With the number of TV streaming services that are popping up around us it could be a real hassle to decide which one is actually worth your money and time. If you are confused as to which one to buy and have a number of questions in mind, you are at the right place!
From Netflix, HBO Max and Hulu to Amazon Prime and Peacock TV, the names are too many. Before you decide to subscribe to one of these streaming services, it is important to understand what exactly you’re looking for and what kind of content you like.
Whether or not a particular service is the right choice for you depends on a lot of factors. First of all, there’s the budget. Secondly, the quality of content and what kind of stuff you’re looking for. Thirdly, small factors like the streaming quality, the way the app is designed and if it runs smoothly.
Netflix and Hulu are undoubtedly the best streaming services to buy in the United States. While, Netflix has a beautiful and quite versatile catalog of derived content, Hulu has some great original content to offer. Apple TV+ is the third best subscription all things considered.
To solve all your problems, I have put together a comprehensive guide for you introducing all the available TV streaming services. Hopefully, after reading this piece, you can decide for yourself which one is the right choice for you.
PS: This is not in any particular rank or order. I have put down the pros and cons of every service so that you can take your pick and enjoy binging!
Cost – $8.99 for Basic, $13.99 for Standard and $17.99 for Premium per month
Recommendations – Bojack Horseman, Dark, The Crown, La Casa De Papel, The Witcher, Sex Education
Netflix is still hands down the most popular streaming service out there. Before the arrival of its competitors, Netflix long dominated the TV streaming service world. If you’re a fan of original work and do not like to repeat shows, Netflix is a great choice for you.
But that is not to say Netflix does not have derived shows or previously loved ones. It definitely does and offers a good mix of originals and previously loved shows and movies. The best thing about Netflix is the range of its content and the versatility present in them.
Whether you love thrillers, romantic dramas, sitcoms or documentaries, there is something for you in Netflix.
It is no doubt more expensive that the other options in the list, but its system is also extremely well made. Besides, there is also the option of altering the speed at which you want to stream. There are very few technical issues as well. You can trust Netflix to come up with their originals pretty frequently as well as deliver quality content, in most cases atleast.
But with all those pros, there are some cons as well. If you’re a nostalgic person and prefer binging the same kind of shows again and again and have some classic favorites, then Netflix might not be able to offer you a vast arena of classics or cult favorites.
For example, Friends, Marvel movies or Star Wars movies are no longer available to stream on Netflix. The content here is more towards the new side than the already celebrated classics. But it definitely offers a high streaming experience and is a great option if you are looking for a family pack or something.
2Amazon Prime Video
Cost – $9 per month or $119 a year
Recommendations – Fleabag, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, The Man in the High Castle, Modern Love
It does not release as many originals as Netflix, but Amazon definitely has some quality content to offer such as Fleabag, Modern Love and The Marvellous Mrs Maisel. Amazon also has a better collection of acquired classics or cult favorites than Netflix.
If you are looking for movies from the 70s or 80s, or looking to watch something in a language other than English, this is the subscription you would appreciate. In Amazon, the option of buying or renting other titles is also available.
But the functioning of Amazon is not always as smooth as Netflix. Sometimes, the currently watching or now watching tab is not updated and the same episode keeps playing. These maybe issues with the internet though, but many users have mentioned facing such issues.
It is not really a huge concern for me, but just putting it out there. The content is really good, especially if you are looking for international films or older films and shows.
Cost – $7 (with ads)/$13 (without ads) per month
Recommendations – Only Murders in the Building, Dopesick, A Handmaid’s Tale
If you are still fond of old school TV and like the one episode a day system, the Disney owned Hulu is one service which gives access to next-day content of most prime time shows on ABC, FX or NBC. They also have good original content to offer. Hulu is almost at par with Netflix with the quality of content it has been delivering, so I would personally highly recommend subscribing to it.
There aren’t too many technical complaints about this platform which is again a win. Hulu also has some of the unique Marvel shows such as Hit Monkey and MODOK, which can provide some great entertainment. All in all, it is a good option if you’re not on the budget for Netflix and want some fresh content as well as have some TV favorites.
Cost – $15 per month
Recommendations – Game of Thrones, FRIENDS, The Office (UK), The Big Bang Theory
HBO Max has a vast arena of classic shows including FRIENDS, Game of Thrones, South Park and The Big Bang Theory. This one will also give you access to all HBO shows and a huge collection of movies. So if you are into the traditional classics and also looking for some popular movies, this is the subscription worth buying.
HBO Max has exclusive access to shows like FRIENDS, which is not available on any other platform and it also has many exclusive releases. Dune released on this platform along with the theatres as well. This is a good subscription to have if you like to be up to date with TV content and also want some comfort shows at your disposal.
The platform does not have too many great original shows to its credit yet though. They do have HBO shows on the platform but original web series is a department they are lacking in. Let us see how they catch up.
Cost – $8 per month or $80 for a year
Recommendations – MCU, Star Wars Franchise, Disney classics
If you’re a Marvel fan, a Star Wars addict or a Disney enthusiast, chances are you already own a Disney+ subscription. This is your one stop for every MCU movie, Pixar films, Disney movies and original Disney series such as Hannah Montana or Wizards of the Waverly Peace.
If you want an emotional rollercoaster by reliving your childhood, this is the right choice. Disney+ has some of the most popular franchise movies under its roof, There aren’t too many original releases on Disney+ though. If you have children or need to get a subscription for kids, this one is the perfect choice.
Cost – $5 per month (first 3 months are free if you own an Apple device)
Recommendations – Ted Lasso, The Morning Show, Dickinson
Apple TV is one of the only streaming services in this list which focuses solely on original content. If you are someone who is always on the lookout for new stuff, Apple TV would not disappoint. Ted Lasso is one of the platform’s most popular shows and completely worth the hype in my opinion. Similarly interesting and well written shows are coming up on the platform.
Apple is definitely trying to create its own library of interesting and original content and is growing towards becoming one of the mainstream streaming services. But whether or not the high quality of their content remains consistent is still a test of time.
Cost – $5 per month
Recommendations – The Office, Brooklyn Nine Nine, Yellowstone, Ordinary Joe, This is Us, Law and Order, House
The name “peacock” was given as a tribute to the NBC logo, so we automatically think Peacock is just NBC streaming. But, that is not true. Peacock is similar to Hulu in terms of what they are trying to do. Their target audience is the old school traditional television watching people who do not mind ads if they have to pay a lot less.
Peacock has a decent collection of good movies to choose from, all NBC shows and you can also watch Yellowstone or Everybody Hates Chris. So they are do not stop at NBC shows. There are Peacock originals as well, but few in number.
PS: Peacock is the only streaming service which has the Office US after it was taken off Netflix. Now isn’t that enough to convince you?
All in all, it depends on the kind of content you are looking for and the budget that suits you. If budget is not an issue, Netflix is a must have for good content and a wide range. Hulu is almost at par with its superb content.
For some good old classics, HBO Max or Disney Plus will come to the rescue. All of the streaming services have their own positives to offer you so pick and choose the ones that suits you best. Happy binging!
Cost – $5.99 with ads, $9.99 without ads per month
Recommendations – NCIS, The Twilight Zone Reboot, Young Sheldon
Earlier named CBS All Access, Paramount is one of the rising stars in the streming service zone. It gives users access to live sports, news and telecasted on CBS has a good collection of movies and TV episodes from ViacomCBS owned networks such as Comedy Central, Nicklodeon and MTV.
This is the subscription recommended for anyone who is looking for old popular classics in movies such as the Godfather trilogy or some older shows which were telecasted in one of the ViacomCBS owned networks. For example, if you want to watch uninterrupted Spongebob, this might be helpful.
But if you are looking for original content or popular releases, Paramount might not be the one. There are very few Paramount originals available to stream. The service thrives mainly on derived content which is CBS specific.
Cost – $6 per month
Recommendations – Attack on Titan, Dragon Ball Z, My Hero Academia, Code Geass, Fruits Basket 2019
Funimation is hands down the service you need in your life if you are an Otaku or weeb. If anime is your thing and you can’t wait for the latest AOT series, if you have watched all of the 720 Naruto episodes and own a Light Yagami t-shirt, this is the platform for you.
Funimation provides users with a wide range of anime content. Another exciting feature is that it enables users to watch some new releases at the same time as they are airing in Japan. It also includes the option to buy in-theater shows.
There is also the option of watching English-dubbed version of recently released anime, in case that is something you prefer. All in all, I highly recommend Funimation to anyone who is an invested anime fan, loves anime or even anyone looking to venture into the world of anime.
At a relatively affordable price you can get access to the ad-free library while if you don’t mind ads, a free version is also available. But one of the cons of Funimation is that most of its content is dubbed in English. The age old dubs vs subs argument comes in here.
There is of course the choice of subtitles, but someone who prefers dubbed content would get a wider range of options.
It is really not surprising that this is one of the highest rated and highly on demand streaming service in the US at the moment.
Cost – $7.99 for Fan Version, $9.99 for Mega Fan, $14.99 for Ultimate Fan
Recommendations – Naruto, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, The Perfect Insider, Death Note, Jujutsu Kaisen
Another one solely for anime fans. Crunchyroll is an option that anime fans could consider if Funimation is not the one for them. There is a free version available with ads while subscription packages range from affordable to high end.
Crunchyroll has a fair selection of anime titles including anime classics such as Naruto or My Hero Academia. It was bought by Sony in 2020 despite it being the rival to Sony’s own Funimation.
If you are on the subs side in the subs vs dubs debate, Crunchyroll is a better pick for you. It offers most of the content in original Japanese with English subtitles and is a good choice for serious and experienced anime lovers looking for versatile content.
Cost – $35 per month or $50 for both tiers
Recommendations – Yellowstone, Dexter, The Wheel of Time
Sling TV offers two tiers – Sling Orange, providing access to ESPN, ESPN 2 and ESPN3, and Sling Blue, the news and entertainment based tier featuring FX, SyFy, USA and Discovery. It is basically a more affordable version of regular cable subscriptions.
If the channels provided in the pack is not enough, users can also opt to buy additional channels at varied prices. If you are someone on a budget and cable TV is becoming too expensive, Sling TV provides the same benefits at a cheaper rate.
There is also a free version available with access to some TV shows and movies but all of them are derived. Sling TV is not a TV streaming service offering its own content. It is a platform which helps bring together good packages if cable TV is not doing it for you.
Cost – $65 per month
Recommendations – Dexter, South Park, Parks and Recreation
Fubo TV is another alternative to regular cable television subscriptions. It allows users a standard package with a good range of channels and there are add-ons available at different prices. Cherry on the cake is the 250 hours of Cloud DVR that you get with the subscription.
You also get a ton of shows and movies to watch based on channel subscriptions. FuboTV lets you subscribe as add ons to Showtime and Starz along with access to the likes of Comedy Central or MTV. So it all depends on what channel’s content you like.
FuboTV also offers a good range of good films such as Big Lebowski, The Godfather. Forrest Gump and Inglorious Bastards. But these are not exclusive to FuboTV. These are also available on other platforms so you got to take your pick based on which subscription suits you and is affordable.
Cost – $8.99 per month
Recommendations – Almost all the classics in cinema available, Outlander
Starz is towards the affordable side compared to other premium streaming services. It offers a good library of films and shows to its users. There is some original content but minimal. If you are movie buff, Starz will have more to offer to you rather than a series binger.
This is because the Starz platform does not offer too many good TV shows. But its film library is extensive. One big con of Starz is the poor quality interface and lack of high video quality. You can watch the same films and shows on other platforms with better quality viewing experience.
But if you want to explore their minimal original content, Starz is the way out. The USP of this platform is its film collection. Originally it had films only from Lionsgate company, but now it hosts many other cult classics such as Pulp Fiction, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Chinatown.
Many films not available on Netflix or Prime is available on Starz. But since it costs almost as much as Netflix, it might be considered a less valuable one because it does not have even one third of Netflix or Hulu’s content.
Cost – $5 with ads, $7 without ads per month
This is the perfect choice for someone into reality TV programmes. Discovery+ boasts of a number of shows from channels such as Animal Planet, Discovery Life, TLC, Food Network, HGTV, OWN, ID, Travel Channel, History, A&E, Lifetime, Cooking Channel, DYI, Science, AHC and Destination America.
In other words, if you’re into non-fiction television or reality shows, if you like education programmes, then you will definitely have something of your choice on this platform.
It has more than 55,000 episodes of various shows according to the catalog, so there’s a lot to offer. This is one of the fewest streaming devices focused so much on reality TV so if that is your thing, this is probably a good choice of subscription.
There are also some Discovery+ originals that are available to users, but the USP lies in the older classic faves such as Planet Earth.
Cost – $11 per month
Recommendations – Billions, Black Monday, The Chi
Showtime is basically the digital version of the decades old cable TV channel. It focuses mainly on original series and popular Showtime shows. This is the place where you can binge most Showtime shows so if the channel was one of your favorites, the subscription would work for you.
The collection of movies out here is not large but that is understandable because this streaming service is solely focused on Showtime content. So if you are looking for movies, this is not the one.
Another big advantage of Showtime is its unique and refreshing collection of documentaries which is regularly updated. So If good documentaries are your thing, Showtime will be worth it.
Cost – $6 per month
Recommendations – Belgravia, Godfather of Harlem, Pennyworth
Epix Now is an MGM owned streaming and cable network which offers a huge collection of MGM movies and originals, as expected. Apart from MGM owned movies and shows, it also has some films from studios such as Sony, Paramount and Lionsgate.
There are some good originals including Pennyworth, Get Shorty and Godfather of Harlem. If you are a fan of any of these, Epix Now maybe worth a shot. It depends on the cable network you prefer and how the content of the network works for you.
Cost – $11 per month
Mubi is the perfect subscription service for a cinephile. If you breathe and live Tartovsky, Kurosawa, Tarantino and Kiarostami then Mubi is the perfect choice. Mubi introduces titles every month for a period of 30 months which gives users a real time theatre like experience.
It also adds tags to tell you how long movies will be available. If you are a lover of cinema and want some uncommon classics of cinema in good quality and language is not a barrier, Mubi is a great subscription for you.
The service is designed for a connoisseur of cinema. Mubi has a versatile and diverse collection of films including great works from Japan, China, France, Italy, Iran and India covering filmmakers from all over the world. The time frame is also huge ranging from 1940s to the 1990s.
Mubi is solely a film streaming service. It does not have shows or series to its credit. Also, it is for rare, critically appreciated cinema lovers. Popular cinema is not Mubi’s strong sphere.