Your complete guide to online video streaming in the UAE

We look at the various services available and the unique features each has to offer

In recent years, streaming services have exploded in both number and popularity, challenging the likes of Netflix, which once dominated the on-demand market.

Between Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, OSN and plenty more, some of the best video content in the world is now available at the click of a button.

Here's a list of the most popular options available in the region.

Netflix

The daddy of streaming services, Netflix has dramatically increased production of its original content in the past 12 months or so.

It is home to many hit original series, including Stranger Things and Black Mirror, and original movies, which are among some of the biggest releases in recent years, including Marriage Story, Roma and The Irishman.

It also has a vast back catalogue of shows, movies, documentaries and more.

30-day free trial, then from Dh29 per month; netflix.com

OSN Streaming

As the region’s biggest legacy pay-TV provider, OSN was quick to spot both the threat and the opportunities presented by streaming services when it launched OSN Play in 2012.

The service offered existing TV subscribers thousands of hours of on-demand content, as well as access to select live-streaming channels from OSN's expansive stable.

Now, OSN Streaming, formerly Wavo, offers a selection of OSN's most popular series, movies and sports, for a contract-free, monthly payment.

Highlights include shows such as Suits, Game of Thrones, Vinyl and Normal People, movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and international cricket.

14-day free trial, then $9.99 (Dh36.70) per month; osn.com

StarzPlay Arabia

StarzPlay Arabia features a host of movies and TV series, many on an exclusive or first-showing basis.

The platform unsurprisingly has exclusive rights to premiere shows from its parent network, meaning shows can be watched here first and at the same time as they are broadcast in the US.

It also has an enviable back catalogue – including The Office, The Big Bang Theory and Friends.

FRIENDS -- "The One Where Rachel Has A Baby: Part 1 -- Episode 23 -- Aired 5/16/2002 -- Pictured (l-r): Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller - Photo by: Danny Feld/NBCU Photo Bank

The platform hosts more than 10,000 hours of movie and series viewing, with easily activated Arabic subtitles, and can be viewed on a host of devices, including existing Humax set-top boxes, alongside the usual array of phones, laptops and tablets.

The service also recently inked a deal with Warner Bros, meaning that plenty more shows from the DC Comics world will be coming to screens.

One-month free trial, then Dh40 per month; arabia.starzplay.com

Apple TV+

In November 2019, Apple launched its much-anticipated Apple TV+ service, with the help of a veritable who's who of Hollywood's elite, including Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Jason Momoa and Oprah Winfrey, and a diverse new line-up of original TV shows and films.

You can use the streaming service on all the usual Apple devices – iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac – and some non-Apple-affiliated platforms. However, in a move not quite typical of Apple, you will also be able to use it on select 2018, 2019 and newer Samsung smart TVs, and on Amazon Fire TV, LG, Roku, Sony and Vizio platforms.

Seven-day free trial, $4.99 (Dh18) a month; apple.com/ae/apple-tv-plus

Disney+

The same month that Apple TV+ debuted, The Walt Disney Company debuted its Disney+ service, offering the Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm Star Wars catalogues, plus new original shows such as WandaVision, The Falcon and Winter Soldier and Loki.

And while Disney+ isn't yet available in the UAE, owing to a tie-up with OSN, all its content is. As of April 9, all of Disney+ television shows and movies became available to viewers with a Dh35 subscription to OSN Steaming.

Obvious draws for Disney+ is its enormous back catalogue of Disney Classics: The Little Mermaid, Beauty and The Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, and plenty more. There's also all the largest entries from Marvel, and everything Star Wars – from the launch bonus of The Mandalorian to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Seven-day free trial, then $6.99 (Dh26) per month; disneyplus.com

Amazon Prime Video

The service launched in the Middle East in 2019. Popular shows on include The Boys, Jeremy Clarkson and co's post-Top Gear show The Grand Tour and dystopian drama The Man in the High Castle.

It also has popular shows such as Hanna, Good Omens, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel and Fleabag, alongside some third-party content including Hollywood films such as No Country for Old Men, Bollywood favourites including Mirzapur and Gully Boy, as well as dedicated sections for Hindi and Tamil movies, plus Arabic-subtitled and Arabic audio movies (note: these are mostly foreign films with no section for actual Arabic movies).

30-day free trial, then from Dh16 per month; primevideo.com

MBC Shahid

MBC's Shahid offers the world's biggest library of Arabic content, including MBC's vast catalogue of its own shows, such as Project Runway Middle East and The Voice Arabia, as well as dubbed or subtitled foreign content, from British TV shows such as Top Gear to Hollywood action, Turkish soaps and Korean romcoms.

And this year, after a tie-up with Disney and Fox, Shahid got even bigger – with the introduction of more than 3,000 hours of content. It means Marvel will be coming to the platform, as well as Disney's animated classics.

MBC’s top-rated channels are included in the new and improved Shahid, which includes nine HD channels, streamed live, as well as a catch-up service.

Dh19.99 per month; shahid.mbc.net

Viu

Viu, which is in Hong Kong and has several localised operations throughout Asia, launched in the Middle East in February 2017. That only makes it a year younger than Netflix, regionally.

The pan-Asian streaming service is also home to a wide selection of content, including Arabic, Bollywood, Korean, Indonesian and Filipino productions, which are frequently available with English and Arabic subtitles.

The platform offers two tiers: a free one and a premium one, which includes Fox+ programming with shows such as Family Guy, The Last Man on Earth, and 24 as well as Viu originals.

Basic service free, premium service is Dh30 per month; viu.com

SonyLiv

Created in 2013, SonyLiv now has more than 70 popular shows from Sony Pictures India’s content library and 1,500 movies (including Hollywood hits) that are available for streaming.

It features programming tailor-made for the South Asian diaspora in the region, with content in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, with English subtitles.

It's popular shows include The Kapil Sharma Show, Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, Patiala Babes, Ladies Special, and Super Dancer.

Like other streaming services, SonyLiv also offers original content, with shows such as romcom The Big Bong Connection and mini-series Kacho Papad Pako Papad.

From Dh22 per month; sonyliv.com

Eros Now

It is no surprise to find Bollywood getting in on the action, too. Eros Now is the online streaming arm of Mumbai's film producer and distributor Eros International, and allows subscribers to pick from the parent company's huge library of more than 2,000 movies, as well as hundreds of other films for which it has acquired digital rights. The site also offers a selection of Indian TV shows and music.

Basic service free, premium service Dh12 per month; erosnow.com

BeIN Connect

FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi, right, duels for the ball against Valencia's Carlos Soler during the Spanish Copa del Rey, semifinal, first leg, soccer match between FC Barcelona and Valencia at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

BeIN Connect has long been a favourite with football fans, thanks to its exclusive rights to live European football action, including the English Premier League, Spain’s Primeira Liga, the Italian Serie A and the French Ligue 1.

It has now expanded to offer its subscribers movies, entertainment and children’s content, too, although online subscribers are still limited to sports content and a few children’s channels.

From Dh19 per month for the basic package; connect.bein.net

iQiyi

Chinese streaming service iQiyi launched in the UAE in March. The platform features Chinese and Korean programming, including drama series, films, anime and variety shows, and includes the option for subtitles in 10 languages, including Arabic.

In addition to carrying many titles from Asia, iQiyi also puts out original content, such as My Roommate is a Gumiho, its first Korean original series. Other titles coming to the service include Korean series Jirisan, starring Jun Ji-hyun and Ju Ji-hoon in lead roles, as well as The Ferryman: Legends of Nanyang, its first South-East Asian original.

From Dh18 per month for the basic package; iqiyi.com