Masterpiece Review
November 21, 2018 / Hollie Shuttlewood
Masterpiece Review
November 21, 2018 / Hollie Shuttlewood
Masterpiece Review
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Intro
Produced by PBS’s flagship station WHBH/Boston, Masterpiece has been bringing popular classics, mysteries and dramas to American public television audiences since 1971. PBS members can stream more than 1,500 PBS shows, including some of the best Masterpiece programs, from their computer, phone, tablet, or smart TV. As of 2018, Amazon Prime Channels subscribers can purchase PBS Masterpiece as an add-on and stream hundreds of Masterpiece programs.
Best For
Streaming PBS Masterpiece favorites like Bleak House, Sherlock, and Inspector Lewis with only a Wifi connection and supported device.
Pros
  • Includes access to Masterpiece and many other PBS series
  • Cost is only a small donation which goes toward supporting public television
  • Alternatively, can be accessed through Amazon Channels add-on
Cons
  • No offline viewing
  • Not all Masterpiece shows included and not all seasons included
  • Some regional restrictions
Networks You Can Watch with Masterpiece
Masterpiece is produced by WGBH, PBS’s flagship Boston service, and its programs are screened on local PBS channels around the United States. Anyone can stream Masterpiece programs online by becoming a member of PBS (known as PBS Passport) or by signing up for a dedicated Masterpiece subscription through Amazon Channels.
Top Programs on Masterpiece
Masterpiece had made a name for itself over the years by screening quality American and British classics, mysteries, and period dramas to American public TV audiences. With the PBS Masterpiece streaming service, users can stream selected seasons from many of the top programs from the Masterpiece archives, including:
  • Downton Abbey (all six seasons)
  • Endeavour (seasons 3-5)
  • Inspector Lewis (seasons 7 & 8)
  • Little Women (all 3 episodes)
  • Mr. Selfridge (seasons 3 & 4)
  • Poldark (seasons 1-4)
  • Sherlock (season 4)
  • Victoria (seasons 1 & 2)
  • Worricker (Turks & Caicos, Salting the Battlefield)
Price
Package PBS Passport Amazon Prime Video
Description Donate to your local PBS station and stream Masterpiece and other PBS content Purchase Masterpiece add-on as part of Amazon Channels subscription
Price $5 / month $5.99 / month after 7-day trial
Cancel anytime V V
Unlimited streaming V V
Multiple devices V V
PBS Passport is an added benefit of signing up for membership with a local PBS station. It features episodes from Masterpiece as well as other popular PBS programs such as American Experience, American Masters, Antiques Roadshow, Natura, and NOVA. To sign up for a PBS Passport, simply go to your local PBS station’s website, check that they offer access to Passport, and sign up. Anyone who contributes $5 / month (or $60 / year) or more is eligible for Passport’s streaming service. And the good news is, membership of PBS counts as a tax-deductible donation.
Alternatively, Amazon Prime Channels can add a dedicated Masterpiece channel to their existing Amazon subscription. Amazon Channels offers paid access to more than 100 channels, including Masterpiece – offering subscribers the convenience of accessing all their favourite Masterpiece shows on demand from within their Amazon TV streaming account.
How it Works: Hardware and Devices
Whether you sign up for PBS Passport or access Masterpiece through Amazon Prime Video Channels, there’s no need to go out and buy any special hardware. PBS Passport members can stream Masterpiece and other PBS programs through these supported devices:
  • iOS (PBS Video app for all supported Apple smartphones and tablets)
  • Android (PBS Video app for supported Android apps and tablets)
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Amazon Fire Stick
  • Android Smart TVs
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • Roku
Cloud Storage
PBS doesn’t yet offer offline viewing or cloud storage for Masterpiece or any of the other programs available on its streaming app and site. Therefore, the only way to stream Masterpiece via PBS Passport is with a WiFi connection.
Regional restrictions
The Masterpiece streaming service is only available through participating local PBS stations. Unfortunately, some PBS stations don’t support this service. You can find out if your local station supports it at www.pbs.org/passport or by going directly to your local PBS station’s website and following the prompts to the Passport page. If you’re subscribing through Amazon Channels, different rules apply and the service is available throughout the United States and its territories. Either way, this service can’t be accessed outside the U.S. (unless you use a VPN).
Customer service
For queries related to PBS Passport and its streaming service, check out the PBS website’s extensive Help section or call customer service toll-free at 844-812-5623, between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m. EST Monday to Friday. For questions related to Amazon’s Masterpiece channel, contact Amazon Prime Video Channels.
Summary
PBS’s Masterpiece is one of the longest running series on American public TV, and has been airing popular classics, mysteries, and period dramas through local PBS affiliates around the United States for more than 50 years. Now, thanks to this new era of online streaming, PBS members can view selected Masterpiece programs online for about the same price each month as a Starbucks coffee. The service is also available as an add-on to Amazon Prime members for just a small monthly subscription.
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