Best streaming services in the Middle East: How to watch TV shows and movies online in the UAE

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Our habits of consuming media have changed drastically over the last decade. Instead of being restricted in front of our TV at a time decided by a particular channel, we now watch shows and movies on demand, when we like and where we like, such as on our TVs, tablets, phones or computers.

Services such as Netflix and Amazon have helped shape this behavior and costs for subscribing to these are also much lower than what we used to pay for the likes or Orbit and Showtime a decade back. 

If you're new to the UAE, or the video streaming world in general, we've rounded up some of the best video streaming services available in the region.

Netflix

NETFLIX

Netflix has become a household name in streaming TV with a relentless marketing campaign and an increasingly powerful raft of original content including smash hits like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. 

Like most of its competitors, the movie catalogue has some gaping holes (especially if you are looking for recent blockbusters) but also a bunch of films you'll be champing at the bit to see again.

Starz Play

STARZ PLAY

STARZ PLAY is a Dubai based streaming service with ties to US based STARZ. This gives the streaming service access to a lot of original content. 

It also has deals with Disney and other networks such as SHOWTIME to bring shows like Billions streamed at the same time as the US. 

STARZ PLAY also has content in Arabic and Bollywood content and costs $9.99 per month which includes 4K and offline access.

Wavo

WAVO

WAVO lets you watch Live TV as well as series, movies and sports. However, each of these services is priced separately.

For TV, you pay $9.99 per month while the movies package cost $6.99. Sports is an additional $13.99 per month and that does not include WWE Network which is charged at an additional $9.99. 

Even though there is a good selection of movies and series which includes HBO programs, WAVO can end up costing quite a bit more than any other provider listed in this roundup.

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon's Prime Video service is a big slice of value for those that have signed up for the Prime service - which is for $99 per year and gives free and fast delivery on a lot of items. 

Amazon is also competing with Netflix to bring its own exclusive shows such as The Grand Tour and The Man in the High Castle.

icflix

Like STARZ PLAY, icflix is also based out of the region, though its content selection in English seems more limited than some of the other services. 

It does have a decent selection of Arabic programming though you might want to check out the free SHAHID service from MBC before you sign up for it which costs $8.99 per month.

SHAHID Plus

If you are looking for purely Arabic content, the online streaming service from MBC is a great place to start. 

It's free and has a lot of TV series and movies. There is a paid version of the service called SHAHID PLUS that costs US$ 4.99 per month and offers a commercial free service with access to exclusive programming as well.