Only hardcore techies and TV fans did cord-cutting when I began it. It was difficult. Streaming shows are now more popular than satellite or cable TV. Anyone can stream with a good broadband connection and any high-quality streaming device.
This shift is due to three reasons. First, the best live streaming TV services offer almost everything you would expect from a traditional satellite or TV cable service. Streaming TV is a better option than traditional TV. Second, streaming TV services are more affordable than traditional cable. Although streaming services’ prices are on the rise, they are still cheaper than traditional cable. The video-on demand (VOD) service, which launched the cord-cutting revolution such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and others, produces more “must see” TV than its older competitors.
Paramount+, for example. Star Trek: Discovery; Disney Plus’ The Mandalorian; and Netflix’s The Queen’s GambitThey all have huge audiences and are loved by critics. Except for HBO Max, which has its own streaming-specific streaming service, it’s more likely that you will find the show you are looking for on a streaming service, than on an antenna, cable, satellite or satellite.
But which service is right to you? Before you jump into them, it would be remiss of me not to mention the many free VOD services. There are still many good streaming TV shows and movies available for those with limited budgets.
Because everyone has different tastes and the video offerings of these services change each month, I have listed them alphabetically.
Still the best streaming service
Netflix is the streaming giant. It also has great older TV shows and movie content. Netflix’s ever-growing library of original programming is what most people watch.
Shows like Glow? Emily in Paris? The Queen’s Gambit, Black MirrorNetflix has set the standard for streaming TV. But I doubt you know how many original shows Netflix has produced. Netflix released more originals in 2019 that the entire TV industry did back in 2005. Netflix released more than one video per week, and they are only going to increase. No matter what type of video entertainment you prefer, Netflix has something for you.
All of this comes with a complicated pricing scheme. The first tier costs $9 and allows you to watch one screen in SD. You can get HDTV and two simultaneous streams for as low as $14 per month. This is what I recommend. You can get 4K and four streams for $18 per month.
Netflix’s biggest problem, and it’s not the company, is the fact that its video partners are constantly moving movies and shows on and off the service. There’s an explanation for What’s Netflix, which tracks what’s currently on Netflix and what’s about leaving Netflix.
Let’s be real, Netflix is still the best streaming service.
- Fantastic TV and movie library.
- Excellent original content.
- It is getting more expensive over time.
- It can be difficult for one to keep track at all times of what is happening with the service.
Netflix – Watch Now
Amazon Prime Two-Day Shipping and great Videos
Amazon Prime Video offers more than just videos. Amazon Prime Video is $119 per year or $13 per month. In addition to free videos, you also get two-day shipping on all Amazon purchases. Amazon Music allows you to stream music via Amazon Music and receive a monthly Kindle ebook download. Amazon Prime Video is an easy way to get music streaming via Amazon Music if you already use Amazon Prime.
Prime Video can also be purchased as a $9 per month subscription if Amazon Prime does not interest you. New users get a 30-day free trial.
VOD is available for older TV shows and movies. Many of these require an additional fee to rent out or purchase. Amazon is being recognized for its original content like Netflix. Good Omens? Jack Ryan? The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, The Boys. Amazon is the best science-fiction show ever. I will always be grateful to them. The Expanse. Amazon is also working on a new Prime Video Lord of the Rings series. Rumors claim that the last TV series will be the most expensive.
Amazon’s originals, as well as some of the newer films, are available in 4K or UHD. Prime Video includes some live sporting events. You can stream up three shows simultaneously.
Amazon Prime allows you to subscribe also to many other VOD channels. These channels range from the well-known Showtime, HBO Max and MLB TV to obscure ones like Docurama and Best Westerns Ever. Factory TV. Prime Video charges the same price for all these channels as if you subscribed directly to them. This is a great advantage because you can access multiple streaming services from one Prime Video interface. Each service comes complete with a seven-day trial.
Take it all together, and even if I didn’t shop at Amazon, Amazon Prime Video would be worth the price.
- A great selection of TV shows and movies.
- Excellent interface to many, less well-known VOD networks.
- Some services are not free and may require additional charges.
Amazon Prime Video: View Now
Content from Disney, Fox, Marvel, Fox and Star Wars
Disney Plus is the only streaming service that I recommend to almost everyone. Why? Here are four reasons: Disney, Marvel Entertainment, Fox Entertainment, Star Wars and Fox TV Shows. For popular entertainment, you can’t beat Disney Plus.
Disney Plus is still constructing its original content library, but it already has a huge hit. The Mandalorian.However, even if they didn’t have any original content, tens of millions would still subscribe.
Disney Plus is exploring pay-per view (PPV), for movies such as The Pandemic. Mulan live-action. Other new movies include Marvel’s The Black WidowDisney Plus screens will also show,
It costs $7 per month and is also one of the most affordable VOD streaming services. You can also access a lot of its content in 4K resolution with HDR colors. It supports streaming via four streams simultaneously.
There are people out there who might not find Disney Plus entertaining. Unfortunately, I don’t know them.
- Disney, Marvel, Star Wars – do I need to add more?
- Excellent price
- Support for high quality video formats
- I honestly can’t think about any. It’s a great value for $7 per month if you are into any of its content.
View Now at Disney +
A valuable collection of TV episodes, movies and other media
Hulu + Live TV, Hulu + TV’s big brother, is Hulu + TV’s biggest selling point. It combines both live TV with VOD. It’s a powerful package. It’s not only great content, but it also includes exclusive titles like The Handmaid’s TaleIt also offers a large selection of movies and shows on-demand. You also get access to over 65 live and on demand channels.
Hulu + Live TV, however, costs $65 per month. Hulu, a pure VOD play costs $6 per monthly or $60 a calendar year with ads or $12 per month sans ads. Is it worthwhile? I think so.
Hulu’s huge library of 21st Century Fox content is too adult for Disney Plus. You also have a lot of original content. Some of my personal favorites are: Harlots Veronica Mars.
Hulu can only support one stream at once for video. Hulu + Live TV allows you to access two streams. While some original shows are available in 4K resolution, most of the content is HDTV.
- Good TV and movie library.
- The live TV streaming package is a good value.
- You can live with ads, but it is cheaper than the real thing.
- The base service can only support one stream at the time.
$6 at Hulu
HBO Max is for you if you love HBO
The launch of HBO Max, the new streaming service from HBO, was difficult. But, now that Roku is on board and Amazon Fire is on board, the future looks bright. It also has a vast library of content people love to view, much like Disney Plus. However, their audiences are very different. The audience for Disney Plus tends to be younger than that of classic HBO shows. DeadwoodAnd The Sopranos.
It’s possible that you are a little confused about HBO streaming. I don’t blame you. I watch a lot HBO shows and I cover this stuff for my living. I’ve been confused. So here’s how it works: HBO Go is on the way out. It will be gone on July 31, 2021. If you’re an HBO Go customer, you’ll be automatically moved to HBO Max. HBO Max has been renamed HBO Now. HBO Now is still available, at least for the moment.
What is the difference? HBO is HBO. HBO Max also gives you access some movies and TV series by Warner Brothers; New Line; DC; CNN, TNT and TBS; truTV and Cartoon Network; Adult Swim; Looney Tunes Cartoons, CrunchyRole; and some classic TCM movies. You’ll also have access to some HBO Max exclusive shows.
Warner Brothers has begun releasing its latest movies in theaters as well as on HBO Max. This is especially important as we are slowly returning to movie theaters. HBO Max is a great option if you don’t feel like going out or prefer to watch movies at home. These movies include Wonder Woman 1984? In the Heights, and the forthcoming Matrix 4 (“Yes, with Keanureves”) for no additional charge. These can be viewed simultaneously on up three devices.
HBO Max is free for those who already have HBO via their satellite or cable provider. HBO Max will cost $15 per month. It’s not cheap but you get a lot for your money.
HBO Max is launching a new, cheaper, ad supported tier. This version will run $10 per month. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the $15 edition. It doesn’t support 4K video and can only stream one show or movie at a time. You won’t also get access to the new Warner Brothers movies.
Is it worth it to run an ad? It may be worth it if you are really tight on cash. However, I recommend that you pay full freight. To see Denis Villeneuve’s soon to be released version, you can just go out with your partner. DuneThe cost of a single ticket at a high end theater is as high as the money you would save by not paying $15 a monthly HBO Max.
- A great collection of movies from recent years.
- Unique original content
- Included in the first Warner Brothers movie release.
- It’s a bit pricey.
$15 at HBO Max
Not just for Apple users
I wouldn’t think I’d pay more for Apple TV+ at $4.99 per month. There isn’t much to it. It offers very few free videos, and the original content is limited. However, this streaming service can be purchased with a new iPhone, iPad or Apple TV, and even an iPod. It is also available for free to students with an Apple Music subscription. Or, you can get Apple+ as a part of an Apple One package.
To each their own when it comes down to what you enjoy watching (except for science-fiction alternative histories). For all Mankind? Drama The Morning ShowI don’t watch many interesting TV shows.
You can still watch many older movies for an additional fee, however. It doesn’t have a video library that allows you to watch old favorites, unlike other VOD services. Apple’s Family Sharing feature makes it possible to share your subscription up to six times.
One positive point is that content can be viewed and listened to in 4K, HDR and Dolby Atmos when it’s available. You will need the right equipment to support these higher-end audio and video technologies.
Apple’s naming conventions can be confusing. Apple TV is Apple’s streaming device. It can be used to stream Apple TV+, as well as other services like Hulu and Netflix. Roku, Amazon Fire, and some smart TVs can also be used to watch Apple TV+. Apple TV App is also available. This lets you watch some other streaming services, which, ala Amazon Prime Video, you can also subscribe to via Apple; Apple TV+ streams; and rent or purchase TV shows and movies. To no one’s surprise this app doesn’t work on Android devices.
Apple TV Plus is promising, and it’s useful if your already deeply into the Apple world. This service is not available to non-Apple-lovers.
- Works well with Apple-based products
- Supports high quality video streams in a variety formats.
- Very limited “free video library.”
- Few original shows.
View Now at Apple TV Plus
All CBS Shows, All the Time, and More
CBS All Access was the first big broadcast network to start streaming. Its most important selling point is its massive CBS catalog, which includes both old and new shows and live CBS news and sports coverage. Paramount Plus has rebranded the service as Paramount Plus.
You can also find shows from MTV, BET and Nickelodeon as well as shows from The Smithsonian Channel and Paramount. It doesn’t matter what type of show you like, you’ll find something on this service.
It lacks original content. It does have some new shows, such as Star Trek: Picard? The Good Fight, The Twilight ZoneI like. They may not be right for you. The networks will be adding 36 new series to their network lineup in 2021.
Paramount will not be streaming new movies to the streaming site at the same time as Warner Brothers or HBO Max, unlike HBO Max and HBO Max. However, some, but not all their releases, will make it to Paramount Plus 30 to 90 days after their premiere. This will include films like A Quiet Place Part IIAnd Mission: Impossible 7But not! Transformers 7nor Top Gun: Maverick.
One problem is that Star Trek’s new shows are only available on HDTV. There is no 4K or HDR content at the moment.
Paramount Plus currently costs $10 per month for one stream. Paramount Plus will soon offer a $4.99 per-month plan, which includes ads and will not contain any of the main service’s content.
Is it worthwhile? I believe so. It’s as simple as asking yourself: “How much do you love Star Trek and all of CBS TV?”
- Amazing and rich TV library.
- There are many content options.
Paramount movies will not be available on the service simultaneously with their theatrical release.
- A little bit on the pricy side.
Paramount Plus – $10
Many great old NBC shows
Peacock was created by NBC following the example of CBS. It features a wide range of old and new NBC programs.
Peacock relies on its rich library NBC shows like Parks and Recreation? 30 Rock, Columbo. The streaming network also has the enormously popular Law & Order and Chicago Fire franchises. The streaming network doesn’t have the most popular recent comedies. Friends Seinfeld. Ross, Rachel etc. While Ross, Rachel, and Jerry are currently only on HBO Max, Jerry and his crew recently left Hulu. The show will return to Netflix this fall.
Peacock’s parent company, Focus Features, Universal Pictures and DreamWorks are all part of Peacock, so we know there will be plenty of movies streaming from the site in the future. Peacock has so far not produced any original content. So far, Brave New WorldYou can also find out more about a Saved by The Bell The most fascinating of the series is reboot
These shows are best viewed on HDTV. However, you can view up to three streams at a time.
There are three price tiers in this network. The first is free. The first is free. You will need to put up with a few ads, but you can still enjoy many NBC shows. Peacock premium costs $5 per month, or $50 per annum. Peacock Premium gives you access to more of the NBC library as well as Peacock originals. You’ll still have to watch commercials. Peacock Premium Plus is an ad-free plan that costs $10 per month and $100 annually. Premium Plus promises you will not be disappointed with the five minute minimum commercial.
Peacock is great as a free service. Peacock is a great free service. If you find yourself watching more NBC programs than you used to, you might find yourself spending 50 dollars to see more.
- Good selection of “Must See TV”
- Decent tier.
- No 4K and other high-end video options.
- Two of the most recognizable shows on “NBC” are not available.
View Now at Peacock
You can watch English-language TV from abroad
Acorn TV is a great option for those who love English TV in the UK and abroad like me. It’s where I can watch shows like Agatha Raisin? Doc Martin? Lovejoy, Midsomer MurdersThe new season 22 is also available. It also includes other shows, such as the Australian hits Mysteries of Ms Fisher’s Murderstarring the incredible Esse Davies. A place to call home.
It may seem like there are a lot of mysteries. Acorn focuses exclusively on mysteries from the English-speaking TV industry. BritBox is a rival with a larger library but shows only shows from ITV and BBC in the United Kingdom. For example, Australian-based shows can be found here. Modern Murder Mysteries of Ms FisherThis is only available at Acorn
This service used to have many performance problems. However, this is no longer true. However, you can only view shows on 720p HDTV. This site doesn’t have UHD or 4K content. However, you can stream up to four shows simultaneously.
Acorn TV costs $6 per month or $60 annually. You can either stream up to four streams directly or subscribe to it via Amazon Prime Video. This latter option has the advantage that Prime Video is compatible with more streaming devices than Acorn TV.
- A great selection of English language mysteries that are not American.
- Good price.
- At the moment, there are only HDTV-capable shows.
- A wider selection of British television programs could be possible.
$6 at Acorn TV
Both indie and classic art-house films
Is the first thing you do when you check out a streaming TV network such as Sling TV or YouTubeTV is see if they have Turner Classic Movies (TCM) because you love classic movies? If this is you, you might consider adding The Criterion Channel on your streaming device.
Criterion Collection has the definitive copies of the greatest of these movies, as all true classic, independent, or art-film movie fans know. So if your best directors list includes Kurosawa, Truffaut, and Kieślowski, instead of Lucas, Nolan, and Tarantino, chances are you already have Criterion Blu-Ray and DVDs in your cinema collections. Also, movies are called cinema.
The Criterion Channel has documentaries on film, interviews and commentary on movies. The only problem, and I am a serious film fan, is that not all films from the Criterion collection can be streamed. It’s a shame!
Although it is not for everyone, it is essential for those who love movies. A 14-day trial is available to give it a try. If you like it, you can pay $11 per month or $100 per year.
- A great selection of classic movies.
- Not all Criterion Collection films are available for streaming.
$11 at The Criterion Channel
More British TV
BritBox was formed by ITV and BBC. It brings together both old and new offerings from both the BBC and ITV. Acorn TV is the competition. However, it has fewer shows and focuses more heavily on mysteries from the English-language television world.
BritBox will have old favorites like Jeremy Bretts. Sherlock HolmesThis is my favorite take on 221B Baker St. detective. Sharpe, Fawlty Towers. It also has a wide selection of soaps from the United Kingdom such as Coronation Street? EastEnders, Emmerdale.
BritBox has one advantage over Acorn TV: you can download your favorite shows to your iOS and Android smartphones, tablets. Acorn TV requires an active internet connection. BritBox can support up to five simultaneous streams.
BritBox can be purchased for $7 per month or $70 annually.
- This is the closest you will get to ITV and the BBC on this side.
- You can download videos to watch later.
- Acorn and BritBox look almost identical, but there are enough differences to make it clear that you need both if you love English as in the United Kingdom and Canada, Australia, New Zealand TV and Australia TV.
Which video services would be best for you?
This is a decision that only you can make. However, I can offer some guidance.
Are you a parent? Love Star Wars? Are you a fan? You have a choice: Get Disney Plus.
Are you addicted to British TV? BritBox is for YOU. BritBox is available for those who have really bad cases, as I do.
Movies Movies! Movies! OK, Netflix and HBO Max are essential. You’ll also love the French New Wave and Japanese Noir on The Criterion Channel.
Do you have a particular show that you just can’t get enough of? Find the streaming services that have your favorite shows and sign up for them. Be aware that TV shows can vary greatly from one service to the next. For example, if you fall asleep to FriendsEvery night, for the moment, all seasons are only available on HBO Max.
Is cutting the cable a cost-saving measure?
In 2009, when I cut the cable, I saved over $100 per month and still got to see all my shows. Twelve years later, my internet streaming bills are almost identical to those of cable TV. Why? Internet streaming is copying tired, outdated cable business models. As a result, almost every live TV service saw price increases in 2020 and they will only rise in 2021.
You should be careful about which services you choose. I subscribed to most of them, and then I get paid to watch them. Chances are you aren’t so lucky.
You should also check to see if your video needs can be met by one or more of the excellent free video-streaming services. Peacock and other services offer an advertising-free tier.
What internet speed is required for streaming?
Broadband internet is necessary to access any of these services. If you live alone, you might be able to make do with as little as 10Mbp. If you live alone, or if you plan to share your home with others, you should get at least 25Mbps internet.
You are not sure how fast you connection is? Take these Internet speed tests.
What gear are you going to need for streaming?
You might wonder, “What’s the point of a streaming device?” Can I get all the streaming services that I want from my smart-TV? You can’t.
Although smart TVs are a better choice than ever, I can’t help but wish that you could. This is because TV manufacturers generally do a poor job of supporting streaming services. In 2019, Vizio and Samsung smart TVs stopped supporting Netflix. They can do that to Netflix, which is the most popular subscription-based video streaming platform, and you can bet they will ignore other services.
Some smart TVs do not support newer channels. For example, if your children are demanding Frozen 2 via Disney Plus and your Vizio Smartcast television doesn’t support it then you will need to explain to your five year old that they can’t watch Anna Else or Olaf. Good luck.
There are many streaming devices available. Any Roku device is my favorite. They’re affordable, support most services, and are very easy to use. The Roku Ultra costs $69. If you want to save your pennies, get a Roku Express 4K Plus for $30,
To make the most of these services, you will need a television capable of handling 4K and high-dynamic range (HDR) movies, and TV shows. If you’re a home theater nerd like me and you’ve been saving up your bucks, get an LG OLEDG1P series. The 65-inch model retails for $2,800. If you want OLED goodness without a premium price, check out the LG OLEDCXP series. This 65-inch TV is priced at $1,900. For the best pairing of price and quality, check out the TCL 6-Series. The 65″ model costs $1100. A great TV doesn’t require you to spend a lot of money. The TCL 4-Series TV works well and its 65-inch version is only $650. Although it isn’t as good as others, it’s still good enough for streaming. Sweet Tooth? Leverage: Redemption, oder Underground Railroad
How do we decide which streaming services to recommend for our audience?
I watch a lot TV. I have always done so. My dad had his own repair shop and TV sales business. I grew up literally with an oscilloscope probe in my right hand and a soldering hammer in the other. My summers were spent climbing up and building TV towers. In rural West Virginia, the only way to see a TV show was through an antenna 50-100 feet up the air.
Since then, I have been streaming since before most people knew what streaming was. You thought Netflix’s DVD delivery service was the best thing about it.
Given this background, you won’t be surprised to learn that I subscribe to almost every major streaming service. Even though I don’t subscribe, I do sample some of the services I do. I recommend the services because I am familiar with them and I like them.