Remember when the average content consumer was completely beholden to cable companies? I barely remember that time either. There are so many options available now it can be a little confusing to figure out how to watch your favorite shows in the easiest fashion.
Cord-cutting is definitely the way to go for many reasons, but the best reason is this – there are no contracts and you can simply sign up and cancel as you like. However, there are still a lot of options to weigh: prices, content selection, DVR options, etc. Here’s how the current streaming war’s climate is positioned so consumers can make an educated assessment about which content providers serve their needs.
The big daddy of the streaming game right now. Netflix is undeniably the biggest player in-town. Not only did they effectively push other content providers into the streaming war, but they also have the largest selection of both licensed and original content. However, they lack many niche features and content options their competitors are bringing to the table which is opening market share for the competition.
Price: $9 to $16 per month
Best Features or Content: Stranger Things, exclusive comedy specials from comedians like Joe Rogan and Tom Segura.
If you still like the novel idea of live TV and keeping to a weekly programming schedule, Hulu might be a good choice for you. They air live sports and other live tv as well as their digital library of licensed and original programming.
Price: $54.99 per month ($5.99 basic package available without Live TV)
Best Features or Content: live sports, Rick and Morty
One of the newest players in the game has made a lot of noise quickly. YouTube TV already supports the best cable channels like TNT, FX, and AMC. They also have live sports and an unlimited DVR feature that is currently unrivaled on the market. Not to mention, the platform is a joy to use.
Price: $49.99 per month
Best Features or content: live sports, unlimited DVR
Amazon Prime Video
Not only are they building an impressive library of original content, it comes included with every Amazon Prime subscription.
Price: $8.99 per month (included with Amazon Prime subscription)
Best Features or content: The Boys, Jack Ryan
HBO is going to win over the hardcore drama fans. They produce jaw-dropping original series like Watchmen and The Outsider. They have the best satirical news show produced in Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and consistently make great documentaries like McMillion$. While the movie selection can be lacking, they’re in the process of revamping their entire digital platform that will include the entire Rick and Morty collection, which is worth the price of admission alone.
Price: $16 per month
Best Features or content: Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, Last Week Tonight
Disney + (Espn + and Hulu)
The new guy on the block is already making noise. Not only do you get Disney’s digital library spanning back thirty plus years, but you can also get Hulu and ESPN + packaged at an incredible deal. While the original content is slow in the beginning, the success of the Mandolorian’s first season shows the platform’s potential.
Price: $12.99 per month ($6.99 for Disney + by itself)
Best Features or Content: Streaming service package and decades of beloved animated content.
This is a great option for casual content consumers. You can get tiered packages that best fit your budget and there are customizable add-on packages.
Prices: $20 to $35 + add-ons
Best Features or Content: Content package versatility
Another new player, it’s hard to tell how this one will play out. While their initial launch came with top tier talent like Jennifer Anniston, Steve Carell, and Jason Momoa; being isolated within the Apple ecosystem might be an interesting barrier of entry for some people. The incredibly reasonable price definitely helps.
Prices: $4.99 per month
Best Features or Content: Price and star-studded original content
Miscellaneous (Showtime, DC Universe, Crunchyroll, AMC, FX, etc.)
There are so many other options available, we can’t go into all of them. Most of the major cable networks have streaming options, AMC offers features like getting new episodes of The Walking Dead and other shows 48 hours earlier than their network premier.
Prices: Prices vary between $5 and $15
Best Features or Content: Watch all of your favorite shows whenever you want.
What’s the Verdict?
Best Content Selection
Without a doubt, Netflix takes the cake. The library is expansive and ever-evolving. Their original content library keeps getting better and better. You really can’t go wrong here.
Best Original Content
While it would be easy to put Netflix again, I’m going to give the nod to HBO. Their original shows are incredible in quality and they’re on the verge of completely reinvigorating the entire digital platform.
I think the Disney +, Espn +, and Hulu’s basic package take this spot. It’s hard to pass up live sports, and all three service’s complete digital libraries for only $12.99 a month.
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