The Best Streaming Service of 2023

Expand your library of TV shows and movies with the best streaming services around.

The Best Streaming Service of 2022

Are you thinking about severing your cable connection? Would you rather watch live channels or a sizable on-demand library that is always available? Can’t you do both? Then you might want to switch to a streaming service, which you can cancel at any time.

Despite wanting to cut costs, people still pay for cable TV and one or more streaming channels. This is because they want both their traditional channels and the most recent and innovative content available through video-on-demand (V.O.D.) streaming providers. Lucky for you, you can get the best of both worlds with today’s streaming services.

We compared user experience, cost, channels, on-demand content, and DVR storage to determine the best streaming service. Even though our top four streaming services are excellent choices, one or more of them may be more appropriate for your needs, and we’re here to assist you in your decision.

How We Picked

  • Range of Available Media

    When we test the performance of these platforms, we look at how many concurrent streams they allow, whether 4K streaming is included for free (or at a cost), and what other extra features they provide.

  • Multiple Profiles per Account

    The services on our list allow users to share the platform with friends or family by enabling up to five profiles. Each user can now have personalized suggestions, subtitle appearances, and other features.

  • Subscription Type

    We made sure to include services that offer basic features or upgraded versions (at an extra fee) so you could also have options to suit your needs. You could also cancel a service if you feel the content is getting stale.



  • Cost-Effectiveness

    We understand that streaming services' cumulative monthly charges can quickly become unreasonable. That’s why we’ve broken down what we think are your top alternatives at different budget levels for a few different audiences.

Our Top Picks

Best Pick

Netflix

Netflix

This streaming service delivers premium content from high-quality original programming.

Netflix offers high-quality streams, with many shows and movies available in high definition or even 4K resolution.

Buy Now

There is content on Netflix for everyone, whether you want sleazy reality, high fantasy, or anything in between. Add that to the fact that Netflix's user interface continues to be one of the more user-friendly options, and you have a streaming service that has been the strongest competitor for years for a reason.

Runner Up

HBO MAX

HBO MAX

This option wins the best place in the streaming space for pop culture content.

This streaming service offers a huge library of popular shows and movies and features like audio descriptions.

Buy Now

You won't find a better site for all of your DC needs with amazing original programs like "Harley Quinn," "Doom Patrol," and all of its other wonderful comic book fare. Its inclusion of premium series like "House of the Dragon" elevates it to the top of the market. Additionally, its cinematography shouldn't be underestimated.

Most Cost-Effective

Hulu

Hulu

Want the most entertainment on a budget? Try Hulu.

Hulu recently underwent an upgrade with features such as downloading content for premium users.

Buy Now

Hulu is one of the least expensive streaming services. Although the service is sometimes referred to as the baby of the family, it packs quite a punch. This is mostly because of its collaboration with the television network FX, which offers both basic cable and some unique series available only on Hulu. Hulu and FX recently released some of the best shows of the year, including ‘Under the Banner of Heaven,’ ‘The Old Man,’ and ‘The Bear.’

Everything We Recommend

Best Pick

Netflix

Netflix

This streaming service delivers premium content from high-quality original programming.

Buy Now

Runner Up

HBO MAX

HBO MAX

This option wins the best place in the streaming space for pop culture content.

Buy Now

Most Cost-Effective

Hulu

Hulu

Want the most entertainment on a budget? Try Hulu.

Buy Now

Who This Is For

The products advertised here are for people who no longer want to pay for a cable or satellite TV bill. If you are looking to change how you watch series and movies at home, we recommend a live TV streaming service.

How much do streaming services cost?

In addition to saving you money, video streaming services allow you more viewing flexibility than cable. The even better news is that monthly subscriptions to video streaming services are more common than annual ones. In other words, you aren’t bound by lengthy contracts.

Many services also provide brief free trials, which can lessen the likelihood of a customer having second thoughts. Another benefit of this pricing structure is that you can switch your services every month (especially on-demand ones), which means you only have to pay for the content you really consume.

The quantity of network bandwidth that video streaming services demand is a significant cost factor. Since streaming requires an internet connection, cutting the cord does not imply you can cut all of your cords. Any monthly data quotas on your plan can be consumed by streaming a lot of HD or 4K content, and you’ll have to pay for those overages.

You should be aware of this potential additional expense if you enjoy watching TV for extended periods. If you don’t want to alter your behavior, stick with cable. You may also simply cease streaming altogether, which would save you money on your electricity bill.

Are streaming services worth it?

Access to premium content is now easier than ever thanks to streaming services. Therefore, it is challenging to envision a world without them. Another potential development is that they could make cable networks and movie theaters obsolete. So it only makes sense to sign up for one or more of the top streaming services on our list.

Although paying for all of your streaming services at once may be less expensive than cable, that’s not always the case. You can find yourself paying more for television service once again due to the modest monthly fees that add up quickly.

While sticking with one service might be wise, there are other options available. Setting objectives and constraints is the key to making the best streaming choice, just like it is with any budgetary decision. If you combine some of these services with existing expenses, such as your monthly phone bill, you can save a lot of money. In other circumstances, choosing a bundle deal may also be the best option for your budget.

Do you need a TV license to watch a streaming service?

In short, no. On-demand programs that are not streamed live are therefore excluded. Netflix may be accessed without a TV license, technically. This includes other streaming services like Disney+.

However, keep in mind that you do require a TV license that covers your right to view or download in order to use some services, such as BBC iPlayer. It depends on what service you are using. Live TV is available through Amazon Prime, which requires a TV license. However, if you wait until the show is available for a catch-up, all you’ll need is an Amazon subscription.

Why You Should Trust Us

Each product is thoroughly tested by our reviewers to see how effectively it serves its target markets. We also conduct a wide range of real-world tests and benchmarks, many of which we’ve developed ourselves, depending on the product category.

A hands-on review will be transformed into a fully rated review once we have spent more time using the product and have had a chance to conduct our own tests. In doing so, we examine the manufacturer’s claims and, to the best of our ability, test their credibility. We also consider a product’s price in relation to its value, design, functionality, and features in comparison to its rivals.

How We Picked

Range of available media

Families that use a wide range of media should opt for a base plan that includes the majority of their needs and then add packages to fill in any gaps. Premium channel add-ons are widely available on streaming services. Several live TV services also provide packages that combine Spanish-language networks, kids’ networks, and sports channels.

Easy to use

Streaming services typically own apps with simple user controls that make your streaming experience enjoyable and hassle-free. Some even employ voice assistants like Google and Alexa to ask general questions like the weather forecast or the latest scores for your favorite sports team.

Multiple profiles per account

In most cases, a user profile allows you to make a watchlist of your preferred films and television episodes and maintains track of your viewing history for television shows so you can instantly jump into the appropriate episode. Although it may not be as crucial if everyone in your home often watches the same kinds of content, the ability to establish various profiles is helpful for families with a variety of watching habits.

Watch party option

This allows multiple people to watch videos at once, which may be a huge advantage for homes with lots of occupants. Please take note that downloading content and watching it offline does not count as one of your simultaneous streams.
Subscription type

Streaming providers offer different packages at different prices. For example, how many people can watch Netflix at once depends on what plan you purchase from the streaming service. Each plan comes with its own costs and perks, such as video quality and how many screens can be used at the same time. These streaming providers also offer discounts when you opt for an annual subscription as opposed to monthly subscriptions, which can save you some money.

Price vs. quality

Choose an on-demand streaming service if you want to cut the cord for the least amount of money. The on-demand services we assess have a starting average monthly price of about seven dollars per month.

Free trial option

A free trial, which enables you to test the service for a short time without committing, may aid you in making your decision if you’re on the fence about selecting a streaming service. The on-demand services we evaluated included seven- to 30-day trial periods.

Device support

Don’t assume that your preferred streaming service will be compatible with your streaming device. We’ve analyzed the different compatible devices that different streaming services offer in this review.

Streaming speed and quality

You may change the video quality when viewing on Netflix and several other streaming services. Other streaming sites automatically change the video quality according to the speed of your connection. Your data use may be impacted by these changes. Remember that slow internet connections can result in choppy video, frozen shows, and audio delays. Disconnecting other devices and making sure you’re using a top service provider may help you fix this.

Invasive ads

Top streaming providers like Netflix offer an ad-free base plan at a set cost per month if you’d prefer to avoid ad intrusions. As an alternative, some others provide more expensive, higher-tier subscriptions that do not include ads. The bright side is that these premium subscriptions frequently come with added benefits like multiple streams or the option to download content for offline watching.

Safety and privacy options

When you go online, experts recommend using a virtual private network (VPN) to protect your information. However, because many streaming services attempt to restrict VPNs, using a VPN at home might occasionally be problematic. This is primarily due to the fact that a VPN can evade licensing agreements, which frequently stipulate which countries can view particular videos and are included with movies and television shows. To bypass this, pick a VPN that says it works with the streaming service of your choice.

Child-friendly lock option

Parents can design kid-friendly profiles with various services to prevent their children from viewing improper content. If this is a must-have for your family, confirm that the service requires a PIN in order to switch between profiles or adjust parental settings, although this isn’t always the case.

Our Picks For You

Best Pick - Netflix

Best Pick

Netflix

Netflix

This streaming service delivers premium content from high-quality original programming.

Netflix offers high-quality streams, with many shows and movies available in high definition or even 4K resolution.

Buy Now

Who It’s For

Netflix is a premium service for users willing to pay top dollar.

Why It’s Great

Netflix provides unlimited streaming of TV shows, movies, comedy specials, and original programming for a single monthly subscription fee. It also takes the spot for the best anime streaming service. Netflix is a household name known for its impressive lineup of critically acclaimed original shows such as "Stranger Things," "Bridgerton," and "Squid Games." It has a large collection and other original content as well, such as popular series, motion pictures, and family-friendly entertainment.

Potential Flaws

The main flaw with Netflix is the absence of live programming. You still need cable or another subscription if you want to view live television, sports, or news. Netflix is not the solution if you want to keep up with your pals because the most recent seasons of the series are not uploaded immediately.

As more networks develop their own streaming apps, Netflix is also losing some licensed material to rival streaming providers.

Other Features

Although the cost of a Netflix subscription is rather exorbitant, you do get what you pay for. You have access to more than 5,000 titles, which will provide you with endless hours of entertainment. Netflix offers three straightforward subscription options: Basic, Standard, and Premium.

Each member of the family can watch their own Netflix movie or TV show. show on their device with the premium. Additionally, Netflix Ultra, which delivers ultra-HD, (4K) resolution, is accessible for an extra fee. As though that were not enough, up to five user profiles can be added to your Netflix account. That way, you won't have to worry about other users' suggestions interfering with your browsing experience.

For your enjoyment, Netflix offers more than 5,000 unique titles. It also received our Editor's Choice award for its on-demand and family-friendly content. There are many different genres of content on Netflix, including comedy, documentaries, true crime, romance, sci-fi and horror, reality television, animated programs, and action. If you don't speak Spanish, there are subtitle options on Netflix's Spanish-language genre.

As long as your gadget is online and connected to Netflix, pretty much any device is compatible. You can generally download the Netflix app to your mobile device, tablet, smart TV, and gaming console. When using the app, Netflix advises having a minimum of five Mbps of internet connection. For HD quality with two concurrent streams, 10 Mbps is required. The app has a traditional and simple user interface.

Runner Up - HBO MAX

Runner Up

HBO MAX

HBO MAX

This option wins the best place in the streaming space for pop culture content.

This streaming service offers a huge library of popular shows and movies and features like audio descriptions.

Buy Now

Who It’s For

HBO is arguably the biggest name in quality television and is for people who want to stream content in 4K.

Why It’s Great

The biggest brand in high-quality television is undoubtedly HBO. The ad experience is decent, and HBO Max guarantees that the total playtime of advertising won't go over four minutes per hour and won't run amid its own content. All the best features found in competing video streaming services, such as simultaneous streams from numerous simultaneous watching profiles, audio explanations, and current apps, are available on HBO Max.

Potential Flaws

HBO Max's standard offer costs the same as Netflix per month. However, the HBO package features ads. More premium subscription offers allow you to enjoy an ad-free experience. Additionally, it lacks the diversity of channels and programs that the other providers offer and doesn't provide a free trial, so you can't try it out first.

Other Features

You won't be able to download content for offline viewing in addition to the advertising while on the cheaper subscription tier. Only those with the ad-free subscription have access to HBO Max's 4K HDR streaming, which is currently limited to a small amount of content. It offers individual profiles and can accommodate up to three streams at once.

Since its inception, HBO Max has become available on additional TV platforms. Currently, it can be accessed on Samsung, Roku, Apple TV, and Android TV, among other platforms. Additionally, you may stream it via a browser, game consoles from Sony and Microsoft, or Android and iOS mobile apps. Additionally, it supports Google's Cast functionality and AirPlay, enabling it to function with more smart devices. It also lets users set parental controls.

Most Cost-Effective - Hulu

Most Cost-Effective

Hulu

Hulu

Want the most entertainment on a budget? Try Hulu.

Hulu recently underwent an upgrade with features such as downloading content for premium users.

Buy Now

Who It’s For

Anyone looking for convenient streaming without giving up traditional live TV will love Hulu.

Why It’s Great

Given its wide range of streaming alternatives, Hulu is one of the best all-in-one choices for cord-cutters. The quality-to-quantity ratio is good even though it doesn't produce as many fresh originals as, say, Netflix. Because episodes of current series are made available on the service the day after they air live, Hulu outperforms Netflix in terms of current programming. You'll be able to follow the developments in your favorite series without having friends unintentionally give away spoilers.

Potential Flaws

The basic Hulu package includes advertisements, unlike Netflix. You must upgrade to the Hulu (no ads) plan. Additionally, its content library is not as extensive as those of Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.

Other Features

Hulu provides a robust live TV option in addition to a large variety of movies and historic TV episodes (more than 70 channels of news, sports, and entertainment programming). Hulu offers two subscription options: a less expensive one with ads and one without them. There are basic and premium subscription plans.

The ability to combine Hulu's plans with ESPN+ and Disney+ is their strongest feature. The speed with which Hulu provides its viewers with access to recently broadcast episodes of network and cable TV is a positive in our book! For those who wish to cut the cord and stop paying a cable fee, this next-day feature is ideal. This means you won’t have to wait too long for your favorite TV shows. Hulu is also kid-friendly. Just switch on Hulu when you need to divert your children while you're working or on the phone. You can also set up a kids' profile on Hulu so that your kids may only access programming that is suitable for viewers up to the age of 12.

Almost Made The Cut - Disney+

Almost Made The Cut

Disney+

Disney+

The streaming wars have seen the entrance of this huge Hollywood studio.

With plenty of Disney classics and content from brands like Marvel, this is the best for family-friendly content.

Buy Now

Who It’s For

Disney+ is for anyone who has even a passing interest in one of the numerous renowned franchises that fall under the Disney corporate brand.

Why It’s Great

The only place to stream your favorite Disney films and television programs is on Disney+. As a result, it is the greatest streaming service for families. It also offers a ton of its own original content in addition to a huge selection of well-liked films from the past up through the present. This contains the canon of Star Wars and Marvel movies and TV shows. The Disney Bundle, which includes Hulu and ESPN+ in addition to Disney+, is another bonus.

Potential Flaws

Disney+ has a limited on-demand video selection, but if you're looking for a streaming service that specializes in family-friendly entertainment, this shouldn't be a problem. Additionally, there is a smaller selection of television shows than on Hulu or Netflix. A program or film won't be available on Disney+ if it is not part of the Disney catalog. The service also does not provide a risk-free trial.

Other Features

Disney+ has a reasonable monthly cost given the amount of content that can be seen more than once, but purchasing an annual package will save you money. Disney also provides a subscription package that includes Disney+, ESPN+, and the ad-supported version of Hulu (it owns ESPN and effectively maintains full operational control of Hulu). In 2022, a less expensive, ad-supported plan was launched.

Disney+ offers cutting-edge features including 4K streaming, mobile offline downloads, and no advertisements. The service is an appealing choice for families because it offers support for four concurrent streams and seven configurable profile features; however, we wish its parental control choices offered more flexibility. Our Disney+ hints and tips section enables you to take advantage of all the service has to offer. The streaming service is accessible via the web, Android and iOS mobile devices, Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, Roku, and game consoles.

Care and Maintenance

Setting up account

Once you’ve selected a streaming service, you’ll need to use your computer, tablet, or smartphone to sign up for the service and create an account on the company’s website.

You will be required to provide a credit card for a subscription plan. The next step is to sign into your streaming account using your email address and password. You must remember this information since you might need to use it occasionally when your service is updated or to log in on a different device.

Go to the app store or channel store on your streaming device and download the streaming service app of your choice. Click the streaming link after downloading
and log in with your email address and password by clicking the service icon.

Automatic or manual payments

Manually paying your bills can be tiresome and time-consuming, but there are ways to streamline the process, starting with setting up automated payments. By automating your recurring payments, you can reduce the stress associated with paying your bills and free up time to manage other elements of your financial life.

You can use your credit card to set up automatic payments for your streaming services. At the end of the month or year, this enables those fees to be charged to your credit card.

Safety features

When using internet-enabled services like streaming services, ensuring that your safety is in check is paramount. When you go online, experts advise using a virtual private network (VPN) to protect your information. Also, parents have the option of designing kid-friendly profiles with various services to prevent their children from viewing inappropriate content.

If this is a must-have for your family, confirm that the service requires a PIN in order to switch between profiles or adjust parental settings, although this isn’t always the case.