Which Streaming Service is Best?
TV has changed radically in the past decade. Gone are the days of waiting for your favorite shows to air live each night, or waiting to catch reruns for months and years. Now, thanks to the explosion of available streaming services, you can watch absolutely anything anywhere and at any time.
As popular as streaming is now, it’s incredibly easy to catch any movie or TV series on the go or right at home. However, choosing which streaming service is right for you is difficult. How do you know which is the most affordable, which offers the most options for its price? How can you determine which streaming service has the best reputation and the shows you want? Here’s what you need to know about the many different streaming services.
Peacock: The Best for Free Entertainment
NBC Universal has released a new streaming platform called Peacock. It offers thousands of hours of free programming such as Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, all the Harry Potter movies, and lots more. You don’t need to grab your credit card to sign up — all you need is an email and password. A free account gives you about two thirds of Peacock’s catalogue with advertisements. To access all content, you can sign up for a premium account.
Viewers can have a seven-day free trial of Peacock’s premium account before paying. Those who sign up using an Android device may even qualify for an extended free trial. This service allows you to watch 175 Premier League matches, extra shows, movies, and originals. You can either pay $5 per month for the full catalog with advertising, or $10 per month for the full catalog without advertising. Of course, you can always stick to a free account and pay nothing at all.
A premium account will unlock even more content including Law & Order: SVU, Yellowstone, and Trolls World Tour to name a few. If you’re a Comcast Xfinity subscriber, you likely qualify for a $5 discount off a premium account. Peacock will be continuously rolling new content in and out of the streaming service, so search online to find out more.
Sling: The Best for Cord Cutters
If you’re hesitant to cut the cord on your cable TV service, Sling is the best streaming service for you. Priced at $20 per month – a deep discount on the average cable prices of $99 a month, according to NBC News – Sling is the only streaming service that mimics traditional TV.
When you switch to Sling, you get live access to top TV channels like AMC, the Food Network, CNN, TNT, and many more. You can watch any of these live channels in real-time, whenever you’d like, tuning in as you would with cable. If there’s a show you missed or something you’d like to catch up on, you can watch shows from your live channels on demand at any time.
Sling offers a wider selection of channels, too, for those who want a little more variety. For just an additional $5 a month, Sling users can add different channel packages like Sling Orange, which includes kids programming like the Disney Channel or Teen Nick, or Comedy, which includes Spike and MTV. Sports fans can add sports packages, and news watchers can add even more local channels. And you can truly watch anywhere: Sling is available on a number of platforms and devices, from Amazon and Apple TV to Roku, Xbox One, and various Android products.
Amazon Video: The Best for Your Budget
Subscribing to a number of different streaming services gets costly very quickly. And, if you pick certain streaming services, you could find yourself paying even more than you would for traditional cable TV. If you’re looking to stick to a budget and save money, Amazon Video is the right choice.
You have two price options for Amazon Video: you can pay for the service alone for a price of $8.99 per month, or become an Amazon Prime subscriber for $99 per year. Amazon Prime members get Amazon Video included in the cost of their annual membership, along with plenty of other perks.
While you can’t catch any live TV or TV channels, you do get access to Amazon Video’s more than 40,000 different TV, movie, and miniseries selections. If there’s something you’d like to watch that isn’t included in Amazon Video, the site also lets users rent or purchase many popular movies. Want to watch some shows but don’t have an internet connection? Amazon Video lets you download content offline, so you can watch your favorites any time.
Amazon Video is available on just about any and every streaming-capable device. Roku, all Amazon Fire TV devices, smart TVs, video game consoles, and Apple TV are all able to connect to and stream Amazon content. And, if you have two people watching at once, you won’t run into any problems with the company’s two stream availability.
Hulu: The Best for Traditional TV Fans
Those who love traditional cable or satellite TV will be fast fans of Hulu, one of the fastest growing streaming services. Originally launched as a way to watch network TV shows from ABC, NBC, and the like online if you missed them live, Hulu has quickly grown into a service with countless channels’ shows and its very own original programming.
Price at an affordable $7.99 per month, Hulu is touted by reviewers at Consumer Reports as one of the top choices for those who want to have traditional TV but cut the cable cord. You’ll find a vast library of classic shows, unique anime and cartoon programming for kids, and great original shows that Hulu subscribers rave about. But the best part of Hulu is it offers live TV viewing. You can tune into HD TV anytime, from any device, and channel surf like you would normally.
Another reason streaming fans are flocking to Hulu? There’s no delay if you want to watch your favorite shows. Unlike its competitors, which can only offer the latest episodes of currently airing shows months after they’ve gone off air, Hulu lets you watch many shows’ newest episodes immediately after they air. You can catch popular shows from your favorite networks without missing anything.
Netflix: The Best for Those Who Want It All
There’s one streaming network everyone knows and loves: Netflix. The leader in the streaming world, Netflix has been the world’s most popular streaming platform since its early days of “borrowing” DVDs through the mail. Today, while you can still get a DVD for any movie you’d like to catch, Netflix offers thousands of popular TV shows, classic and current movies, and original new shows and movies. There’s so much to choose from on Netflix that you’ll never be at a loss for something new to watch.
On Netflix, you’ll find everything from new favorites from like Stranger Things to classic Disney films like Aladdin to popular series like Friends. The available movies and shows change monthly, too, meaning there’s always something new to watch month after month. For $7.99 a month you can stream all of Netflix’s impressive library on one device at one time; for $10.99 or $13.99 you can stream on two or four different devices simultaneously.
While Netflix is truly different from live cable TV, you can choose whether you want to binge-watch a series, catch a single episode of your favorite shows, or check out an exciting slew of movies. Even better, Netflix subscribers can watch on their PC, laptop, video game consoles, and offline with downloadable content. You can’t catch your favorite TV channels, but with Netflix you can watch everything but the news – and with new weekly shows coming to the platform each month, that might be possible in the near future.
Choose Your Streaming Service Based on Your Needs
Now that you know which streaming service is best for different needs and TV watching habits, you can choose one of these top options for yourself. Remember to check the available options, like live TV viewing, channel packages, or programming libraries, so you know what you can catch and what you’ll miss. With these highly rated and beloved streaming options, though, you won’t miss out on anything at all, from new original shows to your old favorites from cable.