It seems like every week a new streaming video service enters the market, and at this point, it’s almost impossible to keep track of them all.
Recently, AT&T introduced a new live TV service with ridiculous pricing (do not get it), and just in the first half of 2020, two more major players are launching with NBCUniversal’s Peacock in April and the much-anticipated HBO Max in May. And then there’s the quirky mobile-first video service Quibi, which is also set to launch this spring.
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In other words, there are more cord-cutting options to choose from than ever before. And if looking at the ever-growing list of possibilities makes your head spin, don’t stress. We’ve gone ahead and done the heavy lifting and sorted out the best streaming services available right now.
Best all-around streaming service
Our pick: Disney+ bundle (starting at $13)
Identifying the “best” stream service right now—especially considering the sheer number of services there are to choose from—is largely dependent on what is most important to each individual user, be that selection, streaming and content quality, live TV, or price point, among other variables. But when it comes to hitting all of most of these metrics and doing so for a modest subscription fee, the clear winner here is the Disney+ bundle (especially considering Netflix is losing a number of licenses for high-quality series and franchises to rival services, including Disney+). Additionally, if Disney+ is a built-in babysitter, Hulu is its more mature counterpart, and with the addition of content from FX, Hulu’s got a pretty good thing going as far as content selection.
The bundle—which starts at just $13 for ad-supported Hulu, rivaling the price of Netflix’s popular standard plan—comes jam-packed with a massive catalog of originals; beloved and legacy content from franchises like Star Wars, Pixar, and Marvel; all of National Geographic’s documentaries and shows; ad-supported Hulu, which of course hosts a massive library of content; and ESPN+, which comes stuffed with thousands of live events, original series, and fantasy league tools. Bundle tiers also include ad-free Hulu for $19 per month, ad-supported Hulu with live TV for $62 per month, and ad-free Hulu with live TV for $68 per month. (More on that below.)
Beyond the content selection—which taken together across the three individual services is massive—Disney+ offers a lot of free perks (for now at least) that would increase your subscription fees on other services. For example, high definition streaming comes standard, and the service supports up to 4K Ultra HD streaming in Dolby Vision, HDR10, and Dolby Atmos. In addition, the service allows for up to seven user profiles, simultaneous streaming on up to four devices at once, and unlimited downloads on up to 10 phones or tablets for offline viewing. Basically, this is the bundle that’s great for families or just a household hoping to find a single service to meet the various content tastes of everyone under its roof.
Best streaming service for live TV
Our pick: Hulu + Live TV (starting at $55)
A preference for streaming doesn’t necessarily come independent of an appreciation for live TV viewing, particularly for shows whose viewers would prefer to watch them live with a national audience. If this is you, you may want to consider the Hulu + Live TV package. Starting at $55 per month after a free trial, you’ll get all of Hulu’s library of originals, TV, and movies in addition to more than 60 live and on demand TV options, including news and sports. And Hulu just got a hell of a lot better with the addition of its FX content haul, a content hub on the platform that comes standard with any Hulu subscription. Plus, it allows for up to 50 hours of cloud DVR storage for recorded live television.
Hulu + Live TV also allows for customization. While the package comes standard with simultaneous viewing on up to two screens, an additional add-on will allow for unlimited screens at home and up to three screens remotely for $10 per month. Plus, premium viewing with HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, and Starz can also be added to the plan for between $9 and $15 per month for each. Live TV can be viewed online and on iOS, Android, Roku, Fire TV and Fire Stick, Apple TV (4th generation and older), Chromecast, Xbox One and Xbox 360, and select Samsung models, select LG TV models, and Nintendo Switch……Read More>>