The Ultimate Streaming Services Guide: Costs and Content on Netflix, Hulu, Max, Disney+, Paramount+ and More
These days, at the touch of a button, we have access to virtually unlimited TV shows and movies.
While you want access to the best shows and movies, subscribing to everything can really add up, especially on top of a cable bill. If your goal is to streamline your streaming, the No. 1 question on your mind is likely: Which streaming services are right for you?
With a slew of streaming services at our disposal, like Netflix, Apple TV+ and Paramount+ and major platforms joining forces like HBO Max and Discovery+ becoming Max, as well as the absorption of Hulu into Disney+, it's no easy feat to keep up with all of the options out there.
To find the perfect blend of streaming platform subscriptions for you, consider your viewing preferences. Fantasy and science fiction fans may want to binge all the Marvel movies on Disney+ or the latest Star Trek series on Paramount+. If you prefer to keep up with the latest episodes on network television, Hulu may be a better option for you, as they drop many cable networks' shows the day after they air. Bravoholics should have Peacock on their roster in order to keep up with the Real Housewives and all the Scandoval drama.
Don't let information overload get you down. Below, we've broken down what you can expect from each streaming service, as well as the best shows available to watch on each platform.
ET, Showtime and Paramount+ are all subsidiaries of Paramount.
The major draw to Paramount+ is access to everything Star Trek, spinoffs of the beloved western Yellowstone, live television, reality staples and sports streaming from CBS and CBS Sports as well as the huge catalog of Paramount movies.
Star Trek fans will definitely want to sign up for Paramount+ because many of the newest Star Trek series stream exclusively on Paramount+. One such show, Picard, features the return of Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard, but fans will also get access to the Star Trek: Discovery spinoff series, Short Treks, Lower Decks, Prodigy and Strange New Worlds, centered on Spock, Captain Pike and Number One. Fans will also get access to all the original series and movies.
Fans of the modern-day western Yellowstone can watch all the spin-offs exclusively on Paramount+. This includes the prequel 1883, the backstory of how the Duttons obtained Yellowstone Ranch, starring Sam Elliott, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, 1923 the story of Yellowstone Ranch during the Great Depression (and Prohibition) starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren, there is also a present-day spinoff in the works, 6666, and an untitled spinoff starring Matthew McConaughey.
Love competition reality? Survivor, Big Brother and MTV reality shows like The Challenge are all available on Paramount+.
How Much Does Paramount+ Cost?
There are two types of plans available to customers and add-ons available. There is a more affordable essentials plan and the premium plan. There is also a free one-week for new subscribers to see how they like the service before committing.
- Essential Plan: Plan starts at $4.99 per month, or you can pay $49.99 per year to save 16%. This is an ad-supported plan and you will not have access to your local CBS station.
- Premium Plan: Plan starts at $9.99 per month, or you can pay $99.99 per year to save 16%. There are no ads, except when streaming live stations, like your local CBS station which is included.
- Add-ons: You can also bundle SHOWTIME with the Premium plan for only $2 a month more by paying $11.99 per month or $119.99 per year.
Other Notable Information: The platform has more than thousands of TV episodes and movies from Paramount networks MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, Paramount Pictures and CBS. This includes classics such as 90210, The Brady Bunch, SpongeBob Squarepants, Cheers, I Love Lucy, Melrose Place and Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
You'll also get access to Paramount films like Top Gun: Maverick, Scream VI, 80 For Brady, Babylon and Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, as well as Paramount Originals like The Family Stallone, RuPaul's All-Star Drag Race and Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video lets you rent or buy many of the latest films and television shows, but it also has a great library filled with their own original series and movies. Some hit Amazon Prime Video shows include The Boys, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Fleabag, Daisy Jones & The Six and Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan starring John Krasinski.
One of their biggest draws has to be for those in the Lord of the Rings fandom, as Prime Video hosts a prequel to both The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Rings in the Prime Video original The Rings of Power. The entire Lord of the Rings film trilogy is available to buy or rent on the platform. Other originals based on beloved science-fiction books, The Wheel of Time, Neil Gaiman's Good Omens and The Expanse, also stream on Prime Video.
Exclusive films on Prime Video include a film based on the story of Nike signing Michael Jordan, Air, starring Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Chris Tucker, as well as Jordan Peele's horror film Nope starring Keke Palmer.
How Much Does Prime Video Cost?
There are two options for those who want to subscribe to Prime Video.
- Prime Video You can subscribe to Amazon Prime Video without a Prime membership for only $9 per month giving you access to the full library.
- Amazon Prime You can also get the standard Amazon Prime subscription which includes access to Prime Video for $139 per year along with all the other benefits of being a Prime member, like free two-day shipping and access to Amazon Music.
Sign Up for Prime Video
Sign Up for Amazon Prime
Other Notable Information: With Prime Video, you can rent and buy many a wide variety of newly released movies including The Super Mario Bros. Movie. You have unlimited streaming of movies and tv which includes Amazon Prime Originals and many other options. You can also add on HBO, Showtime and Starz packages with your subscription for an additional fee.
This streaming platform is unique in that most of its offerings are Apple TV+ Originals. These high-quality stories are brought to life by some of the best acting talent, including Tom Hanks and Julianne Moore.
There's Shrinking starring Harrison Ford and Jason Sedeikis' comedy Ted Lasso. Apple TV+ also hosts several book-to-screen adaptations: Silo, The Last Thing He Told Me starring Jennifer Garner and City on Fire. The newly released comedies Platonic starring Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne and High Desert starring Patricia Arquette are worth adding to your TV show list as well.
Apple TV+ also has excellent documentaries from Selena Gomez, Michael J. Fox, Billie Eilish and others.
The service is a great choice for baseball and soccer fans. Major League Baseball enthusiasts can stream Friday night games live. The MLS Season pass airs every single match of the Major League Soccer season, including playoff games.
How Much Does Apple TV+ Cost?
- Apple TV+: New subscribers to Apple TV+ can take advantage of a free one-week trial before paying the $7/month membership fee. If you've recently bought an Apple device, you can also get three months of Apple TV+ for free.
- MLS Season Pass: Apple TV+ subscribers can pay $13/month or $79 per year for access to all the games. If you're not an Apple TV+ subscriber, you can still get the pass for $15/month or $99/year.
Other Notable Information: You can buy or rent movies and television episodes through Apple TV+, many of which are new releases and unable to be streamed elsewhere similar to Amazon Prime Video.
Not only is Disney+ a perfect choice for those with kids, but it's also a great platform for those who are kids at heart.
Disney+ is the platform of choice for Marvel and Star Wars fans with basically the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe (except select Spider-Man films), all of the original Star Wars films and a variety of new shows from both universes. Along with blockbuster films including Black Panther, The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, Disney+ also has Marvel Original series like WandaVision, Ms. Marvel, SheHulk: Attorney at Law, Loki and more. On the Star Wars side — in addition to the classics — you'll find Obi-Wan Kenobi, The Mandalorian, Andor and much more.
Disney+ subscribers also get access to Pixar movies, like Toy Story and National Geographic content.
How Much Does Disney+ Cost?
There are a few options for your Disney+ membership.
- Disney+ Basic which has ads is $8/month.
- Disney+ Premium which is ad-free is $10/month.
- Trio Basics this is a bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN which has ads and costs $13/month.
- Trio Premium this is a bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN withouts ads and costs $20/month.
Other Notable Information: While Disney+ and the streaming service Hulu have announced a merger slated for the end of 2024, for now you can still get the two services individually.
As of May 23, HBO Max and Discovery+ are now one bundled service called Max. Max hosts the same HBO Max content you know and love, including HBO shows and HBO Max Originals. Now called Max Originals this includes House of Dragons, Succession, Barry and other titles. Subscribers will also retain access to libraries of content from Warner Bros., Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and DC.
In addition to the existing HBO Max content, Max will also have Discovery+ content. Discovery+ content features shows from HGTV, Food Network, Discovery Channel, TLC, ID channels and more. This includes favorites like House Hunters, Property Brothers, Chopped and 90 Day Fiancé. And we can't forget to mention the beloved Discovery Channel Shark Week.
Learn more about Max: the HBO and Discovery+ platform.
How Much Does Max Cost?
The base cost for Max is actually the same as what existing subscribers pay for HBO Max with one major change: Now that $10 per month covers Max's lowest, ad-supported tier. With Max, there are three tiers to choose from:
- Max with Ads: $10/month or $100/yearly for 16% savings. The plan allows you to stream HD content on up to two devices at once.
- Ad-Free Max: $16/month or $130/yearly for 20% savings. The plan allows you to stream HD content on up to two devices at once and download up to 30 shows.
- Ultra Ad-Free Max: $20/month or $200/yearly for 16% savings. The plan allows you to stream 4K Ultra HD content with Dolby Atmos audio on up to four devices at once and download up to 100 shows.
Hulu stands out from other streaming services because of its live television component and access to a wide variety of current shows that drop the day after airing on cable. Hulu also has its own awesome original shows like Only Murders in the Building starring Selena Gomez or the chilling Handmaid's Tale. The streamer also offers an inside look into everyone's favorite reality TV family, The Kardashians.
Hulu carries exclusive FX Originals like the award-winning The Bear, which has a new season being released in June. There are also entire seasons of Emmy Award-winning series like The Dropout, Atlanta, Schitt's Creek, and Abbott Elementary.
For an up-charge, Hulu + Live TV allows you to watch over 85 cable channels live, depending on where you live, with the streaming platform. This gives you access to live sports, including college games and pro-league events.
How Much Does Hulu Cost?
Until May 27, you can get the basic tier of Hulu for only $2 for the next three months. Below, we've listed the regular prices and options for the service. You can also get Hulu in the two bundles with Disney+ mentioned above.
- Hulu (with ads) is $8/month.
- Hulu (without ads) is $15/month.
- Hulu + Live TV, which also includes Disney+ and ESPN, all with ads, is $70/month.
Other Notable Information: You can also add on Max, Cinemax, Showtime and Starz packages with your subscription for an additional fee, along with options for unlimited screens, an entertainment add-on, an Español Add-on and a sports add-on.
One of the OG services, Netflix continues to be a leader in the streaming service game. With a variety of originals and hit cable shows, Netflix has a mix of everything, except live television and sports.
Count on Netflix to churn out binge-worthy originals. The Regency romance drama, Bridgertonand its prequel Bridgerton: Queen Charlotte are must-watch shows for period-piece lovers. Love is Blind, where contestants get engaged before even seeing one another, has been a success among reality fans. Stranger Things, potentially one of Netflix's biggest shows, is worth the subscription in itself.
Netflix is the home of many of your favorite cable television shows: Every episode of Seinfeld and Gilmore Girls is available on the platform currently. Shonda Rhimes' medical drama Grey's Anatomy can also be found with the provider.
How Much Does Netflix Cost?
Netflix has four price tiers, as they recently introduced a new, ad-supported option.
- Standard with ads is $7/month allowing you to watch on 2 devices at once.
- Basic is $10/month allowing you to watch on only 1 device.
- Standard is $15/month allowing you to watch on 2 devices at once.
- Premium is $20/month allowing you to watch on 6 devices at once. This plan also upgrades HD shows and movies to Ultra HD.
Other Notable Information: You can add extra member slots to your standard or premium plan to allow for more devices for an extra $8/month.
If you love comedy and crime dramas, Peacock should definitely be on your streaming services roster. Watch The Office, Girl5Eva (from Tina Fey), New Girl, Parks and Recreation and more. Peacock brings the drama with all of the Law and Order franchises.
While Yellowstone airs on the Paramount cable network (not Paramount+ the streaming service), you can also stream it on Peacock. You will, however, need Paramount+, to see the spin-off series.
Peacock hosts all the Bravo reality show drama. This includes all the Real Housewives franchises and the ever-scandalous Vanderpump Rules. Peacock Originals, like Real Housewives: Ultimate Girl's Trip, stream exclusively on the platform.
With a Premium Plus subscription, you'll gain access to your local live NBC network.
How Much Does Peacock Cost?
Right now until June 12, Peacock is offering an incredible deal with a subscription for one year for only $20. Below, we've listed the typical prices you can expect to pay for Peacock TV. You can also save 17% by opting to pay the annual fee versus a monthly fee.
- Peacock Premium is supported by ads and costs $5/month or $50/year.
- Peacock Premium Plus is ad-free and costs $10/month or $100/year.
Other Notable Information: Peacock has exclusive U.S. streaming rights for Universal Pictures' film slate and beyond in the network TV window -- including Fast & Furious 9 and Jurassic World 3 -- as well as select live and on-demand content from news and sports events.
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