Best streaming services – watch movies and series online
Streaming services – which are the best? Which streaming service should you choose? Should you stick to the Netflix or go for newer platform like HBO Max? What VOD services are Netflix strongest competitors? Find out in this article.
Streaming services – what’s that?
You may have wondered what’s the secret behind the popularity of streaming services, and what streaming is to start with. As the name indicates, it means just that: streaming, or in the simplest terms, transmitting and/or receiving data – particularly audio and video material – to a computing device connected to the Internet, and therefore allowing for playback. In streaming, all of the transmitted data are stored on the recipient’s device, such as a computer, laptop or a mobile phone, only temporarily.
The key advantage of streaming, which contributed enormously to the rapid growth of its popularity, is the possibility to watch films and series or listen to music literally on demand, anytime and anywhere, as long as the device is connected to the internet. On top of that, streaming services do not work as cable TV would, which means that the VOD (video-on-demand) platforms are not limited to an imposed schedule, and all of the content available on a given platform is accessible at any time.
Most popular streaming services
There is already an abundance of streaming services available online, and it’s safe to expect that more and more of them will be launched in the foreseeable future. The idea of all of these platforms equally is to provide access to popular movies and TV shows, although each of them usually offers a particular style and range of the content, which can be considerably different. So, what streaming services are best for you?
Netflix continues to be the most popular streaming platform not just in the US, but everywhere around the world. No wonder, since it was this very platform that sparked off this whole streaming craze and indirectly caused other similar platforms to pop up.
The American streaming service and production company boasts one of the largest collections of films and series online, regularly updated and diversified with new interesting additions, both licensed content and original productions. Among the most popular titles to stream on Netflix are, for example, Stranger Things, Black Mirror, Ozark, Arcane or Money Heist, not to mention their huge offer of cinema and TV classics, as well as some interesting contemporary films and TV shows.
Releated: Stream anime online – services with the best selection of anime movies
Even though the Netflix library offers a great deal of blockbusters and Hollywood movies, you will be able to stumble across some niche productions. Everyone should find something to their liking, be it horror movies, thrillers, comedies, animations, documentaries or even stand-up comedy – you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Netflix Price – how much does it cost?
Netflix membership – monthly fees
Netflix membership offers no commitment plan, meaning you can cancel it anytime and reactivate it later if you want to. You can choose from three membership plan options, varying only in quality and the number of screens, but not in the content; that means you will get access to the entire collection of films and series available on Netflix regardless of the plan you choose.
- Basic – monthly price $9.99
- Video quality HD (720p)
- unlimited viewing on one device at the same time
- Standard – monthly price $15.49
- Video quality Full HD (1080p)
- unlimited viewing on two different devices at the same time
- Premium – monthly price $19.99
- Video quality Ultra HD (4K) and HDR
- unlimited viewing on four different devices at the same time
All Netflix membership options allow you to cancel or change your plan anytime.
With that being said, you may have heard that in April, the company reported that it had lost 200,000 subscribers since the start of 2022, constituting the first significant loss in over a decade. This year, Netflix’s stock was on a decline of approximately 70% which makes for a horrible year and puts its leading position in question.
HBO Max launched in May 2020 as a video on demand service of the paid TV station HBO. Previously HBO GO, the new, refreshed service is already enjoying a huge popularity, particularly in the US. No wonder, since compared to other streaming platforms, the breadth and variety of what HBO Max is offering is truly impressive.
With this service, you get access to top-tier, award winning movies and shows (virtually all of the productions of Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, CNN, DC Comics or Warner Bros, amongst others). With that being said, the service is not yet available in all countries, and the content may be limited depending on the location, at least for the time being. However, it’s safe to assume that their offer will become more extensive as the service is developing and gaining more and more popularity at a rapid pace.
Releated: Miniseries – the best productions from Netflix and HBO, which you will binge in one evening!
What are some of the best movies and shows available to stream on HBO Max?
You’ll be able to stream and watch the new Batman, The Flight Attendant, The Vampire Diaries, Euphoria and Game of Thrones, to mention a few. On top of that, many, many other productions, both new and old, many of which are iconic. It’s worth mentioning that previously, HBO Max guaranteed that the films produced by the Warner Bros. Studios were available on HBO Max 45 days after their theatrical release. This changed recently and the service announced that the strategy will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
HBO Max Price – how much does it cost?
HBO Max has two subscription tiers, with the option to pay on a rolling monthly contract, or prepay for a whole year and save 20%.
- ‘With Ads’ plan – $9.99 a month
- ‘Ads-Free’ plan – $14.99 a month
Both plans offer a monthly membership also, for $99.99 a year and $149.99 a year respectively.
What’s the difference between the two plans? The ad-supported version, launched in June 2021, obviously has commercials, but the service promises that no more than four minutes of ads for each hour of streaming content will be shown. Streaming quality is capped at 1080p with the ‘With Ads’ plan, while the Ads-Free version offers viewing in 4K and HDR.
The ad-supported version subscribers are not able to download content to your phone or tablet for offline viewing. Otherwise, the service offers viewing on three devices at the same time and the ability to create up to five different viewer profiles on an account.
Amazon Prime Video
When it comes to leading streaming platforms, Amazon Prime Video is without a doubt up there among Netflix and HBO in terms of quality and popularity. Although the variety of films and series may not be as extensive as in the case of its two competitors, this service is definitely a strong contender when it comes to the perks and benefits packages.
The content on Amazon Prime Video is available in Ultra HD 4K quality. Among the most interesting TV shows available on Prime, one can name titles such as The Boys, Invincible, Reacher or The Wheel of Time. The service offers plenty of new and old films to stream as well.
Releated: Must-Watch Sitcoms – the Best Sitcoms of All Time
Amazon Prime Video – prices and benefits
Up until recently, one of the key perks of Amazon Prime Video have been without a doubt the affordable membership fees. These were increased in February this year and now stand at $14.99 per month or $139 per year for Amazon Prime which includes a number of benefits along with the access to Prime Video, such as free or express delivery or discounts when using Amazon.com for online shopping. With Prime Gaming, you get access to free games and add-ons. If you want to stick to the simple Amazon Prime Video membership, the fee is just $8.99 per month.
Obi-Wanie TV show is just one of the many reasons to consider Disney Plus
Disney Plus is another lead player when it comes to streaming platforms. The video-on-demand service is currently housing all of the movies produced by Marvel, as well as Star Wars, to name a few. You will also find plenty of classic films, TV shows or old school Disney productions such as the classic Mickey Mouse cartoons or Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
In addition to newest popular movies, such as Rise, Pinocchio, or The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild, you get access to film adaptations of classic Disney stories that everyone will enjoy, for example The Lion King, Mulan, or the action-packed animated series DuckTales.
Releated: Horror Movies on Netflix – TOP 10 recently added horror movies on the platform
Disney Plus membership prices
How much does DIsney Plus cost? Depending on the type of subscription, you will pay:
- $7.99 per month on a monthly subscription
- $79.99 per year on a yearly subscription, which saves users about $16 from its monthly price
Disney Plus also intends to offer a cheaper, ad-supported plan in fall of 2022. Hulu (more below) also offers an add-on for Disney Plus for $2.99 per month, which will save you 5$.
Included in this membership, in addition to the extensive library of all available films and TV shows, is the possibility to create seven separate user profiles and simultaneous viewing on four devices. Naturally, there is also the option to download content for offline viewing.
While not every streaming platform enjoys popularity as huge as Netflix or HBO Max do, that doesn’t have to mean they’re lacking in anything. An example of that is Apple TV+ which works not only as a video-on-demand service, but also guarantees access to fantastic original productions. Think Ted Lasso, Mythic Quest, Invasion or Defending Jacob. All movies are, of course, available in Ultra HD 4K and HDR quality.
How much does APple TV+ cost?
The cost of Apple TV+ depends on which offer you choose and the package you go for. You can take advantage of a free seven-day trial, after which the monthly subscription is just $4.99 per month.
If you buy an Apple device, you will be able to enjoy access to Apple TV+ for free for 3 months.
If you fancy a more exhaustive offer, Apple TV+ is included in Apple One, which bundles up to five other Apple services into a single monthly subscription. Apple One plans start at $14.95 per month.
Finally, if you’re a student, the Apple Music Student Plan comes with a free subscription to Apple TV+.
With a varied channel lineup, Hulu is a strong competitor to Netflix. Offering a huge variety of familiar shows from American TV networks such as ABC, Fox and CBS, its significant advantage is that, unlike on Netflix, you are able to watch the shows soon after they air. It boasts a decent selection of self-produced critically acclaimed original series as well: one of the most interesting examples here is of course The Handmaid’s Tale, others include Only Murders in the Building, The Dropout or Ramy.
Releated: The 20 best Disney movies of all time
How much does Hulu cost?
Hulu offers the following plans for you to choose from:
- The ad-supported plan costs just $7.99 per month or $79.99 per year and includes full access to the Hulu streaming library.
- If you want to skip the ads, the ad-free plan is $14.99 monthly. This package option however excludes a few shows that play with ads before and after the video.
There are also plenty of various upgrades and add-ons, including Live TV, HBO Max, Disney Plus, Cinemax, and others, as well as Entertainment and Sports packages.