Posted: 8:10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 23, 2013
By Elisabeth Kramer
Gotta get some early 20th-century period drama into your life? Understandable. Whether you’re one of the lucky viewers in the UK who got to start watching Downton Abbey Season 4 in September or you are patiently waiting in the US for PBS to join the party in January 2014, we could all use a little more Downton. So where can you watch online? It depends on what you’re looking for.
The series is back and I want to watch it. Now. If you live in the UK, there are plenty of options on how you can get your weekly dose o' Downton. The show airs live on ITV at 9 p.m. Sundays and also online at ITV. If you miss it night of, never fear. ITV kindly uploads the episode to its ITV Player.
I want to marathon Season 3.Amazon Prime Instant Video has got you covered. Right now, Prime’s the only site (legally) offering Season 3 as well as Seasons 1 and 2. The latter two are the most-watched TV seasons on Prime Instant Video, according to Amazon. Obvi.
I’d like to remember happier times at the Abbey. Just a month ago, we would have suggested heading on over to Netflix, but as of July 1, the company pulled Season 1from its streaming line-up (you can still get the DVDs). That leaves two options: Back to Prime or give Hulu Plus a try.
I’d like to skip paying the upfront fee of $79 for Prime. Tell me about Hulu Plus. As of publishing, Hulu Plus has got Season 1 and Season 2 available. The cost difference? Hulu Plus offers a $7.99 a month plan, though that ends up being about $20 more a year than Prime. Not that that will matter for much longer — soon Prime will be the only legal option for streaming Downton.
Excuse me?! Explain. Back in February, Amazon signed a content licensing agreement with PBS Distributionthat gave the mega-site exclusive streaming rights to Downton. That includes season 4 and, if it happens, season 5. As such, PC Magazine reports that “beginning on an unknown future date, [Amazon] Prime Instant Video will be the only digital subscription service from which viewers can stream the show.”
Upside: Prime offers customers a 30-day free trial.