gives you access to the channel’s library of movies, documentaries, and original programming. In 2016, Starz’s sister channel, Starz Encore, was folded into the service, providing Starz a remarkably deep catalog of older and classic movies. Couple that with an excellent selection of hits just out of the theater, and Starz gives its competition a run for the money.
While many of premium movie channels focus on new releases, Starz features a solid mix of recent box office titles and less familiar classics. If you’re someone who enjoys discovering movies you’ve read about before but never picked up at the video store, Starz will quickly become an obsession. From lost slashers to your dad’s favorite Westerns, Starz’ movie selection has a little something for everyone.
Movies are divided clearly by genre and subgenre, and even bring in some seasonal surprises. In October, for example, a Halloween option pops up giving you spooky options befitting the time. Also, there’s a Popular section to let you know what other subscribers have been enjoying.
Most people don’t realize Starz has access to Encore’s library of classic television. No other major movie channel gives you episodes of The Jeffersons, Sanford and Son, Magnum P.I., or ALF with your subscription. The service also features a wide range of Spanish language programming, from children’s shows to telenovelas.
Some Starz original shows are available with a standard Hulu subscription, but you won’t be able to watch American Gods or the new season of Black Sails, and you won’t be able to access Starz’s movie library.
Starz original series
Starz isn’t content to let its great programming library bring in customers, choosing to invest heavily in its own original programming as well. With solid entries in the realms of action, comedy, drama, and even historical sci-fi romance, Starz is started to get attention for its original content. If you’re new to the channel, here’s where you should start.
Executive produced by rapper and star 50 Cent, Power is a criminally underrated crime epic about a drug kingpin trying desperately to go straight. Torn between his empire, the woman he loves, and the family he has at home, James St. Patrick, known as Ghost on the streets, finds himself knee-deep in blood with each step he makes towards escape. Power is one of the few shows with a predominantly African-American cast on premium cable, and it boasts star-making turns from Omari Hardwick and Naturi Naughton as the St. Patricks. If you’re looking for a new favorite crime show, this is it.
Based on Neil Gaiman’s long-thought unfilmable 2001 fantasy novel of the same name, American Gods is a lavish adult fairy tale about a war between the Gods and the man caught in the middle of it. Ian McShane and Rickey Whittle a powerful leads as our heroes Mr. Wednesday and Shadow Moon, while the supporting cast is packed with award-winning actors like Gillian Anderson, Emily Browning, Cloris Leachman, Crispin Glover, and more. Not recommended for the easily offended, American Gods is a slow-burning fantasy for people who wish there were darker options on TV.
Outlander is one of the best and oddest shows on a premium cable channel. Jumping back and forth between 1945 and 18th century Scotland, this time-travel romance couples brutal violence with a heartfelt love story that often softens its heavier moments. Explaining the plot is an exercise in running across a minefield of spoilers, so just trust us this one is worth your time.
Starz streaming devices
Starz is available on a remarkable number of devices, with some odd exceptions. Standard options like iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Xbox One, and select smart TVs are all included. However, PlayStation and Chromecast users can’t access Starz.
You can, as mentioned above, access it via Amazon Prime Video, Sling or Hulu using any of the devices you’d use to access those services. And, of course, there’s also the Starz app.
Using the Starz app
We tested the Starz app on three devices: the iPhone SE, Xbox One, and Roku. In each case, the testing devices were connected to a 100MB high-speed internet connection, except where noted. Here’s how each experience panned out.
Starz on iOS
Hands down, Starz has the best mobile app of any major movie channel. Its menus are clear and easy to navigate, whether you’re looking for an old TV show or the latest new releases. Want to catch up on your favorite movies or shows on the road? Starz app lets you download content for offline viewing, sparing you unnecessary data use while keeping you up to date on what’s happening on Power. Of course, some other services let you do that too, but Starz has one more trick up its sleeve: Mobile users can connect their Spotify account to the app, giving them access to playlists of songs from shows, soundtracks to movies, and even comedy albums connected to their content. For music nerds, this extra little feature is a welcome treat.
Starz on Roku and Xbox One
The Starz experience is virtually identical between Roku and Xbox One, with clear menus and great picture quality across both. Roku is a little bit slower to navigate on than Xbox, but that’s due to the limitations of the current operating system more than anything on Starz part. However, unless you’ve tried it on both devices, you won’t notice. Each device we tested Starz provided us with a wonderful experience.
Starz downloads and multiple screens
It’s possible to download most Starz movies and shows to a device. As long as it’s not a restricted title, you can download as many shows as your device will hold—there’s not the limit with Starz that other services have.
Starz allows four devices to simultaneously stream using one account login.
Starz vs. The Competition
Starz vs. HBO Max
One thing Starz has going for it is price. Under a normal monthly cost comparison, HBO Max is nearly twice the cost of Starz, and both services offer up movies and original series as a baseline. Also, as we mentioned, Starz has an excellent app that allows viewers a seamless experience.
However, the recent upgrades HBO’s made in content with HBO Max puts that service on an entirely different plane from Starz or even Showtime. HBO Max entered the streaming wars with a few kinks to work out, but judging by just content alone, HBO Max is the clear winner.
Starz vs. Showtime
Despite Showtime’s greater brand recognition and (slightly) longer history, the two services aren’t all that far apart. The difference might ultimately come down to your taste in original programming. Though Showtime has a head start on Starz, Starz does have some interesting and innovative shows that certainly put it in the conversation with Showtime and HBO. Also, Starz has advantages over Showtime in the download and multiple screens departments. Showtime probably gets the nod here, but it’s not the slam dunk you might think it is.
Starz vs. Epix
Concept-wise, Starz and Epix are really close to each other, right down to a high-point Scrabble letter thrown into the end of each of their names. Epix brings lots of movies and some interesting original series to the table, and it lets you grab as many downloads as your device will allow. Epix is just $5.99 a month, making it even more budget-friendly than Starz, though Starz arguably has the better library and better original show lineup overall.
Is Starz worth it?
If you’re looking for a service that’s got original offerings and movies, but isn’t priced at the upper end of premium channels, Starz might be a good option for you. If you’re looking to spend on just one premium channel, though, and money is no object, HBO Max or Showtime are more robust options with a lot of different entertainment options to choose from. It’s even arguable that HBO Max brings more value, even with its larger price point. Starz does keep the equation interesting with its original programming. Depending on your tastes, you might consider Starz as a strong second premium channel to complement an HBO Max or Showtime.
How to sign up for Starz
Here’s how to get started with Starz.
- Go to the Starz website and click on the “Start Your Free Trial” button in the upper right corner.
- Choose between the monthly or annual option and enter your payment info and click the “Continue” button.
- Choose a password to use with your Starz account and then, once more, click the “Continue” button.
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.
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