A quick guide to the best TV streaming services
In a world of online streaming services, there are endless options for those looking to watch movies and TV shows online. While Netflix has long been the king of that castle, there are several alternatives that offer just as much, if not more.
So, if you’re ready for some fresh content, here are my picks for the best alternatives to Netflix.
1. Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is included as part of an Amazon Prime subscription. With Prime Video, subscribers have access to a variety of movies and TV shows, as well as original content produced by Amazon Studios.
Some notable originals include “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “The Man in the High Castle,” and “The Boys.” Personally, I loved “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” and I also just finished the second season of the excellent “Vox Machina”.
Included with Prime Video is the ability to rent or purchase movies and TV shows that aren’t included in the streaming library. Prime Video also offers add-on subscriptions to channels like HBO, Showtime, and Starz.
Sometimes, I find it hard to navigate and find new shows on Prime Video, but the content that Amazon puts out is getting better every year.
➡️ Learn more: Prime Video
Hulu is a streaming service that offers a mix of current and classic TV shows, as well as movies. Hulu is mostly owned by Disney, but NBC retains a minority stake and helps contribute to their collective catalog of shows.
Hulu’s library includes popular TV shows like “This Is Us,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and “Only Murders in the Building.” Some of my favorite Hulu shows are, “Letterkenny”, “What We Do in the Shadows”, and “The Americans”. I don’t find I watch a lot of Hulu, but the things I do watch are almost always worth my time.
In addition to the regular Hulu subscription, subscribers can opt for Hulu with Live TV, which includes cable channels. Hulu is also available at a discounted price if you bundle it with a Disney+ subscription.
➡️ Learn more: Hulu
Disney+ is a streaming service that offers movies and TV shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. It’s the undisputed king of franchise TV and offers things that no one else can.
With Disney+, you can watch classic Disney movies like “The Lion King” and “Beauty and the Beast,” as well as newer releases like “Soul” and “Raya and the Last Dragon.”
I loved “The Mandalorian”. It’s one of my favorite shows of all time, but I will admit that I really don’t spend a lot of time watching Disney+. That said, my kids watch “Bad Batch”, “Star Wars: Clone Wars” and were big fans of “WandaVision,” and “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.”
Because of the sheer number of titles on offer, Disney+ is perhaps the biggest competitor to Netflix. If you are a fan of the shows that Disney produces, you will almost always have something to watch here.
➡️ Learn more: Disney+
4. HBO Max
HBO Max is a streaming service that offers a wide variety of content, including movies, TV shows, and documentaries.
With HBO Max, you have access to HBO’s infamous library of shows like “Game of Thrones” and “The Sopranos,” as well as new releases like “Euphoria”, “The White Lotus” and “The Last of Us.”
I have an HBO Max subscription, but my wife uses it more than I do. However, I did watch the animated “Harley Quinn” series. That was a lot of fun, and “Titans” was much better than I thought it would be.
HBO Max also includes content from other networks like CNN, Cartoon Network, and DC Comics. At some point this year, it will merge with Discovery+ and add presumably add even more content, but the date for that has not yet been finalized.
➡️ Learn more: HBO Max
5. Apple TV+
Apple TV+ is a streaming service that offers movies and TV shows from a variety of studios, as well as original content produced by Apple.
Apple TV+’s original content includes shows like the excellent “Ted Lasso,” “The Morning Show,” and “For All Mankind.” It also has some staggeringly unique offerings, like the award-winning “Severance”.
Apple has also invested in bringing live sports to Apple TV+. You can watch the entire 2023 season of Major League Soccer, including playoffs, with no blackouts for local markets. You can also watch Friday Night Baseball.
Some people think you need an Apple TV streaming box to watch Apple TV+, but you don’t. There are Apple TV+ apps for most smart TVs and even for other streaming platforms like Roku and Fire TV. You can also watch online at tv.apple.com.
➡️ Learn more: Apple TV+
While Netflix may be the most popular streaming service, the alternatives above undoubtedly offer unique content and features. However, these five are just a smattering of what is out there. Discovery+, Paramount+, Peacock, BritBox, and many more are also available.
Thankfully, you can subscribe and unsubscribe as needed. All you really need to know is what shows are on what platform before you sign up. To help with that, I use justwatch.com.
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