Best Streaming Services for 2024 January: Find, stream, and have fun

A comprehensive guide to finding your perfect entertainment center.

From my own experience, streaming services are a great way to watch TV without having to pay a lot for cable. But lately, the world of streaming services has become a lot more complicated. I saw that HBO Max had to cut back on its content because of business needs. This made me sad because I liked their shows and movies.

On the other hand, it looks like Disney Plus and Hulu are about to charge more. I was scared about this because I’ve been a subscriber to both for a while. Even though the prices went up recently, I still think Netflix has a great selection of shows and movies. This is still one of my top picks.

Paramount Plus doesn’t have a seat at the table yet, but more content like the well-received special South Park: Post Covid could get it there. The best streaming services charge a monthly fee (although they offer annual contracts), giving you the option to cancel and re-subscribe at will. But faster Internet connections and the plethora of streaming media devices have accelerated the decline of traditional cable TV. Below we have mentioned some of the best streaming services.

Best Streaming Services

Streaming ServicePrice (per month)Original ContentLive TV ChannelsOffline ViewingFree TrialOfficial Link
Hulu$5.99 – $11.99YesNoYesYesVisit Website
Netflix$8.99 – $17.99YesNoYesYesVisit Website
HBO Max$14.99YesNoYesNoVisit Website
Amazon Prime Video$8.99 – $12.99YesNoYes30 daysVisit Website
Disney Plus$7.99YesNoYesNoVisit Website
YouTube TV$64.99NoYesYes7 daysVisit Website
Fubo TV$64.99NoYesYes7 daysVisit Website
Sling TV$35 – $50NoYesYesNoVisit Website
PeacockFree – $9.99YesNoYesYesVisit Website
Apple TV Plus$4.99YesNoYes7 daysVisit Website

Hulu

Best Streaming Services

Features:

  • Offers a wide range of TV shows, movies, and original content.
  • Provides access to current episodes of popular TV shows shortly after they air.
  • Offers various subscription options, including a live TV plan.

Hulu is a streaming service known for its excellent original content, such as The Handmaid’s Tale, Casual, and Little Fires Everywhere. Hulu also has the unique feature of releasing new episodes the day after they air on live television, such as This Is Us and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

The best part of Hulu’s plans is the ability to combine ESPN+ and Disney+. Why not add more sports and Disney movies to your life? There is only one downside: it might be hard to get off the couch. If you decide to go the Hulu route with limited advertising, you can have all three streaming services for $14, while if you want commercial-free Hulu, the trifecta will be $20 a month.

Pros

  • Offers a wide variety of TV shows and movies, including current episodes from popular networks.
  • Provides original content and exclusive Hulu Originals.
  • Offers a cheaper ad-supported subscription option

Cons

  • Some content may have limited availability due to licensing agreements.
  • Ad-supported subscription includes commercials.
  • Certain content may require an additional subscription, like HBO or Showtime.

Netflix

Best Streaming Services

Features:

  • One of the most popular streaming platforms with a vast library of movies, TV shows, and documentaries.
  • Features a wide range of genres and a robust recommendation system.
  • Produces a significant amount of original content.

Television series available on Netflix are complete with all seasons, which is not always the case with competitors. Hulu sometimes has only the handful of most recent episodes of a series, making it impossible to catch up if you fall behind. On the other hand, Netflix adds only one season at a time.

Netflix presents all of its content ad-free, with the exception of previews of content within its apps. Fortunately, it is now possible to turn off these previews. HBO Max and Amazon Prime Video advertise their original content in a similar way. Note that even Hulu’s ad-free plan still includes commercials in rare cases.

Pros

  • Extensive library of TV shows, movies, and documentaries.
  • High-quality original content and award-winning productions.
  • Offers a variety of plans, including options for multiple screens and offline downloads.

Cons

  • New releases from other studios may take time to become available on Netflix.
  • Expensive compared to some other streaming services.
  • Limited selection of live TV programming.

HBO Max

Best Streaming Services

Features:

  • Offers a vast collection of HBO shows, movies, and documentaries.
  • Includes content from various other networks like Warner Bros., Cartoon Network, DC, and more.
  • Provides access to exclusive HBO Max original series.

HBO Max boasts one of the most impressive offerings of any streaming service around. Both ad-supported and ad-free subscriptions give access to more than 10,000 hours of iconic movies and shows, with more original content always in development.

There is so much to discover with HBO Max that it may be difficult to decide what to watch first. This is a positive when you consider the price you pay to access the service, but it becomes a negative when you think about how much time you will likely spend on the couch spreeing on content from DC, Cartoon Network, Sesame Workshop, CrunchyRoll, TCM, and others.

Pros

  • Provides access to a wide range of content from HBO, Warner Bros., and other networks.
  • Offers exclusive releases and original programming.
  • Includes a vast library of movies, TV shows, and documentaries.

Cons

  • Higher-priced compared to some other streaming services.
  • Some content may be subject to rotating availability.
  • Ads may appear in certain shows and movies.

Amazon Prime Video

Best Streaming Services

Features:

  • Offers a diverse range of movies, TV shows, and original content.
  • Included as part of an Amazon Prime subscription, which includes additional benefits like free shipping.
  • Provides the option to rent or purchase additional content.

Amazon and Netflix are two sides of the same coin. This is not to say that they are identical-they are not at all-but the differences are minimal, and Prime ranks as the second best streaming service. Like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video (opens in a new tab) has its own series – Invincible, The Wheel of Time, and The Boys, to name a few – but they generally don’t make waves like their Netflix brethren.

Although Amazon Video began as a place to buy and watch TV shows and movies, the industry has changed and Amazon has embraced the world of unlimited, buffet-style streaming with a single monthly fee. Amazon is also producing a series based on the Fallout franchise, as well as The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power.

The list of originals continues to grow, and although it is not as extensive as Netflix or HBO Max’s collection, many of the shows are of equivalent quality. Prime Video’s original shows surpass even Hulu’s. Amazon has churned out original documentaries over the years; some examples are Generation Wealth, Time, One Child Nation, and Gimme Danger.

Pros

  • Included with an Amazon Prime subscription, providing additional benefits like free shipping.
  • Offers a diverse selection of movies, TV shows, and original content.
  • Provides the option to rent or buy additional content not included with Prime.

Cons

  • User interface can be less intuitive compared to other streaming platforms.
  • Prime Video’s original content may not be as extensive as other streaming services.
  • Limited selection of live TV channels.

Disney Plus

Best Streaming Services

Features:

  • Features content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic.
  • Offers a vast library of classic and new movies, TV shows, and exclusive Disney Plus originals.
  • Supports streaming in 4K resolution with the appropriate subscription.

The obvious caveats to the above statements are that you have a stable Internet connection of about 10 Mbps or more and, in the case of viewing 4K content, a 4K TV with HDR support. Unfortunately, there is no way to intentionally limit your connection if you want to save on bandwidth usage, but Disney Plus offers offline viewing from the start.

The logos of Disney’s five major brands are in a dynamic banner that links directly to those brands’ movies and shows, while featured content, such as The Mandalorians, The Simpsons, and Avatar, occupy the top row. Disney Plus will stream in HD/SDR, looking great on both big-screen TVs and smartphones.

Pros

  • Features a vast collection of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic content.
  • Offers exclusive access to new Disney releases and original Disney Plus series.
  • Reasonably priced compared to other streaming services.

Cons

  • May not have as large a library compared to other streaming platforms.
  • Some content may have limited availability due to licensing agreements.
  • Does not offer as much mature or adult-oriented content.

YouTube TV

Best Streaming Services

Features:

  • Provides access to live TV channels, including local networks and popular cable channels.
  • Offers a cloud-based DVR for recording and storing shows.
  • Supports streaming on multiple devices simultaneously.

The interface of YouTube TV is familiar to anyone who has ever used YouTube. The utilitarian design is simple, intuitive, and extremely easy to use. It’s not pretty (the interface of the Philo streaming service is much more elegant), but it does what it’s supposed to do. Finding shows and movies is a breeze, as is browsing the currently airing shows.

YouTube TV offers local broadcasts from ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC, depending on the region. The service claims to have complete coverage of local networks in more than 98 percent of U.S. television households. The profile pages for shows and movies are well designed and extremely robust. A show’s profile page shows available and upcoming episodes, cast members, and related videos from YouTube.

Pros

  • Provides access to a wide range of live TV channels.
  • Includes unlimited DVR storage for recording shows and movies.
  • User-friendly interface and easy integration with other YouTube services.

Cons

  • Higher-priced compared to some other streaming services.
  • Limited availability in certain regions.
  • Some channels or networks may be missing from the lineup.

Fubo TV

Best Streaming Services

Features:

  • Focuses primarily on sports content, offering a wide range of live sports channels.
  • Provides access to additional entertainment and news channels.
  • Offers cloud DVR storage and supports streaming on multiple devices.

Fubo is an unobtrusive option for those who want to eliminate cable television. While it was once one of the most expensive streaming services on the market, competitors have now moved up in price to match the $65/month Family plan.

As this FuboTV review explains, with the Family plan it offers a ton of channels and storage space, plus the flexibility of add-ons. If you’re looking for something cheaper, go with Sling or Philo, but be aware that you won’t have access to many networks. But if your favorite channels are only in Fubo’s lineup, it may be the best cable replacement service for you.

Pros

  • Wide range of live sports coverage, including major leagues and events.
  • Robust selection of live TV channels, including news, entertainment, and lifestyle networks.
  • Offers Cloud DVR storage for recording shows and events.
  • Supports streaming on multiple devices simultaneously.

Cons

  • Relatively expensive compared to other streaming services.
  • Limited on-demand content library compared to dedicated on-demand platforms.
  • Some channels and networks may be missing from the lineup.

Sling TV

Best Streaming Services

Features:

  • Offers flexible channel packages with options to customize based on preferences.
  • Provides a combination of live TV channels and on-demand content.
  • Offers different subscription tiers and add-ons for additional channels.

Sling TV’s user interface is a little different than you might expect from live TV, with a tile system that seems more similar to an on-demand streaming service in some ways. However, if you’re a streaming pro, this makes it easy to navigate to your favorite content, and even if you’re new to the world of cord-cutting, you will probably adjust to its unique look quickly.

Sling TV is a great choice if you want to pay a low price for popular live channels, with customizable add-ons that you can opt into if you’re willing to pay the extra price. Though it won’t be a full replacement for your cable subscription, with a slimmer channel listing than most competitive live TV streaming services, it’s a solid choice for getting some great content within a tight budget.

Pros

  • Affordable streaming option with flexible channel packages.
  • Offers a good selection of live TV channels, including popular ones.
  • Supports streaming on multiple devices simultaneously.
  • Provides add-ons for additional channels and features.

Cons

  • Limited local channel availability.
  • Some channels and networks may be missing from the packages.
  • User interface and navigation can be less intuitive compared to other platforms.
  • Limited DVR storage capacity and additional cost for DVR functionality.

Peacock

Best Streaming Services

Features:

  • Offers a variety of TV shows, movies, live sports, and news content.
  • Provides both free and premium subscription options.
  • Includes original programming and exclusive content.

Peacock hosts hundreds of movies from Universal Pictures, but many of the studio’s recent releases are absent due to prior agreements with HBO and FX. Several key Universal franchises, including “Fast & Furious,” are available on HBO Max, and it’s unclear how long it will be until they arrive on Peacock.

Peacock will feature films from other studios on a rotating basis, but with popular movies, like “The Matrix” and “Jurassic Park,” scheduled to leave the service just two weeks after its launch, it’s hard to feel confident about what will remain in the library long term.

Pros

  • Free ad-supported plan with a decent selection of content.
  • Offers a variety of popular TV shows and movies.
  • Provides exclusive content from NBCUniversal, including original shows.
  • Option to upgrade to an ad-free premium plan.

Cons

  • Limited library compared to other major streaming services.
  • Some popular shows and movies may not be available.
  • Ad-supported plan includes commercials.
  • Limited availability outside the United States.

Apple TV Plus

Best Streaming Services

Features:

  • Features original shows, movies, and documentaries produced by Apple.
  • Offers content in 4K HDR quality.
  • Compatible with various Apple devices and integrates with the Apple ecosystem.

Apple TV+ might be the perfect underdog service to change the tide in the streaming wars. And for that reason, we’re bringing you everything you need to know about the service to decide if the service is right for you. Let’s start by comparing it to other streaming services.

If you’re an Android user and wondering how you’ll access an Apple-branded streaming service with your tablet, phone, or other devices, fear not. You can still watch Apple TV+ on your Android. You’ll just have to use some alternative methods to do so.

Pros

  • High-quality original content, including acclaimed TV shows and movies.
  • Ad-free streaming experience.
  • Integration with other Apple devices and services.
  • Multiple simultaneous streams and family sharing.

Cons

  • Relatively smaller content library compared to other streaming services.
  • Limited third-party content, with a focus on Apple originals.
  • No free tier or ad-supported option.
  • Requires an Apple device or Apple TV app to access the service.

FAQs

What is the #1 streaming service right now?

Netflix. Netflix has more high-quality content than any other streaming service for the price of a single monthly subscription. It is the only streaming service that has more high-quality content for one price than anyone else.

Is Hulu free with Amazon Prime?

No. Since Hulu and Amazon Prime are rivals, you can’t get one of them for free if you sign up for the other.

Which streaming service has the most local channels?

Local channels are a great way to keep up with news, sports, and entertainment in your area. Local channels are best watched through Sling TV, Fubo TV and Hulu with Live TV,

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