In the wake of Apple and Disney both launching their own streaming services, viewers are likely to find themselves wondering which streaming service is truly worth their hard-earned money. In the age of cord cutting, which service offers what people really want to watch? Netflix has a growing library of compelling originals, while Hulu offers a live TV option. Amazon Prime, meanwhile, has made a name for itself thanks to its award-winning prestige programming. But Apple TV+ also has an impressive roster of talent, and Disney+ features everything from Star Wars and the MCU to animated Disney classics and Pixar films.

In an honest attempt to determine which service truly is best, we've compared Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, and Disney+ head-to-head in 14 categories that cover everything from current programming and access to popular movies to the number of premium add-ons available and the ease of navigating each interface. Which service came out on top? Keep reading to find out.

Breadth of Library

<p><em>Dickinson, Captain America: Civil War, Stranger Things</em> </p>

Dickinson, Captain America: Civil War, Stranger Things

ORIGINALS

Netflix: It has been several years since Netflix debuted its first original series, the political drama House of Cards. Since then the streaming giant has grown considerably, becoming a global enterprise producing so many original TV shows and films that it's near impossible to keep track of them all, let alone watch each one. (And trust us, we're trying.) That's why it's important to note that Netflix's content strategy doesn't just involve producing more original programs than anyone else, but producing a wide variety of content as well. Compared to other platforms, Netflix is all about niche audiences, which means not every show it produces is or has to be for everyone. Netflix is successful for a number of reasons, but one of them is because it quite literally has something for every demographic. So even though Netflix's catalogue of older, licensed shows has shrunk as a result of its pivot to original content (see below), it's also giving us so much more in return.
Score: 10

Hulu: Hulu has actually been pumping out original content longer than Netflix — its first scripted series, the mockumentary-style comedy Battleground, debuted a year before Frank Underwood walked into our lives and killed a dog. But Hulu's original library is still much smaller, and unfortunately, it's also mostly forgettable. With the exception of The Handmaid's Tale, which took home the Emmy for Best Drama in 2017 and earned Elisabeth Moss an Emmy as Best Actress, there aren't many Hulu originals worth writing home about. Sure, PEN15 is a joy, and yes, Difficult People was a seriously underrated gem, but does anyone remember Shut Eye? Chance? Anything about The Path other than it starred Aaron Paul? Didn't think so.
Score: 6

Amazon: Amazon originals have lagged behind Netflix and Hulu in terms of the average TV viewer's awareness of them, but the company's persistence is starting to pay off. The critical success of the second season of Fleabag, coupled with the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning comedy series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, is a good sign for the streaming service, which was previously best known for being the home of Transparent, another award-winning series that ultimately ended in controversy after five seasons and a musical follow-up film following sexual harassment allegations against star Jeffrey Tambor, who was fired from the show before its last season. (Tambor denied the allegations.) But it's also important to note that even if Amazon originals haven't been as popular as those that hail from Netflix or Hulu, it's often producing quality original series. Patriot was a great if underwatched drama; Tig Notaro's One Mississippi is a sorely missed comedy; and Bosch has been renewed through Season 6. Amazon is performing well in terms of its originals; it's just a little difficult to see it sometimes.
Score: 7

Apple TV+: Apple's streaming service launched with only four original scripted series for adult viewers and even fewer for children. However, it has a large number of original programs in the works. And there are some big names attached to its programs: J.J. Abrams, Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Jason Momoa, Oprah Winfrey, M. Night Shyamalan, Aaron Paul, Samuel L. Jackson, and Chris Evans are among the top-tier talent the tech company has recruited for its shows and movies. Working against Apple, though, is the fact the reaction to the first wave of programming was mediocre at best. This is par for the course — Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon were not immediately successful producers of original content when they first ventured into the business either — but the reaction to the new shows underlines that Apple is a tech company wading into content production for the first time. There are going to be growing pains. The true test will be whether Apple's programming improves as it gets more programs under its belt and develops a better understanding of what makes a successful TV show or film.
Score: 3

Disney+: Disney's Bob Iger said the company was not aiming to "be in the volume game, but to be in the quality game," so there might not be a staggering number of Disney+ originals on the service. But the number of originals might not matter anyway since the company is using existing intellectual properties with built-in audiences to initially grow its subscriber base. Launching with the highly anticipated Star Wars live-action series The Mandalorian gave Disney+ a leg up in the Streaming Wars, and the service also has plans for Marvel shows starring fan-favorite characters like Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) through at least 2021, after which three new shows introducing Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, and Moon Knight will then debut and further expand the MCU.

But Disney+ is offering original programming that exists outside the realms of Star Wars and Marvel, too. At launch, the service boasted a few original movies, including the new Lady and the Tramp and the Christmas-themed Noelle starring Anna Kendrick, and there are more films on the way in the coming months, including Togo and Stargirl. Meanwhile, there are unscripted programs, docuseries, animated shows, Pixar shorts, and more. While this looks pretty good, it still might be too early to have a complete picture of the overall quality of the originals being offered as the service has only just launched.
Score: 7

Jump to: Originals, Throwback Shows, Current TV, Reality Shows, International Shows, Movies, Children's Shows, Alternative Programming, Prestige Programming, Interface, Algorithm, Premium Add-Ons, Portability, Cost

THROWBACK SHOWS

Netflix: Watching your old favorite shows from yesteryear originally meant subscribing to Netflix's DVD service, which was really cool in 2006 but unfortunately involved a lot of waiting, since you had to mail the DVDs back before receiving the next ones in your queue. Once the ability to stream came to the platform, binge-watching was taken to a whole new level; viewers could enjoy hours of shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer instantly by simply pushing a button on a remote! However, once Netflix introduced original content into its business model in 2013, the size of its extensive library inevitably started to shrink. It costs a lot of money to produce hours of original TV shows and movies every year, so the catalogue of older shows Netflix has licensed is dwindling until one day, it seems, there won't be a single piece of non-Netflix content on the service.
Score: 2

Hulu: Netflix's loss is Hulu's gain. The streaming service's catalogue is currently bursting at the seams with all your favorite throwback shows, and there's a wide variety to choose from too, which means there is something for every member of your family. In 2019, you can watch everything from Hill Street Blues and The Golden Girls to Smallville and Living Single on Hulu. And the library is still growing. Last year, for instance, ER and Everwood made their streaming debuts on Hulu after years of fans wondering what the holdup was, and the service has also scored Buffy, The X-Files, Dawson's Creek and Friday Night Lights. So if you're looking to relive the glory of some of your favorite shows — and who doesn't want to be comforted by something they know they love every once in a while? — Hulu is the place to be.
Score: 10

Amazon: Amazon can boast that it's home to recent fan-favorite shows like Hannibal, Chuck, Teen Wolf, and Psych, but its library of older programming isn't terribly deep. You'll be able to find some of the greats, like Cheers, on its service, but if the show aired prior to the early 2000s, you're better off checking Hulu first.
Score: 4

Apple TV+: Apple TV+ bills itself as "the first all-original video subscription service," which is a fancy way of saying it doesn't feature any licensed content from outside studios. Everything streaming on Apple TV+ was made by Apple for Apple TV+, which might not be the incentive for subscribers that Apple thinks it is.
Score: 0

Disney+: Because Disney+ is now home to a lot of Disney's programming (there are still licensing agreements that prevent it from claiming to have everything), it is a treasure trove overflowing with old gems. Fans of old Disney Channel shows like Lizzie McGuire, So Weird, Even Stevens, and Hannah Montana will be pleased to see them all available here, as will '90s kids who grew up watching animated series like Gargoyles, Darkwing Duck, and X-Men. The Disney+ library goes back even further, though, to include a number of Spider-Man cartoons from the '80s, several Mickey Mouse shorts, and more throwback content than you likely have time to consume. Basically, Disney+ is where you want to be if you're looking to light up the portion of your brain that responds to nostalgia.
Score: 9

Jump to: Originals, Throwback Shows, Current TV, Reality Shows, International Shows, Movies, Children's Shows, Alternative Programming, Prestige Programming, Interface, Algorithm, Premium Add-Ons, Portability, Cost

CURRENT TV

Netflix: Netflix is pretty great at snagging the streaming rights to some of the biggest current shows, such as Riverdale, Grey's Anatomy and The Walking Dead. However, U.S. fans have to wait months sometimes — or more — before the latest season becomes available. Still, because of the ubiquity of Netflix, it often feels as though you don't miss out on the cultural conversation surrounding a show if you don't watch it live anymore. Instead, shows like YOU get a second life when they drop on Netflix as subscribers all wind up watching them at once.
Score: 7

Hulu: While Netflix only offers complete seasons and Amazon offers select current episodes for a price, Hulu's ability to offer the latest episodes of currently airing shows is what truly sets it apart from the rest of the streaming field. Although it has become more common for viewers to wait for entire seasons to hit the internet before diving in, there are still some people who prefer not to wait around. So if you happened to miss last night's black-ish and forgot to DVR it, you can easily catch it on Hulu the next day. Hulu also offers live TV and DVR options, too, so if you really don't want to wait around, you could even catch these shows the night of right on Hulu.
Score: 10

Amazon: Amazon definitely isn't the top source for current TV. Most of the biggest shows are available on either Hulu or Netflix, with only a few, such as Mr. Robot, that are exclusively available on Amazon. But one great thing about Amazon is that if you're willing to shell out some cash, you can either purchase season passes or individual episodes of current series, which will become available to stream the day after they air.
Score: 4

Apple TV+: If you want to catch up on shows that are currently airing, or just recently aired, elsewhere on television, you're out of luck. Again, Apple's decision not to license outside content threatens to be a detriment to its overall success ... until you remember Apple still allows viewers to buy and rent their favorite programs through iTunes in the Apple TV app.
Score: 1

Disney+: Current programming produced outside of Disney and its business ventures (or programming that doesn't already have a deal with Disney) isn't available to stream on Disney+, but the company also doesn't need it to be now that it has ownership of Hulu, which does give subscribers the option to watch current TV. There is recent programming available to stream on Disney+, of course, like the updated Duck Tales, Elena of Avalor, and the docuseries Hostile Planet, but if you're looking to catch up on the most recent season of your favorite broadcast or cable show, or if you want to watch last night's episode of your favorite TV series, you'd better have the Disney+ and Hulu bundle.
Score: 3

Jump to: Originals, Throwback Shows, Current TV, Reality Shows, International Shows, Movies, Children's Shows, Alternative Programming, Prestige Programming, Interface, Algorithm, Premium Add-Ons, Portability, Cost

REALITY SHOWS

Netflix: Although Netflix doesn't have many of the biggest reality shows from linear networks, it has an impressive lineup of original reality series, international hits, and under-appreciated gems. The Great British Baking Show became an American hit due almost entirely to its availability on Netflix, and Japan's Terrace House has developed a cult following since it became a Netflix co-production. Nailed It!, Queer Eye, and Tidying Up with Marie Kondo have all helped remind people that reality shows can still be feel-good. And we haven't even begun to dive into all the other home shows (Grand Designs, Stay Here), food shows (Chef's Table, Salt Fat Acid Heat), dating shows (Back with the Ex) and pretty much every other type of reality show you can imagine that's available on Netflix.
Score: 8

Hulu: Reality shows aren't for everyone, but if you're a fan of the trendiest and the trashiest, you really can't do better than Hulu. Not only does it have old seasons of Real Housewives, Vanderpump Rules, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, 90 Day Fiancé, and Jersey Shore, but Hulu also has Shark Tank, Guy's Grocery Games, Beat Bobby Flay, Fixer Upper, and the U.K.'s Love Island. You can also catch recent episodes of The Bachelor and The Masked Singer, along with all the best clips from The Voice and America's Got Talent neatly broken out for your convenience.
Score: 10

Amazon: While Amazon does offer a selection of reality shows, it doesn't have a lot, and what it does have doesn't reflect the genre's full spectrum. But if you really want to watch Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, Mountain Men, or pretty much anything Gordon Ramsay is in, then Amazon is the service for you. And if you still miss the OG Top Gear, you can catch the original team's new car series The Grand Tour on Amazon. The service also gets a bonus point for having The Simple Life, which really feels out of left field for Amazon's reality library.
Score: 3

Apple TV+: The streaming service has only announced one upcoming reality series, Home, which will take viewers inside the world's most extraordinary homes and showcase the people who made them.
Score: 1

Disney+: Disney+ is developing an interesting reality slate. The platform features Encore!, an unscripted series hosted by Kristen Bell that reunited former castmates of a high school musical production to re-create their original performance with help from Broadway greats; Pixar in Real Life, which brings iconic Pixar characters and moments to life in the real world, much to the surprise of unsuspecting people; and Disney Family Sundays, a series featuring Disney-specific DIY projects for the family. But that is just the first wave; the service has plans to deepen its reality slate. In the works are Rogue Trip, a guide to often overlooked vacation spots; Shop Class, a competition series in which student engineers build contraptions with the hope of being declared the champion; Be Our Chef, a cooking competition that will give the winner a place on the menu at Walt Disney World in Florida; and (Re)Connect, which enlists a specialist to help splintered families work through their issues.
Score: 5

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INTERNATIONAL SHOWS

Netflix: If you're really into international programming or find sitting down with the latest import from across the pond to be an ideal Friday night, a Netflix subscription is a pretty great investment. The service's package of internationally produced Originals is growing every day, from Brazil's 3% and Germany's Dark to Poland's 1983 and Spain's Elite. But Netflix is also currently home to a number of non-original international series too — though you should know they might be labeled as Netflix Originals because Netflix holds the U.S. streaming rights. This is the case for shows like The Fall (U.K.), Bordertown (Finland) and Babylon Berlin (Germany), for instance. And, of course, there are still more international treasures that find their way to Netflix in the U.S. but get buried because Netflix's algorithm pushes original content before all else.

Still, for the richness and depth of Netflix's international library, there are some minor issues. For instance, Netflix's method of dropping entire seasons at once means that fans of international shows often have to wait months for programs to reach the U.S. after they've aired overseas. This isn't at all strange for the rest of the world, which often watches American programming on a delay, but for impatient Americans who want everything immediately (you know it's true), it can be annoying.
Score: 9

Hulu: Hulu's international library isn't as deep as Netflix or Amazon's when it comes to traditional dramas or comedies, but anime fans will be in heaven once they start scrolling through options. You can revisit old seasons of Ranma 1/2, Sailor Moon or Naruto, dive into Attack on Titan or Cowboy Bebop, and even catch recent episodes of Boruto. The service also offers up a number of K-Dramas, including Boys Over Flowers and While You Were Sleeping. And if you go digging through the comedy and drama options, you're likely to find some gems, like the original version of The Bridge, two seasons of the Swedish version of Wallander, and the British sci-fi series Misfits. They also offer the Australian drama Dance Academy, which might be important to some people.
Score: 7

Amazon: Even without adding on a subscription to Acorn TV or BritBox, Amazon is still home to a lot of your favorite British programs. You'll find everything from Doctor Who (for now) and Merlin to the shows that air(ed) linearly on PBS, including Downton Abbey, Poldark, and Grantchester. Beyond the British Isles, Amazon holds the rights to some great foreign language programs, like the Icelandic crime drama Trapped. However, it's not always easy to find these shows because of the service's unhelpful interface and algorithm (see below). You often have to know exactly what you're looking for, and that's not really how people watch TV, especially when it comes to international programming they might not be familiar with. Of course, one of the upsides to Amazon is that even if the show (or movie) in question isn't included with a Prime membership, viewers might still be able to buy it from Amazon.
Score: 6

Apple TV+: In addition to adapting the French series Calls (which tells the story of an impending disaster through audio recording), the service will also make the original series available on its platform. Apple TV+ will also be the home of Wolfwalkers, an animated movie about a young hunter, which comes from an Irish animation studio.
Score: 1

Disney+: It does not appear that there is any international programming currently streaming on or in development for Disney+, though the company does seem to be looking into branching into that space.
Score: 0

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MOVIES

Netflix: Some cinephiles might say that the quality of Netflix's movie library has declined a bit over the years as the money that previously went toward purchasing streaming rights was funneled into producing Netflix Originals. And they're right. But Netflix still has a nice variety of movies to choose from, whether you want an international thriller, a sci-fi adventure, an Oscar-winning film, or a feel-good romantic comedy. And until Disney's existing licenses expire, Netflix will still be the streaming home for a number of popular Disney-owned films, including Avengers: Infinity War and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. And that doesn't even cover the service's growing library of original films, which includes the popular romantic comedies Set It Up and To All the Boys I've Loved Before, as well as future Oscar contenders Marriage Story and The Irishman.
Score: 8

Hulu: As Hulu grows, so too does its movie library. But it's difficult to see what is available all at once since Hulu divides the movie page into categories — popular movies, cult films, family-friendly fare, Westerns, etc. — and for some reason doesn't appear to offer an option to see them all on the same page. Still, the selection is decent. It's not great, but it's definitely more than acceptable. Basically, Hulu has some great films, like Booksmart and Creed II, but the movie library still isn't as deep or as complete as it needs to be to compete with the other streaming services.
Score: 6

Amazon: You may be surprised to know that Amazon's movie library is rather deep. And we aren't talking about the movies you have to rent or buy, though that is a nice perk about the merchant site that is Amazon; no, we're talking about what's included with an Amazon Prime subscription. There are great '90s classics, a lot of great romantic comedies, tons of older films, and a bunch of recent blockbusters. It might not always be easy to find the movies in Amazon's less-than-great interface (see below), but they're definitely there and included with a Prime membership.
Score: 8

Apple TV+: Apple only launched with a single movie, the documentary The Elephant Queen, but it has a few coming up that do look promising, including On the Rocks, which reunites Bill Murray with Sofia Coppola. But once again, Apple's minuscule library works against it, since none of its movies seem like they'll break through the noise and be buzzy enough to entice new subscribers on their own accord.
Score: 2

Disney+: You can make the argument the movie catalogue is where Disney+ truly shines. The streaming service is not only home to all the beloved animated Disney films that were once previously locked away in the Vault, like The Lion King, Sleeping Beauty, and The Jungle Book, but it is also the streaming home for the films of the interconnected Marvel Cinematic Universe (here are the films currently available, and here is when the others will be available to stream once their current licensing agreements expire), as well the expansive Star Wars franchise. Disney+ also hosts a number of Disney's and Fox's live-action films (Remember the Titans, The Sandlot, The Rocketeer), Disney Channel Original Movies (Brink!, Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century), and the entire Pixar library (Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., Cars). The service is also the exclusive streaming home for all future Disney theatrical releases, like Frozen II and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. Meanwhile, there are a number of Disney films debuting exclusively on the streaming service, like the new Lady and the Tramp and Noelle. However, if you're looking for films produced outside the sphere of influence of Walt Disney Studios — which is rather large at this point — you'll have to look elsewhere.
Score: 10

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CHILDREN'S SHOWS

Netflix: Netflix definitely has some of the hottest children's programming around, such as Puffin Rock, Sofia the First, and My Little Pony, not to mention great educational series like Blue Planet and Planet Earth (though the latter two will be leaving the service at the end of 2019). For those with small toddlers or even babies, it also has a few clutch options, like Little Baby Bum and Mother Goose Club. Plus, it pumps out tons of awesome original programming too. And even with Disney+, Netflix still has a good amount of Disney and Pixar movies, at least for now. When it comes to shows, though, the download feature unfortunately isn't available on many of the service's most popular children's programming, which can be incredibly inconvenient. But the ability to select the kids' view is a fantastic feature that you can't get anywhere else.
Score: 9

Hulu: There's a solid selection available for older kids (We Bare Bears, Gravity Falls), adults who are kids at heart (Adventure Time), or adults who are looking for a dose of nostalgia (Rugrats, Doug, Sailor Moon), but Hulu doesn't offer as much for the preschool set or nearly as much original children's programming. There are a few things worth watching for the littlest little ones, like Sesame Street (which is soon to migrate to HBO Max)and Color Crew, and tweens will be happy to see live-action Disney shows like K.C. Undercover and Austin & Ally. However, unless you're paying for the ad-free experience, you can expect young viewers to have intermittent freakouts whenever their show disappears in order for some adult to try to sell them stuff.
Score: 5

Amazon: What Amazon lacks in other areas, it more than makes up for with children's programming. There are a ton of high-quality options, including Amazon Originals (Team Umizoomi, Creative Galaxy) as well as a huge selection of PBS Kids shows (Sesame Street, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Reading Rainbow). It is also the only streaming service to offer SpongeBob SquarePants, which is a pretty big deal. Plus, it has added some YouTube videos as series so you can watch your kids' favorite nursery rhymes without having to suffer through ads. But while Amazon does have some popular Nickelodeon shows, you often have to purchase later seasons, which can result in a dent in your bank account — or having to watch the same 12 episodes again and again. However, Amazon does allow you to download episodes, which is a massive plus for flights or long car rides.
Score: 8

Apple TV+: At launch, Apple TV+ featured three shows primarily aimed at younger viewers — Snoopy in Space, Ghostwriter, and Helpsters — but there aren't very many programs aimed at younger viewers currently on the service's docket. If Apple wants to compete with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and Disney+, it will need to beef up this section of its streaming library in the future.
Score: 2

Disney+: The Disney brand is nearly synonymous with children's programming. Yes, The Walt Disney Company and its subsidiaries produce content aimed at adults and content that is enjoyed by millions of adults around the world, but when you hear Disney your mind likely conjures up images of animated Disney classics or TV shows that aired on the Disney Channel. All of which is to say that Disney+, as expected, has a deep library of children's programming. There are decades' worth of Disney animated films previously locked away in the Vault, Disney Channel Original Movies, Disney Channel series, Disney Junior programs, and plenty of other cartoons available to stream. And Disney+ makes it relatively easy to find said programming, which is a huge bonus.
Score: 10

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ALTERNATIVE PROGRAMMING

Netflix: When it comes to alternative programming, Netflix offers quite a lot. Most people are already familiar with the streamer's large selection of popular stand-up specials, including Ellen DeGeneres' first special since 2003, but Netflix's library of alternative series reaches well beyond the mic. It also features everything from variety/talk shows (Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, The Break With Michelle Wolf) and must-see true crime series (Making a Murderer) to fascinating docuseries, both original (Dogs) and licensed (Blue Planet II, which leaves the service at the end of the year; The Vietnam War). Hell, if you love game shows, Netflix also features a nice selection of past Jeopardy episodes.
Score: 8

Hulu: Hulu also has a selection of past Jeopardy episodes, some stand-up specials, and a respectable selection of documentaries and docuseries, both original (Batman & Bill) and licensed. But what Hulu has that Netflix doesn't is access to current alternative programming. That means TV fans can watch recent episodes of game shows (Ellen's Game of Games) and their favorite late night programs, like Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Score: 6

Amazon: An Amazon subscription opens viewers up to a range of exercise programs, news programs (PBS's Frontline), and interesting documentaries and docuseries (The New Yorker Presents). It's also a solid investment if you're into more science-based, informational programs (How the Universe Works) or the types of shows you'd normally find on History. That selection, plus a number of old seasons of game shows, helps make up for the fact that it still lags behind both Netflix and Hulu in terms of stand-up specials and late night — but Amazon did recently break into the stand-up game with Jim Gaffigan's Quality Time, its first stand-up comedy special.
Score: 6

Apple TV+: At launch, Apple TV+ had a nature documentary, The Elephant Queen, and Oprah's Book Club available. They also have a few other alternative options coming up, including a docuseries about climate change (Losing Earth). It's a pretty small selection, and it seems pretty clear that alternative programming isn't a top priority for Apple TV+ — and likely will never be a big draw for their subscribers either.
Score: 2

Disney+: Disney+ features numerous films and documentaries from National Geographic. In addition to the Academy Award-winning documentary Free Solo, users can stream documentaries and docuseries like Expedition Mars, Wild Yellowstone, Apollo: Missions to the Moon, and many more. Elsewhere, the service offers The Imagineering Story, a new Disney+ original docuseries that takes viewers behind the scenes at Walt Disney Imagineering to see how Disney's theme parks are created and built around the world, The World According to Jeff Goldblum, which finds the actor tracing the history and connections of objects like sneakers or ice cream, and Marvel's Hero Project, an unscripted series about the positive impact of everyday heroes, aka kids who are making a difference in their communities. There are even more shows in development, including Marvel 616, an anthology series that explores the intersection of Marvel's legacy of stories, characters, creators, and the real world; and Cinema Relics: Iconic Art of the Movies, an anthology series that offers viewers unique looks at beloved movie props and costumes.
Score: 8

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PRESTIGE PROGRAMMING

Netflix: Netflix made history in 2013 by becoming the first streaming service to receive Emmy nominations and also became the first to win (David Fincher won Best Director for House of Cards, but no Netflix Original has won Best Comedy or Best Drama at the Emmys to this day). Since then, the service has continued to be a player in awards season, winning Golden Globes and recently scoring its first Academy Award Best Picture nomination. With Roma's 10 nominations this year, Netflix officially cemented itself as not only a place for prestige TV but also a major player in film too.
Score: 7

Hulu: While Netflix may have the honor of being the first streaming service to win an Emmy, it was Hulu's Handmaid's Tale that made history as the first to win the coveted Best Drama award. However, outside The Handmaid's Tale, Hulu hasn't really positioned itself as a go-to place for prestigious, awards-friendly content. It has scored a few Globe and Emmy noms and wins for other shows and films, but it's definitely the last service you think of when you think of major awards contenders.
Score: 3

Amazon: While each service has their own awards season claim to fame, Amazon gets to brag that it was the first streaming service to score a Best Picture nod, for Manchester by the Sea in 2017. It has produced a few other critical darlings for film since then, although never to the same success, and has done quite well when it comes to prestige comedies, including Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and recent Emmy-winning comedy Fleabag.
Score: 9

Apple TV+: It's impossible to tell which of Apple TV+'s upcoming programming might be worthy of awards contention, but if their launch shows are any indication then we don't see Apple TV+ being a major prestige player just yet. The Morning Show has the biggest chance of nabbing the service its first nominations in the acting categories, particularly by Jennifer Aniston. But the polarizing drama definitely isn't the prestige hit the service had hoped it would be. There are some buzzy projects coming up with big names attached (J.J. Abrams, Brie Larson, and Damien Chazelle, among others) that could help solidify the prestige reputation Apple TV+ is clearly hoping to curate but only time will tell.
Score: 2

Disney+: Much like Apple TV+, it's too early to tell which of Disney+'s programs might be worthy of awards. While The Mandalorian is a fun show that expands on Star Wars lore, it likely won't grab the attention of awards voters outside of technical awards come Emmy season. And it's unlikely any of Marvel's upcoming shows will find traction either — although comic book films like Logan, Black Panther, and Joker have or likely will receive Oscar nods in the near future, it's more likely that shows like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will win the popular vote among the viewing public but fail to connect or even register with voters when the time comes. But it's a little hard to see how this could be considered a total failure on Disney's part.
Score: 2

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User Experience

INTERFACE

Netflix: Netflix has been perfecting its interface for years, so it should come as no surprise that it's pretty easy to navigate. The left-hand sidebar that features a menu with options to search, select between TV shows, movies, and My List is a great update to the interface and makes the user experience that much easier. Browsing is also a breeze because you just have to scroll down through personalized categories without having to navigate away from the main screen. The recommendations that are chosen by the service's advanced algorithm also make sense based on past viewing habits, so you know why categories or shows are popping up. The font is even easy to read against the black background! Some people might not enjoy the trailers that start playing when you sign in or if you settle too long on a program while browsing, but there certainly are worse things. And even though it's possible to lose an hour looking for something interesting to watch on Netflix, it's not because the interface is inefficient, it's because there are so many possibilities.
Score: 8

Hulu: Hulu's interface is bright and clean and colorful, which might sound like a strange thing to find important in an interface, but when compared to Netflix's darker black and red scheme or Amazon's dark blue, the bright colors that greet you when you sign in to Hulu are inviting and cheerful. The show titles are also large enough as you scroll down that you don't have to squint to read them. However, the menu across the top that allows users to navigate between different categories aren't great or terribly specialized. And when you click into them, you don't know if you're going to find an easy-to-navigate alphabetical selection of TV shows and movies or a list that has seemingly been randomized by an invisible hand. The ability to browse by network is a great feature, but if you want to see those shows listed from A-Z and not just a selection that has been selected "for you," it's always the last option available. Although Hulu needs some work in terms of its navigation, it wins points for having an interface with the ability to switch to night mode, which helpfully eliminates the harsh brightness of your screen when the lights are low.
Score: 6

Amazon: Amazon's interface seems to have been modeled on Netflix's, but you know how when you make a copy of a copy, it's not as sharp as the original? That's what Amazon is. When you sign in, there are a number of categories that feature shows and movies displayed in rows, but the font isn't as easy to read as Netflix. It feels too squished. You also don't know why the shows or movies are being recommended to you. They're just "recommended." The best and easiest way to find something to watch on Amazon is already knowing what you want to watch and searching for it. There's almost no reason to browse the interface.
Score: 3

Apple TV+: Apple TV+ seems to be trying to distract users from how little content the service actually has available at the moment by making all the photos for their shows VERY, VERY BIG. If you're watching on a TV, the "Recently Watched" section is at the bottom of the interface, rather than at the much more intuitive top. There are very few curated lists or recommendations. However, it does have an "Up Next" row where it suggests the next episode of series you have been recently watching. But if you're watching on a desktop or mobile device, even these few features are lacking. Coming from a company that is literally known for making apps with accessible interfaces, Apple TV+'s poor user experience is truly a shock.
Score: 2

Disney+: The navy interface for Disney+ is similar to that of Netflix's black interface — which seems to now be the industry standard — but it's not quite as user friendly. Although there are rows of suggested content when subscribers sign in — "Originals," "Hit Movies," "Recommended for You," etc. — users often need to know what they're looking for because the sections on the home screen don't do an adequate job of showcasing the service's expansive library. (This could change as users watch more and more content and the service's algorithm kicks in.) The service's search function is easy to use though, and the curated collections within it — "Through the Decades," "Marvel Animation," "Princesses" — are helpful. Unfortunately, the stratification under the Movies and TV Shows subheads could be better. Separated by genre or being able to search from A-Z isn't enough for a service with so many well-known brands; being able to select just Disney Channel Original Movies from the dropdown menu would be helpful, for instance. And the service is already doing something similar with the Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars collections available at the top of the home screen. The biggest issue with Disney+'s interface at launch was that there wasn't a "continue watching" row when you signed in, and when you watched a TV show, the system didn't remember where you left off. But weeks after launch Disney corrected that with an update, which may portend a consistently updated interface that changes to add user requests.
Score: 7

Jump to: Originals, Throwback Shows, Current TV, Reality Shows, International Shows, Movies, Children's Shows, Alternative Programming, Prestige Programming, Interface, Algorithm, Premium Add-Ons, Portability, Cost

ALGORITHM

Netflix: For a company that puts such stress on its algorithm, it still has a long way to go to fully live up to the hype. It's helpful that Netflix automatically categorizes shows into super specific sub-genres, but the spotlighted lists on the home screen only scratch the surface of what's available and don't give you an option to see more titles under that category. Plus, these days the algorithm mainly feels like a way to self-promote more Netflix content and new releases rather than actually surfacing what's most relevant to your particular interests. However, it does learn and adapt based on what you've binged, delivering a clearly curated experience.
Score: 7

Hulu: When you arrive on Hulu, you're greeted mainly with its new releases and the most popular series available, and every time Hulu autoplays something like South Park after The Good Place, we have to question whether the company is even trying. However, the genre lists spotlighted on the homepage are actually decent ways to find new content to watch (especially the A-Z view), but nothing feels as personalized as it could or should be.
Score: 5

Amazon: You don't often hear of people discovering (non-Amazon original) shows through the service directly because Amazon doesn't have an algorithm in the same way as Hulu and Netflix. Sure, it has "Because You Watched," but the recs don't feel that customized to your viewing habits at all.
Score: 1

Apple TV+: With such limited content available, it's really too early to say how Apple TV+ might use its algorithm to suggest its content in the future. For now, the only recommendations it really provides are a selection of what's new or cheap on Apple ($0.99 rentals or movies that are $2.99 and under) and a few curated lists, but even these seem to be poorly curated. (Does Apple TV+ really think The Walking Dead is a "Cult Hit"?)
Score: 1

Disney+: There is a lot of content available on the service, and it obviously takes time for algorithms to gather enough information to begin accurately recommending content based on viewership, but so far it doesn't appear there even is an algorithm in play. Recommendations appear to be random, with suggested content based on what Disney+ wants you to see, not necessarily what your viewing choices suggest.
Score: 2

Jump to: Originals, Throwback Shows, Current TV, Reality Shows, International Shows, Movies, Children's Shows, Alternative Programming, Prestige Programming, Interface, Algorithm, Premium Add-Ons, Portability, Cost

PREMIUM ADD-ONS

Netflix: If you're still into DVDs for some reason, you can choose from one of Netflix's three (!!!) DVD plans available. Three!
Score: 1

Hulu: Hulu offers Cinemax, HBO, Showtime, Starz and even Spotify add-on options. The cable add-ons are the same price as if you subscribed to them directly, so this just means you can watch Game of Thrones and The Handmaid's Tale in one convenient place. Meanwhile, the Spotify-Hulu combo (which you have to sign up for through Spotify) will actually save you a few bucks, which is great news for those who love to stream music and TV.
Score: 8

Amazon: Amazon offers a ridiculous amount of add-on channels, including HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax,CBS All Access, and Shudder. Fans of international television will also be thrilled at the convenience of subscribing to channels like Britbox, Acorn, and MHz through Amazon as well. When it comes to the ability to customize content — for a price, of course — there really isn't a rival to Amazon.
Score: 10

Apple TV+: If you count a student bundle with Apple Music as a "premium," that's available. Otherwise, nothing is offered at this time. Though you can buy items from premium networks a la carte.
Score: 1

Disney+: Although Disney+ does not allow subscribers to purchase premium add-ons like HBO or Starz or other pay cable networks, it does allow users to bundle Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ for just $12.99 a month.
Score: 3

Jump to: Originals, Throwback Shows, Current TV, Reality Shows, International Shows, Movies, Children's Shows, Alternative Programming, Prestige Programming, Interface, Algorithm, Premium Add-Ons, Portability, Cost

PORTABILITY

Netflix: The ability to download episodes of your favorite shows from Netflix's library gives it major points for portability. Although it can be a bit frustrating when the show you want isn't available for download — not every show on the service is — a number of popular shows and Netflix Originals definitely are. And when you spend a lot of time flying or commuting, being able to download an episode and watch it without an internet connection anywhere is a godsend. The app is also pretty easy to navigate and operate in general.
Score: 8

Hulu: The Hulu mobile app is similar to the apps for whatever devices you use at home. But one of the great things about the Hulu app is that it offers users the ability to watch live TV on the go. Sure, you need to be subscribed to Hulu's live TV option in order to use the feature, but it's something that isn't available on the other apps. Of course, as with any app, there are bound to be bugs and issues, and if you have the version of Hulu that includes commercials, it can be frustrating when those bugs affect the rewind/fast-forward functions. There are worse issues to have though. Hulu recently introduced the ability to download programs as well, which increases its portability.
Score: 8

Amazon: In addition to streaming everything available on Amazon Prime, Amazon's phone and tablet apps also allow subscribers to download full episodes and movies, which means you can watch your favorite shows and films anywhere, anytime. The app also includes the X-Ray feature, which allows you to access IMDb information specifically related to the video you're watching, which is great if you are someone who wants to show off at bar trivia or, you know, just likes learning new things about the programs you're watching. And of course, if you're in the U.S., the app also gives you access to the shows or movies you've purchased or rented, and even offers the ability to download them for offline viewing.
Score: 8

Apple TV+: The service does allow iOS and iPadOS users to download Apple TV+ shows for offline viewing. Of course, if you are using an Android device you can't stream Apple TV+ on the go, let alone download it.
Score: 5

Disney+: Disney+ lets subscribers download any and all content from its service so you can watch movies and TV shows even when you're without wi-fi — and as an added bonus, you can keep the downloaded content for an unlimited time as long as you are a Disney+ subscriber, which is not the case with something like Netflix, whose programs expire 48 hours after watching and must be redownloaded. Plus, you can also watch downloaded programming on up to 10 mobile or tablet devices, with no limits as to the number of times a title can be downloaded per year.
Score: 9

Jump to: Originals, Throwback Shows, Current TV, Reality Shows, International Shows, Movies, Children's Shows, Alternative Programming, Prestige Programming, Interface, Algorithm, Premium Add-Ons, Portability, Cost

COST

Netflix: $8.99/month for the basic plan, $12.99/month for the standard plan (which includes two HD streams) or $15.99/month for the premium plan (which includes four Ultra HD streams and download capability). Netflix's output of content is overwhelming and even though it's dwindling, the library of historic shows is also still quite sizable, so this is a really fair price for everything that's included.
Score: 8

Hulu: $5.99/month for a basic subscription, $11.99/month for an ad-free subscription or $44.99/month for Hulu with Live TV. Honestly, if you want to cut the cord but don't completely want to give up access to live television (especially if you're a sports fan), there really isn't a more affordable option. And with the $9.99 bundle deals, you also have the option of adding on an enhanced cloud DVR and/or unlimited screens. Also, Hulu's recent price drop makes it the cheapest option for a major streaming service on the market.
Score: 9

Amazon: $119/year for an annual Amazon Prime membership or $59/year for an annual Prime Student membership. Alternatively, $12.99/month for a monthly Prime membership or $6.49/month for a monthly Prime student membership. Seeing as this subscription fee not only includes access to Prime Video but all the other benefits of a Prime membership (including free one-day shipping in select areas and early access to Lightning Deals), it's actually quite reasonable if you're a big online shopper. Offering a student discount is also a fantastic bonus for young viewers, too.
Score: 7

Apple TV+: Apple TV+ is the cheapest option for streaming, coming in at just $4.99 a month. But when you consider that Apple's library only features original Apple programming — and that there isn't much of it yet — it's not nearly as impressive as it looks on the surface. However, if you've bought an Apple device recently, you are likely eligible to stream it for a year at no cost.
Score: 3

Disney+: At just $6.99 per month, or $69.99 a year, Disney+ is one of the cheapest streaming services available. The low cost is even more impressive when you consider there are no ads on the service. And if you already have a Hulu subscription (Disney now controls Hulu), there is an option to bundle Disney+ with ad-supported Hulu and ESPN+ for just $12.99 a month. Disney+ might not be the cheapest service on the market, but it is definitely one of the cheapest, coming in at half the cost of Netflix's standard two-screen HD package and just $1 more than an ad-supported Hulu subscription.
Score: 10

Which streaming service is best?


NETFLIX

With a total of 100 points out of a possible 140 (based on our metrics), the most popular streaming service is also, statistically, the best streaming service. Thanks in part to its staggering output of original content, ever-expanding international library and great selection of children's programming, Netflix has proven that it's the leader of the streaming revolution for a reason.

HULU

Only one point shy of Netflix's winning score, Hulu's 99 points is a reminder that the service deserves a lot more credit that it often gets. The best place to catch both older shows and current series, Hulu could have easily overtaken Netflix if it had managed to produce more than one prestige hit over the past seven years.

DISNEY+

With 85 points, Disney+ comes in one point ahead of Amazon but lagging behind Netflix and Hulu, which is to be expected for a service that just launched. Once Disney+ becomes more established and the company works out some of the kinks with its algorithm or adds to the missing arenas, there's no reason to believe it won't outpace some of the other streaming options too.


AMAZON

Honestly, Amazon fared better than we expected. With 84 points, it wasn't really in the running for the top spot, but there is no better service when it comes to premium add-ons or producing actual contenders for awards season. So if you're an awards junkie or a rabid online shopper with a serious binge-watching habit, you can't go wrong with an Amazon Prime subscription.

APPLE TV+

To the surprise of no one, Apple TV+ came in dead last. If you get a subscription for free after buying an Apple device, definitely check out its content. Otherwise save that $4.99 a month... at least until it builds out its library a bit more to make it worth it.

Last updated: Nov. 2019