These days, it’s all about streaming. If we weren’t attached to our video streaming services before the pandemic, we are now.
The market for video streaming grew 37% in 2020 and most of that growth came from Disney+. It entered the market at the right time — just a few months before consumers were locked down in their homes and craving entertainment. Disney+ gained 73 million subscribers in its first year. It became the third largest streaming service in the US, following Netflix and Hulu.
What started out as an industry owned by Netflix, has transformed into a giant global market projected to reach $149 billion by 2026. According to a report from Deloitte, Americans subscribe to an average of three paid video streaming services each. This is a notable increase from just three years ago when they subscribed to only one (Netflix).
With so many players and infinite programming options, we’ve summarized the best ones.
Despite the seemingly endless streaming choices in 2021 and new entrants that flooded the market over the past several years, Netflix is still consistently rated #1 for overall on-demand streaming. With its constant flow of successful original programming (think Bridgerton, The Queen’s Gambit and Cobra Kai) and its robust selection of TV shows and movies, Netflix really has it all.
If you had to choose just one service, this would be it. Netflix’s successful original series and comprehensive licensed content makes it well worth the price tag ($8.99-$17.99). Netflix has no live TV option.
Lately, HBO Max has become exceedingly popular. It’s likely thanks to an increase in movies and new releases. These are available at no additional charge at the same time as they are released in theaters (think Wonder Woman 1984). And with the Warner Bros. theatrical releases now also available for same-day streaming, HBO Max has become an even more coveted service and a force to be reckoned with.
Additionally, highly-rated shows, such as Harley Quinn and The Flight Attendant, as well as classic HBO original hit programming (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Veep and Westworld), have made this service especially appealing.
At $14.99/month, HBO Max is one of the higher priced streaming services. But it’s one you should definitely consider having in the mix.HBO Max does not have a live TV option.
Hulu allows users to access almost all of the major network TV shows just one day after they air. Additionally, it offers current and past seasons, which makes it one of the more unique streaming services. It also boasts original hit series, like The Handmaid’s Tale and Big Sky.
Hulu does have commercials, though, even with the entry-level paid subscription package ($5.99/month). But still not as many as Cable TV. For $11.99/month you can get the “no ad” version. For $65/month, you can ditch cable completely and get the live TV package.
If you are a Star Wars fan, Disney Plus is for you. In just its second year, Disney+ has solidified its spot as a dominant player. It boasts all the movies in the Star Wars franchise, including The Mandalorian, and almost all of the Marvel movies, in addition to The Simpsons, animated classics and a multitude of favored kids and teens shows.
Its recent release of the animated hit movie Soul has continued to keep the streaming service at the top. At a relatively low price point of $6.99/month, Disney+ is a good addition to anyone’s streaming portfolio. Disney has no live TV option.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime TV is free for Amazon Prime subscribers, which is a big draw. Prime Video has a comprehensive library of TV shows, movies and original content, such as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Jack Ryan and The Boys.
Prime also has an unparalleled comedy and children’s programming library. It also hosts a collection of old HBO hits, such as The Wire and The Sopranos.
Renting or buying is also an option with Prime Video. Without a Prime subscription, Prime Video is $12.99/month and offers no live TV.
If live TV is what you’re looking for, Sling TV is a great option and a less expensive alternative to cable. Sports fans will love the variety of ESPN channels, in addition to other popular networks, such as NBC, CNN and the Food Network.
If you feel cable offers more channels than you actually need, subscribing to Sling in favor of cable is a great way to save money.With $35/month you get Sling Orange and $50/month gives you Sling Orange + Blue.
Streamline the Streaming
In addition to the services we’ve outlined above, there are many others that offer great programming. However, the costs of subscribing to multiple streaming services add up quickly.
Billshark can help you manage all of your subscriptions in addition to streaming, such as grocery delivery, fitness and subscriptions you may not even remember you have. Billshark cancels these subscriptions for you. You won’t have to deal with the hassle of long wait times to get to the right person and pushy salespeople trying to convince you to stay.
Simply fill out our easy cost calculator and let us do the rest. Canceling subscriptions is a fast and easy way to save money. Let Billshark do all of the work for you, so you can go catch up on your favorite streaming programs.