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What is BritBox? BBC and ITV's answer to Netflix in the UK

Your guide to everything you need to know about streaming site BritBox.

Peter Capaldi as Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It
Published: Thursday, 30th June 2022 at 12:15 pm

BritBox is BBC’s and ITV’s joint vision for a streaming service in the UK.

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Initially, experts and the general public alike were divided over the likely success of BritBox, which faced already-established competitors like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, after it launched in the UK in 2019.

However, with internationally renowned British shows including Downton Abbey, Broadchurch, Death in Paradise, Love Island, and The Responder all available to watch on BritBox, as well as original series only available on the service like Murder in Provence and Sanditon, the streaming service has seen a rapid growth in subscriptions since its launch.

Not to mention channels including Channel 4 and Channel 5 becoming available, as well as movies courtesy of Film4, such as The Inbetweeners 2, Bugsy Malone, Carry on Camping and Oliver Twist.

You can also watch your favourite shows and films that have since expired on ITV Hub and BBC iPlayer; shows move to BritBox after spending 30 days on ITV Hub, and after spending 12 months on iPlayer. So, if you find yourself worried at the end of the year that you never got to experience Conversations With Friends, never fear! It’ll be on BritBox.

In March 2021, after bringing content to subscribers for just over a year, BritBox announced that the streamer had hit its target of half a million subscribers, with ITV’s chief executive Carolyn McCall saying: “It’s been a great first year on BritBox, with all of the UK PSBs on board and the launch of our BritBox Originals strategy with Spitting Image. Achieving half a million subscriptions in little over a year from launch puts BritBox ahead of plan and firmly establishes the service in the UK OTT market.”

If you want to join those half a million subscribers already enjoying great British telly, read on for everything you need to know about BritBox, including how to get it and how much it costs.

Start your 7-day free trial at BritBox

If you love TV merchandise as much as you love TV itself, be sure to check out our gift guides. We have great ones for Love Island, Wimbledon, Stranger Things, and more.

What is BritBox?

renton sick boy trainspotting irvine welsh
Ewan McGregor as Mark Renton and Jonny Lee Miller as Sick Boy in Trainspotting YouTube

BritBox is a subscription service formed as a joint venture between UK broadcasters ITV and BBC.

After launching in the US in 2017, BritBox landed on home turf two years later in 2019. When BritBox came to this side of the pond, ITV CEO Carolyn McCall said: “BritBox will be the home for the best of British creativity – celebrating the best of the past, the best of today, and investing in new British originated content in the future.”

BBC Director General Tony Hall, meanwhile, described it as “a new streaming service delivering the best home-grown content to the public", adding: "The service will have everything from old favourites to recent shows and brand new commissions."

Sign-up for your 7-day free trial at BritBox

How does Britbox work?

andrew shim as milky this is england
Andrew Shim as Milky in This Is England Daily Record

There are a few ways to watch your favourite shows, like Why Didn’t They Ask Evans and Only Fools and Horses, on BritBox. You can sign-up to BritBox via the service's website or via the ITV Hub.

Once you’re all set-up, you can download the BritBox app to stream videos to your heart’s content. The app is available on a huge array of devices like your Apple TV, Samsung smart TV, iPhone and iPad, as well as Android smartphone and tablets.

If you’re an Amazon Prime Video customer, you can access BritBox for an additional monthly fee via the Amazon Prime Video app. On the partnership, Will Harrison, BritBox UK’s Managing Director, said: “We are excited to bring the very best British entertainment to an even wider audience through Amazon Prime Video Channels, especially as we launch even more original content in the spring, summer and beyond.”

Not yet an Amazon Prime Video customer? Start your 30-day free trial

Julian Monaghan, Director of Amazon Prime Video Channels Europe, added: “It’s great that we’re going to be offering UK Amazon Prime Video members access to the biggest British box sets with the addition of BritBox on Prime Video Channels. BritBox is a great addition to our selection of entertainment on Prime Video Channels, giving customers even more choice to find the TV series they love.”

At the moment, it doesn’t look like BritBox is available on Sky Q.

Start your 7-day free trial at BritBox

How much does Britbox cost?

Maggie Smith and Michelle Dockery in Downton Abbey
Maggie Smith and Michelle Dockery in Downton Abbey SEAC

Luckily for you, you can enjoy classic British series like Grange Hill and Dad’s Army, as well as timeless films like Trainspotting and Love Actually, without spending a fortune.

A BritBox subscription will set you back £5.99 a month or £59.99 per year (which works out as roughly £4.99 per month). If you opt for the yearly subscription, you’ll save £11.89 over the course of the year, which isn’t a saving to be sniffed at — that tenner can get you three meal deals.

Sign-up to BritBox from £4.99 a month

How to get Britbox on my TV

Nicholas Lyndhurst and David Jason in Only Fools and Horses
Nicholas Lyndhurst and David Jason in Only Fools and Horses BBC/BritBox

Settle down on your sofa, grab the snacks, your fluffy blanket, and cuddle up to your significant other or pet, because getting BritBox on your TV couldn’t be easier.

If you have a Samsung TV from 2016 onwards, Apple TV, Amazon Firestick or YouView, simply download the BritBox app once you’ve subscribed to the platform.

For Chromecast device users, firstly make sure it’s plugged in, then install both the Google Home and BritBox apps on your chosen smart device, for example your mobile phone. Find the Chromecast icon on your smart device, and follow the instructions to cast to your telly. You’ll be able to tell when it’s synced.

How do you activate BritBox on your Smart TV? Open the BritBox app on your telly and sign-in. A 6-digit code should pop up on the screen. Go to www.britbox.co.uk/code on any device other than your TV, and enter the code. Acknowledge that you’ve done so on your TV screen, and start watching.

If you need any more help with getting the streaming service on your telly, BritBox has created this clever illustration.

Start your 7-day free BritBox trial

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If you're looking for something to watch, check out our handy TV Guide. Looking to upgrade your setup? Head to our best smart TV and best streaming service guides for buying advice and new show recommendations.

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