Gone are those days when you had to buy expensive disc’s or wait for your cable TV to show your favorite movie or tv show. Online Streaming is on the pinnacle of entertainment broadcasting. From Live matches to Live News, online streaming offers all. Streaming services have given traditional TV providers a run for their money and it’s totally logical – No more platform dependency. Watch it on your smart TV, Laptop, mobile etc. These Streaming services have built up a vast library of original content that you can watch anytime. And lastly, they provide such flexibility at the same price of your cable TV.
There are many online streaming services present today, each of them being divergent in a lot of ways. With so many to choose from, how do you decide? This article provides the top streaming services present in the market. We compare these platforms based on price, availability, content so that you can choose which one suits you the best.
This one is obvious. You all know about this. Netflix is the best in the streaming business. They started in 1997 by delivering DVD’s to your homes(in the US). Now they offer instantly available digital content all over the world. They provide unlimited streaming of TV shows, movies, original programming(like Orange is the New Black, House of Cards). They offer free first-month subscription and after that, you get to choose from 3 plans:
$7.99: Offers unlimited streaming in non HD for single streaming(one person can watch from a single account).
$9.99: Offers unlimited streaming in HD for two concurrent streaming(two people can watch from a single account).
$11.99: Offers unlimited streaming in 4K for four concurrent streaming(four people can watch from a single account).
Netflix provides high availability. You can stream in your TV, laptops, gaming consoles, smartphones and it is completely ad-free.
Amazon initially started their venture by delivering books at your doorsteps and now it is the Walmart of Internet that sells everything. Recently they started their streaming service called Amazon Prime Instant Video. Currently, it has less content than Netflix but the company is using its sources to expand its library and doing it at a very high pace.
APIV offers all Instant streaming, pay per view movies and shows, renting and owning media. It went one step ahead of Netflix by offering offline downloads. If you shop online a lot then Amazon prime is the best deal for you. For $99 a year or $8.25 per month, in addition to online content, you also get free two-day shipping on your Amazon orders, a free Kindle book each month, and unlimited access to Amazon Music. Prime Instant Video supports two concurrent streams, as long as you’re watching different videos.
Hulu is another big fish in Streaming services that started in 2007 as a joint venture between veteran media broadcasters NBC Universal, Fox Broadcasting, and Disney-ABC. Netflix and Amazon get new TV shows months or sometimes a year after they are released but Hulu is great in this aspect. It gets shows just days(sometimes in few hours) after they are aired. Hulu offers tons of content for free streaming but if you want to access its full library, then Hulu plus is the only option.
Hulu plus offers its premium plan at $7.99/month in which you can also add showtime by throwing in an extra dollar($8.99). The only drawback with Hulu is advertisements. Even in the premium plan, you will be forced to watch ads. They added a new ad-free tier at $11.99/month, though some new shows will have a 15-second pre-roll and 30-second post-roll ads. The channels on Hulu are the most alluring deal. Mohsin Khan of iStreamist has compiled and reviewed Hulu channels. The guide we suggest for everything you need to know about this service better.
4. Sling TV
Sling TV was released in 2015, Newest in this market, it is the only online service that offers ESPN. Sling TV is best for cord-cutters and sports fans. It offers live access to channels like AMC, CNN, Comedy Central, and much more. You might take Sling TV as traditional cable subscription but I think it’s better as there is no contract, set-top box rental fee, or cancellation fee.
For $20/month, it offers more than 25 live channels(including ESPN & ESPN2) and you can add a bundle of additional networks for $5 per package. For $40/month you get all the channels offered by Sling. It is one of the expensive Streaming service present today but still cheaper than a cable subscription.
Amazon may be the Walmart of the Internet, but that doesn’t stop Walmart from getting into the online streaming business. Vudu is Walmart’s online service that provides TV shows, movies for rent or to own. It has a vast library and does a pretty good job in getting new movies for streaming as soon as it’s possible.
Also, Vudu is a pay-per-view store, so you can expect to pay as much as for a physical media copy. You can get Vudu on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Mac, etc. This service may not be as good as others mentioned in the list but it still makes it here because it offers more than other services.
Even if you live under a rock, you would know about YouTube. Owned by Google, YouTube was founded in 2005(Valentine’s day) and everyone fell in love with it. You can find everything on Youtube(except porn), it has a vast library of free and pay-per-view movies. You can rent or purchase a movie that isn’t free.
YouTube comes with ads but if you want ad-free Youtube, you can have YouTube Red subscription for $9.99 per month which also provides YouTube music and YouTube Red Originals Channel. Youtube is among the very few streaming platforms where one watch Bollywood movies online from the channel of the production house.
Starz is a premium cable network established in 1994 that now also offers online streaming. A couple of months ago, Starz launched it’s a standalone streaming app for $8.99/month. Starz library includes series like American Gods, Outlander, Da Vinci’s Demons, movies like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Ratatouille. You can also add Starz to your Amazon Prime account. It is available on Android devices, Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, and Xbox.
Showtime falls in the same category as Starz that recently went solo with a streaming app of the same name. It has a varying library that provides series like Homeland, Masters of sex, plus movies like Southpaw, and Forsaken. You can also catch some Sporting events like Florida State Football and Boxing.
It also offers Comedy events coverage and groundbreaking Documentaries like Listen to me Marlon, and Miles to go before I sleep. You can get all this for $10.99 a month.
You have a had a long working day and you just want to veg out on the sofa watching random stuff, then crackle is made just for you. It’s Free, it has some amusing content and a good variety of videos. The Sony-owned platform offers movies, TV shows, and Original programming without any subscription but you will have to sit through a fair amount of ads.