As if there weren’t enough streaming platforms with a diverse range of content before the pandemic, billions of people staying inside for weeks and months on end has led to a massive increase in the number of available services. Netflix now has legitimate competition with platforms like Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and Apple TV, all of which produce their own original content. In fact, there are more than 200 live and on-demand streaming services.
There’s basically a streaming service for all tastes and genres. There are comedy-specific services, like NextUp Comedy, while several of the mainstream platforms have plenty of comedy and stand-up offerings. Shudder, meanwhile, is a service that strictly has horror movies and series. If you’re into NFL or NHL picks, there is also an abundance of sports-specific apps.
Considering the number of streaming services, it can be overwhelming to think about which one(s) to sign up for. Netflix is practically synonymous with streaming but continues to go up in price while many viewers have become bored with their original programming.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before selecting an exemplary streaming service:
What Are You Looking For?
Most importantly, you need to ask yourself what’s your favorite genre of film or series. Perhaps you don’t watch much-scripted content and instead mostly watch sports. In that case, you’ll be better off sticking with sports streaming apps.
ESPN+ is an excellent option for fans who like all sports, as it offers a wide range of live programming. PC Mag rates it as the best sports streaming app for NHL, UFC, and college sports. The NHL LIVE app, meanwhile, is excellent if you’re just into hockey. Peacock and Amazon Prime are best for football as they air Sunday Night Football and Thursday Night Football, respectively.
Some streaming services, like Hulu and Paramount+, include a mix of live sports broadcasts and on-demand scripted shows, making them great for families.
Netflix is still the preferred service for watching old movies and shows – and it does still produce some quality content – but doesn’t rate as highly for original programming as services like HBO Go, Paramount+, and Apple TV. It is, however, hands-down the best platform for stand-up comedy.
What Can You Afford?
Another thing to consider is the price of each of these streaming services. When Netflix started expanding to seemingly every household in the world in the 2010s, it was highly cost-effective. Today, its premium plan is $20.99 a month. Couple that with a few other streaming services, and you’re essentially paying what you would for a traditional cable package.
You can still subscribe to a handful of streaming services for under $40 per month. Hulu, which has an extensive library of TV dramas and sitcoms, is just $6.99 per month as long as you don’t mind ads. Peacock Premium Plus is also only $9.99. For movies and documentaries, consider platforms like Filmatique and CuriosityStream, which are just $4.95 and $2.99 per month, respectively.
Of course, there are also free streaming services of which you can take advantage. These include IMDB TV, Kanopy, and Pluto TV. Kanopy is especially great for families as it has a diverse selection of documentaries and films, but you must have a valid library card to sign up.
Do You Have Children?
If you plan on cutting the cord on traditional cable and you have children, you better make sure you invest in a streaming service with plenty of appropriate child-friendly content to keep them entertained and, let’s be honest, quiet.
YouTube is a great free streaming service and does have some useful and educational videos for children, but your children might stumble across videos you don’t want them to see. Disney+ is the best alternative as it features all of the classic Disney movies and programs as well as new favorites like Encanto and Turning Red. It also has plenty of original and old network TV series in its library. Read interesting articles.