Whether you’re revisiting the books or marathoning the movies, Harry Potter continues to be one of the most popular and influential sagas in storytelling. Though the books were written for children and young adults, most people find that they can connect to the tale of young Harry Potter and his friends rising up to defeat the evil Voldemort. Over eight films, Harry’s story came to lift on the big screen from 2001 to 2011, but each of the movies continue to be popular in reruns on cable, and in DVD sales.
Of course, if you’re looking to stream the films online, they’re a bit harder to find. Entering the Potterverse isn’t as easy as loading up Netflix, since the films aren’t available on the world’s most popular streaming service. If you’re ready to jump back into JK Rowling’s Wizarding World, here are the best places to watch the films in 2020.
The Streaming Wars
Let’s start by discussing the real reason you’re here: where is Harry Potter streaming in 2020? Unfortunately, Warner Bros. and NBC Universal inked a deal way back in 2016 that would make NBC-owned properties the sole destination for the films beginning in 2018. We’re now about a year and a half through that deal, with the Potterverse films no longer airing on Freeform and unavailable on streaming services like Netflix or Hulu.
In fact, it seems like Harry Potter won’t even make its way to Warner Bros.’ new streaming service, HBO Max—at least, not at launch. The deal signed with NBC Universal runs through 2025, which means Warner Bros. won’t get those rights back for another half decade. We’re getting major flashbacks to Disney’s attempts to launch a streaming service while waiting for their Netflix deal to run out the clock.
So, where can you watch Harry Potter on demand? NBC doesn’t have a streaming service of their own, so you’ll need a cable subscription to watch the movies on demand. Still, here’s the two NBC-owned channels that have the rights to Harry Potter.
The USA Network has all of the Harry Potter movies so if you have a cable or streaming service subscription that includes the network, you can watch them there. You can stream directly from the USA Network website or should be able to access them via the streaming service that includes the network. Fubo TV, Sling TV, DirecTV Now and YouTube TV include USA.
SyFy also has all of the Harry Potter movies online. The same as with USA, if your streaming service of choice includes SyFy, you should be able to access the movies. SyFy also regularly has Harry Potter weekends which show lots of content over the two days. Fubo TV, Sling TV, DirecTV Now and YouTube TV also include SyFy in their packages.
Renting or Buying
While streaming the franchise might be difficult, if you have a few bucks for each film, renting or buying each of the films is actually pretty easy. Each major online rental store has the entire series up for grab, so let’s look at what you can expect from each service.
Google Play Store
The Play Store has all of the Harry Potter movies available to stream to Android devices. They are available in the US and UK and presumably elsewhere too. You can buy them from the store and own them, so they should always be available even if licensing gets in the way. As of July 2019, the films can be rented for $3.99 and purchased for $14.99 in 4k resolution. You can also buy all eight of the original franchise for $69.99 plus tax, also in 4k resolution. The first Fantastic Beasts movie is available to rent for $3.99 or purchase for $14.99, while the second movie is $5.99 to rent and $19.99 to purchase; you can get a two-movie combo for $23.99, all in 4k resolution.
Although iTunes is, as of this writing (July 2019) still functioning, Apple has announced that their flagship media purchasing and management software is going away in the near future, to be replaced by an as-yet unspecified set of new apps on various platforms. Although loading iTunes currently does still work (despite the service’s insistence that I, in landlocked Colorado, was accessing it via Malaysia) I would recommend not purchasing via Apple until they work out how they are going to handle media purchases going forward. The last thing you want is a hundred ringgits worth of Harry Potter on your hard drive in Malay. (Unless you live in Malaysia and speak Malay, naturally.)
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is also in on the Harry Potter action with its own streaming service. Amazon rents the Harry Potter movies for $3.99 (in HD but not 4K) and sells them for $9.99, a savings of a few dollars off of Google’s offering. Fantastic Beasts is available for $3.99 to rent and $9.99 to buy, while the second FB movie is only available for purchase, at $19.99.
Even without a subscription to YouTube TV, you can rent the Harry Potter movies (and many others) on YouTube for $3.99 apiece or purchase them for $14.99 apiece in Ultra HD. The rental and purchase agreement go through Google Pay but YouTube provides the streaming.
Alternative TV services
I mentioned Fubo TV, Sling TV, DirecTV Now and YouTube TV as sources for SyFy and USA Network. These are such strong alternatives to cable that they deserve their own mention. Each of these has both of the main channels where you can see Harry Potter included in one of their subscription packages.
Fubo TV costs $54.99 a month, Sling TV costs $25 a month, DirecTV Now costs $50 a month and YouTube TV is available from $49.99 a month. None are cheap in their own right but all of them are cheaper than cable. As they all contain either SyFy and/or USA Network, the primary rights holders for the Potter universe, you should be able to get your Harry Potter on whenever you like.
The Full List of Movies
As of January 2020, there are ten movies set in the Harry Potter universe. The first eight are set at or in connection with Hogwarts, and deal with the ongoing conflict between Harry Potter and his friends and the evil Voldemort. Each of the first eight movies covers approximately one year at Hogwarts. The first eight movies are:
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
Subsequent to the end of the Potter saga, two more movies have come out in the Fantastic Beasts series. Set in the years before Harry Potter, those movies are:
Though not set directly in the world of Hogwarts, the Fantastic Beasts movies are set in the Wizarding World and are clearly meant as a continuation of the franchise. We can look forward to new Fantastic Beast movies for years to come, most likely. A third Fantastic Beasts film, as yet untitled, is scheduled for November of 2021.
Do you know of any other legit ways to watch Harry Potter movies online? Tell us about them below if you do!
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