Online streaming provides convenient, 24-hour access to the newest television shows, live news reports, sports, movies and TV series. Are you looking for quality, quantity or thrifty pricing? Comparing streaming services can be confusing, so Wirefly provides extensive research for you to pick the best online TV streaming service for your needs.
Most Popular Streaming Services
Amazon Prime Instant Video
Funny or Die
Excellent selection of movies and TV shows
Easy to use recommendation system
New Content is added frequently
Netflix features its own popular drama series, comedy shows, documentaries, and more
Unavailable or rarely seen content is often available on Netflix
Limitation on content
Previously available content can be removed
More expensive than some other streaming options
Netflix provides a wide variety of unlimited streaming options including movies, TV shows, comedy specials and its own original content. Netflix is the originator of streaming services, and yet it remains strong in the face of the newest streaming competition.
Notable Original Netflix TV Shows
House of Cards
Orange is the New Black
Master of None
Making a Murderer
Netflix is easy to navigate and use. As many as five user profiles can be set up under one account so that your family or roommates can enjoy their own profile. Each profile can easily navigate to recommended content that is based on your previous preferences.
Many declare that Netflix offers the best overall streaming service. Netflix offers affordability, quality, quantity and easy accessibility on your tablet, smartphone, smart TV, Blu-ray player, Wii gaming system, computer and more. Streaming-only Netflix accounts are available for $10.00 a month.
Hulu is a great streaming option for anyone seeking a network TV service displaying current TV shows. Hulu even has some of its own shows. Hulu is recognized as one of the best venues for BBC viewing.
Original Hulu Shows (including BBC joint ventures)
The Thick of It (Season 4)
Offers a good selection of current and older TV series and movies
Affordably priced. The basic Hulu plan with commercials is just $8.00 a month
Watch currently airing TV shows the next day
Offers a great on demand platform displaying content from major networks
Hulu owns the rights to both Seinfeld and South Park
Several TV show series can be viewed in their entirety
Priced cheaper than Netflix, but the commercials can be intrusive. The commercial free Hulu plan is more expensive at $12.00 a month
The Hulu interface can be cumbersome and complicated
The movie selection is limited
Hulu does not have access to CBS programs
Hulu is a great streaming selection if you desire to remain current on trending TV shows. Hulu is also a great streaming option if you do not want to invest in cable television or in an HD antenna. Classic anime series and a selection of unconventional and even bizarre movies can be found in Hulu selections. The commercials can be annoying, but there are fewer commercials in comparison to cable TV viewing. Hulu's selection is not as large as Netflix's but Hulu offers access to current TV shows that are not available on Netflix.
Amazon Prime Instant Video
Best streaming option for families
Thousands of TV shows and movies with millions of songs
Other Prime benefits are included:
free shipping on Prime items
500,000 free eBooks
One free Kindle book monthly for use on Kindle (not for use on an app)
Early notification for outstanding, lightening deals
Prime only pricing deals
Prime Amazon Family
24-hour Prime deals only
Amazon original content
Mozart in the Jungle
Man in the High Castle
Same-day delivery is offered in 12 cities, and some items may be delivered in only two hours
Brand-new video additions are uncommon
There is an annual subscription fee rather than a monthly charge
Some extra content is provided for an additional cost
Amazon Prime provides a seemingly endless assortment of entertainment, plus all the shopping perks. This one charge of $99.00 can save you money on shipping costs and on many shopping deals while giving you an amazing assortment of Amazon Music, Amazon Prime Instant Videos and TV content. Similarly to Netflix, Amazon Prime offers original programming, MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. Amazon also provides access to an extensive number of HBO classics, such as Sopranos and The wire. Current movies are offered for a marked fee per movie, as an additional service.
Sling Orange TV
Sling Orange TV is an affordable option for anyone looking to replace expensive cable television.
Great pricing, especially in comparison to cable TV
Wide assortment of content
Contract is not required
Watch live sports
Customized: Pay for channels that you desire and add the ones you want
More costly than some other streaming services
Only one device can be viewed at a time (single stream)
Wiping out your cable bill is possible with Sling Orange for $20.00 a month. Watch approximately 30 live TV channels, including CNN, HGTV, Disney Channel, Food Network and more. Add extra channels to customize your plan. Sports extras include NHL, GOLF, REDZONE NFL and others for an additional $10 a month. Kid’s extras include TeenNick, Babytv, and Nicktoons for an additional $5.00 a month. HBO can be added for $15.00 a month. Creating a customized replacement for live cable TV is affordable and easy with Sling Orange. The Orange Combo offers a package of added options and is $40.00 a month. Sling Blue is a $25.00, and is an advanced basic plan that extras can also be added to.
PlayStation Vue is the favorite option of many PlayStation owners. Streaming and recording are convenient and easy with this Sony designed streaming option.
Extra-large channel selection
No contract required
Excellent DVR capabilities
PlayStation Vue is limited for use only on a few devices
The price is close to that of cable and is costly
Service is limited and is only available in some areas
Additional cities are being added soon
PlayStation Vue is a service that is quite similar to cable television and can only be viewed on an iPad, PlayStation gaming console or on a Sony smart television. This service provides live TV. Basic channels are available with the Access package for $50 a month. The Core package adds live sports and is $60 a month. The Elite package adds additional programming and is $70 a month. The Elite package includes 90 live TV channels and allows you to record. Sony à la carte items are available in addition to the packages such as HBO. Reviewers rate PlayStation Vue as a smarter viewing option than cable TV.
Crackle is the best streaming service for relaxing video viewing.
Variety of videos
Videos frequently rotate
Excessively cheesy content
Crackle is a Sony-owned streaming platform. Anime and laughable action movies are provided at no cost. Zero subscription cost. Some original material is included, such as Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Some great original TV is offered on Crackle.
Funny Or Die
Funny or Die is best for die-hard comedy lovers.
Hilariously funny videos
Quick and funny celebrity cameos that you may have missed in movies and TV shows
Guest stars include Jennifer Lawrence and Samuel L. Jackson
Very little substance
Lacks regular updates
Limited device use
Funny or Die originated as a platform for funny online videos and has expanded to a premier comedy site. It can have you in stitches laughing at funny content such as Drunk History and Gay of Thrones. This free platform is for quick laughs not for marathon streaming.
Twitch is primarily designed for devoted gamers and is a free streaming service.
Free to view online or to stream
Large variety of games
Real-time interaction with Twitch hosts
Provides very few quality streams
Difficult to use and navigate
The Twitch community is sometimes unpleasant
Watching video gamers play is a pastime that enthusiastic gamers enjoy on Twitch. This is the most popular streaming game service. Watch eSports, League of Legends and single gamers’ adventures. Gaming talk shows are hosted by expert gaming commentators. Watch free live-gaming in action on Twitch.
Vevo is the only dedicated music video streaming service.
Limited long-form videos
Most videos are hip-hop or pop
Vevo is a great replacement for the music centered networks of the 1980s and 90s, and it includes all things music, such as documentary series, up and coming artist information and 24-hour, live-streaming of music videos. Vevo is a dedicated, free music streaming platform.
YouTube Red is a $9.99 per month streaming service offered by YouTube. YouTube Red allows subscribers to watch anything on YouTube free of ads. The first month of YouTube Red is free.
What's the Best Online Streaming Service?
We have not declared one particular streaming service as the best overall platform because the ultimate decision is dependent on your unique preferences. We have spelled out the details of each streaming service so that you can decide which is best for you.
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