Showtime Review 2021: Everything You Need to Know About the Streaming Service

What is Showtime? 

Showtime is an over-the-top (OTT) premium subscription service that provides a commercial-free experience similar to HBO and Starz. Launched in 1976, Showtime has developed into one of the most successful premium services on the market. Owned by ViacomCBS, formerly Viacom, Showtime is now one of the most popular premium channels available. 

The service benefits from ViacomCBS’ relationship with properties like Paramount Pictures. Its catalog includes a variety of content, such as movies, original series, boxing matches, stand-up comedy specials, and more. In the first quarter of 2021, ViacomCBS reported a total of 36 million global subscribers, with most viewers subscribed to Showtime and Paramount+. That represents an impressive increase of 6 million viewers from the end of February 2021; Paramount+ launched on March 4, 2021.  

Showtime’s streaming service is nearly the same as Showtime Anytime — a website that features Showtime’s content. The primary difference is that Showtime Anytime is free for users who pay for the Showtime channel via a cable provider. The app serves as an extension of their cable service. On the other hand, Showtime OTT is a stand-alone service that can be purchased independently from any cable provider. The OTT Showtime app was designed to compete with HBO NOW (which has since been replaced by HBO Max). Showtime competes with other premium network apps with a backlog of original series as well as new and popular movies.

Showtime plans and pricing 

A standalone Showtime subscription costs $11/mo. — less than HBO’s ad-free plan and a bit more than Starz. You can also purchase the channel as an add-on through streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video or Hulu — the price varies by provider.

If you’re looking for Showtime free trial and deals information, we have the latest details on what’s available to you.

 Showtime
Monthly price$11/mo.
Free trial length30 days
Number of shows and films90+ shows and 550+ movies
Offline downloadsYes
Streaming quality1080p/720p

How Showtime compares

Showtime isn’t the only app on the block, and you might be wondering why you should choose it over the competition. Here is how Showtime stacks up with other popular streaming apps: HBO Max, Paramount+, and Starz

Showtime vs. HBO Max

HBO Max is about the same price as Showtime, with its ad-free plan available starting at $10. HBO Max does have the added advantage of allowing users to upgrade to an ad-free experience at a price tag of $15/mo. Both platforms have original content, but HBO Max has more shows from other networks, including the entire catalog of Friends. While Showtime has a generous 30-day trial period, HBO Max no longer offers a free trial. 

Showtime vs. Paramount+

Showtime and Paramount+ (formerly known as CBS All Access) are in the same platform family. Yet, they tend to have unique content. Showtime originals are only found on the Showtime service, and the Paramount+ app has the original content that used to live on CBS All Access, plus some new originals. Paramount+ does have Showtime beat in the price department; the monthly cost of Paramount+ is just $5. Students can also receive a 25% discount. The free trial period for Paramount+ is currently 7 days. 

Showtime vs. Starz

Starz is just $9 per month when purchased independently. The network doesn’t have as many original series as Showtime, but Starz does have a ton of classic movies, including Top Gun and Bring it On. Like Showtime, Starz requires no contract. The trial period for Starz is much shorter than Showtime’s trial at just 7 days.

Showtime Interface

If you’re familiar with Netflix and similar streaming services, you’ll feel at home on the Showtime app (or browser site). When you log in, you’re met with the latest free episodes released that week and recommendations based on your previous viewing. If you choose the “browse” icon, you can choose from seven categories: Free Full Episodes, Live TV, Series, Movies, Sports, Comedy, and Documentaries. Within each category, you’ll find subcategories. Under Movies, for instance, you can choose from Action, Classics, Comedy, etc. 

Users can add something to “My List” by tapping the icon beneath any title on its description page. This makes it easier to find your favorites later. Finally, you can search for a movie or show by title.

Showtime supported devices 

The Showtime app is available on nearly every major streaming-compatible device, from Amazon Fire TVs to tablets. The service is compatible with the following devices:

What to watch on Showtime

showtime coming soon

When it comes to movies in Showtime’s catalog, you’ll find everything from Oscar winners to fan favorites. Some of the most popular titles include The Upside, Green Book, Molly’s Game, The Wind, Five Feet Apart, and Second Act. Showtime’s catalog has 78 shows and over 550 movies. Compared to Starz, which has over 150 shows and 1,250 movies, there’s no question of which service has more content. But while Showtime has a smaller overall library, it features more successful original series than Starz

All of Showtime’s content is sorted into eight major sections. 

  • Series 
  • Movies 
  • Comedy 
  • Reality/Docs 
  • Sports 
  • After Hours 
  • Live 
  • Coming Soon

Original Series on Showtime

Like HBO, Showtime produces several popular original series like Kidding, Billions, Homeland, Ray Donovan, The L Word: Generation Q, and Shameless. There are also past hits like Dexter, Californication, Nurse Jackie, Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, Stargate SG-1, Penny Dreadful, and Weeds. Cinephiles can enjoy programming like David Lynch’s third season of Twin Peaks. And reality show enthusiasts can get lost in Big Brother After Dark, a spinoff of the popular CBS series. 

Live TV on Showtime

A Showtime subscription offers live broadcasts as content airs in real-time. This includes sports, specifically boxing matches, and select PPV events. But don’t expect to get additional sports like you would on ESPN+. But there’s still plenty of sports content available on the channel, including shows like Below the Belt with Brendan Schaub, 100%: Julian Edelman, Shut Up And Dribble, and more. 

showtime live tv

Kids Movies and Shows on Showtime

When it comes to shows and movies for kids, Showtime’s catalog leaves something to be desired — the service doesn’t have many popular children’s titles. Movies in this section include The Baby-sitters Club, Charlotte’s Web, Barnyard, RV, School of Rock, and Spy Kids: All the Time in the World. There aren’t any kids shows, just a Family section with a limited selection of movies. 

Showtime features 

DVR Storage

Showtime doesn’t offer a DVR storage option like Hulu + Live TV or YouTube TV, but you can download movies and shows to watch when you’re away from Wi-Fi. To put that into perspective, you can also download content on the Starz app for offline viewing.

Users and Permissions

You can log in to Showtime from up to five devices. This works well if you have a large household or like to vary how you view movies and shows. That said, you’ll only be able to stream on three devices simultaneously. Competitor HBO allows you to stream on up to three devices concurrently, while Starz only lets you stream on two. 

Parental Controls

The Showtime app has parental controls that you can manage for each account. This is important as the catalog contains explicit and adult content that’s not acceptable for children. To access the parental controls, open the Showtime app, and navigate to Settings. Click on Viewing Preferences and select the maturity ratings you prefer. 

showtime after dark

The final cut

Showtime’s streaming service has a healthy collection of new movies, popular original series, sports shows, and other programming. Showtime may not have the most extensive new movie collection, but it stands out when it comes to originals like Dexter, Shameless, and Homeland. Showtime’s free trial gives you plenty of time to try things out for yourself.