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BritBox Review: Better For Soaps And Classics Than Originals

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BritBox provides access to a good selection of British shows and content, and while it is worth checking out for a month or more, it doesn’t quite feel like it offers enough to make sticking with the service throughout the year worthwhile.

BritBox is a subscription service that’s brings together a variety of movies, shows, documentaries, and lifestyle programming from the BBC and ITV. Essentially, it is a ‘best of British’ streaming service.

BritBox $7.99
  • Experience
  • Content
  • Device Support
  • Price
3.5

Streaming Better verdict

We found Britbox to be one of those services that’s best checking in with every so often rather than one that you should permanently stay subscribed to all year.

Pros

✔ Great for weekly shows
✔ BBC and ITV classics
✔ Reasonably priced
✔ No ads

Cons

Basic apps
Limited live content
Few Originals
Limited 4K support

For those considering signing up to BritBox, the standard subscription costs $7.99 per month or $79.99 when subscribing to the annual plan. New subscribers can also take advantage of a 7-day free trial when signing up to either a monthly or yearly subscription.

Still unsure of whether this is the right streaming service for you, below is our full BritBox review.

BritBox app – reliable but basic

In terms of the user experience, there isn’t too much to complain about. The various BritBox apps worked well and proved highly reliable. We never had any issues with the streaming quality and no real bugs or issues to speak of. That said, these are not exactly the most complicated apps to begin with.

Unlike other streaming services, BritBox doesn’t really offer much in terms of additional features. For example, there’s no live TV section. Well, that’s not technically true, as there is BritBox Live.

BritBox Live is basically a live stream channel that plays content continuously. At the time of writing, BritBox Live is in the middle of a 24/7 Agatha Christie marathon.

Britbox Live

BritBox does also occasionally stream live events, such as the the Royal Wedding and BAFTA’s, but these are rare and not something subscribers should view as a reason to subscribe. Speaking of which, if subscribed to BritBox via a third-party service like Apple TV Channels or Prime Video Channels, subscribers won’t be able to access any of the live events. Instead, they will only be able to watch on-demand content.

BritBox Live aside, the apps are fairly basic in terms of their design. The Home section is where you end up after launching the app and where you’ll find all the service’s recommendations.

Britbox app home

There’s also a New section which makes it quick and easy to find and watch any new episodes released that week as well as new shows, seasons, and content in general.

Britbox new tab

Similar to other streaming services, there’s also a Watchlist section available, which not only houses titles you’ve manually bookmarked, but also any that you’ve started watching and not yet finished.

britbox watchlist

It is also possible to explore the catalog by choosing one of the tailored categories, such as Countryside Crime or Period Mysteries, or by checking out any of the more general categories like Mystery, Drama, Comedy, or Docs & Lifestyle.

Users can also just browse the entire catalog by clicking on A-Z, which breaks down the library into A-D, E-I, and so on.

britbox a to z

When playing a video, the interface is also fairly easy to use and straightforward. Besides play/pause, users can rewind and fast-forward, skip forwards or back by 10 seconds, enable subtitles or quickly jump to the next episode.

Britbox playback controls

That’s about it with the smart TV app and the mobile app is not much different. Mobile users generally get the same experience and simplicity along with the option to quickly jump between Home, Explore, Search, and More categories. The latter of which is where you’ll find all the app and account settings.

Britbox Android app

The BritBox website is just as basic and straightforward. Once logged in, the subscriber can check out the recommendations on the home screen, browse through the library, check their watchlist or what’s coming soon, and of course, make changes to their account.

Britbox browser website

Overall, the BritBox user experience is decidedly muted. Whether that’s ultimately a positive or negative will come down to the user, but the emphasis on simplicity does result in a very reliable user experience.

BritBox content – great for soaps and classics

One of the big selling points with BritBox is the release of new weekly episodes of well-known British shows. For example, if a fan of soap operas like EastEnders, Coronation Street, and Emmerdale, or talk shows like The Jonathan Ross Show, then BritBox is likely to be a good subscription to have.

When testing out the service, new episodes were generally available to stream the day after they aired in the UK.

BritBox new episodes
New episodes on BritBox

Another really good reason to consider BritBox is the library of classic content that’s available to stream. While newer episodes of shows like Doctor Who are available to stream in the United States through HBO Max, BritBox is the home of pretty much every classic Doctor Who season and episode.

Doctor Who on BritBox
Doctor Who on BritBox

That’s in addition to being the streaming home of so many other great British shows including Absolutely Fabolous, Are You Being Served, Extras, Mr. Bean, The League Of Gentlemen, The Office, and Rising Damp.

In fact, if you dig deep enough then you’re likely to find a few hidden gems as well. For example, a must-watch is Utopia. The two-season series was the inspiration for the US version released in 2020.

All in all, BritBox’s main strength lies in its older content. Unfortunately, that means it won’t be as good of a subscription for everyone.

BritBox value – not a year-round subscription

Where BritBox is less impressive is in the quantity of new content that’s available each week/month. Excluding the new episodes of sitcoms and topical shows, there’s very little in terms of new content. Not everyone is going to want to watch EastEnders or Corrie, and for those users, BritBox just doesn’t maintain its value.

BritBox does have a selection of BritBox Originals, but the list is pretty short.

BritBox originals

Not to mention, some of them are not exactly originals either. For example, Line Of Duty is an incredibly popular show in the UK and while it is advertised as a BritBox Original, it’s not. In fact, before season 6, Line Of Duty was previously available to stream on Acorn TV, BritBox’s direct competitor in the United States.

Of course, any criticism of a lack of new content is something that very well may iron itself out over time. As the service ages, its library of originals will inevitably grow. It just seems to be going at a slower rate than I’d like as a paying subscriber.

There is also a slight concern around future distribution. While BritBox started as a joint venture between the BBC and ITV, the international version (the one we have in the US) was spun off into its own company back in 2021. Around the same time, the BBC’s interest in the domestic (UK) version was purchased outright by ITV. Since then, BritBox has been shuttered and replaced by ITV’s new streaming service, ITVX.

While all of this may or may not have any long-term impact on the operations of the international version here in the US, it still raises concerns over how much new content the service will get in the future, and how soon content will be available after its release in the UK.

BritBox summary – is it worth it?

To sum up out experience with BritBox, it is a great streaming service but not a must-have. For fans of Doctor Who and The Office, or any homes that want to keep up with all the happenings in Albert Square, BritBox is going to be worth the subscription cost. However, if not specifically interested in watching soaps, classics, and/or topical shows, the $8 per month is likely to be better spent elsewhere.

It is not that BritBox is not necessarily worth the subscription price, it is just that there doesn’t currently feel like there’s enough new content rolling through to continually justify paying the monthly cost. Even more so when having to choose between this and one of the many other streaming services that are available these days.

To sum up, if you’re interested in British TV then you should give BritBox a try for a month or even a few months, as it is worth it, and there are plenty of shows for you to binge on in the beginning. I would just advise you not to forget to cancel before forgetting you have a BritBox subscription altogether.

John Finn
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John Finn

By John Finn

John Finn is the Founder and Editor of Streaming Better, a platform created in 2019 to help consumers navigate the complicated live TV streaming and subscription service market.

John has been covering technology for various online publications since 2014. After originally covering the wider tech industry as a writer and editor, John now spends his time focusing on the emerging video-streaming market, including live TV streaming, SVOD, AVOD, FAST, and TVOD services.

In a bid to keep up to date on the industry, John actively subscribes to multiple streaming services at the same time. However, John continues to advocate that the best approach for consumers is to rotate between streaming services as needed.

A Psychology graduate from England, who now lives in the US, John previously worked in the aviation industry as an airline reviewer. While reviewing airlines isn't quite the same as reviewing devices and streaming services, John brings the same analytical eye to all of his reviews and industry analysis, along with a special emphasis on what's best for the consumer.

Connect with John
Email: john@streamingbetter.com
X: @J_Finns
Website: JohnFinn.net

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