It is safe to say that 2019 brought a plethora of streaming services to choose from. With the release of the new, Disney+, many streaming fanatics and Disney fans are racing to subscribe. Its arrival is also just in time for the holidays. This or another streaming service could be a great idea for a gift, especially for those people who are hard to shop for. After all, there is a streaming service to fit every personality and need out there!
Best Stand-Alone Streaming Service
Netflix has definitely earned its spot in the world of streaming. Starting from DVD rental by mail, Netflix eventually started in the business of streaming and is really, in my opinion, the pioneer in streaming. While they haven’t moved completely from movie rental by mail, their focus is definitely on streaming now.
Netflix is a great option for people who love movies. While they do have quite a few TV shows, their focus is less on TV shows (although they still have many great ones) and more on movies, opposite of one of their main competitors: Hulu.
Netflix is also great for those who enjoy original content. While some of their original movies and TV shows are complete flops, some are actually really good. A few of Netflix’s top series and movies, some of which have even won many awards, are Stranger Things, Bird Box, Orange is the New Black, Black Mirror, and The Crown.
Starting at $8.99 per month, Netflix is pretty affordable. And for the price, you get access to a TON of movies and TV shows. If you are a regular movie renter, this is definitely worth it. However, if you can foresee your account being used by more than one person on more than one device at a time, you have to spend $4 extra, bumping the price up to $12.99. With this extra cost, HD quality also becomes available. In order to get 4 screens, you need to shell out $15.99 per month, and you’ll have Ultra HD available to you. The $15.99 plan is definitely worth it if you think you will have more than 2 screens watching at once, but it’s not worth it to get Ultra HD. HD is already HD enough, at least for me anyway.
Hulu’s main focus is on current, popular TV shows as well as TV shows that might not be on live television anymore, but are still relatively new. If you’re a fan of new TV shows, Hulu is definitely the choice for you. But keep in mind, if you’re looking for movies, Hulu is not a great choice. They do have a few movies, but mostly movies that are their own, original content.
Hulu and Netflix both have good content available, it just comes down to if you prefer to watch current and newer TV shows or if you enjoy movies and older (but still relatively new) TV shows more. In all reality, Hulu could’ve ranked #1 on this list, I am just one of those people who enjoys movies too much to give that up with Hulu, so for me, Netflix is #1. Call me biased.
Hulu, like Netflix, can produce really great content, however, some are not so great. Despite this, Hulu also boasts several TV series that have won awards. A few of Hulu’s top series are: Handmaid’s Tale, Castle Rock, The Path, and Difficult People.
Hulu’s monthly rate starts at $5.99 which, at first, appears to be really great… until you find out that this version includes ads. In order to get the ad-free version, you need to pay $11.99 per month. With this price, you are able to view 2 screens at once, and this is still a pretty good deal, considering Netflix’s 2 screen option is $12.99.
Best Live TV Streaming Plan
Hulu + Live TV
Hulu + Live TV is a great option for those looking to get rid of cable, or just being able to watch what you want on demand. You can watch live sports, news, entertainment, and have access to all of Hulu’s streaming library. With Hulu + Live TV, you have access to current shows on many channels, like Discovery Channel, Food Network, ESPN, HGTV and more.
The main difference between this plan and other Live TV options is that this plan also ropes in Hulu. So you can still watch original content, movies, and exclusive content all for the price of what other Live TV service charge just for the Live TV feature. This, in my opinion, makes Hulu + Live TV rank above the rest.
The price of Hulu’s Live TV option starts is $44.99/month. It won’t be this price for much longer though; Hulu is increasing their cost for Hulu’s Live TV by $10 to $54.99 in December. With the Hulu + Live TV subscription, you can have 2 screens viewing simultaneously. If this isn’t enough screens for your family, they give you the option to upgrade your Hulu + Live TV to Unlimited Screens for an extra $9.99 a month. This can get quite pricey once you have unlimited screens added on. However, if you currently have cable and are looking for a solution as a replacement, Hulu + Live TV is a great option, and you will probably be saving a handful of money every month.
Best “Bang-for-Your-Buck” Streaming Service Bundle
Hulu, Disney+, ESPN+
In my opinion, the best package for all streaming services came recently with the release of Disney+. This bundle has something for each family member. You have access to Hulu, Disney +, and ESPN+. There are countless great TV shows and movies on Hulu; timeless classics and recently released Disney TV shows and movies on Disney+; and you can view live sporting events from MLB, NHL, and more on ESPN+.
The only downside I really see to this plan is that unless you want to watch Disney movies all the time, there aren’t really a lot of options for movies. For movie lovers, this could be a problem. As I mentioned before when talking about Hulu, there aren’t very many movies on this platform, as they specialize in TV shows. Disney+ features a lot of movies- from older classics, to Disney Princess, Marvel movies, Star Wars, National Geographic, and more. So if you’re okay with this selection of movies, this will be a great plan for you.
This bundle includes so much value for only $12.99 a month. One note to mention, though, is that it’s bundled with the ad version of Hulu. This may or may not be a problem for you, depending on your tolerance for repetitive ads. Disney+ comes standard with 4 screen simultaneous viewing- something that you have to pay extra for on other services. In addition to this, you’re able to have 2 screens viewing at once with Hulu and 3 with ESPN+. This gives you 9 simultaneous viewing screens in this bundle! So there will most likely be something available to watch at all times, even if each of your family members are also watching.
Why this is the best bundle:
- You get a wide variety of content to fill the needs of all your family members.
- For $12.99 per month, (the price of Netflix’s middle-of-the-road plan) you get a lot of value.
- A total of 9 simultaneous viewing screens means everyone will get to watch what they want, when they want to.
There are so many options when it comes to streaming services, you’re bound to find SOMETHING you like. This table of popular streaming services should be helpful when picking out the streaming service that’s perfect for you.