Largest selection of Disney content on any streaming service
Can be bundled with Hulu and ESPN+
Four simultaneous streams
When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
On-demand streaming services offer a little bit of everything — including some of your favorite network and cable TV shows. As these streamers gain popularity, they're also expanding their libraries to include new titles and a ton of original content. They're becoming so top-notch, in fact, that streaming services are finding a prominent place in the award show circuit, with many of them taking home nominations and trophies for their original shows and movies. But which is the best streaming service for you? Let's take a look at the options and compare streaming services.
The number of entertainment options has never been bigger, which makes deciding where to spend your entertainment dollars more difficult. On-demand streaming services offer a little bit of everything -- from family shows to popular dramas and comedies, to favorite movies, and top sports.
As these streaming services gain popularity, they've expanded their libraries to include new titles and a ton of original content, including many titles that have been recognized as a Golden Globe or Emmy Award-winning TV show.
Some streaming services have become more specialized, focusing on a particular company's content as opposed to having something for everyone. But which is the best streaming service for you? Let's take a look at the options and compare streaming services.
What Are the Best On-demand Video Streaming Services?
When deciding which on-demand streaming service is right for you, there are several factors to consider. Among the most important are price, content offered, number of simultaneous streams allowed, and the number of user profiles you can have. You may find the best choice is more than one -- selecting two or three of the providers to get everything you want. Let's take a closer look at all of them.
With more than 214 million subscribers, Netflix is one of the most used streaming services in the world. This includes over 74 million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada, where almost two in every three adults have a Netflix subscription. This gives Netflix incredible influence in the industry. The streaming service has a huge library with a mix of shows, movies, docuseries, and more.
But its strong suit is its huge library of original content, which, in the past, has included award-winning TV shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. The company spends more than $12 billion on producing its original content, giving subscribers new reasons to stay with the service every year.
Starting at $10/mo. for a basic plan, it's a relatively low price point for an ad-free service.
The biggest drawback to Netflix is its lack of live programming. If you want to watch shows, sports or news live, you'll still need either cable or an additional service.
Additionally, the current season of shows are not added right away, so if you're trying to stay up to date with your friends, Netflix is not the answer. Netflix is also losing some licensed content to other streaming services as more networks create their own streaming apps.
What to Watch on Netflix
Netflix's original series make the service a go-to destination. Some of the top originals currently airing are Stranger Things, a sci-fi/horror show in its fourth season; The Crown, chronicling Great Britain's royal family, in its fifth season; the crime drama Ozark, in its last season; the superhero action show, The Umbrella Academy, in its season three; the romantic drama Virgin River, in its season four; and the historical romance Bridgerton, a Shonda Rhimes-led series in its second season. Other top shows on Netflix are the reality show The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On, the crime series Queen of the South, the Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul, and the kids' show Cocomelon.
Best for Current TV Shows: Hulu
Price (starting at $8/mo.)
With its huge on-demand library, Hulu is one of the best TV streaming services. Hulu beats out Netflix with current programming, because episodes from current series are available on the service the day after they air live. You'll be able to stay up to date with what's happening on your favorite shows without having friends accidentally reveal plot lines.
At $8/mo., Hulu is also one of the most affordable streamers.However, this is the service's basic, ad-supported plan. You do have the opportunity to upgrade the service and pay extra for an ad-free experience, add-ons, and live TV. And, since you're not locked into a plan, you can upgrade to the live TV service to watch specific live shows or events and then drop back down to the basic Hulu plan the following month. You can also sign up for the Disney bundle and get Hulu, Disney, and ESPN+ for $14/mo. for the basic service or $20/mo. for the Hulu (No ads) plan.
Unlike Netflix, the basic Hulu plan includes ads. To bypass ads entirely, you have to upgrade to the Hulu (No Ads) plan, which is $13/mo., which is $3/mo. more than what you'd pay for Netflix. It also doesn't have quite as large a content library as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.
What to Watch on Hulu
Hulu also has a robust library of original content that's worth watching, including its Emmy Award-winning show, The Handmaid's Tale, in its fifth season. Other top originals currently airing are the drama, Wu-Tang: An American Saga, now in its third and final season; the romantic drama, Love, Victor, in its third and final season; the horror anthology show, American Horror Stories, in its second season; the comedy, Ramy, in its third season; the historical comedy, The Great, in its third season; and teen comedy, Reservation Dogs, in its second season.
Hulu's original library also includes acclaimed miniseries, such as the science fiction thriller 11.22.63, based on Stephen King's novel of the same name; The Looming Tower, about the rivalry between the FBI and CIA prior to 9/11; and the true crime drama, The Act. Hulu also offers next-day viewings of popular shows like The Bachelor,The Masked Singer, This Is Us, and more.
HBO has always been known for movies and HBO Max is no different. It is one of the best streaming sites for movies. All the movies you see in your cable menu for the HBO channels are available anytime on HBO Max.
In addition, HBO Max airs movies and shows from DC, Adult Swim, TCM, Cartoon Network, and Studio Ghibli. And, Warner Bros.' biggest hits are also available on HBO Max. Like Netflix and Hulu, HBO Max has its own lineup of original content that's immediately available to stream when it's airing on cable.
Meanwhile, HBO Max can be streamed in HD at the average internet download speed of 5 Mbps, or, if you have download speeds of 25Mbps, you can stream its content in 4K.
At $10/mo., HBO Max costs the same as Netflix, but the HBO plan includes ads. To get the ad-free experience, you need to pay $15/mo., which is the highest priced service we've looked at thus far. It's also lacking the variety of channels and shows the other services have. Additionally, you can't try it out first as HBO Max doesn't offer a free trial.
What to Watch on HBO Max
HBO Max hosts all the HBO Originals, like Game of Thrones and Euphoria, as well as Max Originals, like the Golden Globe-nominated The Flight Attendant.
Other original programming currently airing include the team drama Gossip Girl, the dark comedy Made for Love, the sketch comedy That Damn Michael Che, and the romantic comedy And Just Like That. Recent original films include the sci-fi romantic comedy Moonshot, the crime thriller Kimi, and the high school drama The Fallout.
Plus, Sesame Street, the entire Studio Ghibli collection, an array of anime, thanks to a deal with Crunchyroll, and beloved movies like Rocky, Wedding Crashers, The Departed, and more are all available on HBO Max.
If you're looking for your favorite Disney movies and shows, Disney+ is the only place you can stream them. This makes it the best streaming site for families. It also has plenty of its own original content to offer, as well as a large catalog of popular movies from years past all the way up to the present. This includes the library of Marvel and Star Wars films and TV series. You can also choose the Disney Bundle, which, in addition to Disney+, comes with Hulu and ESPN+, and starts at $14/mo.
The library of on-demand content for Disney+ is on the small side, but if you're looking for a streamer specifically for family content, this shouldn't be an issue. There's also less variety of available programming compared to Hulu or Netflix. If a show or movie is not in the Disney universe, it won't be on Disney+.
Additionally, the service does not offer a free trial.
What to Watch on Disney+
Disney+ offers a nice library of original programming, especially in the science fiction and superhero genres. This includes Star Wars titles like The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and Obi-Wan Kenobi; and superhero shows like WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, and Moon Knight. You'll also find Disney classics like Dumbo,The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid, along with more recent favorites like Frozen, Moana, Soul, Encanto, and more.
And fans of the theater can enjoy unlimited showings of Hamilton. Disney+ also offers a number of fascinating documentaries that give you behind-the-scenes looks at the Disney company and its projects, like Inside Pixar and Disney Gallery. You'll even find nostalgic movies and TV shows like 10 Things I Hate About You, Hannah Montana, and more.
At $5/mo., Apple TV+ is one of the most inexpensive of the services on our list. And, despite its low price, there are no ads in the programming. If you've purchased an Apple product, such as a computer, tablet, or iPhone, you can receive the service free for three months.
This makes Apple TV+ an ideal streaming service if you only have a few dollars to spare. Like the other providers, it also features original content you won't find anywhere else.
The Apple TV+ library is incredibly small and would probably only appeal to someone on a budget or who already has other streaming services. Its library strictly contains Apple TV+ originals, with TV shows, movies, and documentaries across various genres. However, the library is growing as new original content is added all the time.
What to Watch on Apple TV+
The award-winning series Ted Lasso and The Morning Show are among the most popular shows streaming on Apple TV+. Recent popular additions include the Oscar Award-winning film for Best Picture, Coda; the docuseries, The Me You Can't See, on Prince Harry; and Finch, a post-apocalyptic film starring Tom Hanks.
If you're a fan of The Late Late Show With James Corden's "Carpool Karaoke," you can find an expanded series exclusively on Apple TV+. There are also fascinating documentaries, like Beastie Boys Story and Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry.
Best for a Little Bit of Everything: Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video has a massive streaming library -- about triple the size of Netflix -- with thousands of movies and TV shows. It has a little bit of everything, including original content.
Prime Video is available at no extra charge to all Amazon Prime members, who pay $15/mo. But if you don't want to be a full Amazon Prime member, you can still take advantage of Prime Video by subscribing solely to the video service for $9/mo.
While Prime Video has a massive library, many top-quality titles are not included in the subscription. Many titles available through Prime Video require you to pay a rental fee that is over and above the monthly subscription fee you're already paying. This could cause your monthly rate to increase substantially.
What to Watch on Amazon Prime Video
Award-winning titles like Fleabag and the Amazon Original The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, as well as newer shows like The Wilds and The Boys are all binge-worthy. Among the Amazon originals currently airing are the political thriller Jack Ryan, in its second season; the fantasy series Carnival Row, in its season two; the crime drama, Reacher, in its second season; and the romantic comedy With Love, in its season two.
You'll also find hits like Coming 2 America and One Night in Miami, as well as other award-winning shows and movies exclusive to Amazon Prime.
Peacock is the only streaming platform on our list that has a free plan. If you sign up for free, you'll get access to Peacock's on-demand library of over 40,000 hours of TV shows and movies, along with more than 50 channels.
The service also offers a Premium plan for $5/mo. and Plus plan for $10/mo. The Premium plan comes with ads and includes more than 60,000 hours of programming, next day access to NBC's current hit shows and all of the network's live events.
The Plus plan provides ad-free viewing and the opportunity to watch shows offline. It has a vast amount of sports programming, including Olympics, Super Bowl, Premier League, and WWE.
Since the service is owned by NBCUniversal, it primarily features content from the studio's library, including shows and movies from NBC, Universal Pictures, and Universal Television. This limits the amount and variety of programming available.
What to Watch on Peacock
Like all the other streaming services, Peacock offers its own original programming. This includes Bel-Air, a reboot of the '90s sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air; Joe vs Carole, about Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin, the people behind Netflix's Tiger King; and the utopian drama Brave New World.
The service also features all the movies in the Harry Potter series, along with feature films like Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson's Marry Me, Gerard Butler's Copshop, and the upcoming movie Firestarter featuring Zac Efron.
Deciding which streaming service is an individual decision that depends on what you want from your entertainment choices. If you're looking for a variety of content across all genres and companies, then Netflix and Hulu are the best choices. For the best in kids' programming, look no further than Disney+, while HBO Max is your go-to service for top movies, and Peacock is the best option for sports programming.
But your decision may also rest on original shows. If you're a fan of Ted Lasso, you'll only find it on Apple TV+, while comedy lovers who can't miss The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel will need an Amazon Prime video subscription. The other option may be to pair a Netflix or Hulu subscription with one or two of the other services for better home entertainment experiences.