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Great original shows
8 / 10  Review Rating

It seems like every premium cable channel now fancies itself a Netflix competitor, and Starz is no exception. The HBO competitor has tried to break into the OTT world with a couple different apps, and it's also now available as an add-on subscription for Amazon Prime. Is it worth your hard-earned money? Let's take a look.

User Experience

From the beginning, the Starz experience is reminiscent of HBO NOW‘s. To create a streaming account, you'll have to go through either the iOS App Store or the Google Play store. The service is very much native to mobile devices.

Starz's app sorts its content by type and then sorts it further into sliding rows.
Starz's app sorts its content by type and then sorts it further into sliding rows.

The content is laid out simply but effectively in the Starz app, though the service prefers to sort them into rows or recommendation rather than allowing you to look through them alphabetically (as is possible with HBO GO).

Starz's on-screen controls (screenshot from iOS)
Starz's on-screen controls (screenshot from iOS)

On mobile, the service uses familiar on-screen controls – tap the screen during a program and you'll be able to pause, move in ten-second jumps, or seek with a slider.

The service also offers an in-browser web app, which was decent enough, though it lacked a back button on some screens (I had to use my browser's back button).

On platforms other than mobile devices and computers, however, Starz is a bit harder to use. On Roku and Fire TV, you have to use an app called Starz Play (an app that's also available on Android, for some reason). Starz Play is a big step down from the regular mobile app, and for some reason it seems to be missing some of the movies that are available through the flagship app. It also presents its movies in one big list in no apparent order.

For the Prime add-on subscription, the user experience is, of course, the same as Prime – the Starz content just gets sorted into the Amazon interface. Oddly, your Prime login won't get you access to the Starz app, so the two are mutually exclusive options. Check out our review of Amazon Prime for more on the Amazon Prime user experience.


Starz selection

Starz's content is an interesting mix, but for the most part it lags sorely behind HBO. Its best-known original series include Outlander, Ash vs. Evil Dead (based on the Evil Dead films), Camelot, and The Girlfriend Experience.

The service also boasts a fair number of movies, though these are a decidedly mixed bag – beloved films like Dances With Wolves and Monsters Inc. share space with forgettable movies like I, Robot (with Will Smith – remember?). Still, I was pretty impressed with the number of quality films in the catalog.

Starz fans probably already realized this, but I was a little surprised to find that Starz also includes a solid collection of classic TV shows – programs like Gunsmoke, The Jeffersons, Magnum, P.I., and the A-Team.

Streaming Quality

Streaming quality was pretty impressive and consistent across all of the devices (and apps) that I tried. It was very smooth on mobile (I used iOS on Verizon and Android on Wi-Fi) and worked well on Amazon Fire TV and Roku, too.

HD programs were in HD, loading times were short, and all in all, I really don't have much to complain about in this section.


I touched on this in the User Experience section, but Starz doesn't have a real unified multi-platform approach – instead, it has a few different apps for a few different platforms. A “Starz Streaming” subscription can be started via iOS or Android, and the apps for those platforms are quite good. On streaming boxes, however, you'll have to use Starz Play (which is also available for Android) and log in with your Stars Streaming info. Starz Play, as I mentioned, had a less impressive user interface. Finally, Starz is also available as an add-on for Amazon Prime. That option integrates Starz content into Prime's interface (see our Amazon Prime review for more details on that experience).

In streaming quality, at least, all of these options ended up being similarly strong. But the user interface differences were notable.


Starz Streaming costs $8.99/month, which is less than HBO NOW ($14.99/month) but pretty similar to what standalone streaming services like Hulu and Netflix usually charge.

The price is the same if you go through Amazon, but remember, that means you'll use Amazon's apps to access Starz – not the Starz apps we focused on here.


Starz has some solid content, but its OTT offerings are less than stellar. While the user experience is pleasant on mobile devices and computers, it falls flat on streaming boxes.

For fans of its original series, Starz might make sense as an Amazon add-on. But in my opinion, it's worth paying more to get HBO's better original series, and Netflix's movie selection is still the best option for non-original content. Even ignoring content, Starz lags behind its competitors because of user experience issues.

10 thoughts on “Review of Starz

  1. Khatuna G says:

    STARZ has a terrible customer service as well as questionable service. First I signed up with Roku but in a middle of watching the show I couldn’t continue. Customer service wasn’t able to help. Then I signed up using my Apple ID to finish the show, which I did. I decided to continue with subscription and paid $8.99 through February 19th. Now every time I try to open the app, it asks me to renew the subscription!? I called customer service and they said they can’t do anything or refund my money! They will escalate this problem, but not sure when it will be resolved. Meanwhile I paid for nothing.

  2. Roger Robards says:

    We signed up because we were traveling and it was OK. Now we are back and we want to cancel. We have tried all their instructions and we can’t cancel. On the iTunes site, they say select cancel button, but there is no cancel button. Go to Google Store, no cancel tab. Try calling number, instructions are the same and send you to same sites that have no cancel button. We will have to close our credit card to stop them from taking money each month.

  3. Leslie H. Miles says:

    Starz is the worst of all available on satellite or cable. I get it on DirecTV but used to get it on Time Warner. I pay for no commercials but of all of the movie subscriptions Starz advertises during the play within the movie on screen at the bottom in writing about other offerings upcoming and current and also whenever the credits come on which I want to watch for cast (unreadable). The others advertise about other things between the movies as also does Stars in addition to movie interference. I would rather watch the movie whenever possible on anything but Starz. They do have good movies but we are supposed to be commercial free and those are commercials they post in those spots while the movie is going. It would seem those that are in the credits would also complain about this. It is disrupting for some of us and not what we pay for!

    1. Jason says:

      Sorry but i got the free trial and i haven’t seen any commercials yet

  4. Sherry Carter says:

    Why would you bother to show a movie like Lifeforce censored to shreds. Worthless.

  5. Fred says:

    Starz has a few good shows/movies…however, their app/service is pure garbage! I say this because out of the several streaming services I pay for, Starz is the ONLY service that is constantly buffering, pausing, and/or crashing. There streamimg will constantly change from HD to sub-standard definition. I have checked with several others that subscribe to Starz and they experience the exact same problems. I have since cancelled my subscription and I will caution not to bother spending your money on Starz.

  6. David says:

    Like many online signup companies, Starz has, for all practical purposes, no customer service by phone. Last time I waited 50 minutes on hold prior to giving up. Starz has double billed my account for nearly 18 months. Have given up and simply cancelled the subscription. If you leave an online customer service request, you are assured that someone will respond within 16 DAYS! Really could care less if they retain business!

  7. Steph says:

    Starzs has been taking my money out of my account but wont let me sign in to it. I’ve tried re-setting the password and calling the 855-247-9175 number and after being on hold for 1 hour and 12 minutes got hung up on. I can’t even cancel my subscription because it wont let me login. But they will be happy to pull money out of my account. Very Poor poor customer service.

  8. Customer says:

    I canceled Starz months ago and saw that it still came out of my account this month. I emailed them and they sent me through several people who said they wouldn’t offer a refund because it’s the customer’s responsibility to cancel the subscription. Sure, but I did! I responded as such and they responded that they weren’t willing to help because it had been used since the cancellation. Of course! If the money came out and you’re not willing to refund because it’s my responsibility to refund, then I’m going to use my money to the fullest. The original email I sent just asked for them to ensure that my account was indeed canceled. It had nothing to do with a refund whatsoever. So who knows if it’s actually canceled, I’m sure they are willing to keep taking my money. Their customer service is terrible and apparently it’s really hard to actually cancel because the cancellation on the website of the subscription doesn’t actually cancel it. Don’t fall for it! Don’t use their service. There are plenty of other companies you can stream from out there. Very poor customer service.

  9. Honestsha77 says:

    I think Starz has a lot to offer but I believe that it would do well if it bundles with another premium channel. It has far too little show that can be seen in a week which makes me not pay another month.

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