Netflix may be one of the more popular video streaming services in the US, but it’s certainly not the only option available.
We will readily admit that Netflix is one of the best, and as such, we’ve included it in this guide. But, to be honest, the enter space is more complicated these days, as it is brimming with several different subscription services – from Amazon Prime to Hulu. If you’re the type who only watches a few programs each month, these aren’t for you. You should consider a pay-per-view service, such as FandangoNow or Vudu.
But, if you watch several movies or shows, or if you want to ditch your cable plan once and for all, video subscription services are the best option for you. They offer carte-blanche access to entire catalogues of streaming content, at a price often way more palatable than cable. So, in an attempt to help cord cutters wade through all the subscription services out there, we’ve assembled this handy guide.
We’ll be updating it with new information and new services, too, so keep checking back for updates.
Best video streaming services in the US
Amazon Prime Video
Cost: $119 a year or $13 a month, with Prime (or, a video-only subscription costs $9 a month).
Summary: Prime Video has a large collection, including original shows, like “The Grand Tour”. It also has exclusive series, such as “Downton Abbey”, HBO’s back catalogue, and Thursday Night Football streams. You can also access rival “channels” with it, like Showtime, for $9 to $15 a month. You can only stream on up to two devices at once, however. And you can’t create multiple accounts under the same subscription.
Read more: How to watch Amazon Prime Video on TV
CBS All Access
Cost: $6 a month with ads or $10 a month ad-free.
Summary: With CBS All Access, you get wide access to the network – but without an antenna. It has full-length episodes of CBS programs, as well as All-Access-only orginal series like “Star Trek: Discovery”, plus live programming from local CBS affiliates in 124 markets. There’s even a back catalogue of current CBS series. Plus, you get the 2018 NFL On CBS schedule, and you can stream the games on mobile devices.
Read more: Cord-cutter’s guide: How to survive on just 8 apps in the US
Cost: $5 a month or $50 a year for the basic service. You can pay an extra $25 monthly for full MLB.TV baseball and NHL hockey seasons.
Summary: ESPN+ is for sports fans who want out-of-market baseball and hockey games, as well as college sports fans and rugby and cricket junkies. It even has documentaries and scripted series. Some early programs include an original “30 for 30: The Last Days of Knight” and “Detail” with Kobe Bryant. It’s part of the main ESPN app for mobile devices and streaming boxes. You can also watch it online at ESPN.com.
Read more: How does ESPN+ work and what does it offer?
Cost: $15 a month.
Summary: This is for those of you who want HBO, but don’t want cable. You get the network’s series, movies, specials, and documentaries. HBO also currently has partnerships with the likes of 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros Pictures, so there’s plenty to watch from those studios, too. But, if you already have HBO through your cable provider, just use the HBO Go app, as it’s included with your plan.
Read more: What is HBO Go and how do you watch it?
Cost: $8 a month with ads or $12 a month without ads.
Summary: This is for cord cutters who want broadcast TV. It has current shows from ABC, Fox, and NBC and older shows from CBS. It also has original content, like “The Handmaid’s Tale”. Hulu even has a deal with Viacom for some MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon content. Other big partnerships include DreamWorks for future feature films and Magnolia Pictures for films right after their theatrical release.
Read more: Here’s how to create Hulu profiles
Hulu With Live TV
Cost: $40 a month.
Summary: This offers over 50 channels, including ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. You also get cable channels like A&E, CN, CNN, Disney, Fox News, FX, TBS, and TNT. The sports lineup includes CBS Sports, ESPN, and Fox Sports. There are also deals with Discovery networks, Scripps channels, and DreamWorks Animation. While the base plan only lets two people can use the service at a time, it does include 50 hours of cloud DVR.
Read more: What is Hulu Live TV and how does it work?
Cost: $8 a month for SD video on a single screen; $11 a month for HD video on up to two screens; $14 a month for 4K video on four screens.
Summary: Netflix has a huge catalogue of movies and TV shows, as well as original shows like “Orange Is the New Black” and “Stranger Things”. It even has original movies, such as “Beasts of No Nation”. There’s also a deal with Marvel that has seen “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones” come to life. Netflix is also co-financing and distributing Michael Bay’s next film, “Six Underground”, starring Ryan Reynolds.
Read more: Netflix tips and tricks: How to master your binge-watching
Cost: $45 to $80 a month as of September 2018, depending on the package.
Summary: Vue offers cable TV-style programming. You get sports channels, local channels in many major markets, plus a cloud DVR for recording shows. And it continues to add affiliate broadcast networks. It just added ABC in 11 major markets, plus four NBC affiliates. Last year, it added several other channels, like BBC America, NBA TV, and Vice. But it also lost Viacom stations, such as Comedy Central, Spike, and MTV.
Read more: What is Sony PlayStation Vue and where is it available?
Cost: $11 a month, or $9 a month when bought through services like Amazon Prime and Hulu.
Summary: Similar to HBO Now, this lets you watch the cable network without cable. You get all of Showtime’s catalogue, including movies and documentaries such as “Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars”. There’s also original shows like “Homeland”. But if you subscribe to Showtime through a cable provider, the Showtime Anytime app lets you watch Showtime on your mobile devices, much like HBO Go for HBO subscribers.
Read more: Showtime streaming hands-on: Not just on-demand films
Cost: Sling Orange is $25 a month; Sling Blue is $25 a month. A combined package is $40 a month. Add-on packs cost $5 to $10 extra.
Summary: With Dish’s Sling TV, you get channels with cloud DVR. The Orange package comes with about 30, including Disney, ESPN, A&E, the Food Network, and TBS. As for broadcast TV, it’s limited. You can get Fox and NBC in some markets, but with the Blue package. You can also add premium channels, such as HBO and Showtime, for an extra fee per month. There’s also a NBA League Pass for $29 a month.
Read more: What is Dish Sling TV and does it really offer ESPN?
Cost: $40 a month.
Summary: This is comparable to Sling TV and Hulu with Live TV. It offers access to live TV from up to 50 providers, including all the major network. There’s a nice selection of channels, too, including Bravo, Disney, ESPN, FX, Fox News, Fox Sports, MSNBC, National Geographic, USA, and some regional sports networks. It also has a unlimited cloud DVR and supports up to three simultaneous users.
Read more: What is YouTube TV and which channels does it offer?
Here are two more worth considering, though these are much lesser known than the above US video streaming services.
Cost: $45 a month for about 75 channels for the basic service. The new Fubo Extra plan, which has more than 90 channels, is $50 a month.
Summary: This sports-focused service has both live and on-demand channels from broadcast networks (like CBS, Fox, and NBC), cable channels (A&E, Bravo, FX, and SyFy, and USA), and sports networks (BeIn Sports, FS1, Golf Channel, and NBA TV). It even has regional sports networks. It comes with 30 hours of free cloud DVR, and there’s a 72-hour “look back” that lets you replay programs from last three days.
Cost: $16 a month; $4 more for an add-on channel pack.
Summary: Philo is a sports-free streaming service that offers 40 channels from cable networks, including A&E, AMC, BBC America, Cheddar, Comedy Central, Discovery Channel, Food Network, HGTV, History, Lifetime, MTV, Nickelodeon, TLC, Travel Channel, and others. There’s also a $4-per-month add-on that includes additional channels. It support up to three simultaneous users, and you get unlimited cloud DVR.
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