How to Find the Best Streaming TV Service – Which One is Right for You?

If you want to sign up for a new streaming service, but you don’t know where to start, our guide to the best streaming service can help you out.

With streaming becoming just as popular as live TV, there are a lot of new services popping up. Each one is slightly different, offering different shows and movies, and they vary in price. So how do you know which one is right for you?

We’ll give you a quick guide on what to look for in a streaming service, then look at eight of the most popular services, looking at their price, the devices they are compatible with, and if they offer a free trial.

We’ll give you an example of the content they provide, and a list of pros and cons – so you can find the perfect service to start binge-watching. Whether you’re a Black Mirror kind of person or more of a Scrubs fan – we’ll find a platform that has the content you’ll love to watch.

First, here’s a quick overview of each of the services we’ll be looking at.

Streaming Services – an Overview

Service Price Compatible Devices Number of Streams Free Trial?
Netflix From $8.99 per month
  • Android
  • Apple
  • Windows
  • Roku
  • PlayStation
  • Xbox
  • Google Chromecast
  • Amazon Firestick
  • Apple TV
  • Smart TVs
1-4 Yes – one month
Amazon Prime From $12.99 per month
  • Android
  • Apple
  • Windows
  • Roku
  • PlayStation
  • Xbox
  • Google Chromecast
  • Amazon Firestick
  • Apple TV
  • Smart TVs
  • Kindle Fire HD
3 Yes – one month
Hulu From $5.99 per month
  • Android
  • Apple
  • Windows
  • Roku
  • PlayStation
  • Xbox
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Google Chromecast
  • Amazon Firestick
  • Apple TV
  • Smart TVs
1-2 Yes – one month
Disney+ From $5.99 per month
  • Android
  • Apple
  • Roku
  • PlayStation
  • Xbox
  • Google Chromecast
  • Chrome
  • Edge
  • Amazon Firestick
  • Apple TV
  • Samsung and LG devices
4 Yes – one week
Apple TV Plus $4.99 per month
  • Apple
  • Samsung Smart TVs
  • Roku
  • Amazon Fire TV
6 Yes – 7 days
HBO Go/HBO Now $15 per month
  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows
  • Roku
  • Xbox 360 and Xbox One
  • Google Chromecast
  • Playstation 3 and 4
  • Apple TV
  • Android TV
  • Smart TVs
3 Yes – 7 days
YouTubeTV $40 per month
  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows
  • Roku
  • Xbox
  • Google Chromecast
  • Apple TV
  • Smart TVs
3 Yes – 7 days
Crunchyroll $7.99 per month
  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows
  • Roku
  • Xbox
  • Google Chromecast
  • Apple TV
  • Android TV
  • Smart TVs
3-4 Yes – 14 days

What Should I Look for in a Streaming Service?

There are a few things you should consider when looking for a streaming service.

Content

This is probably the main thing you’re going to want to focus on. Each service has a different content, with some focusing on specific niches. For example, Disney+ is great for families or those who are super into Star Wars or Marvel, but Amazon Prime is better for addictive, big-budget TV shows.

Streaming services are really upping their game in terms of original content. With Netflix pouring millions of dollars into creating original shows like Stranger Things and The Crown, other services are following suit, which is why you’ll find a huge variety of content out there.

You may even find that some big movies are available immediately on Netflix at the same time as they are released in theatres – this is becoming more common, although sometimes you have to pay extra to rent them.

Sometimes one service may have a limited number of seasons in a series, or they’ll have newer seasons locked behind a paywall – so watch out in case you get sucked into a show you can’t finish.

As well as adding new content, sometimes services takedown shows or movies after a while. There are websites online that track which services have which shows, and usually, services like Netflix will warn you before they remove something.

You may like to swap and change every few months to enjoy each platform or use free trials to decide which one you like the best.

tv streaming services content

Compatible Devices

Most of the services on this list work on multiple platforms, including smart TVs, games consoles, Apple, and Android devices – so you should be able to watch them in your home or on the go.

Simultaneous Streams

Some services give you multiple accounts – meaning different family members can have their own settings and preferences. Others allow for multiple streams at once – for example, one family member could be watching a movie on the TV while another watches a show on their mobile device. Sometimes you have to pay a little extra for simultaneous streams.

Price

Streaming services vary in price. You usually find that niche services (like Crunchyroll for anime, or Disney+) cost a bit less, usually under $10 per month. This is because they don’t have a wide range of content that other platforms have. On the other end of the scale, YouTubeTV is $40 per month, but offers over 70 live channels – so you can use it instead of cable TV.

Stream Quality

Most of the services on this list offer very high-quality streaming – you should expect a clear, crisp picture with no issues with sound. Buffering or lagging can occur, especially if you’re having internet problems – but they’re designed to run smoothly. It’s always good to check reviews to see if a lot of people have quality or buffering issues.

Now, let’s check 8 of the best streaming platforms out there.

Netflix – Best for Original Content

Netflix Review Original Content

Simultaneous Streams

1-4

Compatible Devices

  • Android
  • Apple
  • Windows
  • Roku
  • PlayStation
  • Xbox
  • Google Chromecast
  • Amazon Firestick
  • Apple TV
  • Smart TVs

Free Trial

Yes – one-month free trial here

Original Content

Yes

Pricing

From $8.99 per month

Netflix has to be the most well-known of all streaming services. Operating in 190 countries, it offers a ton of content – movies, documentaries, TV shows of all genres – you name it. As one of the biggest streaming services in the world, it has a whole bunch of famous movies and TV shows. From classic movies like Pulp Fiction and Blade Runner to romantic comedies like About Time and PS I Love You – if you like movies, Netflix is the best, with every genre covered.

If you want to binge-watch TV shows, meanwhile, there’s a ton of great content there, too. Notable shows include Grey’s Anatomy, Cheers, Frasier, and Suits.

TV Streaming Services Netflix

What makes Netflix stand out, however, is its original content. Netflix has invested a ton of money into their original content, and they’ve produced some superb TV shows. Thrilling documentaries like Making a Murderer, comedies like Arrested Development, and binge-worthy shows like Stranger Things and the controversial 13 Reasons Why are just a small handful of Netflix Originals we’d recommend.

It also has a strong roster of kids’ TV shows and movies, including the hilarious Storybots, Tayo the Little Bus, Beat Bugs, and Chip and Potato. They’ve also recently acquired a range of Studio Ghibli movies, including Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Princess Mononoke.

The downside is that some shows occasionally disappear from Netflix. They lost a lot of content when Disney+ was launched, and they’ve also lost Friends from their roster of shows, which is a bit of a disappointment. Still, you might find the original content makes up for that. We can’t find much fault with Netflix – if you’ve never tried a streaming service before, it’s a great place to start.

Pros of Netflix

  • Strong original content
  • Many well-known movies and TV shows
  • A huge array of kids shows
  • Available on most devices

Cons of Netflix

  • Well-loved content, like Friends, has been removed from the platform

You can sign up for a one-month free trial of Netflix here.

See how Netflix compares to other streaming services: 

Amazon Prime Video – Best for Popular TV Shows

Amazon Prime Video

Simultaneous Streams

1-2

Compatible Devices

  • Android
  • Apple
  • Windows
  • Roku
  • PlayStation
  • Xbox
  • Google Chromecast
  • Amazon Firestick
  • Apple TV
  • Smart TVs
  • Kindle Fire HD

Free Trial

Yes – one-month free trial here

Original Content

Yes

Pricing

From $12.99 per month

With a huge library to choose from, Amazon Prime Video is a worthy contender to Netflix. In terms of blockbuster TV shows, it has a ton to choose from – from Modern Family to Star Trek and every genre in-between. Unfortunately, it also has quite a few duds.

When it comes to original content, there are some standout shows and movies, including Transparent and Hunters. It doesn’t have the same amount of original content as Netflix, but it does stream a lot of TV shows that Netflix doesn’t.

Amazon Prime Home

It is great for kids’ TV, with some great original content, including Tumble Leaf, Creative Galaxy, Wishenpoof, and Bookaboo.

A huge bonus of Amazon Prime video is the fact that you’re not just paying for a streaming service – you’re actually paying for a subscription to Amazon Prime itself, including Amazon Music and excellent delivery service. So, although it may be a little more expensive than Netflix, you get a whole lot of extras for the price.

It’s not a particularly intuitive platform. Having to choose individual seasons of each show is cumbersome, and it’s frustrating to watch a certain number of seasons only to find the rest of the seasons are locked behind an extra paywall. That’s a downside that may put some people off.

Pros of Amazon Prime

  • Many popular TV shows
  • Great shows for kids
  • Includes Amazon Music and Amazon Prime
  • Available on a huge range of devices

Cons of Amazon Prime

  • Not very intuitive
  • Some seasons are locked behind a paywall
  • Not as much original content as Netflix

You can try a three one-month trial of Amazon Prime Video here.

Hulu – Best for Brand New TV Shows

Hulu

Simultaneous Streams

1

Compatible Devices

  • Android
  • Apple
  • Windows
  • Roku
  • PlayStation
  • Xbox
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Google Chromecast
  • Amazon Firestick
  • Apple TV
  • Smart TVs

Free Trial

Yes – one-month free trial here

Original Content

Yes

Pricing

From $5.99 per month

Hulu has some blockbuster TV shows – The Simpsons, South Park, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Saturday Night Live amongst them. If you want the newest content possible, Hulu is a really good choice.

Hulu

Hulu has two packages – basic ($5.99 per month) and Hulu with Live TV. This combines basic Hulu with live TV channels and a 50-hour cloud DVR service, and two simultaneous screens. It’s a good alternative to cable.

The other option is to combo with Disney Plus and ESPN Plus – this will set you back $12.99 per month but unlocks a ton of new content. It stands out for having a great selection of anime, which is lacking in some other streaming services.

The frustrating thing is, just like Amazon Prime, you can hit a paywall unexpectedly – this is really annoying if you’re getting into a TV show only to find the rest of the seasons are locked. It also features commercials, which other streaming services do not.

Pros of Hulu

  • The basic package has a low price
  • Offers option to combine with Disney+ and ESPN Plus
  • Hulu Live is a good alternative to cable
  • Lots of brand-new hit TV shows on offer

Cons of Hulu

  • Users can arrive at a paywall pretty quickly
  • Includes commercials

You can try a free trial of Hulu here.

Disney+ – Best for Disney and Marvel Fans

Disney+

Simultaneous Streams

4

Compatible Devices

  • Android
  • Apple
  • Roku
  • PlayStation
  • Xbox
  • Google Chromecast
  • Chrome
  • Edge
  • Amazon Firestick
  • Apple TV
  • Samsung and LG devices

Free Trial

Yes – one-month free trial here

Original Content

Yes

Pricing

From $5.99 per month

Disney Plus is a fairly new streaming service, and let’s be honest – it’s a niche service. If you like Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel, this is the one for you. It’s a great one for families.

Most movies and TV shows you’d expect to see are here – Frozen, all the Toy Story movies, The Lion King (the original and the remake), all the Marvel universe movies … the list goes on. It also includes some great documentaries by National Geographic.

Disney+

While it contains some great retro animations, at the time of writing, it was still missing Frozen 2, but it’s on the way. Plus, you can enjoy The Mandalorian, which is a hugely popular live-action Star Wars TV show. It’s a Disney+ exclusive, so you won’t find it anywhere else. However, there’s not much else in the way of original content just yet, but that might be on the way.

It’s an easy-to-use platform – kids should be able to navigate it easily – but it’s very specific, so if you want a broader base of content, you’re better off looking at Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu instead. If you’re a Disney fan, you’re going to love it.

Pros of Disney+

  • Tons of Disney content
  • Great for Star Wars and Marvel fans
  • Includes some National Geographic documentaries
  • Easy to use

Cons of Disney+

  • Very niche content
  • Aimed more towards kids and families
  • Not much original content yet

You can try a free one-week trial of Disney+ here.

Apple TV Plus – Best for Apple Users

Apple TV Plus

Simultaneous Streams

6

Compatible Devices

  • Apple
  • Samsung Smart TVs
  • Roku
  • Amazon Fire TV

Free Trial

Yes – 7-day free trial here

Original Content

Yes

Pricing

$4.99 per month

Apple TV has one major drawback – it doesn’t have a huge catalog of shows that other streaming services have. The price reflects this (at $4.99 per month). It also has the drawback of not being able to stream on Android or any games consoles – that could be off-putting for a lot of people.

Apple TV Plus Streaming Service

However, it does have some great-looking shows – including The Morning Show (with Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carrell, and Reece Witherspoon). They’ve also got the excellent Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Hopefully, over time, Apple may expand their compatible devices and add new content. This will help them to be able to compete with some of the bigger streaming services out there. We can’t say much more about it than that – but you may want to check out the free trial before subscribing.

Pros of Apple TV Plus

  • Some great shows
  • Free year’s subscription with any Apple device

Cons of Apple TV Plus

  • Smaller library of shows
  • Can’t be used on Android or games consoles

You can find a 7-day free trial of Apple TV Plus here

HBO Now/HBO Go – Best for HBO Lovers

HBO Now

Simultaneous Streams

3

Compatible Devices

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows
  • Roku
  • Xbox 360 and Xbox One
  • Google Chromecast
  • Playstation 3 and 4
  • Apple TV
  • Android TV
  • Smart TVs

Free Trial

Yes – 7-day free trial here

Original Content

Yes

Pricing

$15 per month (for HBO Now)

HBO have a lot of excellent shows, and HBO Now/HBO Go has all of them. From Game of Thrones to The Wire, it’s got every episode – perfect for binge-watching.

What’s great about HBO Now/HBO Go is that it’s really easy to use – the interface is clear and simple to navigate. HBO Go is free for cable users, which is great.

HBO GO

However, if you don’t have cable, you can pay for HBO Now instead. It’s on the pricier side at $15 per month, but it gives you HBO’s content library – which is huge. It’s not just new shows, either. You can go old-school with shows like The Sopranos and Sex in the City.

The downside? The video quality isn’t the best at times, and it can take a while to buffer, causing it to stop and start sporadically. This isn’t the case for everyone, but it’s something to be aware of.

Pros of HBO Now/HBO Go

  • Tons of great quality TV
  • Easy to navigate
  • HBO Go is free for cable users

Cons of HBO Now/HBO Go

  • Can be a bit jumpy when streaming
  • Video quality isn’t the best out there

You can try a free 7-day trial of HBO Now here.

YouTubeTV – Best for Live TV

YouTubeTV Best Streaming Service

Simultaneous Streams

3

Compatible Devices

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows
  • Roku
  • Xbox
  • Google Chromecast
  • Apple TV
  • Smart TVs

Free Trial

Yes – 7-day free trial here

Original Content

Yes

Although almost everyone has used YouTube at this point, you may not have realized they have a streaming service called YouTubeTV. At $40 a month, it’s the most expensive streaming service on this list.

However, you get immediate access to over 70 channels with a cloud DVR service too. From ABC to the Food Network, to ESPN, there are no long-term contracts to sign and no hidden fees. The cloud DVR has unlimited storage, and you can have up to 6 accounts.

YouTubeTV

It’s reliable, with high-quality streaming – and we think it’s one of the best live TV streaming services out there. It even includes local news and TV stations – it’s a really great alternative to cable.

It also includes YouTube Red original series, too – there’s plenty of content there to enjoy, including shows like Broke, an original show by Buzzfeed, and Origin, an original sci-fi show starring Tom Felton (of Harry Potter fame).

Pros

  • 70+ channels worth of content
  • Includes big networks and local stations
  • Watch on the go on a wide range of devices
  • Six accounts included

Cons

  • On the pricier side
  • Only available in the US

You can try a free trial of YouTubeTV here.

Crunchyroll – Best for Anime

Crunchyroll Anime TV Service

Simultaneous Streams

3-4

Compatible Devices

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows
  • Roku
  • Xbox
  • Google Chromecast
  • Apple TV
  • Android TV
  • Smart TVs

Free Trial

Yes – free 14-day trial here

Original Content

No

Pricing

$7.99 per month

Purely focused on anime, Crunchyroll has grown from a bootleg website launched in 2006, to a huge library of anime (all above board now, so you don’t have to worry about that).

Unfortunately, Crunchyroll is missing some big anime players, including Dragon Ball Z and Pokemon (those shows having been snapped up by other streaming services like Netflix), and it doesn’t have a lot in terms of feature-length anime. It does, however, have a lot of series to discover.

Crunchyroll Originals

If you want to watch shows in SD with ads, you can find over 200 series for free. If you prefer to watch ad-free in 1080p, you’ll have to pay a subscription at $7.99 per month. Crunchyroll is available on a lot of devices, so it’s great for streaming on the go.

It’s a bit of a niche interest, but if you’re into anime, this could be your dream come true.

Pros

  • Huge collection of shows
  • Can watch some shows for free
  • Available on a lot of devices
  • Perfect for anime lovers

Cons

  • The interface is cluttered and confusing
  • Some big shows are missing from the catalog

You can try a free 14-day trial of Crunchyroll here.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’ve got questions about streaming, we might have the answer:

Do streaming services have commercials?

They don’t usually have commercials. Some platforms offer a free option with ads or a paid option without them.

What’s the best streaming service to replace cable?

YouTubeTV is a great alternative – no lengthy contracts required and a lot of channels to choose from.

Can you bundle streaming services?

You can bundle Disney+ and Hulu – this is a great way to save money if you’d like to use them both.

Which streaming service is most popular?

As of 2019, YouTube ranked top as the most popular online streaming service (the original YouTube, not YouTubeTV), with Netflix closely following behind.

Is it easy to cancel a streaming service?

Usually, you can cancel in a few clicks – they don’t require you to sign up to long contracts (although some do offer a yearly subscription, which can work out cheaper).

How can I tell which shows are on which platforms?

It isn’t always easy to see exactly what is on each service. Websites like What’s on Netflix and Just Watch are great for finding this information.

Can I suggest or request TV shows or movies?

Some platforms allow you to submit requests – check out the help center on their website, and you’ll usually find a form to fill out. Alternatively, most streaming platforms have Twitter accounts – you can always try tweeting them with your request!

Can seniors get discounts on streaming services?

This is possible on certain services. For example, on Amazon Prime, seniors who have EBT cards or receive Medicaid can get a reduced price for a monthly membership.

Conclusion

We hope this has helped you to decide which streaming service is right for you.

It’s difficult to pick which one is best. Because they’re such different platforms. If you’re interested in a niche, Crunchyroll, Disney+, and HBO Now are great choices – they concentrate on just one thing, with a lot of specific content for you to enjoy. Or, if you want to enjoy live TV, YouTubeTV offers a lot of live channels for $40 a month.

If you’d rather have a broader range and you’ve never signed up to a streaming service before, we’d probably recommend starting with Netflix. It has a huge catalog of original content, from movies to TV shows to documentaries, as well as a wide range of hugely popular shows and movies. It has a lot for kids, too, which makes it suitable for families – you can watch for hours and hours before you run out of content.

Along similar lines, Amazon Prime is great because as well as offering a lot of great shows and movies, it includes free Prime delivery on Amazon orders – but Prime doesn’t have as much original content as Netflix.

Really, which one you pick will depend on your preferences – but as a starting point, we’d recommend giving Netflix a go. Remember, all the platforms have free trials – so if you want, you can try them all before you pick. Plus, they can be canceled at any time – so if you exhaust the content you want to watch on one, you can easily switch to another.

Want to know what to watch next? Keep reading:

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