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Best Video Streaming Services

Explore the pros and cons of the best streaming services and find the right one for you.
by Lara Vukelich — 
Woman streaming on a tablet

From Amazon Prime Video to Peacock: Here are the best video streaming services

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Best Video Streaming Services

Best for on-demand and live TV: Hulu Best for families: Disney+Best for original titles: NetflixBest for all-around value: Amazon Prime VideoBest for popular shows and movies: HBO MaxBest for free streaming: Peacock
  • Option to add live TV Choose between ad and no-ad streaming
  • Watch new episodes the day after they air
  • Access to most popular Disney titles Includes Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and more
  • Host virtual movie nights with friends
  • Excellent original movies and series
  • Large, high-quality streaming library
  • Ad-free streaming for all plans
  • Free with Amazon Prime membership
  • Largest title library of any service
  • Access to many Amazon original titles
  • Watch all your favorite HBO series
  • Access to popular movies
  • Watch movies the day they hit theaters
  • Free streaming for many titles
  • Affordable Premium subscription plans
  • Stream exclusive NBC titles

Streaming services today are like gourmet donut shops: There is a new one popping up all the time. Do you need to experience them all? Some on-demand streaming platforms cater to families while others are pushing out a ton of original titles for all ages. With so many options to choose from, it's easy to get overwhelmed. 

We've narrowed it down to our six favorites. Keep reading to learn more about the best video streaming services and choose the best one for you. If you don't want to limit yourself, feel free to sign up for a few and see which ones fit. 

What are the best on-demand video streaming services?

Compare top video streaming services


HuluDisney+NetflixPrime VideoHBO MaxPeacock
Starting price $7/mo.$8/mo.$10/mo.$9/mo.$10/mo.$0
Number of titles 4,000+1,100+15,000+25,000+3,500+2,000+
# of simultaneous streams TwoFourOne-fourTwoThreeThree
Ad-free streaming For an added costN/AN/AN/AFor an added costFor an added cost
Picture quality Up to 4K Ultra HDUp to 4K Ultra HDUp to 4K Ultra HDUp to 4K Ultra HDUp to 4K Ultra HD1080p HD
Free titles NoNoNoNoNoYes
Live channels 85+NoneNone25+None30+

Choosing the right on-demand streaming service

Let's talk about how to create a smart streaming budget when you're narrowing down your streaming options. Here are some of the most important factors to consider.

  • Price: Streaming services come at a wide variety of price points, ranging from free to nearly $20/mo. Knowing your streaming budget can help you narrow down the options.

  • Video quality: These days, nearly every streaming service offers video resolution up to 4K Ultra HD, but some require that you upgrade to a more expensive plan to take advantage of it. And keep in mind that if you have a slow internet plan, you won't be able to stream in the highest resolution the service offers.

  • Titles included: Each of the services on our list houses thousands of titles. One of the best ways to choose the right streaming service for you is to consider what titles you're most interested in watching.

  • Compatible equipment: Are you using a smart TV to stream? Or maybe a Roku or Fire Stick? Make sure whatever streaming services you're considering are compatible with the equipment you have available to you or be open to buying new equipment.

Best for on-demand and live TV: Hulu

Price: Starting at $7/mo.

Pros

  • Option to add live TV starting at $70/mo.

  • Choose between ad-supported and no-ad streaming

  • Watch new episodes after they air

  • Affordable starting price

  • Many add-ons and bundles

  • High-quality original titles

Cons

  • Frequent commercials on Hulu with ads

  • Small selection compared to other services

  • Fewer channels than other live TV streaming services

  • Confusing pricing scheme

What to watch on Hulu

Hulu carries many of the most popular TV shows. It's particularly good for watching shows that are still active, since you can watch many new episodes the day after they air. Some networks, including NBC and CBS, limit the titles that Hulu can have next-day so they can reserve access to their own apps.  Hulu is also known for its original titles that include The Handmaid's Tale, The Great, Nine Perfect Strangers, Pen15,and more.

Best for families: Disney+

Price: $8/mo.

Pros

  • Includes most of your favorite Disney titles

  • Low monthly cost compared to other streaming services

  • Ad-free streaming for all subscriptions

  • Allows up to four simultaneous streams

  • Host virtual movie nights with GroupWatch with up to six friends

Cons

  • Doesn't include all Disney titles

  • Fewer titles than many streaming services

  • Save by bundling with Hulu and ESPN+

  • Less variety, since it's only titles that are Disney-owned

What to watch on Disney+

Disney+ includes most of your favorite Disney titles, both new and old, which you can watch at any time on this popular streaming service. Even better, Disney owns far more titles than just the classic Disney movies. It also owns Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic, all of which you can stream on Disney+. Meanwhile, you can get the Disney Bundle — which includes Disney+ with Hulu + Live TV and ESPN + — for $14/mo. 

Best for original titles: Netflix

Price: Starting at $10/mo.

Pros

  • More titles than most streaming services

  • Highly-rated original titles

  • Three membership tiers so everyone can choose the right one for them

  • Ad-free streaming for all plans

  • Simultaneous streaming on up to four screens for the premium plan

  • Compatible with just about any device

Cons

  • Some titles have moved to other streaming services

  • Expensive for premium monthly plan

  • Streaming on only one screen for the basic plan

  • No HD streaming for the basic plan, and no ultra HD for the standard plan

  • Certain titles are only available in certain locations

What to watch on Netflix

Netflix has more than 15,000 titles to choose from, but it's become best known for its original titles. The platform includes original series including Squid Game, Bridgerton, Stranger Things, and more, and such original movies as Roma, Beasts of No Nation, Okja, and more. You can also turn on some of your old favorites, from Arrested Development to Better Call Saul.

Best for all-around value:

Price: $9/mo., or $139/yr.

Pros

  • Purchase as a standalone service without Amazon Prime perks

  • Has the most titles of any streaming service

  • Option to add more than 100 subscription-based channels

  • Includes a handful of free live channels

  • Download titles to watch offline

Cons

  • You have to pay extra for certain titles

  • Some titles have moved to other streaming services

  • Less original titles than other streaming services

What to watch on Prime Video

Prime Video has more titles than any other streaming service, with more than 25,000 titles currently available. The platform includes many of the most popular movies. And while it isn't as well-known for its original titles as Netflix, it's home to several popular original titles including The Boys, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Upload, Reacher, and more.

Best for HBO Shows and Popular Movies: HBO Max

Price: Starting at $10/mo.

Pros

  • Lots of HBO original TV shows

  • Access to many of the most popular movies

  • Stream on up to three screens simultaneously

  • Download titles to watch offline

  • Premium plan includes Warner Bros. movies 45 days after theatrical release

Cons

  • Streaming with ads plan doesn't include access to Warner Bros. movie premiers

  • Ad-free streaming is more expensive than on other platforms

  • Only available in the U.S. and Canada

  • No sports streaming

  • Fewer titles than most streaming services

What to watch on HBO Max

HBO Max is the perfect streaming service for movie buffs since you can watch many movies from the comfort of your own home on the day of their theatrical release. This feature has been especially beneficial during the pandemic. Popular movies including Dune, Godzilla vs. Kong, Space Jam: A New Legacy, and more are available to watch now.

HBO Max is also home to many popular TV shows fromGame of Thrones, to Friends, and South Park. The original title library of HBO Max continues to grow, too. Catch new episodes of Barry and Hacks there, as well.

Best for free streaming: Peacock

Price: Starting at $0

Pros

  • Free streaming for many titles

  • Affordable subscription plans: $5/mo. for Premium and $10/mo. for Premium Plus without ads

  • Stream exclusive NBC titles

  • Many popular movies and TV shows

  • Several live TV channels

Cons

  • Not all titles are available on the free Peacock plan

  • Doesn't support downloading titles to stream offline

  • Small titles library compared to other streaming services

What to watch on Peacock

For a free streaming service, Peacock still has an impressive lineup of titles. Notably, it's home to many of NBC's popular tv shows including The Office, Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and many more.

It also includes many popular movies such as the full Harry Potter series. Keep in mind, some series require a $5/mo. subscription to access. Many original titles, including Girls5Eva, are only available in limited scope using the free service. You can also access Peacock for free if you have Cox, Xfinity, or Spectrum cable service. 

Our recommendation

These days, you can watch just about any title on a streaming service. Unfortunately, it's becoming increasingly difficult to choose which ones are worth the cost, since there are so many to choose from and they all have different libraries. When you're choosing the right streaming service for you, it's most important to consider what titles you want to watch. That's why in this roundup, we broke down each streaming service by what each one is best for.

While Netflix has lost many of its popular titles to other streaming services, it still has one of the largest libraries and the best original titles, making it our recommendation as the best standalone streaming service for most people.

Luckily, it's easy to add others to your collection at no extra cost since most households have more than one streaming service. For example, you can get Netflix with HBO Max, Peacock, and

to get even more shows and movies you love.