Do you ever find yourself channel surfing because you can’t find anything good to watch? If yes, it’s time to add a premium channel like STARZ to your cable or satellite TV package to fix this problem.
STARZ is an interesting option because it was one of the first cable networks to make the jump to streaming in 2015. With ten different channels and a VOD streaming platform, you’ll never run out of quality content to watch. Here’s what you need to know about STARZ.
What Does STARZ Offer?
STARZ is a cable and satellite network. It’s been around since 1994 and was originally a service of Encore. Currently, Lionsgate owns this network.
In 2015, STARZ launched its streaming platform. As a cable or satellite TV subscriber, you will get access to this streaming platform at no additional cost. You can also subscribe to this streaming platform if you’re not a cable or satellite customer or choose to purchase it as an add-on if you have an Amazon Prime Video or Hulu subscription.
The STARZ Network
The STARZ network includes a total of ten channels. There is a channel for everyone, and most cable and satellite providers offer a standard and high-definition version of each channel.
All the STARZ channels are premium channels. It means you will get a selection of recent movies, original content, and lesser-known hidden gems. Plus, you won’t have to sit through commercials!
The different STARZ channels feature 24/7 programming. There is always something on. There are two versions of each channel, one for the Eastern time zone and one for the Pacific time zone. The movie start times are different so that viewers can easily plan a movie night when a STARZ channel shows a blockbuster or a recent release. Depending on your TV provider, you’ll either get the Eastern or Pacific version of the channels but you won’t get both.
Another thing we like about the STARZ network is that the channels keep playing one movie or episode after the other. Some movie channels play the same movie two or three times in a row to give everyone a chance to catch it. Playing each movie only once frees up a lot of airtime to show a wider selection of content, but it also means you’ll have to check the STARZ broadcasting schedule to avoid missing movie start times.
What Are the Channels Included?
Let’s take a closer look at the different STARZ channels:
- STARZ. The main STARZ channel features a mix of blockbusters, international movies, and indie films. STARZ usually adds movies to this channel eight months to one year after their theater release. You will find high-quality movies playing all day long, and this channel usually plays new movies on Friday and Saturday nights. You can also watch original TV shows on this channel.
- STARZ Cinema. The cinema channel is a great addition to your TV bundle if you like independent movies. You’ll find arthouse films and lesser-known releases on this channel. It’s a great way to discover movies you might not have watched otherwise.
- STARZ Comedy. This channel features a mix of classic and recent comedy movies.
- STARZ Edge. The STARZ Edge channel focuses on movies for young adults.
- STARZ in Black. STARZ initially launched this channel as a joint venture with BET. It’s a channel where you’ll find movies that celebrate Black and urban culture. You can watch movies with Black leads as well as African productions.
- STARZ Kids & Family. This channel is perfect if you have kids. It only shows movies with a G, PG, or PG-13 rating as well as kid-friendly TV shows and cartoons.
- STARZ West. This channel is about Western movies and includes a mix of classic and recent movies.
- STARZ Encore. This channel shows a mix of recent and older movies. There are additional Encore channels dedicated to different genres, including Action, Black, Classic, Family, Suspense, and West.
Depending on your cable or satellite TV provider, you might get three additional STARZ channels, including MoviePlex, IndiePlex, and RetroPlex. MoviePlex shows high-quality movies from the 1970s to the 2000s. IndiePlex features foreign and independent movies while RetroPlex shows older movies from the 1910s to 1980s.
The STARZ network features a total of seven channels, with an additional ten channels if your TV provider includes STARZ Encore and the MoviePlex channels in the packages they offer. For instance, Dish doesn’t include the MoviePlex channels.
Is the STARZ Network a Good Value?
Pricing is very reasonable given the number of channels you get and the quality of the content shown. However, you will typically have to pay an add-on to get access to these channels.
If you’re an Xfinity subscriber, you can add STARZ to your bundle for an additional $8.99 a month. Spectrum customers have to pay a little more at $9.99 a month.
Note that the STARZ network usually comes with more expensive TV packages. For instance, Spectrum has a Gold package that costs $94.99 a month for the first year with over 200 channels, including STARZ.
STARZ VOD and Streaming
If you decide to add STARZ to your cable or satellite bundle, you will have access to the VOD and streaming platform of the network.
Streaming Platform Content
This platform adds value to your TV bundle because it lets you catch STARZ originals when you’re ready to sit down and binge-watch a few episodes. STARZ usually shows premieres of new episodes on Saturdays but catching them when they air can be difficult. Plus, new episodes are usually available on-demand a few hours before their premiere on the network.
The streaming platform features a mix of old and new seasons of TV shows and a huge selection of movies. STARZ has an agreement with Sony to add their movies to this platform, which means you can watch blockbusters like the Spider-Man movies or Jumanji. However, this agreement will end in 2022, which means you might get fewer blockbusters on STARZ after that.
You can find over 1,000 titles on the STARZ streaming platform. It might seem small compared to Netflix and its streaming library of more than 15,000 titles, but bigger isn’t always better when it comes to streaming. Besides, STARZ focuses on high-quality movies and major releases which means it might be easier to find something to watch.
STARZ VOD Platform Features
The STARZ app will work on four devices at once. You can watch on your phone, tablet, computer, or Smart TV. You can also find apps for gaming systems. STARZ is an interesting option for families when other streaming platforms charge you more if you want to watch on more than one device simultaneously.
Another feature we like is that you can download shows and movies to save on a device and watch offline. This watch offline feature is convenient if you like to watch content on the go and don’t want to use your data plan.
We also like the fact that STARZ is flexible with its streaming platform. There are different ways to access it, including getting it as a part of your cable TV bundle, subscribing as an add-on to another service like Amazon or Hulu, or getting a standalone subscription to the platform.
The STARZ Streaming Experience
The browsing experience is where the STARZ streaming platform falls short. You’ll find broad categories on the homepage, but because a lot of the movies featured are hit movies, you will find the same movie listed in several categories.
For instance, the same movie can appear in the action, popular, trending, and Hollywood blockbusters categories. It might even pop up again in your personalized recommendations.
There are a total of 15 categories you can browse. Within each category, you can filter movies by release year but it’s difficult to get a more curated experience. There are even fewer categories to browse for TV shows.
On average, it takes viewers more than 17 minutes to find something to watch on Netflix. Decision fatigue is an issue you will encounter on most streaming platforms, but STARZ makes it even harder to pick a movie due to the limited selection of filters and lack of curation features.
Another potential drawback of the STARZ streaming platform is the limited selection of TV shows. While there is an impressive selection of quality movies to watch, most shows are STARZ originals.
How Does STARZ’s Original Programming Compare to Other Premium Networks?
With premium networks prioritizing original programming over acquiring the streaming rights to more shows, the quality of the original shows you get with different networks or streaming platforms is an important consideration.
STARZ currently has eight originals running, with most of them in the drama category. Networks like Showtime have a wider range of original shows at the moment, including docuseries and animation. HBO even has original programming in the sports and reality categories. Besides, HBO has 20 originals running at the moment, which is more than twice as many as STARZ.
STARZ offers some compelling original shows. Outlander is currently the network’s most popular original with over 132,000 reviews on IMDB and a score of 8.4. Power was another hit for the network, with an IMDB score of 8.1.
Even though Outlander has a large fanbase, the success of this show is still far behind the Netflix hit Stranger Things, with over 862,000 reviews on IMDB.
You won’t get as many originals as with other networks, but STARZ offers some quality shows and truly shines in the drama category. There could be some exciting new projects in the future, including three more seasons for Power.
Pros and Cons of STARZ
We think STARZ is a worthwhile addition to your TB bundle but there are a few pros and cons to consider before you upgrade your current package.
- STARZ stands out by offering quality movies, recent releases, and movies you might have never discovered otherwise.
- With over 10 channels, there is always something to watch for everyone in the family. STARZ has more channels compared to Epix with five channels or HBO with a total of seven channels.
- The streaming platform adds value to your TV bundle. You can watch a large selection of movies and shows on-demand, stream with up to four devices simultaneously, and download shows and movies to watch offline.
- STARZ currently offers a free one-week trial. You can add the network to your bundle or sign up for the streaming platform to test the service.
- STARZ is still behind other networks when it comes to original programming, but originals like Power or Outlander suggest the quality will continue improving.
- There are different ways of watching STARZ. If you don’t want to add the network to your cable or satellite bundle, you can get a membership for the streaming platform or purchase it as an add-on to another subscription.
- Adding STARZ to your TV bundle costs more than some other premium movie channels. Some cable providers currently offer a year of HBO for free.
- The streaming app has a small selection of shows, especially if you don’t care for original programming. You’ll find this same emphasis on movies over shows with the different channels.
- The streaming app lacks features to help you filter content and curate your experience. You can only create one user, which means recommendations will not be relevant for everyone, and there is no kid-friendly version of the app like with Netflix.
Who Should Get STARZ?
We think STARZ is worth it for those who watch a lot of movies. The cost is slightly higher than other premium channels, but STARZ delivers a great value with over ten different channels and a streaming platform.
The streaming platform has fewer titles than other streaming giants like Netflix. We don’t recommend getting the streaming platform alone for this reason, but STARZ is definitely worth it if you add it to a TV package since you’ll get over ten premium channels and a VOD platform for less than a Netflix subscription would cost you.
We recommend it for families since every family member will find something to watch thanks to the variety of channels included, besides being able to stream content at the same time on different devices. Movie lovers will definitely appreciate STARZ thanks to the mix of hit movies, classic flicks, and independent releases.