With so many entertainment streaming services available to us nowadays, it’s hard to know which plan is best for you. Personally, I have Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and Amazon Prime and while I pay about $28.90 monthly for all four services, I am curious as to how they compare in terms of content, cost and usability. Keep reading for my streaming TV comparison.
Check out this content selection comparison chart to see the type of content does each streaming service offers.
Netflix offers some of the most acclaimed original movies, documentaries and series than other streaming services. You can also find older series like Gilmore Girls, That 70’s Show and Jeopardy!, as well as international movies and series. One thing to note is that Netflix does not add previous seasons of a show until a new season begins on live TV.
Fan-favorites: Ozark, The Umbrella Academy, When They See Us, The Haunting of Hill House, GLOW, Making a Murderer, Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black, The Office
Hulu is probably the best streaming service to replace cable. In addition to original content, Hulu offers current-season TV shows from networks such as CBS, FOX, A&E, Bravo and more, just a couple days after it airs on live TV. If you don’t want to wait, Hulu’s most premier plan offers live TV and On Demand TV, including sports and news, with more than 65 top channels. Another option available is add-ons, to which you can add HBO Max, SHOWTIME, STARZ and more for a monthly fee.
Fan-favorites: The Handmaid’s Tale, Little Fires Everywhere, Castle Rock, The Mindy Project, The Act, Marvel’s Runaways, Harlots, RAMY
Likely the most family-friendly streaming service, you can find classic and new Disney content, as well as Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic entertainment. You’ll be able to stream classic series like Recess and The Simpsons and newer movies like Moana and Frozen, as well as exclusive Disney+ originals.
Fan-favorites: The Mandalorian, Toy Story 4, Black is King, Hamilton
With your Amazon Prime membership is access to Amazon Prime Video, which includes thousands of original movies, shows and popular titles for the family. Additionally, you have the option to rent or buy movies and TV episodes not included with Prime Video and subscribe to Prime Video Channels that include over 100 premium channels like SHOWTIME, HBO and more.
Fan-favorites: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Modern Love, Jack Ryan
Cost & Shareability
Check out this cost selection comparison chart to see the costs of each streaming service’s plans as well as the number of profiles, screens that can stream simultaneously and more.
While all Netflix plans offer unlimited movies and television shows that you can stream on your laptop, TV, phone and tablet, depending on the number of devices you want to be streaming Netflix on at the same time, you have three different options.
Free trial: 30 days for first time registrants.
Basic: $8.99 monthly. Allows one streaming screen at the same time and one phone or tablet with downloaded content.
Standard: $12.99 monthly. Allows two streaming screens at the same time and two phones or tablets with downloaded content. HD streaming available.
Premium: $15.99 monthly. Allows four streaming screens at the same time and four phones or tablets with downloaded content. HD and Ultra HD streaming available.
Special perks: Unlimited ad-free streaming with every plan. Netflix also has a DVD Plan (U.S. only), or you can add DVDs to your current plan.
Hulu offers three plans, with the most basic plan coming in at $3 less than that of Netflix. However, if you want to save, you’re going to have to pay for it in ads that run about 60 to 90 seconds two or three times during an hour-long show.
Free trial: One month for first time registrants.
Hulu: $5.99 monthly. Allows up to six user profiles with two different streaming screens at the same time.
Hulu (No Ads): $11.99 monthly with no ads. Allows up to six user profiles with two different streaming screens at the same time. Can download and watch on-the-go or offline.
Hulu + Live TV: $54.99 monthly. Allows up to six user profiles with two different streaming screens at the same time. Includes live TV with more than 65 channels and 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage.
Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV: $60.99 monthly with no ads. Allows up to six user profiles with two different streaming screens at the same time. Includes live TV with more than 65 channels and 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage.
Special perks: Get Cash Back on your Hulu subscription with Rakuten. Bundle Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN+ for just $12.99 a month.
Disney+ only offers one plan option. You can stream on up to four devices simultaneously with unlimited downloads on up to 10 devices so you can watch on-the-go.
Free trial: None.
Disney+: $6.99 monthly or $69.99 annually. You can stream on up to four devices simultaneously with unlimited downloads on up to 10 devices so you can watch on-the-go.
Special perks: Get Cash Back on your Disney+ subscription with Rakuten. Bundle Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN+ for just $12.99 a month. Verizon members with Unlimited phone plans or 5G Home or Fios Home Internet can enjoy a year of Disney+ for free.
While most Amazon Prime Video members have a full Prime membership, you can get a Prime Video membership only. For an extra $4 a month, you can enjoy shopping benefits, ad-free music streaming, unlimited photo storage and unlimited reading. You can share your favorite Prime Benefits with someone you live with via Amazon Household.
Free trial: 30 days for first time registrants, including those with EBT or Medicaid cards. Six months for first time Student Prime registrants.
Prime Video membership: $8.99 monthly.
Prime membership: $12.99 monthly or $119 annually. Includes Prime shopping benefits, ad-free music streaming, unlimited photo storage and unlimited reading. If you have a qualifying EBT or Medicaid card, you can enjoy Prime for $5.99 monthly.
Student Prime membership: $6.49 monthly or $59 annually. Includes student-exclusive offers such as Showtime for $0.99 monthly up to a year, Amazon Music Unlimited for $0.99 monthly and a free two-month trial of Kindle Unlimited.
Usability & Relevance
As someone who uses all four streaming services, I discuss user-friendliness and the service’s ability to recommend relevant, suitable content.
Netflix is the streaming service I have had the longest, so it has the most watch history data. Considering that, its recommendations are pretty relevant, but I wish they were closer to the top. At times, it feels as if Netflix is more invested in me watching new and popular content than content I am already watching or in which I would be interested. My younger cousins have access to my Netflix account but only the Kids options. Netflix does a great job of filtering content so that it’s suitable for the younger audience.
Right off the bat, I appreciate that “Keep Watching” is one of the first things I see. While it may be that I don’t use Hulu as much, it seems like the rest of the content on my feed is random. Regardless, I love Hulu for its current TV content because I don’t have cable, and this is a fraction of the cost. I appreciate getting to catch up with my TV shows on my own time.
In my opinion, Disney+ tailors to a specific audience – its fans. With that being said, you can’t really go wrong with any of the content that displays on your feed as long as you’re a fan. It’s easy to find movies and shows under a specific studio – Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars or National Geographic – and just as easy to search for the title you want if you’re looking for something specific, which is usually the case for me.
Prime Video features a home feed that highlights movie and TV show recommendations, plus Amazon originals and popular and new content. As an Amazon Prime member, there’s also a section called “Free to me.” I do wish that paying for a Prime membership included all standard movies and shows, as the only time I have to pay for add-ons or premium content is for HBO, STARZ, etc. on other streaming services. With Amazon Prime, you have to pay for premium subscriptions as well as content not included with Prime.
All in all, I think each streaming service has something to offer. If you love originals and a large variety, Netflix is great. For those who love watching current television series, Hulu is the service for you. Disney+ is fantastic for families with kids, or if you’re just looking to bring some nostalgia to life. If you are already an Amazon Prime member, Prime Video is a great perk.