Gone are the days when cable TV was the only option to catch up on any shows. Technology has leveled the playing field as streaming services rise in numbers contributing to the decline of traditional cable TV. Many facilitate you streaming the same content on cable TV and more.
Hence, many lean towards cutting the cord in favor of these streaming alternatives. After all, they are less pricey than cable TV. Deciding on the best streaming service can be confusing as you face overwhelming streaming service options. While some may opt for a few streaming services subscriptions, others prefer to stick to only one.
We have compiled a list of the best video streaming services to help you decide the best one(s) for you.
|YouTube TV||Netflix||Disney+||Prime Video||Apple TV+|
|Library||Broadcast and cable network programs||Original content, licensed content||Original content, licensed content||Original content, licensed content, Prime Channels||Apple Originals, licensed content|
|User profiles per account||6||5||6||6||5|
|Simultaneous streams||3||Varies by plan||4||3||6|
|Free Trial||60 days||None||None||30 days||7 days|
1. YouTube TV
Best for Streaming Cable Network Programs
YouTube needs no introduction; they are a household name in the industry. YouTube TV is a subscription streaming service launched in 2017. With YouTube TV, you get live TV and on-demand shows provided by networks. Also, you can watch local and national live sports, the latest news, and shows the moment they air.
YouTube TV offers streaming content from over 100 channels, including CBS, ABC, FOX, ESPN, NBC, CNN, and more. You can build your media library by recording the shows you want to watch later. Unlike others on this list, YouTube TV includes unlimited DVR storage. Hence, imagine the world of content waiting for you to enjoy.
Customize your viewing experience with premium networks and bundle add-ons, including Spanish TV, 4K Plus, and more. YouTube TV streams across popular devices (mobile, desktops, smart TVs, game consoles, and TVs with streaming media players). Since YouTube TV’s live TV is from similar-to-traditional TV broadcasts, you’ll see ads.
While YouTube TV is a live TV streaming service showcasing major broadcast and popular cable network programs, YouTube Premium gives both YouTube and YouTube Music ad-free, offline, and in the background. Subscribing to YouTube TV does not grant you access to YouTube Premium. That said, being a YouTube Premium member gives you no ads.
YouTube TV Pricing Plans
YouTube TV costs $54.99/month, supporting up to six accounts and three streams per household, after which the price reverts to $64.99/month three months later. You get unlimited DVR and unique features, including Key Plays View. No hidden fees, annual contracts, or installation fees. You can cancel anytime.
If you need more, explore their add-ons. Spanish TV costs $24.99/month with $10 off for the first six months. That said, YouTube TV is overall pricier when compared to others in this list. It all boils down to your viewing needs and if they involve a lot of cable network programs.
Best for Streaming Originals
Netflix rings loud and clear as the leader of media streaming platforms. Having garnered almost 240 million global subscribers since Q3 2022, Netflix’s momentum is not decreasing. Built initially on licensing content from others, Netflix boasts an extensive library of movies, TV shows, anime, documentaries, and more.
Netflix has since invested heavily in producing their original content, ‘Netflix Originals’, with some being award-winning. However, Netflix has come under fire for canceling several of its series. That said, the mega streaming provider still impresses. Unlike YouTube TV, Netflix does not broadcast cable network programs. They focus on movies and shows per se and add new content each week.
There is a kids’ profile that you can create to give you control over what your children watch. Kids’ profiles have PIN-protected parental controls to restrict the maturity rating of content. Netflix runs on desktops, mobile devices, smart TVs, Playstation, Xbox, Chromecast, Apple TV, Blu-ray players, and more.
Also, download your shows via the iOS, Android, or Windows 10 Netflix app and take Netflix with you anywhere. Netflix believes in flexibility – no contracts, no commitments, and no cancellation fees. You can start or stop your account anytime. However, Netflix has recently enacted a password-sharing crackdown in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal, and Spain, with more countries to come.
Netflix Pricing Plans
Netflix’s subscription plans range from Basic, Standard to Premium. The video quality, the number of screens, and the number of devices you can download differentiate them. Most find the basic plan with no ads ($9.99/month) sufficient.
Netflix has launched a cheaper subscription plan supported by advertising. However, this cheaper Basic with ads plan may not be available through all third-party billing partners and packages.
Best Streaming for Families
Launched in 2019 in the US, Canada, and the Netherlands and later expanded to other countries, Disney+ is the streaming home of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and more. They are one of Netflix’s closest competitors. Known to be family-friendly, Disney+ offers timeless classics from old to new releases, including documentaries, movies, and more.
Anyone who’s a fan of the Skywalker Saga and the Marvel Cinematic Universe would enjoy taking a nostalgic journey into the past in these classic shows. Aside from featuring specials and limited-time streaming events, enjoy their exclusive original content – Original Movies and Series. Disney+ is the catnip for kids and parents alike.
With Disney+, you can stream up to four devices at a time. Disney+ app supports mobile devices, web browsers, game consoles, set-top boxes, and smart TVs. Download your favorite movie or series and watch it later on the go. Disney’s media quality is stunning in 4K UHD and features Dolby Atmos sound on compatible devices.
Although Disney+ is family-friendly, it affords parental controls so you can restrict what your children watch. GroupWatch is a feature that facilitates hosting virtual movie nights. You can interact with up to six people; pause, rewind, and react with one another.
However, a subscription is required to enjoy this feature. Compared to the others on this list, Disney+ is pretty much on its own; if you’re an avid fan of everything Marvel and Star Wars, subscribing to Disney+ is a no-brainer.
Disney+ Pricing Plans
There are two categories available, namely Disney+ and Disney Bundle:
- Disney+ Basic (with ads) – $6.99/month (three months, then auto-renews at $7.99/month)
- Disney+ Premium (with no ads) – $10.99/month or $109.99/year
Both plans are the same except that the Premium plan allows unlimited downloads on up to ten devices, has Groupwatch, Dolby Atmos, and no ads.
- Disney Bundle Duo Basic – $9.99/month, which includes Disney+ and Hulu (both with ads)
- Disney Bundle Trio Basic – $12.99/month, which includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ (all with ads)
- Disney Bundle Trio Premium – $19.99/month, which includes Disney+, Hulu (both no ads), and ESPN+ (with ads)
4. Amazon Prime Video
Best Value with Amazon membership
The common perception of Amazon Prime Video is that it is not up to par with other streaming platforms such as Netflix and Disney+. However, you cannot help but admire Amazon Prime Video for its content and quality streaming service. It also supports mobile devices, desktops, Fire TVs, Smart TVs, and game consoles.
If you’re an avid Amazon shopper and an Amazon Prime member, you get Prime Video as a membership perk with selected Included-with-Prime titles. There are loads of shows and movies, including their original content for free; ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ won an Emmy for Best Comedy Series in 2018, and ‘Homecoming’ stars the A-lister Julia Roberts.
You can also rent movies and watch them later via the Prime Video app. There are cartoons for children. Catch live events through the ‘Live & Upcoming’ when scrolling down the Prime Video or Channels homepages. Access to these live events may require a Prime membership or subscription to a third-party carrier.
Prime Video Channels are not part of the subscription as they are additional paid subscriptions from third-party premium networks and other streaming entertainment channels. Although Amazon Prime Video’s content and interface pale compared to Netflix, it still stands out as a strong contender with streaming platforms.
Amazon Prime Pricing Plans
You can subscribe to Prime Video for $8.99/month if you’re not an Amazon Prime member. You get three concurrent streams within the same account and up to two simultaneous streams of the same content.
5. Apple TV+
Best Affordable for its Apple Originals
Apple TV+, launched in 2019, is a subscription streaming service with a selection of original film and television series called Apple Originals. Unlike most other streaming services that started out distributing licensed third-party content, Apple was initially not restricted by such licensing issues. However, Apple started to license content to stay competitive in 2020.
Enjoy free access to Friday Night Baseball (a partnership between Apple TV+ and MLB). Aside from Apple Originals, you can find award-winning series, dramas, documentaries, kids’ entertainment, comedies, and more.
Also, download Apple Originals to your Apple device and watch them later. You can access Apple TV+ through its website and Apple TV app on Apple devices, smart TVs, gaming consoles, several streaming devices, and AirPlay-enabled TVs.
Unlike most streaming services (including this list), Apple Originals support SDH (subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing) and audio descriptions, which is a plus point. That said, Netflix is said to be improving its audio descriptions feature. Subtitles are in more than 40 languages.
Apple TV+ has registered success in its critically-acclaimed content with four Emmy wins for ‘Ted Lasso’, honors for ‘Carpool Karaoke: The Series’, ‘Severance’, ‘Schmigadoon!’, and ‘Home Before Dark’, not forgetting CODA, the Academy Award Winner for Best Picture. Unlike Netflix or Disney, Apple TV+ seems to be leveraging big celebrity names, although less, but quality content rather than bombarding viewers with tons of content.
Apple TV+ Pricing Plans
A recent price hike in Apple TV+ brings a $6.99/ month after a free 7-day trial. You get Apple TV+ free for three months if you purchase an Apple device. Apple TV+ is included in Apple One (starts at $16.95/month), a bundling package of up to five other Apple services into a single monthly subscription.
A single subscription extends to up to five family members. Subscribing to the Apple Music Student Plan includes a free subscription to Apple TV+.
Final Tip: Why Limit Yourself to One?
Choosing the Best Streaming Services
You don’t have to restrict yourself to only one streaming service, as it all boils down to selecting the correct combination that fits your budget. Hence, content and your viewing needs are the factors in helping you decide.
The list of reliable streaming services above gives you the best bang for your buck, no matter what content you want.