Best Streaming Services in 2023
By JW Rider · May 21, 2022
5 Best Streaming Services in 2023
Best streaming service for kids & families
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Great value for money
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Great original content
Amazon Prime Video
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Disney Plus does not limit how many people can use the service simultaneously. You can have viewing parties and split the cost of a new movie without any issues. However, Disney Plus limits the number of devices you can use at a time to four.
Not only does Disney Plus have parental controls, but they are easy to use. Log in to your account and select “Edit Profiles.” Choose the “Parental Controls” option and change the rating of the content users can watch through each profile. Disney Plus allows you to create up to four profiles to keep an eye on what your family watches.
Though you can use Disney Plus in different places, the available content differs based on your location. Disney Plus is available in North America and Latin America as well as Asia and Europe. The available content changes due to the streaming rights in those regions.
Pros & Cons
- Large library of classic films and shows from Disney and Fox
- Multiple bundles let you use other streaming services
- Various subtitles to choose from
- Offers exclusive content not available anywhere else
- Includes new releases
- Charges high fees to stream new movies that are still in theaters
- Does not include all content from Disney and Fox studios
- Can take a long time to load
While there is no limit to how many people can use Netflix, you can only watch it on one screen with the basic plan. You should upgrade to the standard or premium plan if you want to use it on more screens. This will also let you download content to more devices and see content in better clarity.
Not only does Netflix have parental controls, but the company also offers a profile designed for kids. It appears automatically when you open the app and limits kids to only content that is suitable for them. You can also create a new profile for older children and limit what they can watch based on a specific maturity level. Netflix lets you block certain titles as well.
You can use Netflix in different locations, but the app will use your IP address to determine where you are. This will give you access to the library that is available in that region or country. Netflix also announced plans to regulate subscription sharing in certain regions. You will need to pay a fee to share the app with others if you live in one of those locations.
Pros & Cons
- No ads
- Lets you download content to watch without internet
- Plans allow you to watch on up to four screens at once
- Tons of original content and content from different studios
- Easy to use
- Does not notify you of content that is leaving
- Prices keep going up
- Can be buggy at times
As a Hulu subscriber, you can share your account with one other household. People living in both homes can watch content at the same time. This also lets you use Hulu when you’re in a hotel room or traveling. The only exception is if you have Hulu Live. Hulu will lock this to your IP address and only allow you to use it in your home. If you need to use it in a different location, you must update your billing address.
Hulu parental controls allow parents to set up a kid’s profile. You choose a PIN to work with your account and use the profile to determine what your kids can watch. The only way they can watch restricted content is if they have your PIN.
Though Hulu is not available in all regions, you can use it in the United States and Puerto Rico as well as some regions in Japan. Hulu also worked with the military to ensure that those stationed on American bases around the world can get full access to its library.
Pros & Cons
- Offers multiple plans with or without ads
- Gives you the chance to watch live TV without a cable plan
- Many shows are available the day after they originally air
- Lots of original content like “The Handmaid’s Tale”
- Has a bundle deal with ESPN+ and Disney Plus
- Has less content than other services do
- Even the ad-free plan includes some ads with select programs
- Not many download options
Amazon Prime Video subscribers can share their accounts with two other people and stream on three devices simultaneously. Only two of those devices can watch the same program or film, though. To access content outside of your home, you need to click on the “Share Your Prime Benefits” button in your account details and select the “Manage Your Household Button.” This allows you to send an invite to someone and let them access your account.
You can restrict the content your kids watch with Amazon Prime Video parental controls. Amazon requires that you update the controls on all linked devices. You set up a PIN that you need to enter to access content with a higher maturity rating. Amazon will also require the PIN to purchase or rent a video.
Amazon Prime Video launched in the United States and the United Kingdom but also allowed viewers to watch content in Austria, Germany, and Japan. Since 2016, the streaming service was also available in more than 20 countries around the world, including France, Spain, and Italy. Not only does the available content in those areas differ, but subscribers must log in via their country’s Amazon website.
Pros & Cons
- Available with or without an Amazon Prime subscription
- Lots of original content from Amazon Studios that won major awards
- Includes HDR and 4K streaming options
- Has movie and show rentals for an additional fee
- Can customize your plan with ad-on channels
- Not as much content as other streaming services offer
- Runs ads for its original programs
- Often shows titles you need to rent or buy when you search
The number of people who can use HBO Max on different devices at the same time will depend on the plan you have. If you choose the plan with ads, you can only use the HBO Max on up to two devices at the same time. This increases to four screens when you have the premium plan that does not play ads.
To limit what your kids can watch, you need to set up a separate profile for them. You can even set the highest content rating such as PG or PG-13. HBO Max will not show or let them watch content with a higher rating through their profile. The parental controls remain the same when you travel to other countries or regions.
HBO Max is available in the United States and 15 other countries, including Portugal and Bosnia. You may notice that some of the content you watched in one area is not available in another. HBO Max reserves the right to change its library based on your IP address.
Pros & Cons
- Lots of premium and original content
- Works on multiple devices at the same time
- Compatible with smart TVs and other devices
- Features original content only available through the app
- Gives you access to some shows the day after they air
- Not available in all regions
- Expensive compared to other streaming services
- Lacks as much content as other services offer
What is the best streaming service?
The best streaming service often depends on the type of content that you like. Do you have small children who love running through the house and singing songs from “Frozen?” Disney Plus is the best option for you. Though it does not include everything from the Disney library, it includes many shows and films from the early history of the company up through the present day. You will even find content from your childhood that you want to share with your kids, like “The Mighty Ducks” movies and “Bambi.” As Disney Plus slowly adds more content from Fox and other studios, the library will only continue to grow.
Many people love Netflix and stick with the company, even as its prices rise. Netflix is one of the few streaming services to include both original content as well as content from other studios. You never know what you might find when you check out the latest releases. While other streaming services offer cheaper plans that include ads, Netflix does not include ads with any of its plans. You can even choose a subscription that lets you stream and download content on up to four devices.
Amazon Prime helps you save money on shipping costs and get affordable clothing and more. As a subscriber, you get free access to Amazon Prime Video, although you don’t need to be a Prime member to sign up for their streaming service. This is the best option for those who want access to thousands of films and shows as well as original content. Amazon spends a lot of money to produce films and shows that its subscribers love. As long as you link a payment method to your account, you can search the database and either buy or rent titles as well. Thanks to the channel add-on options, it’s easy to add other streaming services to your account. With one account, you can watch content from Shudder and dozens of other streaming apps.
The best streaming service for those who love premium content is HBO Max. This streaming service started as HBO Go, which was originally only available to those with a cable package. You can now sign up for HBO Max without having cable in your home. This streaming service has loads of original content that you won’t find anywhere else like “The Flight Attendant” and “Euphoria.” The recently added section helps you easily see all the latest films added to the service and those that will become available by the end of the month. HBO Max subscribers also love that they can watch classic films and shows from the network on this service, including “Sex and the City” and “The Sopranos.”
Not only is Hulu the best streaming service for the money, but it’s also the best streaming service in general. To get the most bang for your buck, choose one of the Live packages. Are you tired of missing out on your favorite shows because you don’t have cable? Hulu Live comes with more than 60 networks to watch all of your favorite programs. Though it does cost extra, it’s cheaper than paying for a cable package. You can also bundle your Hulu Live with Disney Plus and ESPN+ to save even more. Hulu can also help you catch up on shows as many networks like ABC allow the streaming service to play episodes less than 24 hours after they air. This makes it easy for you to watch “The Conners” and “Grey’s Anatomy” along with other fun shows.
How do you use a streaming service?
Using a streaming service is as easy as using cable. The main thing that you need is a good internet connection. If your internet connection is too slow, you’ll find that videos buffer for a few minutes or longer until they play. You also risk the streaming app crashing. You usually need a minimum of 8 Mbps if you want to stream high-definition content. When two or more people use the app at the same time, you need to increase that speed. For example, you’ll need a minimum of 16 Mbps for two people to stream in high-definition simultaneously.
Streaming also requires an account with one of the streaming services. When you decide which one you want to use, you need to sign up and register for an account. You can do this on your computer or a mobile device. Simply visit the website and click on the option to create a new account or sign up. Some services offer coupons or discounts for first responders, those in the military, teachers, and students. To qualify for one of those discounts, you usually need to confirm your identity on another site. There are also streaming service coupons you can use to save on your monthly subscription fees. The site will have a box for promo codes and ask you to enter the code before you pay.
Make sure that you pick the type of plan that is right for you. Many services have both ad and ad-free plans. A plan with ads is similar to cable television; you need to sit through an ad before you watch a program or in the middle of your program. If you watch a 22-minute-long TV show, you might see several ads before the end of the episode and another one before the next ad plays. Ad-free plans let you watch shows and films for hours without seeing a single ad. Hulu is a little different because some of its programs still play ads. “Grey’s Anatomy” is just one example. This show plays one ad at the beginning of each episode and a short commercial at the end.
You’ll also need to decide if you want to pay by the month or the year. Paying by the month is helpful when first signing up because you can see what the service offers and if it’s a good fit for your home. Before your next payment is due, log in and pay for the annual plan. Though some services will only charge you when the next payment is due, others will charge you right away but subtract the amount you already paid. You may come across streaming services that offer a free trial, too. The trial ranges from one week to a full month. You need to enter a card as a payment method to take advantage of the trial. If you do not cancel before your first due date, the service will charge you.
Once you become a subscriber, you need to download the app to your device. You can use a smart TV or a video game console like the Xbox One or PS5. As long as the device has enough space for the app and an internet connection, you can search the marketplace for the app and click on the download button. You need to wait for the download to finish before you open the app and log in with your username/email address and password. Streaming devices also work with this app. Amazon offers several Fire products such as Firesticks that you can plug into your device. Roku offers similar devices as well as boxes that connect to your TV with a few included cords. Apple TV devices also allow you to stream with your favorite app.
After you sign in, start looking for content. All streaming apps let you add titles to your list to keep track of them. Most apps place titles in your list as you add them, which places the newest titles in the front and the oldest in the back. Netflix is different because it keeps track of your viewing habits. They update and personalize your list as you watch more content. You’ll notice that titles move around on your list depending on how likely Netflix thinks you will watch them. Most apps also have a section that shows everything you recently watched to help you pick up where you left off.
Are there benefits to streaming?
The cost of cable packages seems to always be on the rise. You might pay more than $100 for a package that includes a few channels you watch regularly and some you never watch. Streaming services help you save money every month. You’ll find plans priced at less than $20 a month and some that cost less than $10 per month. When you pay for an annual subscription, you can save even more and don’t need to worry about the service taking money out of your bank account every month.
Depending on the service you choose, you might also get some freedom from commercials. Television shows once had only one or two commercials per episode, usually at the very beginning. A 30-minute episode ran for 25 minutes or longer when you removed the commercials. TV shows today show more commercials. When you take out the ads, you only get 20-22 minutes of content. Most streaming services do not play ads or give you the option of choosing an ad-free plan. Plans with ads are cheaper, however.
Some of the other benefits of streaming include:
- You can pick multiple streaming services to use every month and still pay less than you would for cable.
- Streaming services, like Hulu, often offer discounted rates around the holidays which usually runs a $1 per month special on Black Friday.
- There is a lot of content that you won’t find on cable, as well as exclusive and original productions.
- Some services allow you to watch movies while they’re still in theaters at home for $30 or less.
- You can choose services that let you watch live TV to catch awards shows and sports matches as they happen in real time.
What are some of the other streaming services?
No matter what you like to watch, you can find a streaming service that is right for you. There are some specialty services designed for those who like specific types of content such as Shudder. Shudder is a streaming service for fans of horror stories. It costs $5.99 a month and is available at a discounted rate of around $57 a year. Shudder also has a seven-day free trial that lets you check out the service before you commit to a plan. You’ll find collections created by some of the top horror directors and actors along with original films like “The Cellar” and “Party Hard, Die Young.” Shudder has live channels that play different horror films and shows 24/7, too.
If you’re a fan of classic NBC shows like “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation,” Peacock might be the top streaming service for you. One of the unique things about Peacock is that it offers both free and paid subscriptions. With a free subscription, there are limits on what you can watch. You cannot view new movies and will find that many shows and films play with commercials. With a paid account, Peacock will give you full access to its library and remove all ads. Paid subscribers can watch new movies before they land on Blu-ray and sometimes while they’re still in theaters. The ad-free plan costs $10 per month or $100 for the year. Peacock also offers an unlimited plan with ads for $50 per year or $5 per month.
CBS All-Access launched as a streaming service from CBS that allowed subscribers to watch new and classic content from the network. The service is now available as Paramount+ and features content from CBS and Paramount Studios. You’ll find classics like “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “Hawaii 5-0” as well as reboots of modern classics, including “iCarly.” Paramount+ plans to release new films through the app just 45 days after they arrive in theaters. Plans cost $10 per month or $100 per year for an ad-free plan and $5 per month or $50 per year for a plan with ads. The premium ad-free plan includes live CBS access, too.
Fans of cooking and other reality shows might prefer Discovery Plus. You qualify for a seven-day free trial as a new subscriber, which unlocks content from dozens of networks, including Food Network and the History Channel. ID, TLC, HGTV, OWN, and Lifetime programming is also available through this streaming service. Plans are available for $4.99 per month with ads and $6.99 per month without ads. Military subscribers and students qualify for discounts that drop their rates to $2.99 per month. Some of the popular original shows available on Discovery Plus include “Chopped: Next Gen” and “Toddlers and Tiaras: Where Are They Now?”
You don’t need an Apple TV streaming device to use the Apple TV streaming app. The app is compatible with streaming boxes from Roku and other companies and also works on popular game consoles. You pay $50 per year or $5 per month. Apple TV made headlines when its hit show “Ted Lasso” won multiple awards, but that is far from the only content worth streaming. “The Morning Show” and “The Foundation” are other notable shows. Apple TV also gives you the option of adding and using other channels and services.
If you are on the fence about cutting the cable cord because you watch so much live television, consider Sling TV. Sling TV allows you to choose between three different packages that determine the channels you can watch. Sling Orange costs $35 per month and comes with channels, including ESPN, TBS, and CNN. USA and BBC America are some of the channels that come with Sling Blue, which costs the same amount. You can also bundle both packages and enjoy more than 50 channels of live television programs for $50 per month. The downside to Sling TV is that it can run sluggishly when multiple people use the app at the same time.
DIRECTV Stream also gives you access to live television at home and on the go. This streaming service is available through AT&T and is the new version of the company’s old AT&T TV streaming app. AT&T lets you pick the right plan for you based on what you want to watch. The Plus plan is the most basic; it costs $65 per month and lets you watch more than 50 channels. For $80 a month, you can upgrade to the Max plan and get access to even more channels. Other plans include the Entertainment plan for $93 a month and the Ultimate plan for $135 per month. This includes all of the channels from the other packages. AT&T also offers a plan called Optimo Más that includes Spanish channels for $86 per month.
It’s easy to save money every month with free plans that let you stream content for free. You can also supplement the streaming service you choose with one of these options to increase your library. Pluto is a popular choice because it works on so many mobile devices. With Pluto, you scroll through all of the channels to find what you want to watch. You’ll find channels that show action flicks or comedies as well as those that show classic TV shows 24/7. Crackle is also free to use and popular among comedy fans. It has the entire run of “The Carol Burnett Show” available along with some other older shows. You can also use Vudu, which allows you to keep track of the digital movies you buy and enter codes you find in physical releases. Vudu has a large selection of free content that you can watch with ads. It’s important to note, however, that all of the top free streaming services play ads.
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Last updated on May 21, 2022