- Streaming providers present a choice to cable TV, providing motion pictures and exhibits online for payment.
- There are three primary streaming service classes: on-demand, dwell TV, and channel-specific.
- Which streaming service is most remarkable to your wants will primarily rely on your finances and style in exhibits.
Newer streaming services like as Paramount Plus, Peacock, Discovery Plus, and HBO Max have launched in recent years to compete with industry giants like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney Plus.
Viewers have more options than ever before for watching their favorite films and series, and studios are producing more original content to fill their streaming catalogs. These new options, however, come at a cost, and joining up for every streaming service available will quickly drain your bank account.
The best streaming service for you will be determined by a variety of considerations, including your budget, your favorite exclusive shows, how many screens you want to watch on, and more.
We picked up the greatest streaming services of 2022 and wrote down what makes each one special to help you decide what to subscribe to. Our recommendations are mostly focused on on-demand platforms such as Netflix and Hulu, but we also have sections for live TV and specialist streaming channels.
Netflix continues to set the streaming bar for the competition with its exclusive shows and stunning 4K resolution.
- Netflix Basic costs $10 per month for streaming in standard definition (SD).
- Netflix Standard: $15.50 per month for HD viewing on up to two devices at the same time.
- Netflix Premium costs $20 per month and includes up to 4K HDR streaming with Dolby Atmos on up to four devices.
Pros: Huge collection of originals, industry-leading video quality, strong app support, kid-friendly UI, no ads
Cons: The movie selection pales in contrast to other services, and it is slightly more expensive than the competitors.
Netflix has spent the previous few years building up its original programming library, which now includes exclusive movies, continuing TV shows, documentaries, and comedy specials. When their favorite vintage episode or movie leaves Netflix for another service, Netflix Originals retain fans invested.
Netflix’s success with original titles such as “Squid Game,” “Bridgerton,” “The Witcher,” and “Tiger King” has helped the service justify its somewhat higher pricing, and has prompted streaming competitors to focus generating their own original titles to produce additional value.
Netflix also features a vast collection of children’s shows and a separate interface that allows youngsters to choose their own shows without being exposed to adult content, making it an excellent option for families looking for all-ages entertainment.
Netflix is compatible with practically any streaming device you can think of, including computers, smartphones, Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, smart TVs, and more. It also supports all of the most recent video and audio formats, including 4K, HDR, and Dolby Atmos, albeit these features come at a premium.
Hulu remains one of the most economical streaming options with unrivaled selection, thanks to a combination of programming and several tiers.
- $7 per month for ad-supported on-demand streaming on Hulu.
- Hulu without advertising costs $13 per month and includes ad-free on-demand viewing.
- Hulu + Live TV costs $70 a month and includes ad-supported on-demand and live TV viewing.
- Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV: $76 per month for ad-free and ad-supported live TV streaming.
Pros: On-demand library with live TV option, ability to subscribe to “channels” such as HBO, reduced Disney Plus and ESPN+ package
Cons: Sharing is more difficult owing to the base plan’s two-device limit, and the basic plan contains advertising.
Hulu offers two major on-demand streaming packages: a basic option with advertising and a premium one without advertisements. Upgrade packages with live TV channels are also available.
Hulu has the best TV show collection of any on-demand streaming service, with a broader selection of new and vintage shows than Netflix or Amazon. This includes access to select broadcast series the next day on networks like ABC, FX, and Fox. Hulu also has a decent lineup of original shows, including “Dopesick,” “Nine Perfect Strangers,” and “The Handmaid’s Tale,” but its exclusive lineup isn’t as impressive as some of its competitors.
Despite the fact that Hulu offers 4K and HDR streaming on some devices, its 4K content is restricted in comparison to Netflix, Amazon, and Disney Plus.
Hulu only permits two devices to stream at once, but with a Hulu + Live TV subscription and the $10 add-on for unlimited screens, you may bypass this restriction. For an additional monthly fee, Hulu subscribers can add other channels such as HBO, Showtime, and Starz.
Hulu’s on-demand subscription can be combined with Disney Plus and ESPN+ for a 30% savings on the monthly cost of all three. The package is currently included in all of Hulu’s live TV options as part of a regular subscription.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is a capable and competitive streaming service that is more than simply a benefit of being a Prime member.
- Amazon Prime with Prime Video costs $119 per year or $13 per month as part of an Amazon Prime membership. Amazon Prime Video (Standalone) costs $9 per month.
Pros: Included with Amazon Prime, provides additional movie rental and purchase options, includes a large number of international titles, allows for the addition of streaming channels, and includes 4K HDR support in the base plan.
Cons: The Prime Video library isn’t as good as the competition’s.
Even if they don’t all stream video on a regular basis, Amazon Prime members help make Prime Video one of the most popular on-demand services in terms of subscribers.
Your Prime Video membership includes access to a variety of movies and series. Exclusive titles including “Wheel of Time,” “The Boys,” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” are included in the lineup. You can also rent or buy almost every film available on home video for your personal collection and view it whenever you want with the Prime Video app. Most subscription streaming applications don’t include this option.
Since 2013, Prime Video has released a number of award-winning original programmes and has successfully imported hundreds of BBC series as well as Hindi language films from India. On some titles, the platform supports up to 4K streaming and HDR10+ playback. It also doesn’t charge more for the greatest video and audio quality, unlike Netflix.
Although Prime Video is available with a Prime Membership, you can pay $9 per month to subscribe to the service separately. Other services, such as Showtime, AMC Plus, Starz, and even Paramount Plus, offer add-on channels.
For families and fans of blockbuster brands like Marvel and “Star Wars,” Disney Plus is the best streaming option.
- $8 per month or $80 per year for Disney Plus
- $14 per month for Disney Plus with ESPN+ and Hulu
Pros: Disney’s extensive library of historic films and television series, 4K HDR compatibility, and blockbuster Marvel and “Star Wars” franchises
Cons: The platform’s potential is limited due to a lack of mature content.
Since its inception in November 2019, Disney Plus has amassed more than 100 million users, making it the fastest growing streaming service on the market. Disney’s classic animated films, as well as brands like “Star Wars” and “The Simpsons,” are exclusively available for subscription streaming on the platform.
With that in mind, the service’s key selling point is its extensive library of existing Disney, “Star Wars,” Marvel, and Pixar films. There are some original films and shows, but the selection is still limited when compared to Netflix and Amazon.
It’s also worth noting that Disney Plus is geared toward families, thus even popular Disney original series like “The Mandalorian,” “Loki,” and “Hawkeye” are rated for teen audiences. There are no R-rated films here because the movies are all PG-13.
Disney Plus, with its $8 monthly fee and no ads, may offer the best combination of titles, streaming quality, and value. Disney Plus is a popular choice for parents because of its unending supply of family-friendly entertainment, but adults who didn’t grow up with Disney or “Star Wars” may want to find a second streaming service to fill their palette with more mature content.
On that topic, for $14 per month, you can bundle Disney Plus with Hulu and ESPN+. When compared to signing up for each service separately, the bundle saves you around $8 each month.
HBO Max is a premium subscription service for aficionados of prestige television, classic films, and new releases.
- HBO Max (ad-free): $15 a month gets you access to the entire HBO Max library without ads.
- HBO Max (ad-supported): $10 a month for ad-supported access to the HBO Max collection (excluding Warner Bros. in-theater releases).
Pros: Prestige shows and films, new Warner Bros. films 45 days after their theatrical release, Adult Swim, TCM, Sesame Street, and more collections
Cons: It’s more expensive than most competitors, and there aren’t many 4K games yet.
HBO Max mixes critically regarded HBO episodes and movies with new originals, extra WarnerMedia films, iconic shows like “Friends,” and collections from Adult Swim, TCM, DC Universe, and Crunchyroll, an anime streaming service.
HBO Max, like the cable channel, takes pride in having some of the best recent home video releases. HBO exclusive series such as “Succession,” “Insecure,” and “Station Eleven” continue to define prestige television, and HBO Max is the greatest way to catch up on former favorites such as “The Wire” and “The Sopranos.”
The highlight of HBO Max’s family offerings is new episodes of “Sesame Street”; there isn’t a lot of instructional content for young children, but there’s plenty to keep youngsters entertained for a few hours on a rainy afternoon.
Throughout 2021, HBO Max was also home to brand-new Warner Bros. films on the same day they were released in theaters. In 2022, Warner Bros. will no longer follow this distribution plan, but upcoming films, such as “The Batman,” are slated to come on HBO Max just 45 days after they enter theaters.
For the time being, HBO Max’s major flaws are technological. HBO Max doesn’t handle 4K or HDR very well outside of new Warner releases, which limits the quality of various movies and shows. “Game of Thrones” is available on Blu-ray in 4K, however HBO Max streaming are only accessible in 1080p.
Classic cable TV shows can be found on Paramount Plus, which has the potential to grow in value in the future.
- $5 per month or $50 per year for ad-supported streaming with Paramount Plus (Essential).
- Commercial-free streaming and live CBS are available with Paramount Plus (Premium) for $10 per month or $100 per year.
Pros: Large library of historic television episodes, live CBS with Premium package, new Paramount movies 45 days after its theatrical debut
Cons: There is less unique content than the competition.
CBS All Access has been replaced by ViacomCBS’s new on-demand streaming service, Paramount Plus. Viewers can watch live CBS TV (Premium Plan only) as well as a vast selection of TV shows and movies on the platform.
In addition to CBS shows, MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon are among the Viacom cable networks available on Paramount Plus. Exclusive content on Paramount Plus includes the “Yellowstone” spin-off “1883,” a “iCarly” relaunch, and various “Star Trek” series.
Newly released Paramount films are available for streaming 45 days after they enter theaters. The first film to receive an early release on the service was “A Quiet Place Part II.” “The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run” was a Paramount Plus launch title, while “Mission Impossible 7” is set to hit theaters next year.
When the season is in action, sports fans may also watch local NFL games on CBS, as well as UEFA soccer fixtures and March Madness college basketball battles.
Peacock is a simple source for hit TV shows and movie memories, with both free and premium streaming options.
- Peacock: Access to a restricted library of content for free via ad-supported streaming.
- Peacock Premium costs $5 per month and gives you ad-supported streaming access to the entire Peacock library.
- Peacock Premium Plus: $10 per month gets you access to the entire Peacock library without ads.
Pros: Many episodes and movies are available for free, as well as live news and sporting events.
Cons: Premium plan lacks many exclusives, movie catalog is outdated, and no 4K or HDR support is available.
NBCUniversal hits including “30 Rock,” “Cheers,” and “The Office,” as well as several new original titles, are available for free on Peacock. A rolling slate of blockbuster movies is also available through the site. Peacock has dozens of memorable films, many of them are less than ten years old.
Peacock’s basic plan is free, although it has a limited library and is sponsored by advertisements. You can pay $5 per month to gain access to all of the platform’s content, however this plan still includes advertising. The Peacock Premium Plus plan is $10 per month and gives you ad-free access to everything.
The service will begin streaming brand-new Universal films four months after their theatrical premiere in 2022. “The Boss Baby: Family Business” and “Halloween Kills,” for example, appeared on Peacock at the same time they opened in theaters.
Peacock also has live news and sports programming. The service became WWE Network’s sole streaming home in 2021, and it broadcast highlights from the 2021 Olympics.
Peacock doesn’t offer 4K streaming, but given the platform’s focus on television and older films, the 1080p limitation isn’t a major flaw.
Apple TV Plus
Although Apple TV Plus has a limited selection, its low cost makes it a good choice for fans of its exclusive series.
- Apple TV Plus costs $5 per month or $50 per year and includes ad-free streaming.
- Apple One costs $15 per month and includes Apple TV Plus, Apple Music, 50GB of iCloud storage, and access to Apple Arcade.
Pros: Low cost, unique programming, movie rental and purchase choices, ability to add streaming channels, and compatibility for 4K HDR
Cons: The movie and show selection is limited in comparison to other services, and there is no back catalog of programs from a major studio or network.
Apple TV Plus is one of the most cost-effective streaming options available. The site offers ad-free access to its whole library of on-demand movies and shows for $5 per month, and new Apple devices come with a three-month trial.
While the pricing is appealing, the Apple TV Plus library is limited in comparison to other platforms such as Netflix, Disney Plus, and Hulu. The service, in particular, lacks a substantial back catalog of films and shows from other networks and studios. There are, however, several noteworthy exclusive shows and films, such as “Ted Lasso,” “The Morning Show,” and “Macbeth.”
Apple TV Plus, like Prime Video, gives you access to a large library of additional movies and shows that you can rent or buy. Though having more programs included as part of your membership would be ideal, being able to order additional titles through the Apple TV Plus app is simple. Extra channels, such as Showtime, can be added to your subscription for a price.
If you want to use additional Apple services, the Apple One bundle is also worth considering. For $15 per month, you get Apple TV Plus, Apple Music, Apple Arcade, and 50GB of iCloud storage.
TLC, Food Network, HGTV, and Discovery programming are available on demand through Discovery Plus.
- $5 per month for Discovery Plus (ad-supported).
- Discovery Plus (ad-free) costs $7 a month and includes commercial-free streaming.
Pros: A massive collection of shows from 14 different cable networks, including Food Network, HGTV, TLC, History, and Animal Planet.
Cons: Some recently aired shows will not be available on Discovery Plus, there are no downloads for offline viewing, and there are no parental restrictions.
Discovery Plus is one of the fastest-growing streaming services in the industry, with popular shows like “Chopped,” “Dirty Jobs,” “Extreme Makeover,” and “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” available for fans of reality TV, true crime, cuisine, and competition series. Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet, Food Network, HGTV, ID, A&E, History, Lifetime, OWN, Travel, and others are among the cable channels whose shows, documentaries, and movies are available through the service.
Discovery Plus has over 55,000 individual episodes available for on-demand viewing, as well as “channels” that allow users to watch a 24-hour broadcast of certain shows such as “House Hunters” and “Chopped.”
Discovery Plus, unfortunately, lacks the technological sophistication of several other streaming services. There are no parental controls to prevent children from accessing sexual content, and there are no downloads for offline viewing when traveling. Because it lacks scripted shows in its repertoire, the service will mostly appeal to viewers of nonfiction content.
One of the best dwell TV streaming providers
Live TV streaming services are promoted as a less expensive alternative to cable or satellite, with more limited channel packages for “cord cutters.” However, in this arena, prices have risen, decreasing the cost advantage that streaming has over traditional television.
However, you can save money with some services in many circumstances. Choosing the correct package is critical for getting the most out of these platforms, so figure out which TV channels are a must-have before choosing a provider.
If you want to utilize a live TV streaming service to replace cable on numerous TVs in your house, you’ll have to pay a little extra to stream on many devices at the same time. Also, keep in mind that, although being broadcast online, these TV providers have the same ads and basic experience as cable.
The streaming quality varies every channel, however they always retain a resolution of 720p or 1080p. To choose which service is best for you, compare the channel packages and other features offered by each service.
Here’s a summary of the most popular live TV providers right now:
Sling TV – Sling TV offers two bundles, Sling Blue and Sling Orange, for $35 per month each or $50 per month when purchased together.
MSNBC, Fox News, Fox Sports, NBC Sports, and the NFL Network are among the channels available on Sling Blue, which can be streamed on up to three devices. The Disney Channel and the ESPN family of networks are available on Sling Orange, but only one streaming device can be used at a time. A complete list of Sling channels can be seen here.
The bundle makes the most sense, as it includes the entire collection of channels and features for an additional $15. Sling subscribers can’t watch their local ABC or CBS affiliates, so if you want those channels, you’ll have to use another service or an antenna.
Hulu + Live TV – The Hulu Live TV subscription costs $70 per month and includes access to about 75 channels. However, if you want to stream on more than two devices at once, you’ll have to pay extra, as will if you want more than 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage. Hulu + Live TV, on the other hand, includes Hulu’s complete on-demand service, Disney Plus, and ESPN+, so you get a little more bang for your buck.
In most markets, the standard package includes all of the main local networks, the ESPN family of channels, Fox and NBC Sports channels, as well as the SEC Network. The service, however, does not have access to AMC, NBA TV, or the MLB Network, which are all standard on YouTube TV.
Fubo TV – FuboTV offers over 100 channels, 250 hours of cloud DVR storage, and streaming on up to three devices for $65 a month. Fubo charges extra for sports networks like the SEC Network, NBA TV, and MLB Network, unlike most of its competitors. Local channels are included without charge.
YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes over 85 channels, unlimited cloud DVR storage, and simultaneous streaming on up to three devices. YouTubeTV’s base package contains more sports channels than its competitors, such as ESPN, Fox Sports, NBC Sports, NFL Network, NBA TV, and MLB Network.
PBS is now the only live TV streaming service that includes local affiliate networks from CBS, Fox, ABC, and NBC. The first three months of membership are $55 per month for new members.
DirecTV Stream (formerly AT&T TV) – With no-contract plans starting at $70 per month, DirecTV TV offers more pricing and package options than most live TV streaming competitors — the service offers nearly every channel, but like traditional cable, getting all the channels you want in a cheap bundle can be difficult.
Because DirecTV Stream is owned by AT&T, which also owns HBO Max, most of the bundles include an HBO Max subscription, which would otherwise cost $15 per month.
Philo TV – At $25 per month for 60+ channels, Philo TV is the most cost-effective choice. Unfortunately, Philo subscribers are unable to access their local affiliate networks, and the service does not provide many upgrade options for sports or cable news. Popular stations such as Comedy Central, MTV, and AMC are available, so there’s still plenty to watch.
One of the best streaming channels
Some streaming services function as an internet portal for a specific channel’s content. If you want to watch Showtime but don’t want to pay for a cable subscription, you can simply sign up for the network’s standalone streaming service. Some of these channel-specific services also offer exclusive material unavailable elsewhere.
Many of these streaming channels can be added to current platforms, such as Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, while others are only available on specific devices and services. Before signing up, make sure the channel you want is available on your device.
Here’s a rundown of some of the greatest streaming channel subscription services available right now:
Showtime – Showtime is a premium cable channel that features critically acclaimed original series and blockbuster movies. “Billions,” “Shameless,” and “Homeland” are among Showtime’s most popular shows. For $11 a month, you may access Showtime straight from the official website or app, or through Prime Video or Hulu.
Starz – Like Showtime and HBO, Starz provides on-demand streaming of its original programming as well as a rotating library of films. Starz is most known for shows like “Outlander” and “American Gods.” The program costs $9 each month, but the first three months are free for new customers.
ESPN+ is another example of a channel-specific streaming platform, with live broadcasts of athletic events that aren’t generally shown on cable and exclusive access to niche coverage of sports like UFC and “League of Legends.” ESPN+, on the other hand, does not offer live streaming access to the main ESPN cable channel. The subscription is $7 per month, or $14 per month if you combine it with Disney Plus and Hulu.
What we search for in on-demand streaming providers
Subscription services like Netflix popularized streaming by offering a greater collection of on-demand movies and shows at a lower cost than cable companies could. Instead than paying more for dozens of channels or rental fees for new releases, subscribers have instant access to thousands of titles. Many streaming services have also created their own original programming that is not available elsewhere.
Because the purpose is enjoyment, deciding which on-demand streaming service is best for you will mostly depend on your particular preferences. We can, however, compare and contrast the various on-demand platforms based on a few similar characteristics, such as their library size, selection of critically acclaimed exclusives, video quality, app functionality, and price.
On-demand streaming services that enable HDR color and contrast on compatible TVs have set a standard for 4K video quality. We have lower expectations for live TV streaming services that still employ HD resolutions like 1080p or 720p because TV channels rarely broadcast in 4K.
The quality will vary depending on the movie or show you’re watching, and you’ll need a fast, steady internet connection to stream in 4K constantly. These services will give the finest possible quality for your setup even if you don’t have a 4K TV.
App support is expected for iOS, Android, and most home entertainment devices, while the expanding number of streaming providers has slowed the launching of competing platforms such as Amazon and Roku. Subscribers to the top on-demand services can also save movies for offline watching when traveling, though an online check-in is still necessary on occasion.
We try to examine the diversity of entertainment offered by each streaming service, how much the platform has invested in exclusive programming, and which age groups are most suited to watch when comparing libraries. While most streaming services will have a rolling list of movies, it’s vital to keep an eye on which programs and brands, such as “The Office,” “Star Wars,” and “Stranger Things,” will remain platform exclusive.
The finest streaming service deals
For new users and students, streaming providers frequently offer specials and discounts. Special bundles are also common, allowing you to save money by bundling services.
Below are some noteworthy streaming discounts that you can take advantage of right now. More discounts will be added to this list as they become available.
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