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Showtime streaming explained: What you get, and how you can get it

Jared Newman | July 20, 2015
HBO is no longer the only premium pay-TV channel to venture outside the bundle. It now has competition from Showtime, which also lets you subscribe without tying you to an expensive package from a third-party service provider.

Aside from being cheaper than Showtime's standalone service, Hulu's main advantage is app support, with availability on Android, iOS, Apple TV, Xbox One, Nintendo's Wii and Wii U, Roku, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Amazon's Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Chromecast, certain smart TVs (LG, Samsung, and Vizio), certain Blu-ray players (LG, Samsung, and Sony), and

There's just one catch: To watch Showtime's channel in real time, you must use on a desktop browser, as none of Hulu's native apps support live video.

It's separate from--but similar to--Showtime Anytime

Showtime already offers a streaming service called Showtime Anytime, but it's only meant for people who get the channel through a traditional pay-TV provider. (It does, however, work just fine if you can mooch a login from a legitimate subscriber.) The standalone and cable-based apps are nearly identical in terms of content and design, though Showtime Anytime is available on more platforms.

Password sharing is fine, within limits

While HBO's policies on account sharing are murky, Showtime has clear limits: Subscribers can activate up to five devices at a time, and they can stream from up to three devices at once. (Showtime's website lets you manage your device activations if you go over the limit.) In other words, it's enough to share with family members and maybe a close friend, and that's about it.

It's only for U.S. users

Showtime's terms of use state that you can only use the service from inside the United States, cautioning that the network "may use technology to limit access to the Services from outside the U.S." We've seen other networks like HBO crack down on VPN access, so don't be surprised if Showtime uses similar tactics.


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