Streaming services have become an integral part of our modern entertainment landscape, offering a wide range of movies, TV shows, and original content at our fingertips. With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to find the best streaming service that suits your preferences and budget. In this article, we will compare and analyze the offerings of various popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and more. We will also delve into the criteria we use to test these services, explore additional options for video streaming, and even discuss whether you can stream sports online. So, if you're looking to enhance your binge-watching experience or expand your entertainment horizons, keep reading to discover the best streaming service for you.
The top streaming services at presentWhy should you have faith in Tom's Guide? Our team of writers and editors dedicates extensive time to thoroughly assess and evaluate products, services, and applications in order to assist you in finding the best options. If you want to discover more about our testing, analysis, and rating procedures, feel free to learn more here.
(Image credit: Henry T. Casey / Tom's Guide)Max offers everything that HBO Max had, and then some. It's like how HBO Max enhanced HBO. Now, the most popular content from Discovery Plus has been added, so Logan Roy and Guy Fieri can be found side by side in the Series section, a situation that was unimaginable before. All of this is available for the same $15.99 that HBO Max used to cost.
However, there are some minor inconveniences. For instance, all shows and movies beginning with "the" are grouped together under "T" in the alphabetical sorting, which can be confusing. Additionally, you need to pay extra for 4K resolution. Fortunately, existing HBO Max subscribers will retain their 4K and other perks for the first six months of Max's existence. Oh, and the Last Chance section no longer displays the departure dates for content; it is now hidden in the New & Notable section. Take a look at our guide to the greatest shows on HBO Max and the best movies on HBO Max to see what is currently available.
Don't forget to read our comprehensive Max review.
(Image credit: Hulu; Shutterstock)Hulu is one of the most intriguing choices on this list, and its unique qualities make it stand out as one of the finest streaming services. While it may not release as many new original productions as Netflix does, its quality-to-quantity ratio is superior. But more importantly, its next-day airings of cable and broadcast TV shows make it essential for cord-cutters who don't want to spend $40 or more on services like Sling. And even though Hulu is still our top pick for value, the recent price increase raises the entry cost to .99 per month, although it remains cheaper than Netflix's basic .99 plan.
Additionally, Hulu hosts a range of original shows, including collaborations with the BBC such as The Wrong Mans and season 4 of The Thick of It, as well as a selection of unconventional movies and a surprising number of classic anime series. Recent hits on Hulu include Only Murderers In the Building season 2, Fire Island, and The Dropout. With a paid subscription, you will have to endure some commercials, but fewer than if you were watching the same shows on cable. Hulu's live TV streaming option is also an attractive aspect of its overall package, and it allows you to watch CBS as well. If you're wondering what to watch, check out our lists of the finest shows on Hulu and the best movies on Hulu.
Additionally, following the price hike for YouTube TV, Hulu Live TV's per month package appears more appealing.
Find out more in our complete Hulu with Live TV review or check our Hulu promo codes.
(Image credit: Netflix)Netflix, an industry pioneer, remains near the top of our list of the finest streaming services. As you are probably aware, Netflix allows unlimited streaming of TV shows, movies, comedy specials, and original programming for a monthly subscription fee. As the company continues to prioritize major film releases, its efforts to establish itself as a significant player in the movie industry have not always been successful (although a sequel to The Gray Man is in the works). The new Netflix plan with ads provides an entry point of .99, with higher-resolution versions coming soon.
Netflix is constantly updating its content library, so it's important to check our guide on what's new on Netflix to see what's coming soon and what you should watch before it's removed. Some people may want to cancel Netflix due to attempts to increase prices, as a feature called "Paid sharing" aims to eliminate shared accounts.
If you're unsure of what to watch, take a look at our lists of the greatest shows on Netflix and the best movies on Netflix.
Read our comprehensive Netflix review.
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)Disney Plus dominates the streaming market, and it's easy to see why. With its vast range of properties, from Marvel to Star Wars to Disney's own animated classics and The Simpsons (all 30 seasons and counting), Disney has strong control over the content it offers. Recently, Disney Plus raised its price to $11, although it introduced a new ad-free plan for for those who prefer to keep the current pricing structure.
While we appreciate the functionality and responsiveness of the Disney Plus apps, we have always expected more from the service. We find ourselves waiting for new releases too frequently. We are also curious about the changes that will come with the addition of TV-MA content in the U.S., such as the arrival of Netflix's Marvel shows and improved parental controls. Additionally, Disney Plus now offers its first R-rated movies, including Deadpool, Deadpool 2, and Logan, but compared to Netflix and HBO Max, it still lacks the wide variety of adult-oriented content. However, fans of Disney, Marvel, Pixar, and Star Wars have no option but to subscribe, which makes Disney Plus one of the premier streaming services.
If you're wondering what to watch, our guides to the finest Disney Plus movies and the best Disney Plus shows can provide some excellent recommendations.
Read our detailed Disney Plus review.
(Image credit: Apple)When we initially included Apple TV Plus on our list of the top streaming services, it ranked last. However, in the months since, Apple TV Plus has continually impressed us and is now mentioned alongside HBO Max in terms of its strong content lineup. Shows like Severance and The Afterparty have stood out, and Apple TV Plus even won the Best Picture Oscar for CODA. So, if anyone claims that Apple TV Plus is only for "Ted Lasso and little else," they need to explore the greatest Apple TV Plus shows and movies. Its programming continues to surprise and captivate viewers, while Netflix can sometimes feel formulaic and monotonous.
The latest excellent addition to Apple TV Plus is Shrinking, starring Jason Segel, Jessica Williams, and Harrison Ford. It comes from two of the creative minds behind Ted Lasso. In addition to this, there is the musical Schmigadoon!, the documentary The Velvet Underground, and much more, including the fantastic Mythic Quest. If you're in the mood for drama, For All Mankind and The Morning Show are sure to satisfy your cravings for prestige and tabloid entertainment, respectively. However, the recent Apple TV Plus price increase is disappointing, as the subscription cost has risen from $4.99 to .99 per month.
Find out more in our thorough Apple TV Plus review.
(Image credit: NBCUniversal)Peacock is our favorite up-and-coming streaming service, continuously adding great shows to its library. The latest addition is Poker Face, starring Natasha Lyonne. Unfortunately, the bad news is that the free tier of Peacock has been discontinued. However, we love Peacock because it has yet to increase its prices, unlike its competitors.
Here at Tom's Guide, we subscribe to Peacock for various reasons. Some of us enjoy Peacock Originals like Girls5eva and Vigil, two of our favorite new shows that caused us to upgrade from the free tier when it was still available. We're disappointed to announce that Girls5eva is leaving for Netflix. One of our staff members, named Henry, subscribes to Peacock solely for WWE live events and content. For tips on what to watch, be sure to check out our list of the finest Peacock shows.
Read our complete Peacock review, and also view our Peacock TV promo codes to save on monthly costs.
(Image credit: FuboTV)For those seeking access to live sports without a traditional cable subscription, Fubo is one of the finest streaming services available. Fubo's standard plan costs and offers over 120 channels, including nearly every major broadcast and cable network. However, recent developments indicate that Fubo will charge an additional Regional Sports Fee of up to $13.99, which you will see when checking out. Unlike Hulu and Sling TV, Fubo offers 4K streaming for select content on-demand and select live events. The only downside, aside from the higher price, is the limited Cloud DVR storage capacity.
During our testing, Fubo's multi-screen view, exclusive to Apple TV, stood out as the most significant differentiator. It allowed us to watch multiple races and soccer matches simultaneously, providing an excellent user experience.
While Fubo boasts the largest channel lineup among the higher-priced streaming services, it recently filled two major gaps by adding ABC and ESPN to its offerings. By including ESPN, Fubo has become the top streaming service for NFL fans, as it provides access to all major broadcast networks and the NFL Network. Additionally, Fubo includes popular networks like NBC, Fox, AMC, Food Network, MTV, and Syfy, as well as various niche sports channels. Its only shortcoming in the sports department is the absence of TNT and TBS, which are essential for NBA and MLB playoffs.
Get all the details in our comprehensive Fubo review or check out our Fubo promo codes.
(Image credit: BigTunaOnline/Shutterstock)For online shoppers, Amazon Prime is an obvious choice. For an annual fee of $139 (previously $119), you receive free two-day shipping on purchases, a free Kindle book each month, and unlimited access to both Amazon Music and Amazon Prime Video. Like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video offers a wide range of movies, television shows, and original programming (the greatest Amazon shows include The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Man in the High Castle, Reacher, and The Boys). However, Prime Video's release schedule for new shows seems less frequent compared to the big red streaming giant or HBO Max.
The biggest hit on Amazon Prime Video is The Boys, which has already inspired an animated spinoff (with a college setting on the way). Our main gripe with Prime Video is how the app varies across platforms. When we tested Prime Video on Roku, Apple TV, and Chromecast, we noticed fewer sorting and discovery options compared to the Fire TV device. Additionally, you can rent or purchase movies through Prime Video, but this is a separate service. Take a look at our list of the greatest Prime Video movies for more recommendations.
Read our detailed Prime Video review.
Comparing the optionsBelow is a summarized overview of the pricing, simultaneous streams, and availability of ad-based plans for each service to assist you in determining which platforms suit your needs.
Our testing process for streaming servicesMost of the names on this list are likely familiar to you, but it is not an exhaustive list. There are numerous other methods of streaming and hundreds of alternatives available. When evaluating these specific streaming options, we took certain factors into consideration.
The list is organized based on the numerical value assigned to each streaming service in their respective reviews, which was determined by their design (such as ease of use across different TV and mobile platforms), features (including 4K HDR, mobile downloads, recommendations, watch lists, and number of streams), content (such as the number of shows and the quality of originals and back catalogs), and value (price compared to these other factors). Click on the full reviews for more detailed information.
Ideal for Original Programming
Why We Selected ItNetflix is the undisputed leader in streaming video services. It boasts an impressive collection of content, with monthly exchanges of new titles for older ones. Additionally, Netflix continues to expand its library of exceptional original programming, surpassing all other streaming services. Netflix's remarkable series catalog includes Altered Carbon, Black Mirror, Bojack Horseman, Dead to Me, Mindhunters, Orange is the New Black, Russian Doll, Stranger Things, The Umbrella Academy, The Witcher, and even original anime. This is in addition to its original movies like El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie and Martin Scorsese's The Irishman. However, Netflix has recently lost some notable titles, such as Friends (which moved to HBO Max) and The Office (which transferred to NBC's Peacock).
Intended AudienceNetflix is a premium service catering to individuals willing to invest in higher-priced subscriptions. The cost for unlimited standard-definition content on a single device is .99 per month. The Standard tier, now priced at $15.49 per month (previously $13.99), provides access to HD content and enables streaming on two devices concurrently. The Premium plan, priced at $19.99 per month (formerly $17.99), allows for four simultaneous streams and grants access to 4K content where available. Netflix also offers a cheaper ad-supported tier at .99 per month. However, this budget tier does not include all shows in Netflix's library and lacks premium perks.
Netflix apps can be downloaded on various devices, including Chromecast, game consoles, PCs, and tablets. Notably, users can now disable the auto-playing previews, and there are additional parental control options available. Alongside Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, and Disney, Netflix is one of the few streaming services supporting offline downloads, as well as 4K and HDR streaming (now available on Macs as well). It's clear that streaming is Netflix's primary focus and their DVD mailing service will be discontinued on September 29, 2023.
Outstanding original shows
Excellent apps and features
Mobile offline downloads
Option to rent physical media
Free mobile games
Compromised ad-based tier
Lack of information on content availability changes
Best for Live and On-Demand Content
Why We Selected ItWith its wide selection of streaming options, Hulu is a top choice for cord-cutters. In addition to an extensive library of classic shows and a strong movie collection, Hulu offers a robust live TV service, featuring over 70 channels of news, sports, and entertainment programming. Despite this, Hulu falls behind when it comes to original content and lacks a substantial offering of 4K content. After adding 14 Viacom channels to its lineup, including BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, and Paramount Network, Hulu recently announced the addition of NFL Network and NFL RedZone. However, it remains uncertain whether these NFL-centric channels will lead to an increase in subscription costs.
Intended AudienceHulu is ideal for anyone seeking streaming convenience without giving up traditional live TV. The basic on-demand streaming plan is priced at .99 per month, while the ad-free version costs $14.99 per month. College students can access Hulu's ad-supported version for $1.99 per month. The Hulu Live TV plan is priced at .99 per month and combines Hulu's live TV service with the ad-supported streaming plan. Additionally, all subscribers now benefit from Enhanced Cloud DVR, which increases the available DVR storage from 50 to 200 hours. The Unlimited Screens package can be added to the plan for an additional .99 per month, allowing for unlimited device streaming within your home and up to three devices outside of your home.
Extensive selection of TV series
Broad range of live TV channels
Strong cloud DVR option
Compatible with various media streaming devices
Base on-demand plan includes ads
Offline downloads only available with a premium account
Fewer high-quality originals compared to competitors
Limited availability of SportsNet and Bally Sports RSNs
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Best for Cost-Effective TV Shows and Movies
Why We Picked ItNBC's Peacock offers two plans: a Premium tier with 20,000 hours of content, live sports, and channels featuring clips; and a Premium Plus option that removes ads when streaming on-demand titles. While some of NBC's biggest hits like Friends and Seinfeld are not available for on-demand streaming, you can still watch other popular NBC shows, including 30 Rock, Cheers, Chicago Fire, Friday Night Lights, The Office, Parks and Recreation, Saturday Night Live, Will and Grace, Law & Order: SVU, Superstore, and This is Us.
Intended AudienceWho wouldn't appreciate quality content at an affordable price? Peacock is slowly expanding its live sports offerings, including Sunday Night Football games. It also features Premier League soccer, IndyCar coverage, and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) content. However, it's worth noting that Peacock no longer offers a free tier for new subscribers, though existing free subscribers are unaffected at this time. Peacock does not support 4K streaming, but users can stream on up to three devices per account. Only Premium Plus users have access to offline downloads on mobile devices. The Peacock app is available on platforms such as Android, iOS, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, Roku, and gaming consoles like PlayStation and Xbox.
Affordable base tier without major limitations
Popular movies and network shows
Flexible pricing options
Live sports coverage
Support for multiple account profiles
Inability to create a free account for new users
Constant changes in the movie library
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Amazon Prime Video
Superb for On-Demand Shows and Movies
Why We Chose ItAmazon offers access to its captivating video content through either a standalone Amazon Video subscription or an Amazon Prime subscription. The cost for an Amazon Video subscription is .99 per month, granting access solely to Amazon's streaming video library. On the other hand, an Amazon Prime account, priced at $14.99 per month (or $139 per year), includes not only Prime Video content but also a plethora of shipping and shopping perks. In most of its support documentation, Amazon refers to its video streaming service as Amazon Prime Video.
In recent times, Amazon has dedicated its efforts to curating a selection of top-notch original shows, such as Bosch, The Boys, Catastrophe, Fleabag, Hanna, Hunters, Tales From The Loop, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Patriot, Undone, and Upload. The long-awaited $416 million Lord of the Rings series is still on schedule. Many of these shows are exceptional and rival the offerings of Netflix, although the latter boasts a more extensive content library. One notable advantage that Prime Video has over Netflix, however, is its live broadcasting of Thursday Night Football games, select MLB matchups, and, most recently, WNBA games.
Who It's ForWhile it does offer a subscription option, Prime Video also caters to individuals who prefer to purchase or rent shows and movies à la carte. Amazon's video library also encompasses a vast collection of popular and timeless movies available for streaming at no additional cost. The recent acquisition of MGM for .45 billion by Amazon should significantly enhance the movie selection.
Prime Video stands out by supporting 4K and HDR streaming, as well as offering downloads for offline viewing. The platform is compatible with web browsers, Android and iOS devices, game consoles (PlayStation, Xbox), Smart TVs, and media streaming devices (Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, Nvidia Shield, TiVo). With Prime Video, you can simultaneously stream up to three titles on the same account, but it limits you to streaming the same title to two devices at once. Furthermore, Prime Video now allows users to create multiple viewing profiles per account, a relatively new addition.
Outstanding original content
4K and HDR streaming
Live broadcasting of Thursday Night Football and WNBA games
Supports offline downloads, multiple viewer profiles, and audio descriptions
- Enables renting or buying movies and TV shows
Continues to lose third-party content to other services
Fewer high-quality TV shows compared to competitors
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Finest for HBO Shows and Popular Movies
Why We Chose ItThe primary asset of HBO Max lies in its extensive catalog of prestigious original shows, which include Barry, Big Little Lies, Chernobyl, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Sex and the City, Silicon Valley, Six Feet Under, Succession, The Sopranos, The Wire, and Westworld. Recently, HBO Max made the pilot episodes of 13 original shows available to stream for free through the HBO Max mobile apps.
The service obtained streaming rights to numerous other beloved shows, such as Friends (including a reunion show), Rick and Morty, and South Park. Moreover, Babylon 5 Remastered is now accessible for streaming. Additionally, HBO Max features select content from various sources within the expansive WarnerMedia universe, including CNN, Crunchyroll, DC Comics, and Looney Tunes. If you're wondering what you can watch, read our feature on everything coming to HBO Max this month.
Apart from its rich assortment of TV shows, HBO Max offers an impressive collection of popular movies from WarnerMedia properties (Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema) as well as other sources like The Criterion Collection and Studio Ghibli. Multiple Warner Bros. movies, including Dune, Godzilla vs. Kong, The Matrix Resurrections, and The Suicide Squad, premiered on HBO Max on the same day as their theatrical release. However, Warner Bros. returned to the traditional theatrical release model in 2022, albeit with a shorter exclusivity window.
The merger between Warner and Discovery will result in dramatic changes for HBO Max, going beyond the loss of certain shows. The service is scheduled to merge with sibling streaming service Discovery and transform into Max in May 2023.
Who It's ForHBO is undeniably synonymous with exceptional TV programming, and HBO Max remains the sole platform for streaming its content. If the $15.99-per-month HBO Max plan stretches beyond your budget, you can now opt for a more affordable ad-supported version priced at .99 per month. This tier does not offer access to Warner Bros. same-day releases or the ability to stream in 4K or download titles for offline viewing. However, the ad experience is reasonable as HBO Max promises that the total playtime of ads will not exceed four minutes per hour and that ads will not interrupt its own content.
HBO Max encompasses all the top features found in other video streaming services, including offline downloads on mobile devices, support for up to five viewing profiles, simultaneous streaming on up to three devices, audio descriptions, and modern apps. However, only a select few titles currently support 4K streaming. To make the most of your subscription, refer to our tips for HBO Max story. The service is compatible with mobile devices (Android and iOS), TVs (Apple, Android, and Samsung), as well as current-and-last-gen gaming consoles (PlayStation, Xbox). It now supports Chromecast, Fire TV, and Roku media streaming platforms as well.
Immense collection of popular shows and movies from various sources
User profiles and parental control tools
Ad-free tier allows for offline downloads
Ultimate tier offers significantly more 4K content than HBO Max previously did
Relatively high price
Ad-supported tier does not support offline downloads
Possible significant changes to the library
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DisneyThis streaming platform is your all-in-one destination for all things Disney, making it irresistible to kids, parents, animation enthusiasts, and anyone seeking the timeless movies from renowned production company 20th Century Pictures.
Disney entered the scene with authority, utilizing their highly popular brands such as Star Wars, Pixar, and Marvel. It serves as your comprehensive source for all things Disney, captivating children, parents, animation enthusiasts, and those seeking classic films from the distinguished 20th Century Pictures. Furthermore, unlike Hulu, another Disney-owned platform, it strictly offers family-friendly content, with no R-rated movies or shows that might stumble upon the curious young audience. From now on, it's all about The Mandalorian (and similar content) on this platform.
With the company's renewed emphasis on streaming,Disney has swiftly established itself as a must-have for families. With a price of per month (or per year), it presents a much more affordable alternative to the hassle of taking the kids out for a movie night (or purchasing Disney's high-priced Blu-rays). Additionally, you can opt for a bundle that includes ESPN and Hulu for $13 per month.Certain Verizon FiOS and mobile customers can even enjoy Disney, Hulu, and ESPN for free.
Disney allows for up to four simultaneous streams and permits the downloading of films and shows for offline viewing, a valuable feature when you find yourself in the car with no cellular service and a restless young child. Rest assured, Disney is accessible on all major streaming devices and most TV brands. Although Amazon's Fire TV devices initially lacked support for the platform, they now provide access to Disney as well. — D.H.
YouTube TVFor those looking to cut the cord but still enjoy live TV, YouTube TV provides an excellent solution without the need for a long-term contract.
YouTube TV offers a fantastic alternative for cord cutters who desire live TV programming without committing to a contract. With over 85 diverse channels in its lineup, it's highly likely that you won't miss your cable TV or satellite subscription at all by making the switch. Moreover, YouTube TV offers regional PBS channels, a rarity among most live TV streaming services.
The standout feature of YouTube TV is its impressive coverage of live sports. In addition to popular sports-carrying channels like CBS, FOX, ESPN, NBC, TBS, and TNT, it also includes dedicated sports networks such as the MLB Network, NBA TV, and the NFL Network. For an extra $11 per month, you can even opt for the Sports Plus package that grants access to specific sports channels like NFL RedZone, FOX College Sports, GOLTV, FOX Soccer Plus, MAVTV Motorsports Network, TVG, and Stadium. Unfortunately, YouTube TV recently lost the rights to broadcast Bally Sports regional networks, which means that you won't have access to region-specific channels like Bally Sports Detroit or Bally Sports Southwest.
Sports enthusiasts will appreciate the ability to effortlessly follow their favorite teams without having to remember to record each game individually. YouTube TV's DVR automatically records all games of a chosen team. Additionally, if you join a match late, you can catch up with the key plays via the "catch up with key plays" feature, allowing you to stay up to date.
YouTube TV comes at a higher cost of per month, which may not be significantly different from a basic cable package. To access 4K content (currently limited to certain sporting events) and enjoy unlimited streaming, an additional $20 per month is required.
The platform also boasts one of the best cloud DVRs available. YouTube TV offers unlimited storage for recorded content, which remains accessible for up to nine months before expiration. Rewinding and fast-forwarding through recorded content are default features, with no additional charges. However, it is important to note that on-demand content on YouTube TV does include ads that cannot be skipped.
Furthermore, YouTube TV offers a range of premium channels that you can add to your subscription for as little as $3 per month, including Showtime, Max, Starz, Cinemax, and EPIX. For $30 per month, you can subscribe to the Entertainment Plus bundle that includes Max, Showtime, and Starz. Other niche add-ons such as CuriosityStream, AMC Premiere, Shudder, Sundance Now, Urban Movie Channel, and Acorn TV are also available. — N.L.
Top Choice for Free Movies
Reason for SelectionTubi is a free streaming service offering a vast collection of 50,000 movies and TV shows (although it's unclear whether individual episodes are included in that count). Nonetheless, it features popular films such as A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Black Hawk Down, Donnie Darko, Legally Blonde, Memento, Minority Report, Rain Man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and We Need to Talk About Kevin. While its TV library is less extensive, notable entries include 3rd Rock From the Sun (seasons 1-5), Degrassi: The Next Generation (seasons 1-14), Hell's Kitchen (seasons 1-14), Jojo's Bizarre Adventures (seasons 1-4), Naruto (seasons 1-4), and V (seasons 1-2). Keep in mind that Tubi's library changes regularly.
Target AudienceTubi caters to individuals seeking a free service that doesn't compromise on quality. Its web interface and mobile apps feature sleek designs and neatly organize content into descriptive categories. One limitation of Tubi is that it restricts streaming resolution to 720p. Although this isn't a major issue, it's worth noting that many movies are only available in 540p. Additionally, Tubi doesn't support offline downloads for mobile devices. However, the service keeps track of the content you've watched and allows you to manage a watchlist. Parental control tools are somewhat limited, but they do provide an option.
Tubi is accessible via the web and mobile devices (Android and iOS). Supported media streaming devices include Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, Roku, and TiVo. Tubi also supports gaming consoles (PlayStation and Xbox) and select smart TVs from Samsung, Sony, and Vizio.
Vast library of movies and shows
Modern apps and interfaces
Parental control options
Streaming resolution capped at 720p
No ad-free option
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Superb for Sports
Reasons for Our SelectionFubo is an excellent choice for sports enthusiasts who have cut the cord. The base subscription plan, known as Fubo Pro, comes with a price tag of .99 per month and provides access to approximately 150 channels, with the specific number dependent on your location. When it comes to national sports events, CBS, FOX, NBA TV, NBC, and NFL Network are all available. For international sports, the beIN network and Univision provide coverage. While Fubo includes Disney-owned channels, such as ESPN, it no longer carries CNN and other WarnerMedia channels. Notably, Fubo recently added Bally Sports RSNs(Opens in a new window) to its lineup.
If you ever feel like taking a break from sports, Fubo offers a diverse range of entertainment channels, including AMC, The Food Network, FX, National Geographic, SYFY, and USA. After integrating Viacom channels into the Standard plan, Fubo now also includes channels from the Discovery network, such as Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, and TLC. In addition to live events and programs, there is an extensive selection of on-demand shows and movies available.
Intended AudienceSports enthusiasts require customization options to tailor their viewing experience according to their favorite teams and games. Thankfully, Fubo allows you to enhance the base plan with add-ons like Sports Plus with NFL RedZone ($10.99 per month) and Fubo Extra (.99 per month), which adds nearly 60 additional channels to the lineup.
In addition to its impressive channel offerings, Fubo boasts excellent DVR capabilities. By default, you get 250 hours of storage, which can be upgraded to 1,000 hours. The service also supports three simultaneous streams, expandable to 10 streams with an add-on. Furthermore, Fubo's Lookback feature allows you to watch anything you may have missed within 72 hours of its original airing, while the Startover feature enables you to watch currently airing events from the beginning, regardless of when you tuned in. Apart from accessing Fubo through the web, you can download dedicated apps for Android, Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, iOS, Roku devices, and smart TVs. While Fubo is available on Xbox consoles, it is not compatible with PlayStation devices.
- Tremendous variety of live sports and on-demand entertainment content
- Reliable streaming performance
- User-friendly web interface
- Powerful DVR functionality
- Selection of 4K content
- Expensive add-ons and package options
- Does not offer A&E and Turner channels
- Most live streams limited to 720p resolution
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Top Choice for Anime
Reasons for Our SelectionCrunchyroll stands out as one of the most comprehensive anime streaming services, offering access to over 1,300 titles in its library. Notable shows available on the platform include Attack on Titan, Death Note, FLCL, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Hunter X Hunter, One-Punch Man, several Naruto series, and Yuri!!! on Ice. In addition to popular series, Crunchyroll features original content, such as A Place Further Than the Universe, In/Spectre, and The Rising of the Shield Hero. Exciting upcoming titles include Onyx Equinox, set in Meso-America, and Meiji Gekken: Sword & Gun, which takes place in Japan during the 1870s. Moreover, Crunchyroll operates an online shop where you can purchase relevant merchandise, manga, and more.
Intended AudienceCrunchyroll provides anime fans with a convenient and legal means to watch shows that would have been inaccessible in the West years ago. Both free and paid accounts support HD streams, although opting for the premium tier is advisable to enjoy an ad-free experience. While Crunchyroll's content is predominantly accompanied by subtitles, the platform's dubbed library has significantly expanded after its merger with Funimation (in addition to VRV).
You can download the Crunchyroll app on various media streaming devices, such as Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, and Roku, as well as mobile phones running Android and iOS. Gaming enthusiasts can access Crunchyroll on platforms like Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series S/X. The service also allows up to six simultaneous streams, depending on your selected price tier, and offers offline downloads.
- Extensive anime library now encompassing Funimation dubs
- HD streaming available across all subscription tiers
- Abundance of simulcast shows
- Range of original series
- Manga and apparel store
- Option to download episodes for offline viewing
- Interface may appear cluttered in certain areas
- Limited subtitle options beyond English
Top Pick for HD & 4K Documentaries
Reasons for Our SelectionCuriosityStream offers an extensive collection of informative and captivating documentary features in various categories, including History, Kids, Lifestyle, Nature, Science, Society, and Technology. Renowned personalities like David Attenborough and Sigourney Weaver host many of the exceptional titles available on CuriosityStream. The platform also includes a dedicated section for kid-friendly content. If you're eager to expand your knowledge potential, we recommend exploring our roundup of the best online learning sites.
CuriosityStream offers two pricing tiers that provide access to the same collection of documentaries. The only distinction is that the higher-priced plan (.99 per month) unlocks 4K streaming capabilities. Additionally, CuriosityStream supports offline downloads on mobile devices and ensures an ad-free viewing experience. You can enjoy CuriosityStream on mobile platforms (Android and iOS), gaming consoles (PlayStation 4, Xbox One), streaming media devices (Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, and Roku), and smart TVs.
Intended AudienceWhile many streaming services offer the comfort of mindless reruns of popular shows, CuriosityStream caters to individuals who desire to learn about various topics, whether they are situated on the couch or on the move.
- Thousands of captivating titles in its library
- Impressive collection of exclusive original content
- Dedicated apps available on major streaming platforms
- Extremely affordable pricing
- Entries offered in either HD or 4K quality
- Accessible worldwide
- Language options beyond English are limited
- Scope of topics covered may be somewhat narrow
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Excellent for Educational and Family Content
Why We Chose ItThis streaming service provides a vast collection of top-notch movies and documentaries from major distribution companies like A24, Bleecker Street, HBO Documentary Films, Paramount, PBS, and Samuel Goldwyn Films. Kanopy also has a dedicated section specifically for children ages two and up. The only downside to Kanopy is that it restricts the number of titles you can watch each month. However, this restriction does not apply to the content in the Kanopy Kids section.
Who Can BenefitKanopy is particularly useful for students and library visitors. If you have a library card or a current university email address, you can access Kanopy for free. Kanopy allows unlimited simultaneous streams per account and is ad-free. However, it does not support offline downloads on mobile devices. A noteworthy feature is that Kanopy enables you to record content clips for sharing on social platforms. You can access Kanopy on the web, mobile platforms (Android, Fire OS, iOS), and media streaming devices (Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, and Roku), but not game consoles.
A vast collection of on-demand films and shows
Free with a library card or university email address
Unlimited access to Kanopy Kids content
Ability to create and share/embed clips and playlists
No limit on simultaneous streaming from a single account
Limitation on the number of Play Credit titles you can stream each month
No support for offline downloads on mobile devices
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Great for Popular Documentaries
Why We Chose ItPBS Documentaries is a fantastic source for documentary film enthusiasts. It offers a wide range of titles from various distributors, including American Experience, American Masters, Frontline, Independent Lens, Nature, Nova, POV, and other independent producers. PBS Documentaries is also home to the complete collection of Ken Burn's documentaries. Some examples of the films available on this service are Stanley Nelson’s The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Academy Award-Nominated films like For Sama and Last Days in Vietnam, as well as nature documentaries such as Your Inner Fish.
Who Can BenefitWhile PBS is a public channel, only selected users have access to PBS Documentaries. It is available exclusively as a Prime Video channel, but that is not a significant drawback as Prime Video is compatible with almost every platform and supports offline downloads on mobile devices. The service also features the IMDb-powered X-Ray overlay. One disadvantage is that none of the titles on PBS Documentaries currently offer audio descriptions. Nonetheless, PBS Documentaries surpasses other PBS streaming apps such as PBS Videos and PBS Passport.
Impressive selection of popular content
Ability to download content for offline viewing
Only accessible through Amazon Prime Video
No Audio Descriptions available for content
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Perfect for Military Documentaries
Why We Chose ItIf you are fond of watching documentaries, especially those centered on ancient civilizations or military history, then History Vault will captivate you. This affordable streaming service allows on-demand access to popular titles from the History Channel, such as American Restoration, Ancient Aliens, Ice Road Truckers, Modern Marvels, The Universe, as well as biopics highlighting famous historical figures. If you already have the History Channel through a cable or live TV subscription, you can also enjoy many of its reality show offerings via the free History app.
Who Can BenefitYou can either be a history enthusiast or develop an interest in it, so why not embrace it now and indulge in History Vault? However, the service could benefit from some modern updates. For instance, History Vault does not support 4K streaming (most titles are available in either 720p or 1080p). Unfortunately, History Vault has limited accessibility options. You can access the app on mobile platforms (Android and iOS), media streaming devices (Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, Roku), and on the web, but it is unavailable on game consoles.
Wide selection of high-quality historical documentaries
Availability on multiple platforms
Numerous original series and shows
Only accessible in the US
Limited accessibility options
No parental controls
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$4.99 Per Month History Channel
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Top Pick for International Content
Why We Chose ItKweliTV is the ultimate destination for captivating films and shows from Africa and other parts of the world. With over 600 carefully curated titles, including gems like Africa United and Black Enuf, as well as thought-provoking documentaries and indie film festival favorites, KweliTV offers an impressive selection. Even without a subscription, you can explore the extensive list of award-winning content on KweliTV (Opens in a new window). Additionally, the service provides a free live streaming feature (unavailable on the web) that allows you to enjoy KweliTV's incredible content, with occasional ad breaks. If you wish, you can also rent individual films and shows from KweliTV.
Aside from gaining access to KweliTV's diverse library, a subscription also grants you exclusive discounts at over 35 Black-owned brands and invitations to members-only events. KweliTV also offers a merchandise store where you can find and purchase KweliTV-branded apparel and accessories.
Who Should Use ItKweliTV is perfect for individuals who appreciate and celebrate exceptional art from around the world. While KweliTV supports streaming in up to 1080p resolution, not every title meets this standard. The service currently lacks parental control tools and has inconsistent subtitle support. However, it does allow you to download titles for offline viewing on mobile devices. KweliTV provides apps for all major mobile and media streaming platforms, although console owners can only access it through the web.
Impeccably curated collection of independent international content
Flexible pricing options
Ability to download titles for offline viewing on mobile devices
Merchandise store and discounts for Black-owned businesses
Inconsistent subtitle availability
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Excellent for Media Server Setups
Why We Chose ItWhile not traditionally considered a video streaming service, Plex now offers a substantial collection of on-demand streaming content. Their catalog includes the entire movie and TV show library from Crackle, as well as films from major studios like MGM and Warner Bros. Many of these titles are available for streaming in glorious 1080p resolution. With Plex, you don't need to allocate storage space on your own media server for this content, as it's kept on Plex's servers. Additionally, Plex features preprogrammed live TV channels, including AMC, IFC, and Tastemade.
Who Should Use ItDespite the availability of on-demand movies and shows, Plex remains a top choice for managing media servers. The software simplifies server setup, offers user-friendly playback apps on various platforms, and provides an intuitive interface. It's the only service on this list that offers this level of functionality. Although Plex may not be as customizable as Kodi and no longer fully supports home theater PCs (HTPCs), it stands out as one of the best solutions for accessing your local media library from anywhere.
Free version with impressive capabilities
User-friendly apps on multiple platforms
Easy setup process
Growing library of on-demand and preprogrammed streaming content
HTPC support only available through forums
Limited interface themes
Removed features, such as gaming and podcasts
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Buying Guide: The Greatest Video Streaming Services for 2023
New Channels and Industry ConsolidationIn the fierce competition among video streaming services, media companies are forming partnerships and alliances. For example, CBS and Viacom have merged once again to launch Paramount, along with a bundled Showtime subscription. Warner Bros. has joined forces with Discovery to create a new streaming powerhouse that has already made significant changes, including the removal of CNN, the Batgirl movie, and numerous cartoons. Considering Discovery's pivotal role in the emergence of the current era of trash TV, this development is quite exciting. Furthermore, Amazon has acquired MGM for a whopping billion, which is expected to greatly enrich Prime Video's library. Crunchyroll has solidified its position as the ultimate anime streaming service by acquiring competitors Funimation and VRV. Disney has bundled Disney, Hulu, and ESPN to provide a comprehensive entertainment experience. Even AMC has introduced a bundle including AMC Premiere, Shudder, Sundance Now, IFC Films Unlimited, and BBC America.
The highly competitive streaming market has its consequences. Consumers who were initially attracted to the flexibility offered by streaming services instead of cable now find themselves navigating a cluttered and constantly changing landscape of streaming rights and new services, many of which continue to increase in price. Live TV streaming services are also grappling with the rising costs of broadcast rights from cable channel owners. The prices of these services have significantly risen over time.
Can You Watch Sports Online?Sports enthusiasts need not worry about missing out on live sports when they cut the cord. Many of the video streaming services we've reviewed also offer top-notch sports streaming options. Whether you're interested in regional, national, or international sports, there is a service tailored to your needs. Although blackout restrictions and cancellations may still apply, these streaming options have distinct advantages over cable, including feature-rich apps on various platforms and the ability to stream simultaneously. Check out our roundup of the finest NFL streaming services, premier MLB streaming services, leading NBA streaming services, and the supreme NHL streaming services for specific recommendations.
Alternate Options for Streaming VideosThere are smaller and sometimes more affordable alternatives available that have a more specific focus. For instance, Crunchyroll, Hidive, and RetroCrush are examples of anime streaming services. If you're looking to cut back on your streaming subscriptions expenses, take a look at our compilation of the best free video streaming services. Additionally, explore our article featuring the top video streaming services for celebrating Black art.
Horror enthusiasts don't need to worry about giving up cable either, thanks to the best horror streaming services. We've carefully curated lists of the finest horror films and chilling original shows. Even Troma now has a streaming app, providing low-budget schlock aficionados with various options.
Cinephiles should peruse our coverage of the best movie streaming services. For those seeking something more educational, our roundup of the top documentary streaming services is an excellent starting point. Alamo on Demand and Angelika Anywhere offer virtual versions of curated movie theaters. If you prefer live theater, BroadwayHD is your best bet.
Although not typically associated with indie films and video projects, Vimeo also offers a limited selection via its On Demand section. If you enjoy watching people play games, Twitch is the ideal platform for you. You should also consider streaming Netflix and other top video services to your game consoles.
Plex is yet another option for streaming your local media content, over-the-air cable if you have the necessary hardware, and an on-demand library that now includes all of Crackle's content. Kodi, an open-source software, offers similar media-management functionality.
Using a virtual private network (VPN) is advisable for all internet-related tasks, but especially useful for streaming services to gain access to region-locked content. For example, by connecting to a VPN server in the UK from the US, you may be able to watch free content from BBC TV. However, streaming services are becoming stricter with VPN usage, so it's recommended to sign up for a trial to test your network setup before fully committing to a service. Take a look at our explainer on how to unblock Netflix with a VPN, as well as our guide on the best VPNs for video streaming.
If you're considering cutting the cord, read our rundown of what you can expect from the most popular services. It's important not to fall into the trap of paying more for video streaming services than you did for cable, so make sure to only sign up for those that offer the content you genuinely want to watch and choose services that fit within your budget. If you need further assistance, check out these helpful streaming video guides that aid in finding content. While we've reviewed numerous streaming services, if we've missed your favorite option, please let us know in the comment section.
Sundance Now: Perfect for Independent FilmsSundance Now is designed for cord-cutters who appreciate high-quality and thoughtful films, documentaries, and TV series. If you enjoy award-winning dramas and international thrillers, Sundance Now is the ideal choice. You can indulge in Ten Percent (a take on the French series Call My Agent), psychological thrillers like Cheat, crime series such as No One Saw a Thing, and much more. Give the Sundance Now offering a try with a seven-day free trial to see if it captures your interest.
The Criterion Channel: Ideal for Acclaimed FilmsAmong the sea of mainstream entertainment, The Criterion Channel shines by offering a carefully curated collection of 1000 classic and contemporary titles. This streaming service presents a refreshing selection of art-house, Hollywood hits, international films, and independent movies. If you prefer something a little more refined, opt for The Criterion Channel and explore their streaming library filled with critically acclaimed titles like Les 3 Boutons, 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her, 5 Broken Cameras, and 8th Continent. The Criterion Channel offers a generous two-week free trial for all new signups.
MHz Choice: Perfect for International SeriesThe US isn't the only country producing incredible films and television series. MHz Choice is a great option if you want to indulge in highly-rated and critically acclaimed foreign TV shows and movies. MHz Choice offers the best international dramas, comedies, thrillers, and mysteries, complete with easy-to-read English subtitles. A few notable mentions include Twin, Maigret, The Art of Crime, Murder In, and Cherie.
ESPN: A Haven for Sports FansWhile streaming services like YouTube TV and Peacock offer sports coverage, nothing compares to the extensive sports library offered by ESPN. Disney-owned streaming service ESPN is home to high-profile sports events such as the US Open, MLB, UFC, La Liga, Bundesliga, Wimbledon, Top Rank, and more. NFL fans can stream Monday Night Football (MNF) on ESPN.
On August 23, 2022, ESPN increased its pricing from to $10 per month or to $100 per year. Hulu users can add ESPN to their existing plan. By subscribing to the Disney bundle at $14 per month ($20 for ad-free Hulu), you can enjoy ESPN and Hulu Originals along with the current Disney catalog. It's the perfect combination of entertainment and sports for streaming fans.
Prime Video: Ideal for Amazon ShoppersPrime Video is an excellent streaming service for Amazon shoppers. It is included as part of your Amazon Prime subscription, which offers shipping benefits, one-day delivery in select areas, and Amazon Music with millions of on-demand tracks. Prime Video's library comprises a mix of TV shows, movies, sports events, and Amazon originals. Popular titles include THF (Thursday Night Football), Fargo, Jack Ryan, The Vikings, Outer Range, The Report, Top Gun, and One Night in Miami. The recently redesigned app is available on all platforms and you can even use Prime Video Watch Party to enjoy your favorite TV shows and movies with friends, regardless of their location.
Amazon Prime subscription comes with a 30-day free trial for all new users. After the trial, you'll pay $15 per month or $140 per year to continue enjoying Amazon benefits.
HBO Max: The Perfect Streaming Service for Friends FansAfter discontinuing several TV shows, HBO Max is in the news again. House of the Dragon, the media company's latest production, has become a hit among viewers. For $10 per month, you can watch popular sitcoms like Friends and The Big Bang Theory, the latest movies like Fast and Furious 9 and The Batman, and HBO Max originals such as The Flight Attendant, Trade Up Industry, Dune, Gravity, Westworld, and more. HBO Max is available as an add-on with YouTube TV.
Warner Bros., the parent company of HBO Max and Disney, announced plans to merge the two services into one called Max, scheduled to launch on May 23.
Shudder: Delightful for Horror EnthusiastsShudder caters to horror fans with its extensive collection of thrillers, supernatural movies, Hollywood classics, and original series. It stands out by offering human-curated suggestions instead of algorithmic recommendations. Some Shudder favorites include John Carpenter's Halloween, Mandy, and Creepshow. The service offers a seven-day free trial, with pricing starting at $4.75 per month.
Curiosity Stream: The ultimate choice for documentariesCuriosity Stream offers an extensive collection of documentaries to watch without cable. If you're a fan of documentaries and want to indulge in them all day, this is the perfect option for you. The company has thoughtfully categorized its content into Science, History, Nature, Society, Technology, and more. You'll find remarkable titles such as The Story of Europe, First Man, Ancient Yellowstone, Light on Earth, Iceman, and Global Food.
Paramount: A haven for CBS enthusiastsControlled by the CBS group, Paramount is an exceptionally affordable streaming service featuring on-demand TV shows, movies, and sports events. Its sports catalog includes NFL (Sunday afternoon matches), Champions League, Europa League, Serie A, and more. With your subscription, you can stream a variety of CBS originals like Criminal Minds, NCIS, FBI, Survivor, Seal Team, and numerous other TV shows and movies. The pricing starts at an affordable $5 per month, and if you want an uninterrupted experience, you can upgrade to a $10 monthly plan to eliminate ads. You can also avail the Paramount and Showtime bundle for only $12 per month.
Starz: Unmatched entertainment for die-hard enthusiastsThis option is highly recommended for die-hard fans. Starz boasts an ever-growing on-demand library containing 800 movies, ranging from beloved '80s classics to the latest Spider-Man release. Additionally, the company offers hit TV shows and movies like Die Hard, John Wick, Minions: The Rise of Gru, Jurassic World Domination, and more. Being a subsidiary of Lionsgate, Starz also broadcasts the studio's movies and TV shows. The subscription plan starts at only per month and provides unlimited downloads, early episode access on the app, and top-notch TV shows.
Apple TV: A dream come true for iPhone usersIn characteristic Apple fashion, the company has entered the streaming market with a focus on delivering quality instead of quantity to captivate users. Popular shows like Ted Lasso, The Morning Show, Severance, and Tehran have become quite a hit among the audience. Apple TV has also stepped into sports streaming by offering MLB and MLS. Recently, Apple adjusted its subscription prices from $4.99 to .99 per month. You can opt for a standalone subscription or bundle it with the Apple One plan, which also includes Apple Music, iCloud, and Apple Arcade services. While Apple TV is accessible on most smart TV platforms, the company does not provide an Android app.
Plex primarily focuses on setting up a media server and offers an intuitive interface with a capable free version for beginners. Plex also provides an increasing number of live TV channels and on-demand content. However, it's important to note that most of the content is available only in 1080p resolution. You can enjoy movies and TV shows from Crackle, as well as content from renowned studios like MGM and Warner Bros.
Live TV streaming servicesIn addition to on-demand content, several streaming services offer live TV streaming as a fantastic alternative to traditional cable TV. If you're looking to cut the cord, we have all the information you need. Visit our comprehensive review of the Best Live TV Streaming Services and discover why we believe YouTube TV is the most advantageous choice currently available.
In a world filled with an abundance of streaming services, finding the best one for your entertainment needs can feel like a daunting task. However, fear not, as we have diligently researched and compared all the top contenders to bring you a comprehensive guide to the best streaming services available today. Whether you're craving heart-pounding sports action, spine-chilling horror flicks, or thought-provoking documentaries, there's a streaming platform out there that's perfect for you. From industry giants like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to niche platforms like MHz Choice and Shudder, we've left no stone unturned in our quest to find the streaming service that will elevate your binge-watching experience to new heights. So grab your popcorn, settle into your comfiest spot on the couch, and prepare to embark on a streaming journey like no other. The world of endless entertainment awaits you.