The cable television industry has been an overpriced bust for years, and public broadcasting doesn’t fulfill most viewers’ needs.
Luckily, a solution has grown tremendously over the last decade, and we have streaming services.
With only an internet connection and a device that can connect to it, you have access to various options that can meet your needs and helps you cut the cables for good.
But what are the best streaming services?
Before we get into your ten best streaming services, there are a few things you should consider to figure out what’s best for you.
What to Consider When Choosing a Streaming Service
We all can agree there are too many streaming services. There are more than 200 streaming services available today.
So you probably feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of streaming services and are unsure which is best for you.
Your streaming service choice will entirely depend on what you are looking for, how you watch TV, and what content you prefer.
Here are some things to consider when browsing the vast array of streaming services available today.
First, the price of the service is a big consideration. Most streaming services operate in subscription tiers. So, you pay a monthly fee matching your chosen tier when you set up your account.
Typically, ad-supported tiers will be the cheapest and have more limitations. More expensive tiers will be ad-free, allow for streaming on multiple devices and provide higher-quality video.
Consider whether your budget will allow you to get the premium offering or if you’re okay with settling for a commercial every once in a while and only using one device at a time.
The different streaming services also have drastically different price points in general. With one service, it might be as low as five bucks, and others might charge almost $15 for the basic tier. Again, your budget is the most important thing to look at here.
Screen and Profile Limits
How many people will use your streaming service? Is it just you? Family? Roommates? Depending on the platform, there is a limit to how many screens or profiles you can connect to one account simultaneously. So be sure to check that before sharing your login information with other people.
Not all streaming services are compatible with all devices or smart TVs. Ensure your streaming device is compatible with any streaming service you want.
Finally, the content offered on a platform is absolutely necessary to consider. Some are themed, such as Disney’s Disney+ platform.
You’ll find the childhood favorites you love and the family-friendly IPs the company has picked up, such as Marvel or Star Wars.
On something like Netflix, you’ll find everything from new and old TV shows to original series and movies from the last few decades.
Try to browse a service’s content list before committing to a subscription.
Best Streaming Services
The following are our 10 best streaming services on the market right now. Even better, they all have a free trial OR a free payment tier.
So, you don’t have to commit your hard-earned cash to any of them before knowing what you’re getting into.
- Netflix: Best overall streaming service
- Disney+: Best for family-friendly content
- Hulu: Best bang for your buck
- HBO Max: Best for HBO shows and hit movies
- Amazon Prime Video: Best value for Amazon Prime members
- Peacock: Best for free streaming
- Paramount+: Best for Paramount Global’s family of brands
- Apple TV+: Best for quality originals
- Hulu + Live TV: Best bundle for popular movies, shows, and sports
- Discovery+: Best for non-fiction shows
Let’s dive into the details to find the best service for you.
Best overall streaming service
You can’t make a list of streaming services without talking about Netflix. It’s basically what started the streaming craze. That’s for a good reason, too.
Netflix tends to have the largest catalog of content, its content changes regularly, and there’s a massive variety of entertainment options to choose from.
It’s known for its high-production-value originals, new movies, old movies, entire seasons of television series from now and yesteryear, and more.
It’s highly unlikely you’ll subscribe to Netflix and not find at least one or two things that make the subscription price worthwhile.
With that being said, the subscription price is also its biggest drawback. This is the most expensive streaming service on the market. As of now, the Netflix basic package costs $8.99 per month.
That comes with regular ads set to interrupt your shows and movies every fifteen to twenty minutes, the streaming quality that is capped at 720p, and you can only use it on one device at a time.
You’ll be paying about $14.99 per month to get the best package. This price also tends to increase each year or two. So, it’ll likely get more expensive as time goes by.
This doesn’t make Netflix a bad option. The variety of options is amazing. You want to make sure you’ll get your money’s worth out of it, though.
Luckily, Netflix does offer a free trial for 7 days.
- Simple and easy to use
- Huge catalog
- Downloading feature
- Device compatibility
- No live TV or sports
Best for family-friendly content
Disney+ is a fairly unique streaming platform. It had a rough start, but now it’s a fan favorite.
Instead of focusing on flooding subscribers with a massive variety of content, Disney has focused on doing what it does best; leveraging its IPs.
Mostly, you’ll find the Disney movies and old TV shows you grew up loving. Plus, you’ll get immediate access to most new Disney movies right away.
If Disney’s kid-friendly approach isn’t your thing, there are still a few reasons to try it out. Disney owns Marvel, NatGeo, Star Wars, and other IPs. The film catalogs from each of those are available in full on Disney+.
This isn’t entirely fault-free, either. While many people will find a reason to enjoy Disney+, and the $7.99 price tag is attractive, Disney gets you in other ways.
When they first came out, Disney used to charge as much as $30 to view big releases. That’s like getting a $30 movie ticket.
Luckily, most of their releases are dropped on the platform immediately, and they’re included in the subscription fee.
Some notable recent additions were Encanto and Luca. Unless you pay a few extra dollars for the ad-free version, there are ads.
Like Netflix, Disney+ offers a free trial for 7 days. Unlike Netflix, Disney+ gives out free or highly-reduced 1-month subscriptions regularly. So, if you pay attention, you can try an entire month for free or around $2.
- Huge library that includes Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar content
- Clean user interface
- Family-friendly catalog
- Less variety than competitors
Best bang for your buck
Hulu is another one of the old-school platforms that came into play just shortly after Netflix took off.
It’s the same concept, but its content catalog is different, and it’s a little cheaper. You’ll find new movies, old movies, original movies, series, television shows, and more across every imaginable genre.
Hulu’s original work is also starting to catch up with Netflix. The platform just released “Prey” to resounding applause from audiences, and it’s expected to keep hitting the nail on the head; Netflix customers know it can sometimes be hit or miss with the red brand.
Hulu’s basic tier is $7.99 per month, and like Netflix, it has had a history of slowly raising its price. However, it has been much more stable than Netflix, and the price doesn’t increase often.
Unlike the other free trials, Hulu offers you an entire month free by default. This is plenty of time to decide whether you want to commit to the service, and you gain access to everything on the platform.
The problem with Hulu is that it partners with other platforms too much. This makes it confusing. You might search for a movie you enjoy and then find that it has a little “lock” icon. That’s because you’re expected to subscribe to the platform that’s on to stream it through Hulu.
This allows Hulu to act like a hub for your other services on top of what it offers, but it’s annoying to think you found a show you want to see and then find out you’re not subscribed to that.
- Low monthly price
- Bundles and add-ons
- Quick updates on new episodes
- Frequent commercials
- Small catalog compared to other platforms
Best for HBO shows and hit movies
HBO Max has been around for a while and has left an impression on its subscribers. As the name implies, it’s mostly dedicated to the same content you’d find on HBO.
Movies make up a lot of the catalog, but you’ll also find new and old shows from sister companies it has purchased rights.
The big draw for HBO Max is its own productions. For example, the latest Mortal Kombat film debuted on HBO Max, and several other films have also been released on the platform.
This isn’t the richest platform, but it’s worth getting into occasionally if you find a movie releasing on it. However, it also costs $14.99.
In addition to the free trial, you can get the streaming platform for free if you still have cable through AT&T, and you can get the channel.
- Exclusive access to HBO originals
- Large TV and movie library
- Premium look
- Great user experience
- No free trial
Amazon Prime Video
Best value for Prime members
Amazon Prime Video is Amazon’s attempt to get into the streaming world, and while it’s not as popular as the first three we mentioned, it is picking up steam.
It currently has a 25,000-piece catalog of content, and more recently, it has started debuting films from top studios.
The most attractive part of Amazon Prime Video is that you get access to the majority of it along with your normal Prime Subscription.
So, if you’re paying a monthly fee for the free, two-day shipping, you might as well load up Prime Video and take a look.
It is worth mentioning that “Premium” offerings are kept behind a higher-tier payment plan, or you can pay a rental price for premium content you want to see without committing monthly.
If you don’t want to subscribe to Prime, you can also pay $8.99 for just the video service, but that’s nowhere near as good of a deal when you consider it’s a growing platform, and that’s more than some of the more developed platforms.
- Comes with Prime membership
- Solid collection of original content
- Offline download
- You can rent or buy movies and TV shows
- Confusing user interface
Best for free streaming
Peacock is the only platform on this list that is truly free. That makes it the perfect way to see if streaming is for you. Of course, paid options are involved, but you can access most of its catalog without paying a single dime.
Now, the platform is still growing. So, it doesn’t have as impressive of a catalog as others, but there is plenty to enjoy for free.
The real value comes to a couple of niche audiences if you pay the low-priced subscription fee of $4.99 per month.
With that small fee, you get access to live sports broadcasts, WWE premium live events and the entire WWE back catalog, and even certain movie premiers. Notably, the last three Halloween movies were released on Peacock, and $5 members enjoyed it at no extra fee.
If you would like an ad-free experience plus frequent live or movie events, you can pay $9.99.
There’s not much to complain about, given Peacock’s extremely low price, completely free tier, and quickly-growing catalog. Even if you don’t want to pay for it just yet, it’s worth adding Peacock to whatever device you stream.
- Free tier
- Live sports
- Decent selection of movies
- Limited original content
- Long ads
Best for Paramount Global’s family of brands
Paramount+ is new, and it’s not going to compete with some of the higher-priced options. However, it’s priced fairly and has been dedicated to gaining more high-quality material from movies to originals.
The Halo series debuted on Paramount+, and a few other series and movies you won’t find anywhere else have enjoyed a home on the platform.
The big attraction here is that, like Peacock, it costs $5 per month to access everything. It doesn’t have a free tier, but you do get a 7-day free trial. Similarly, an ad-free experience is available for $9.99.
This makes Paramount a great movie streaming service to partner with Peacock for low-cost streaming.
- Live TV, sports
- Offline downloads
- Fewer original content than competitors
- Only premium subscribers get Local CBS
Best for quality originals
Apple’s Apple TV+ streaming service is a lesser-known streaming service, but it has a lot to offer, and it’s reasonably priced compared to other options.
Apple TV+ has a little bit of everything. You’ll find documentaries, movies, series, and more, which are fairly popular. So, your subscription fee won’t buy you a bunch of filler content like on a lot of platforms.
This is a great option to pair with your Apple TV system (a point that is typically expounded upon when you purchase an Apple TV) and your other Apple devices.
That Apple branding is likely why it’s not as popular as you’d think. It comes off as something that goes with Apple products. That’s not true, though. It functions like any other streaming service, and you don’t have to run Apple hardware to have it.
For $6.99, you can get unrestricted access to Apple TV. That’s a $2 jump from what it debuted, but the price has remained stable.
- Offline download on iOS
- Clean user interface
- 4K and HDR streams, Dolby Atmos
- No ads
- Limited library of original content
- Not available on Android or game consoles
Hulu + Live TV
Best bundle for popular movies, shows, and sports
If you enjoy Hulu, the next step is Hulu + Live TV. It basically takes care of the one drawback streaming has compared to cable; you’re usually not watching your favorite shows live as they air, and it’s like watching reruns.
With the Live TV add-on, that’s no longer the case.
The rest is self-explanatory, but this addition will bump your Hulu subscription to $64.99 per month. That sounds steep, but it essentially gives you cable, and it’s still cheaper than a basic cable package.
- Clean interface
- Disney+ and ESPN+ bundle
- Large on-demand library
- Lots of ads
- Only 2 simultaneous screens
Best for non-fiction shows
If you love Discovery Channel’s content on cable, this is the perfect subscription. You’ll find documentary-style videos from around the world, survival shows, deep looks into nature and science, and other things in that same vein. Essentially, you’re getting Discovery without having to pay for cable.
While you won’t find Hollywood movies and popular fictional TV shows, this only costs $4.99 per month, and it’s worth it for anyone who enjoys the content we described. If you want movies, look elsewhere.
- Nice user interface
- Up to 5 profiles and 4 simultaneous streams per account
- Large library of content
- No free tier
- No live TV
- No offline download
Final Thoughts on the Best Streaming Services
All of the services we listed have a target audience. So, some of our readers will like one more than others. However, they’re all great services, and each of them has a free trial at the very least.
So, we recommend checking them out for free, deciding what you like the most and what fits your budget, and then pick two or three that meet your needs the most.
You’ll pay far less than cable and have access to more content than you could ever watch.
If you have any feedback or questions, then please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.