The Best Streaming Services to Give as Holiday Gifts

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Shopping for your friends and loved ones during the holiday season can be quite a challenge. There’s invariably that one person on your gift list who seems to already have everything they could possibly need. And the last thing they want is yet another random item cluttering up their living space. Thankfully, you can avoid all that with the gift of streaming. Yes, that’s right — you can give a Netflix, Apple TV, Hulu and even Disney Plus subscription to a loved one. Not only will a streaming service help your loved ones stay entertained at home no matter what, but it’s also the gift that keeps on giving.

This story is part of Gift Guide, our year-round collection of the best gift ideas.

Whether you buy a gift card online or in-store, many of the most sought-after streaming services have a dedicated section for redeeming digital gift card codes so that your giftee can activate their subscription at their convenience, whether they want to revisit their favorite movie or sink into the couch and binge-watch some excellent original programming.

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Netflix? Disney Plus? Streaming services make quick and easy gifts.

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Before you buy a streaming gift card, there are a few things to consider. Your giftee will need a streaming device or smart TV to enjoy the service. (If they don’t have one, congratulations! You’ve stumbled into another gift idea. CNET can help you navigate affordable, quality streaming devices and smart TVs.) In addition, once the gift card or gift subscription runs out, naturally, access to the service does, too. If they want to keep using the service, they need to add a credit card for payments.

Here’s a list of some of the best streaming service gift subscriptions you can give to family and friends this year, from popular choices to more niche products for people with particular viewing sensibilities.

Stranger Things character Eleven stares intently at a crushed can of Coca-Cola while wearing sensors all over her head.

Netflix

Disney+

Disney

Disney Plus is the only streaming platform where you can find the majority of Pixar and Marvel releases, Star Wars and Marvel movies, as well as Disney Vault movies, fun documentaries and plenty of TV shows. Gift your loved one a Disney Plus gift card, which they can put towards a subscription to the service. Disney Plus gift cards can be purchased online at various retailers. 

A Disney Plus subscription costs $8 per month for the ad-based plan. The ad-free version costs $14 a month. Disney also offers two bundles. Trio Basic combines Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN Plus with ads for $13 monthly. A $20-per-month Trio Premium bundle gets you all three streaming platforms, and only ESPN Plus has ads. 

Steve Martin, Selena Gomez and Martin Short on the mic

Hulu

You can purchase physical or digital Hulu gift cards through retailers like Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon, Walgreens, Kroger and PayPal. Hulu has a few different subscription tiers to choose from like basic Hulu ($8 per month) and ad-free basic Hulu ($15 per month, which jumps to $18 per month starting October 12). You can also subscribe to Hulu Plus Live TV ($70 per month) and Hulu Plus Live TV without ads ($83 per month). Hulu Plus Live TV now includes Disney Plus and ESPN Plus.

Hulu houses a huge catalog of movies, shows, documentaries and original content. 

Halo on Paramount Plus

Paramount Plus

Paramount Plus, formerly CBS All Access, includes content from CBS, BET, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV and the Smithsonian Channel, as well as sports content from the NFL, SEC and more. Paramount Plus’ basic plan (with ads) is $6 per month after a seven-day free trial. You can also upgrade to ad-free version with Showtime for $12 per month after the free trial. 

You can purchase a Paramount Plus gift card in-store or online through retailers like Best Buy, GameStop, Walmart, Sam’s Club and more. 

britbox

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Bribox is one of my favorite niche streaming services. You can check out original content like The Long Call, riveting mysteries like Luther, The Fall, Poirot, classic comedies like Keeping Up Appearances and the Vicar of Dibley, dramas like Downton Abbey and MI-5 and so much more. Britbox costs $9 per month or $90 annually after a seven-day free trial. 

You can give a one-year subscription of Britbox this season with just a few clicks on the website.

broadwayhd

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No more breaking the bank buying theater tickets or scouring the dark corners of the internet for a bootleg. BroadwayHD includes musicals, Broadway classics, Tony Award winners, Shakespeare, ballet and more. 

You can give one month of BroadwayHD for $12 or an annual subscription for $130. 

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Apple

Apple TV Plus — Apple’s $7 per month streaming service — has released some popular exclusive shows like Ted Lasso, The Morning Show, Dickinson and Schmigadoon. The service also has original documentaries and movies like Finch, starring Tom Hanks, Coda, and Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry.

There’s not a dedicated Apple TV Plus gift card, but you can purchase a regular Apple gift card that the recipient can put toward their subscription. 

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Momentum Pictures

Shudder is the ultimate streaming service for horror movie fans. With a subscription, you can watch classics like Children of the Corn and Carnival of Souls, as well as Shudder Originals, sci-fi, creature features, psychological thrillers and more. 

A Shudder subscription costs $7 per month or $72 per year after a seven-day free trial. Like some of the other services on this list, it doesn’t offer a dedicated gift card, but you can buy a prepaid cash card for the recipient to put toward the subscription.  

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Crunchyroll

You can find a good selection of anime on other streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu, but Crunchyroll is a well-known hub for manga, games, news, as well as popular anime shows like Attack on Titan, Bleach, My Hero Academia, Death Note and Inuyasha. You can use Crunchyroll for free, but the Premium tier unlocks an ad-free, HD-viewing experience across multiple devices. In addition, you’ll get early access to anime titles within about an hour of the original broadcast in Japan, as well as discounts on DVDs and more. 

Crunchyroll offers three premium tiers — Fan ($8 a month), Mega Fan ($10 a month) or Ultimate Fan ($15 a month) after a 14-day free trial. You can give a premium subscription tier through the website. 

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Criterion

The film buff in your life will love a subscription to the Criterion Channel. The service includes more than 1,000 classic, contemporary, art-house, international and independent films. With a subscription, you can check out films like Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps, An Affair to Remember, Bride of Frankenstein, Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush, Paris is Burning and Frances Ha. 

You can order a gift subscription to the Criterion Channel on its website. Choose a one-month subscription for $11, all the way up to a year for $100. 

viki

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Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime have plenty of Korean dramas (my heart personally hasn’t recovered from Netflix’s Crash Landing on You), but if you’re looking for a dedicated service for Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese shows and movies. You can watch Viki for free with ads, or subscribe to Viki Pass Standard for $6 per month. Viki Pass Plus costs $10 per month or $100 per year after a 7-day free trial. Viki Pass unlocks more shows and movies, presents content in HD quality without ads, as well as first access to exclusives, originals and more. 

Unfortunately, the service doesn’t have gift cards anymore, so if you want to buy a Viki Pass for a loved one, the best way is to buy a prepaid cash card for the recipient to put toward the subscription.  

sundance

Sundance Now/Screenshot by CNET

Sundance Now offers collections of award-winning dramas, thrillers, documentaries, true crime, international movies and more. The service is a great spot to explore high-quality, off-the-beaten-path titles like One Million American Dreams, God’s Own Country, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, and more. 

The service costs $7 per month or $60 annually after a seven-day free trial. Sundance Now doesn’t offer subscription gifting, but you can always buy a prepaid cash card for the recipient to put toward the subscription.  

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Screenshot by CNET

In a similar vein to BroadwayHD, the theater-goer in your life might enjoy a subscription to Met Opera on Demand. The service includes full-length operas like Madama Butterfly, Die Walküre, Aida, Carmen and more. Met Opera on Demand also includes a Live in HD series, which adds new titles every month. 

Give your loved one a one-year Met Opera on Demand subscription for $150 through its website.



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