Streaming Services: Which one is right for you and your wallet?
With Disney+ and Apple TV+ launching in late 2019 and both HBO Max and NBC’s Peacock due to launch in 2020, streaming services will continue to be a prominent way people consume their media. But with so many now available and changes happening all the time, it can be difficult to keep up with it all. The following is an analysis of the top streaming services that will be available in 2020, how they compare and how much they cost.
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The one that revolutionized the streaming service, Netflix remains one of the top streaming platform options for its wide variety of licensed and original content. Some of its most notable original content includes House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, BoJack Horseman, The Crown, Stranger Things and The Witcher, as well as Oscar-worthy films such as Marriage Story and The Irishman. Netflix supports different profiles for family members, including specific ones for kids that only allow access to kid-friendly content. Netflix has several pricing options, with the Basic plan being $8.99 per month (SD streaming on one screen at a time), the Standard for $12.99 (HD streaming on up to two screens) and Premium for $15.99 (Ultra HD, up to four screens).
Hulu remains a strong option for people who want live TV or next-day episodes of many popular shows. It also has a large library of original content, including critical hits such as The Handmaid’s Tale, Harlots and the upcoming third season of The Orville, as well as the ability to add premium channels such as HBO and Starz for an additional fee. Hulu offers a Basic plan with commercials for $5.99 per month, a Premium version without commercials for $11.99, Basic + Live TV for $54.99 and Premium + Live TV for $60.99.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video can be purchased separately from Amazon’s Prime membership program. It currently costs $8.99 per month for Amazon Prime Video alone. Like Hulu, Amazon Prime Video offers premium channels that can be added to your subscription for an additional cost. Currently available are HBO, CBS All Access, Starz, Showtime and more. You also have the option of renting a wider variety of content through Amazon that is not included with Prime Video.
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Launched in late 2019, Disney+ is the home for all of multimedia giant Disney’s numerous properties. With their recent acquisitions of Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic and Fox, in addition to their own content, the Disney+ library is robust. Disney+ costs $6.99 per month and continues to add new content, including originals, as it takes its place among your streaming service options.
CBS All Access
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Major television network CBS launched their own streaming service CBS All Access in 2014. Major CBS All Access originals include The Good Fight, new Star Trek series Discovery and Picard, and The Twilight Zone, as well as thousands of episodes of classic and current TV series. It costs $5.99 monthly for the version with ads and $9.99 for the one without.
Not wanting to be left out of the streaming wars, tech giant Apple also decided to launch its own streaming service to provide original content. Apple TV+ has limited but promising content options on its platform, and its offerings are sure to expand throughout 2020. It costs $4.99 a month, cheap compared to its competitors, and can be accessed on non-Apple devices through its app. Going into 2020, Apple currently has a savings deal where you get a year of Apple TV+ when you buy an Apple device.
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Sling TV is another option for live TV fans. Users can subscribe to a bundle of popular channels, or combine bundles, to watch live TV via streaming. These bundles are a deal compared to traditional cable packages and may serve as a suitable substitute depending on your household’s viewing habits. Each bundle costs $20 per month or $35 for both of them.
Launching In 2020
HBO currently has two streaming options for their shows, but that is going to change in May 2020 with the launch of HBO Max. In addition to having all of HBO’s programming, HBO Max is slated to have content from all of Warner Bros.’ subsidiaries, including New Line Cinema, the CW, DC Comics, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, TNT, TBS and more. It has been announced to cost $15 per month, the same as HBO Now currently does. Subscribers to HBO Now or certain services from AT&T will get free access to HBO Max.
NBC is also due to launch their Peacock streaming service in April 2020. Unlike other options on this list, it will have a limited free version as well as an ad-supported version for $4.99 per month and an ad-free one for $9.99 per month. Comcast customers will get access to it for free.
As the streaming wars heat up, customers will be left with more options than ever before. At the end of the day, customers need to consider the content offered by each streaming service and subscribe to the ones offering what they want to watch. Almost every service offers a free trial so you can try them out and see what they have to offer
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