Showtime review

Showtime highlights

  • Starting at $5.99/mo.
  • Available as a standalone service or as an add-on to many top streaming services
  • Start a free 30-day trial

Showtime review

Showtime is a television network and video streaming service that has a strong selection of original content alongside on-demand entertainment and live TV. It offers users some of the best new original TV shows, such as Billions, Homeland and Ray Donovan. The service is available directly or through third-party streaming providers like Amazon Prime Video and Hulu as well as cable and TV providers.

Viacom launched Showtime in 1976 as a cable service in California. The media giant introduced the service nationwide as a competitor to HBO and other paid-for cable networks in 1978. 

How much does Showtime cost?

We took a look at how much it costs for people to sign up for Showtime, both directly and through third-party providers. We also compared the services the channel is available through on both the Showtime features they provide and the benefits they offer users.

ShowtimeAmazon Prime VideoHulu (Ad-supported)Sling TV BlueSling TV Orange Sling TV Blue & Orange
Starting monthly price$10.99/mo.$8.99/mo.$5.99/mo.$30/mo.$30/mo.$45/mo.
Price of Showtime add-onN/A $8.99/mo.$10.99/mo. $10.99/mo.$10/mo.$10/mo.
Number of Showtime channels1691999
Number of shows/movies78 shows, 560 movies1,981 shows, 18,405 movies3,588 shows, 6,656 movies47 channels32 channels54 channels
Number of simultaneous streams425 at home, 3 mobile224
Free trial length30 days30 days7 daysNoneNoneNone
Original contentYesYesYesNoNoNo

Why Showtime may be the right streaming service for you

Showtime is an inexpensive option for getting early access to the latest new dramas. It’s an effective method for cutting the cord when paired with other premium streaming services and free options such as IMDb TV or Tibo.

User experience

Showtime provides a simple user experience that’s consistent across various devices and platforms. Content in the web app is organized in a bold tile format as well as broad categories. Showtime also has simple video controls, using fast-forward and rewind features as opposed to the ten-second skipping that has recently become popular. All Showtime apps remember what the viewer recently watched. However, the experience will differ when purchased through a third-party provider as the viewer will watch Showtime content through that service, such as Amazon Prime Video, AT&T TV Now, Hulu or Sling TV.

Device compatibility

Showtime on demand is available through a desktop player and across various devices, including:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Android
  • Android TV
  • Apple iOS
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • Roku
  • Xbox One

Showtime features you’ll love

We took a closer look at the features that make Showtime so popular and what users can expect if they sign up for the service directly through the provider.  

Content insight

When users click on the content that they want to watch, the service pops up useful information such as a brief synopsis, rating, release year, duration, actors and director.

Live movie schedule

Showtime subscribers get a choice of up to 16 multiplex channels, including eight themed choices that run around-the-clock: Sho, Sho 2, Sho Extreme, Sho Next, Showcase, Showcase Beyond, Showtime and Show Women. In some regions, they are supplemented by The Movie Channel and Movie Channel Extra, which are also owned by Viacom. This makes it quick and easy for users to find their favorite types of films.

Take entertainment anywhere

Subscribers to Showtime directly get free access to Showtime Anytime, which enables them to download content to their mobile devices to watch whenever and wherever they’d like. The feature is also available through most third-party providers.

Access through an existing streaming provider

Users that already have an existing video streaming provider can simply purchase Showtime as an add-on. This enables them to watch Showtime’s great content through their preferred streaming service platform.

Great accessibility

Showtime provides a closed captioning service through its apps and web player, which is great for watching content in a variety of situations or for hearing-impaired viewers.

What’s on Showtime

Showtime’s best viewing is its original programming. Hit dramas like Dexter, Homeland and Ray Donovan should be at the top of the must-watch list for any Showtime subscriber, along with binge-worthy series like Billions and The Affair.

Other standout Showtime original series include Californication, starring David Duchovny and the critically-acclaimed third season of Twin Peaks. It’s also home to Queer As Folk and The L Word.

Showtime has a range of gripping dramas that came about as collaborations between American and British producers. In addition to Shameless and The Tudors, viewers can also enjoy horror drama Penny Dreadful, which stars Billie Piper, Josh Hartnett and former James Bond actor Timothy Dalton.

Showtime’s on-demand selection includes a list of films that took home the Oscar for Best Picture. On this list are Shakespeare In Love, wartime drama The English Patient, Oliver Stone’s star-packed Platoon and Colin Firth leading the way in The King’s Speech. But perhaps the pick of these Oscar-winners is Spotlight, a gripping true story following a newspaper’s investigation into the Catholic Church in Boston starring Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams.

Further movies to add to the watch list include Denzel Washington in American Gangster and Tom Cruise starring in Days of Thunder and Valkyrie, plus a host of cult hits like Mad Max, Point Break and Total Recall. Add to that several timeless classic movies such as Jerry Maguire, Major League starring Charlie Sheen and Stand By Me.

True crime documentaries and docuseries are extremely popular at the moment, and Showtime doesn’t disappoint with its choice of eye-opening documentaries. Top of the list is Active Shooter: America Under Fire, a series that explores mass shootings and the devastating effects they have on families and survivors. Other standouts include Murder In The Bayou, a mini-series that explores the unsolved deaths of five women in Louisiana between 2005 and 2009 and Dark Net, which looks deep into the netherworld of the Internet.

Showtime also has a range of niche exploratory shows, including several interesting sports documentaries. This includes 100%: Julian Edelman, a documentary on NFL’s Super Bowl 2019 MVP, a must-watch for any NHL fans in All Access: Quest for the Stanley Cup and a fascinating series that goes behind the scenes of a college football team in A Season With Florida State Football.

The takeaway

Showtime provides a great entertainment package that includes original programming, Oscar-winning movies, cult classics and more. In addition to its on-demand streaming service, it also enables viewers to watch scheduled content across its 16 live channels. The depth and quality of content available make the service an option worth considering, be it through Showtime directly or via a third-party provider.

Rob Latham

Rob Latham is a writer focused on technology, music, entertainment and sports. He is particularly passionate about the role that technology plays in improving peoples’ lives and helping businesses to work more effectively. He’s written marketing content for global B2B technology brands and start-ups, founded his own music blog and is a regular contributor to soccer publications. His professional background is in content marketing, public relations and journalism, and he has a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism.