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The Best Streaming Services to Give as Holiday Gifts

Give the gift of streaming to all your favorite people and save yourself the hassle of last-minute shopping this holiday season.

shelbybown
shelbybown
Shelby Brown Editor II
Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
Credentials
  • She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
Shelby Brown
6 min read
See at Amazon
Stranger Things character Eleven stares intently at a crushed can of Coca-Cola while wearing sensors all over her head.
Netflix
Best original shows
See at Best Buy
Disney+
Disney Plus
Fun for the whole family
See at Best Buy
Steve Martin, Selena Gomez and Martin Short on the mic
Hulu
Best for TV show fans who've cut the cable cord
$50 at Best Buy
Halo on Paramount Plus
Paramount Plus
A classic TV fan's dream
See at Britbox
britbox
Britbox
Netflix for British telly
See at BroadwayHD
broadwayhd
BroadwayHD
Broadway shows from the comfort of your couch
See at Apple
ted-lasso-photo-020806
Apple TV Plus
Great original TV shows everyone is talking about
See at Shudder
haunt2
Shudder
For those who celebrate Halloween year-round
See at Crunchyroll
crunchyroll.png
Crunchyroll
For the die-hard anime fan
See at The Criterion Channel
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Criterion Channel
For the film buff in your life
See at Rakuten Viki
viki
Rakuten Viki
The ultimate service for K-Drama fans
See at Sundance Now
sundance
Sundance Now
Great for true crime fans
See at The Metropolitan Opera
porgy-and-bess
Met Opera on Demand
A night at the opera without leaving the house

When it comes to holiday shopping, the clock is actively ticking away for gift-purchasing. It's crunch time now, and if you've yet to find the ideal present for each person on your holiday list, you've still got worthwhile options to explore. The last thing you need to do is stress. In fact, you can avoid the last-minute holiday shopping woes by giving the gift of streaming. It's safe to say there is so much content available to watch from home nowadays. Whether they're a Broadway fanatic or love British TV, there's a service that will quench their TV-watching thirst. You can always gift a subscription to the best streaming services like Netflix, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime VideoHulu and Disney+ to enable binge-watching favorite shows or movies. Getting a streaming service as a present will keep your friend or loved one tapped into all the best entertainment from the comfort of their couch. It's a gift that fits everyone. 

Choosing a gift card (whether in-store or online) is an easy process. Almost every popular streaming service has a section on its website or app where your gift recipient can activate their subscription. Once that's done, they can stream immediately. 

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

Sarah Tew/CNET

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 onto 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, access to the service does too. If the recipient wants to keep using the service, they'll 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

Streaming veteran Netflix -- like Hulu -- offers gift cards online or in-store through retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target and Kroger. Netflix offers three subscription tiers: Standard ad-supported ($7 per month), Standard ($15.49 per month) and Premium ($23 per month), although you'll need to pay extra to share your password

Netflix is packed with movies, shows, documentaries and original content. With a subscription, you can also check out mobile games on the Netflix app for no extra charge. 

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 $15 monthly. A $25-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 ($18 per month). You can also subscribe to Hulu Plus Live TV ($77 per month) and Hulu Plus Live TV without ads ($90 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
Screenshot by CNET

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 gift a one-year subscription to Britbox this season with just a few clicks on the website.

broadwayhd
Screenshot by CNET

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 $20 or an annual subscription for $200. 

ted-lasso-photo-020806
Apple

Apple TV Plus -- Apple's $10 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. 

haunt2
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.  

crunchyroll.png
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 and 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
Screenshot by CNET

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 a month. Viki Pass Plus costs $10 a month or $100 a year after a seven-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 a 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.  

porgy-and-bess
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. 

A Met Opera on Demand subscription costs $15 per month or $150 per year. You can purchase Met gift cards through their website for any amount from $5 up to $2,000.