The streaming service landscape is rapidly changing, with new players appearing, old ones seeming to lose their way, and others consolidating.
With more than 200 companies offering subscription video on demand (SVOD) services around the world, it can be difficult to work out which ones are worth your money.
This guide will tell you all you need to know about the best streaming services on the market right now.
Best Streaming Services – Introduction
Netflix is the most popular choice for streaming television and movies.
The company has made some significant changes in recent years that have put it at odds with its users, but it remains one of the best choices for streaming video content.
Amazon Prime Video offers free shipping on many items from Amazon’s website, but it also provides access to a large library of movies and TV shows for no additional cost after a free trial period expires.
Hulu offers several different subscription plans that give you access to an extensive library of television shows and movies for a monthly fee.
What Are The Best Streaming Services
Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video are the three most popular streaming services in the U.S. But which one should you choose? And are there other options?
If you’re looking for the best of everything — from original content to on-demand movies and TV shows — we’ve got you covered.
Our list compares all three services to help you decide which one is right for you.
1. HBO Max
HBO Max is a new streaming service from HBO, the company behind Game of Thrones, Westworld and The Sopranos.
It’s launching in May 2020 and will include content from WarnerMedia (including HBO), Disney, Fox and NBCUniversal.
It also includes original programming from Amazon Prime Video — which is owned by Amazon.
HBO Max is pitched as an alternative to Netflix for people who want more shows and movies than Netflix can offer. But it also has several unique features that set it apart from the competition.
HBO Max is a new streaming service that offers original programming, including exclusive versions of current shows like The Handmaid’s Tale and Watchmen, along with classic series like Sex and the City and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
It’ll also feature exclusive documentaries, comedy specials and sports programming — including NBA games — plus exclusive access to past HBO series like The Sopranos, Six Feet Under and True Detective.
Hulu is a video streaming service that offers full seasons of shows, original programming, movies and more. You can watch Hulu on your computer, mobile phone or TV.
Hulu was founded in 2007 by three former employees of the Fox Broadcasting Company who felt that the TV industry wasn’t moving fast enough to embrace the Internet for its distribution needs.
How It Works
There are two main ways to use Hulu — as an online streaming service or as part of a live TV package through Hulu with Live TV. You can find out more about each below:
Hulu With No Commercials
The core offering from Hulu is its subscription-based service ($7.99 per month), which allows you to stream TV shows and movies without having to sit through commercials (ad-free).
If you’re already paying for cable but need a break from the constant barrage of ads, this may be right up your alley.
Free Content With Ads
Another option is free content with ads. This doesn’t include full seasons or new episodes of current shows like they do with the paid version.
Instead, it’s mostly older shows and movies that rotate in and out every few weeks or so.
Netflix is a TV show and movie streaming service. You can watch Netflix on your computer, TV, tablet, or mobile device.
Netflix is an American entertainment company founded by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph on August 29, 1997, in Scotts Valley, California. The company’s primary business is its subscription-based streaming media service, which offers online streaming of a library of films and television programs including those produced in-house.
As of January 2016, Netflix had over 93 million subscribers worldwide, including 50 million in the United States.
Netflix’s initial business model included DVD sales and rental by mail; however, this proved to be relatively unsuccessful due to the low profit margins for each DVD sale.
In 2007, Netflix began streaming movies and TV shows on its website using a content delivery network called Open Connect.
It also started a subscription-based digital distribution service called Netflix Watch Instantly that same year.
With the introduction of Apple’s iTunes Store in 2001, Netflix was able to offer direct downloads of video files from its website via the iTunes software.
Netflix has grown from mailing out DVDs to having its own streaming platform available on multiple mobile devices and smart TVs around the world.
4. Disney Plus
Disney is launching its own streaming service called Disney+ (pronounced “Disney plus”), which will be a direct competitor to Netflix and Hulu’s premium subscriptions.
It will be home to a variety of original programming based on beloved Disney franchises like Star Wars and Marvel along with new series that expand upon those universes for fans who can’t get enough content about their favorite characters.
The service will also house all of the company’s movies from Pixar, Marvel Studios, and Lucasfilm including recent releases like Avengers: Endgame that are currently unavailable on other platforms like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.
The studio has promised over 7,500 titles for its launch lineup including episodes from every season of ABC shows like Grey’s Anatomy.
5. Sling TV
Sling TV is a live streaming service that gives subscribers access to some of their favorite cable channels without a cable subscription.
It’s a great option for those who want to cut the cord without losing access to their favorite shows and movies.
Sling TV offers two main packages: Sling Orange and Sling Blue. Each package has its own set of channels, but they’re both similar in price at $25 per month.
Customers can also subscribe to both packages for $40 per month and get all the channels offered in both packages.
Sling TV’s base packages include a number of popular channels such as ESPN, AMC, HGTV, Comedy Central, TBS, TNT and more.
In addition to these channels, Sling TV also offers add-ons like HBO and Cinemax for an additional fee each month.
If you’re looking for something specific on your cable lineup that isn’t available through Sling TV’s base packages or add-ons, there are still other options available for you.
For example, if you want local news coverage or sports updates from your favorite team(s), there are several streaming services that offer these features at an additional cost each month (or sometimes even free).
6. Apple TV Plus
Apple TV Plus is the streaming service from Apple that lets you watch shows, movies and more. It’s a new way to experience entertainment on your Apple devices.
With Apple TV Plus, you can watch thousands of shows and movies — including original programming — whenever you want.
And with an Apple Music membership, you can listen to millions of songs, create playlists and discover new music. You can also rent or purchase titles from iTunes.
Apple TV Plus is available on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch with iOS 12 or later.
Peacock Streaming is a live TV service that is owned and operated by AT&T. This service offers access to over 60 channels and it also has some great features that make this a very good choice for cord-cutters.
There are two different packages available from Peacock Streaming. One is called the “Live a Little” package, which costs $35 per month, while the other one is called “Gotta Have It,” which costs $50 per month.
Both of these packages offer you access to many popular channels like TBS, TNT, AMC, and more.
The channel lineup for each package differs somewhat, but both have Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC as well as sports channels like ESPN. The main difference between the two packages is that “Gotta Have It!” offers more HD channels than “Live a Little!” does.
8. Fubo TV
Fubo TV is a live streaming service that broadcasts major sporting events, news, and entertainment.
Unlike other online TV services, Fubo TV doesn’t offer a traditional channel lineup. Instead, subscribers can choose from dozens of sports channels and international news channels.
The Fubo TV app is available for Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV devices as well as Android and iOS mobile devices.
You can also use the app to watch on your computer or laptop by signing in with your email address and password.
9. Prime Video
Prime Video is a subscription-based video on-demand service that is developed, owned, and operated by Amazon.
It offers television shows and films for rent or purchase and Prime Video, a selection of Amazon Studios original content, and licensed acquisitions included in the Amazon’s Prime subscription. In the UK and Germany, access to Prime Video is also available through a dedicated Prime Video app.
In 2018, Prime Video has more than 100 million members worldwide. In 2017, it was estimated that by 2022, 80% of U.S. households will be subscribing to at least one SVOD service.
Prime Video was first introduced on September 7, 2006 as Amazon Unbox in the United States. On September 4, 2008 its name was changed to Amazon Instant Video and then to simply Amazon Instant Video on Demand.
The Unbox name still refers to the service in some countries where it is marketed as an add-on to other services rather than a standalone product.
Starz is a premium subscription-based cable network that offers up a wide variety of programming.
You can watch Starz online by subscribing to the network through Sling TV or DirecTV Now, but you can also use other services like PlayStation Vue and Fubo TV to get your Starz fix.
Starz streaming lets you watch movies and shows on demand, as well as live events like sports and concerts.
The channel has won multiple awards over the years, including Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes, and more.
Starz is not available on all cable packages nationwide, so you may have to contact your provider to see if they offer it in your area before you sign up for an account.
Also keep in mind that while some providers offer access to live stream content online through their websites or apps, others do not allow you to do so without first having a paid subscription through them.
If your provider does offer access to live streams online, then it’s simple enough for you to sign up for an account with them and get started watching right away — no cable box required!
11. ESPN Plus
ESPN Plus is the new streaming service from Disney’s ESPN. It will be available to subscribers of Sling TV, Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV.
The service will cost $4.99 per month, and it will feature several live sports events that are not available on any other streaming service.
The service will include more than 5,000 live sporting events each year from MLB, NHL, MLS and college sports. There will also be exclusive content from ESPN personalities and original shows.
ESPN Plus will be available on mobile devices and computers, as well as smart TVs, connected devices such as Roku players and Amazon Fire TV sticks, and gaming consoles like Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
12. Paramount Plus
Paramount Plus is a new streaming service that offers a curated selection of movies, TV shows, and more for $5.99 per month.
Paramount Plus uses VUDU’s library of content as its backbone, but it also has exclusive rights to some shows and movies that aren’t available elsewhere.
That means you won’t find them on Netflix or Hulu or any other subscription service; they’re only available on Paramount Plus.
The goal is to give subscribers access to both new releases and classic titles in one place — so if you’re looking for something specific, you can find it here instead of having to search all over the internet for it.
For people who love movies and TV shows, $5.99 per month isn’t a bad deal at all. And if you’re already spending money on other subscriptions (like Hulu), it may be worth adding another one to your monthly budget just so that you have access to even more content.
What To Look For In a Streaming Service?
There are a lot of streaming services out there, but which one is right for you? The answer depends on what you’re looking for in a streaming service.
Here’s what to look for in a streaming service:
What shows and movies does this service have? Netflix has thousands upon thousands of titles and original programming, while Hulu has a smaller selection but still has some great shows. Amazon Prime Video has even less content available.
The quality of the content is also important — if you’re looking for something specific like action movies or documentaries, make sure the streaming service you choose offers those options.
How much does the service cost? You’ll want to compare how much each service costs before committing to one over another.
Some charge by month while others charge by year; some have free trials that let you try out their service before committing to anything, while others don’t offer any trial period at all.
Make sure you know what kind of commitment each option requires before deciding which one works best for you.
How easy is it to navigate through menus and find what you’re looking for? Does it have an intuitive interface or does it feel like navigating through layers upon layers of menus?
Best Streaming Services TV
Hulu is a great option for those who want to watch their favorite shows. You can choose between a paid subscription or a free trial, which will give you access to some of the content on Hulu.
If you’re looking for a streaming service that has the largest selection of movies and TV shows, Netflix is your best bet.
It has more than 100 million subscribers worldwide and offers more than 10,000 titles in its library.
Amazon Prime Video is one of the best streaming services around and it comes with Amazon Prime membership.
The membership allows you to get free two-day shipping on all Amazon orders, access to Prime Music and Prime Video, unlimited photo storage through Prime Photos, early access to deals and discounts on products in the Amazon store, and much more.
Best Streaming Services For Movies
With the rise of streaming services, cord-cutters have more options than ever when it comes to watching movies and TV shows.
Whether you’re looking for a service that lets you rent or buy new releases, stream older titles, or both, there’s something for everyone.
Streaming services have become more and more popular in recent years. The convenience of watching movies and TV shows on-demand is hard to pass up.
The best streaming services offer the largest selection of movies and shows, so you’ll never be at a loss for something to watch.
But with so many options out there, it can be hard to decide which one is right for you.
Best Streaming Services – Wrapping Up
It’s easy to get lost in the sea of streaming services out there, but we’ve got your back. Here are our top picks for the best streaming services you can get today:
Netflix is still our favorite all-around choice for TV and movies, especially since it has so many original shows and movies (including Stranger Things!).
Hulu is also a great choice if you want a wide variety of TV shows and movies, though it might not be as robust as Netflix in this regard.
Amazon Prime Video is best if you want access to Amazon’s original programming like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Man in the High Castle.
Netflix is still the king of streaming, but it’s getting more and more expensive. The good news is that there are a ton of alternatives that can save you money and provide you with a ton of great content to watch.
Amazon Prime Video has become a dominant force in streaming, offering up a huge library of original series and movies.
The service also offers free shipping on most products sold through Amazon, which makes it easy to justify its cost as part of your shopping experience.
Hulu has been adding new content at a rapid pace lately, including both original programming and acquired shows from other networks.
I hope this guide has helped you to understand the basics of streaming services and how they work. You should now be able to decide which one is best for you, depending on your budget and personal preferences.
I also hope that you’ve found some new movies and TV shows to watch!