Once upon a time, your primary options for viewing something entertaining or informative were turning on your TV set at specific times, renting or buying DVDs or VHS tapes, or going to your local movie theater. Today, however, viewing on demand is the norm. Thanks to the abundance of streaming services now available, there are more options that ever when it comes to viewing what you want to see on your own schedule. Given the many possibilities today with streaming, it’s understandable to want to get your money’s worth for any service you opt to sign up for. Below, we help you with this dilemma by discussing streaming services that tend to actually be worth the money.
Netflix is the Facebook of streaming services in that it appeals to the broadest audience. It presents a decent mix of original shows, acquired content, fairly recent movies, and some older faves. Netflix’s content also rotates regularly, so it’s not too hard to find something that grabs your attention. You can also get your money’s worth with Netflix thanks to perks that include:
• Higher-quality video options
• No ads
• Reliable performance
• Accessible on many different platforms
Cost: Starts at $9 per month.
If your viewing habits are a bit more discerning, HBO Max can be worth the money. The original content is impressive. However, you also get access to buzz-worthy shows from the past like The Sopranos, True Blood, and South Park along with classics like Citizen Kane. The downside is that 4K and HDR support is on the limited side.
Cost: Starts at $10 per month with ads.
This streaming service is definitely worth the money when it comes to family viewing options. Disney+ is home to an assortment of goodies that include Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar selections along with an assortment of Disney classics that will delight kids and the kid in you. Plus, you get the following perks:
• No commercials
• No R-rated content – for the U.S. version
• The option to bundle it with ESPN+ and Hulu
• The ability to simultaneously stream on up to 4 devices
Cost: $8 per month or $80 for an entire year and $14 for the bundling option.
If your goal with TV streaming is also to cut the cord, Hulu can absolutely give you your money’s worth. In addition to a decent mix of classic and newer shows, Hulu offers a live TV option. This means you can enjoy popular originals like The Handmaid’s Tale, Solar Opposites, and Dopesick coupled with network shows from ABC, Fox, and FX. You can also bundle your Hulu subscription with Disney+ and ESPN+.
Cost: Starting at $7 per month with ads and $14/month if you bundle.
Prime Video can be worth your money since you have the option to rent or buy anything that appeals to you. The selection is gradually expanding, with viewer favorites that include The Wheel of Time, The Boys, and Good Omens. There’s also a decent mix of comedy and drama – and even some superhero fun sprinkled with a dash of anime, fantasy, and adventure. Additional Prime Video perks include:
• A large-ish selection of 4K and HDR content
• Accessible on most common platforms
• Included with an Amazon Prime membership*
• Additional channels can be added
*Also available as a standalone service if you prefer not to sign up for Amazon Prime.
Cost: $9 per month, or $13 with Amazon Prime.
New and Emerging and Niche Streaming Services
These are the streaming services generally targeted at niche viewers. Others are on the newer and emerging side, meaning they’re still in the growing and expanding stage. However, the streaming services in the niche and emerging categories briefly discussed below can still be appealing and worthy of your time and money if the content appeals to you. Although, you may want to consider these services as add-ons to ones that offer a greater variety of content, like what’s mentioned above.
New and Emerging
• Paramount+: If classic fare is what appeals to you most, Paramount+ is worthy of your consideration. You’ll get a boatload of classic movies and shows along with a smattering of exclusive content like The Good Fight and iCarly plus some Star Trek stuff.
Cost: Starting at $5 per month with ads.
• Apple TV+: The content is slowly and steadily growing with Apple TV+. It does, however, have an impressive library of TV shows and movies you can rent or buy and some notable originals, like The Morning Show and a revival of Amazing Stores. You can also download content and watch it offline.
Cost: $5 per month, or $50 for the entire year.
• Peacock: This NBC streaming service is loaded with a slew of NBC faves past and present – e.g., Knight Rider, Miami Vice, The Blacklist, etc. – for the free tier. If you opt for the premium tier you’ll get some newer movies and original series.
Cost: Paid options start at $5 per month with ads and continue to $100/month for unlimited viewing without ads.
• Curiosity Stream: This one gives you a lot of top-quality documentary content in the form of TV shows and full-length films. Cost: Starts at $3 per month.
• VRV: If anime and cartons appeal to you, VRV is an add-on service worth considering. Featured content includes Rooster Teeth and Cartoon Hangover. Cost: $10 per month.
• Discovery+: You’ll get the usual Discovery Channel fare here. So, expect a mix of history, cooking, documentary, and true crime viewing candy. Cost: Starting at $5 per month with ads.
• ESPN+: This is a great add-on for sports fans. You won’t get NFL and NBA action, but it does have a select offering of NHL and MLB games. Cost: $7 per month or $14/month if bundled with Hulu and Disney+.
• Britbox: If you’re a fan of British TV, you might enjoy this streaming service. It offers a mix of older and newer British content. Cost: $9 per month.
Top Factors to Consider When Making Your Choice
• Content: There’s no point in investing in a streaming service if there’s not enough content that appeals to you or others in your household. Be especially mindful of what exclusive content is routinely offered.
• Quality: Higher quality is nice, but only worth considering as a factor if your internet service can handle the increased demands. On the other hand, if you’ve already purchased a 4K TV, then going with a service that provides higher quality streaming makes sense.
• Features: If there will be multiple streaming users in your household, take a look at features such as how many profiles you can have and the number of devices that can be used at once. Also, pay attention to features that pertain to the main device you’ll be using for streaming.
Lastly, budget is worth considering, too. By all means, take advantage of as many free trails as you want. But also don’t be shy about canceling subscriptions if the content no longer appeals to you. It’s perfectly fine to rotate services. Plus, you can always go back to more popular services like Netflix when something you wish to see becomes available.