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The Streaming Wars: How Services Like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime are Changing the Entertainment Landscape
The streaming wars are heating up.
To help you sort it all out, we’ve put together a side-by-side comparison of the major streaming services. We’ll break down the cost, the content, and the features of each so you can decide which is right for you.
Netflix is the reigning king of streaming video, with over 130 million subscribers worldwide. The service offers a vast library of movies and TV shows, including original content like Stranger Things and Orange is the New Black.
Netflix is available on just about every streaming device, including smart TVs, game consoles, and streaming set-top boxes. The company is also experimenting with ways to bring its content to your TV without a dedicated streaming device, like its new partnership with Comcast.
Netflix offers three different subscription plans:
Basic: $7.99/month, standard definition (SD) streaming
Standard: $10.99/month, high definition (HD) streaming
Premium: $13.99/month, ultra high definition (UHD) streaming
The basic plan is a good deal if you just want to watch Netflix on one screen at a time. The standard and premium plans both allow you to watch on two screens at a time and include HD and UHD streaming, respectively.
Netflix doesn’t have any commercials, but it does have a limited selection of movies and TV shows. The company has been investing heavily in original content, which has helped to offset some of the losses from its declining catalog.
Hulu is a close second to Netflix in terms of subscribers, with around 20 million. The service offers a mix of TV shows, movies, and original content, including the popular show The Handmaid’s Tale.
Hulu is available on most streaming devices, although it’s not compatible with as many as Netflix. The company is also working on a live TV streaming service that will offer a cable-like experience with a smaller channel selection.
Hulu offers two different subscription plans:
Basic: $5.99/month with commercials
Premium: $11.99/month with no commercials
The basic plan is a good deal if you don’t mind watching commercials. The premium plan is a better value if you want to watch Hulu without commercials.
Hulu also has a movie-only plan that costs $7.99/month. This plan includes a smaller selection of movies than Netflix, but it does have some exclusive titles like The Purge and A Quiet Place.
Amazon Prime Video
Prime Video has a smaller selection of movies and TV shows than Netflix or Hulu, but it does offer some exclusive titles, like The Grand Tour and The Man in the High Castle.
Amazon Prime Video is available on most streaming devices, although not all features are available on all devices. For example, you can’t download videos for offline viewing on a Roku.
Amazon Prime costs $119/year, which comes out to $9.99/month. You can also sign up for a monthly Prime Video subscription for $8.99/month.
Disney+ is a new streaming service from Disney that will launch in November 2019. The service will offer a vast library of movies and TV shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars.
Disney+ will also include original content, like The Mandalorian, a Star Wars spin-off series.
Disney+ will cost $6.99/month or $69.99/year. The annual subscription will also include a free 7-day trial.
Which Streaming Service Is Right for You?