Streaming services are an alternative to cable TV for watching shows and movies where it is not necessary to download the media files instead, video plays without saving ad copying locally on the computer. It is the practice of delivering the content to the computer, laptop, television, or mobile by means of an Internet connection.
Media files are broken into small packets of data and data is decoded as audio or video when a video and audio are streamed from a server.
Types of streaming services[i]
On-demand, live TV, and channel-specific streaming services are the three primary types of streaming services.
Some of the best streaming services:
- On-demand streaming services include Netflix, HBO Max, Disney Plus, Hulu, Apple TV Plus, Peacock, Amazon Prime Video and Paramount Plus,
- Live TV streaming services offer cable tv options streaming over the internet instead of cable and include YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, Philo TV, Fubo TV, and DirecTV Stream
- Channel-specific streaming services include Showtime, ESPN+, and Starz.
Cost of streaming services
There are streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu which charge the subscriber a fee to allow them to watch the content. However, if your budget doesn’t allow it, there are many other options to stream movies and videos for free but they are mostly ads supported.
Netflix is one of the best streaming services that provide a huge variation of award-winning movies, TV shows, animation, documentaries, and a lot more on thousands of computers of mobile-connected via the internet. It started in the late ’90s with DVDs and is now known to every person. Originality, as well as the popularity of its shows, make Netflix the most in-demand streaming service today. Movies and television shows are updated regularly and it always presents something new to explore to its subscribers.
Netflix is slightly more expensive in comparison to other streaming services in competition. But there are three levels of price structure on Netflix that allow the subscribers to choose according to their demand and feasibility.
- Basic (allow one device, standard definition and costs $8.99/month)
- Standard (allow two devices, high definition and costs $12.99/month), and
- Premium (allow four devices, high and ultra-high definition, and costs $15.99/month).
Video content of Netflix can be streamed through streaming media players, smart televisions, set-top boxes, game consoles, Blu-ray players, tablets, smartphones, laptops, and computers.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video or Prime Video is an on-demand streaming service owned by Amazon. The unlimited streaming options are like those offered by Netflix but the cheaper content and extra Prime features make it worthy for Amazon subscribers. If a subscriber has Amazon Prime, then the video streaming service is given as a bonus with the subscription. Amazon is constantly updating its video library like Netflix. Recently, Amazon has become renowned for putting out original content.
Prime Video costs $8.99 per month. Amazon Prime, which comprises Amazon Prime Video and a lot of additional Amazon Prime features such as free shipping, discount on whole foods, and much more, costs $12.99/month. Amazon Prime allows its subscribers to stream unlimited movies and TV shows at no extra cost like Netflix. With Prime membership, subscribers can access Amazon Channels subscriptions like HBO, Showtime, Starz, PSS Masterpiece, Britbox, and Acorn TV, where they can choose the networks, they want and there isn’t any need to pay for anything they didn’t watch. It will cost between $4.99 and $14.99 per month, if a subscriber wants to add a channel to Amazon Prime Video, depending on the channel.
Hulu possesses the most impressive library of any on-demand streaming service, with a broad range of classic and latest shows than Netflix or Amazon-owned by Disney. This includes streaming access to select broadcast series on networks like FX, ABC, and Fox. Hulu also offers a huge collection of original shows, but its content isn’t as famous as its competitors. It is one of few streaming services to offer both live streaming and on-demand services (Hulu + Live TV). Its on-demand service possesses the ability to stream on up to two screens at a time but that limit can be removed with Hulu + Live TV subscription.
Hulu has recently included Live TV, which allows its subscribers to watch live programs including sports but Live TV costs a high price. Hulu costs $5.99 per month; Hulu, Disney+, ESPN+ costs $12.99 per month; Hulu + Live TV for $54.99 per month. Different features, including HBO, $14.99 per month; Cinemax, $9.99 per month; Showtime, $10.99 per month; STARZ, $8.99 per month can be added.
YouTube TV is an American streaming service live TV, that offers on-demand video, live TV, and cloud-based DVR X from greater than 85 television networks.
One of the most expensive streaming services is YouTube TV. However, a YouTube TV has an edge over other streaming services as it allows to share it with up to six people. Although other streaming options like Netflix, Hulu, etc., are quite reasonable than YouTube TV, it is still cheaper than cable. YouTube TV costs $49.99 per month. It becomes reasonable if the cost is split with your friends or your family members.
|Service||Cost||Original Content||Broadcast||Local Stations|
|Netflix||Basic, $8.99/month; Standard, $12.99/month; Premium, $15.99/month||Yes||No||No|
|Disney+||$6.99/month; Disney+ and Hulu, ESPN+, $12.99/month||Yes||No||No|
|Apple TV+||$4.99/month; $49.99/year||Yes||No||No|
|Amazon Prime Video||$8.99/month or $12.99/month as part of Prime subscription||Yes||No||No|
|Hulu||$5.99/month; Disney+ and ESPN+, $12.99/month; Live TV, $54.99/month; add on premium channels, $9.99/month and up||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Sling TV||$25/month for Blue or Orange; $45/month for both; add on premium channels for an additional fee||No||No||No|
|AT&T TV Now||Plus, with HBO, $65/month; Max with HBO, Cinemax, $80/month; more packages from $95-135/month||No||Yes||Some cities|