top of page

Intro to Streaming Video Services

Streaming video services are a behemoth in entertainment. New shows and movies launch every week on a myriad of streaming services. For the average person who has a job and a family, it can be overwhelming to keep track of where or how to watch a new show everyone is talking about or reruns of an old sitcom that you love. This article will give you a quick introduction to streaming and the type of programming that’s available on the most popular services.

Why subscribe to a streaming service?

Top streaming services like Netflix offer thousands of hours of programming in every genre. If you aren’t interested in watching live news or sports, you can cut cable or a live TV streaming service and subscribe to one or multiple streaming services and never run out of shows to watch. Otherwise, these services supplement your existing cable TV subscription and provide a plethora of programming to watch when you’re in the mood for something different.

Most streaming services offer a premium ad-free tier and a lower-priced tier with ads. Another benefit is that some services offer 4k High Definition (HD) streaming, allowing you to take full advantage of a new OLED or LED TV and surround sound system you’ve purchased and watch shows in the best possible picture and sound quality.

How to watch

Streaming video services primarily provide on demand entertainment, sports, and kids programming, with limited live sports and news programming. For the best experience, we recommend accessing streaming services through a dedicated streaming device, preferably an Apple TV or Roku. There are many other ways to stream video, such as through a cable box, Smart TV, or video game system which are often easy to access but may not be as reliable (particularly as those devices age). Fortunately, you can always add a dedicated streaming device to any newer TV.

Which streaming service should I pick?

Streaming services are simply delivery vessels for programming. We recommend choosing a leading service like Netflix or Max to start with and try then other services. There’s little reason to remain loyal to any particular service since price hikes are typically instituted across all subscribers, no matter how long you’ve subscribed. While you can lock in a discount with an annual subscription with many streaming services, you might be better off to jump between one or multiple services at a time, canceling one when you’ve run out of shows to watch for the time being (particularly for the smaller services) and then join again months later after new programming has debuted.

Mainstream Services


Netflix is the leading U.S. streaming video service and constantly releases new original content. It has a library full of original and studio movies, TV shows, documentaries, and kids shows. Its original content varies from high-budget movies starring top Hollywood talent like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to lower budget dramas and documentaries. Original shows like Wednesday, Stranger Things, Squid Game, and The Crown stream exclusively on Netflix along with classic shows like Seinfeld and Breaking Bad.

Best for: Everyone. Netflix offers varied programming for kids to adults across all genres and languages. All content is currently on demand.

Standard service with ads: $6.99/month, HD, 2 streams

Standard service: $15.49/month, Full HD, 2 streams

Premium service: $22.99/month, 4k Ultra HD, 4 streams



Max (formerly HBO Max) content includes HBO and Cinemax original shows, Warner Brothers movies, and Discovery and Food Network programming. New shows and movies appear frequently—Warner Brothers movies typically debut on Max 45 days after their theatrical release. Shows such as The Last of Us, Game of Thrones, Friends, and Sesame Street stream exclusively on Max. There’s also an extensive collection of Turner Classic Movies and Criterion Collection films. Heads up: don’t wait months to watch a TV series or movie that interests you—programming has a tendency to disappear from Max without notice (even HBO or Cinemax-produced shows).

A B/R Sports add-on tier is now available that includes select sporting events broadcast on TBS, TNT, and truTV, such as MLB, NBA, NHL, and NCAA Men’s College Basketball.

Best for: Fans of HBO, Discovery, and Food Network shows, current and classic movies, young children.

With ads: $9.99/month or $99.99/year, HD, 2 streams

Ad-free: $15.99/month or $149.99/year, HD, 2 streams

Ultimate Ad-free: $19.99/month or $199.99/year, 4k Ultra HD, Dolby Atmos audio, 4 streams

B/R Sports Add-on: $9.99/month


Amazon Prime Video

If you subscribe to Amazon Prime, you have access to Amazon Prime Video, which includes a comparatively small selection of original TV shows like The Boys, Reacher, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel as well as studio movies that cycle in and out. Amazon Prime is also the exclusive home of live NFL Thursday Night Football through 2033.

$139.99/year Amazon Prime service includes Prime Video with limited ads

$8.99/month as a standalone video service

$2.99/month extra to stream ad-free



Disney+ is the streaming home for Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, National Geographic, and of course, Disney movies and shows. If you or your family are interested in these movies or shows, Disney+ is worth subscribing to for a time. However, there may not be enough new content to keep you interested month after month unless you watch the same movies repeatedly, making Disney+ a prime contender to subscribe to on and off. Some content is available is available in 4K and Dolby Atmos.

Best for: Families, Marvel, Disney, and Star Wars fans

Basic with Ads: $7.99/month

Premium (no ads): $13.99/month or $139.99/year



Hulu has an amazingly diverse library of new and classic TV shows that includes shows from the four major networks and many cable channels, along with a respectable selection of studio movies, a wide variety of anime/animation, and ABC News programming. New shows usually appear next day after airing on TV. Hulu offers a small selection of original shows and movies, but with its extensive library, it is easy to find something to watch.

Best for: Watching and binging TV on demand.

                With Ads: $7.99/month or $79.99/year

                *Hulu with ads is included for free with a Premium Spotify subscription

                No Ads: $17.99/month (a few shows still include ads before and afterwards)



ESPN+ provides extra live sports not available on ESPN cable stations, most notably exclusive live UFC events as well as extensive on demand programming that includes the entire 30 for 30 library. Note that if a game is on ESPN, ESPN 2, etc., you can only stream that content with an active cable subscription.

Best for: Pro sports fans, UFC, and college sports fans

With ads: $10.99/month or $109.99/year

Disney owns Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN and offers discounted bundles for all three services:

Duo Basic: $9.99/month – Disney+ (with ads), Hulu (with ads)

Disney Bundle Duo Premium: $19.99/month – Disney+ (no ads), Hulu (no ads)

Disney Bundle Trio Basic: $14.99/month – Disney+ (with ads), Hulu (with ads), ESPN+ (with ads)

Disney Bundle Trio Premium: $24.99/month – Disney+ (no ads), Hulu (no ads), ESPN+ (with ads)


Apple TV+

Apple TV+ is a newer service that focuses almost entirely on original TV shows, movies, and specials. Its most notable shows are Ted Lasso and Severance. Apple TV+ is the home to Major League Soccer through 2033 and also broadcasts Major League Baseball on Friday nights. Limited classic, non-original content is available, most notably Peanuts’ Charlie Brown specials. All original Apple content is available in 4k and Dolby Atmos or 5.1 surround sound.

Best for: Fans of high concept dramas and prestige documentaries

Standard service (no ads): $9.99/month or $99.99/year

MLS Season Pass: $99.99/full season



Paramount+ includes programming from CBS, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, and the Smithsonian Channel as well as streaming-exclusive shows like 1883 and 1923 (Yellowstone spin-offs), Tulsa King, Picard, and more. New Paramount movies are made available shortly after their theatrical release. With Nickelodeon programming, it’s great for kids of all ages as well.

Best for: Fans interested in exclusive shows, Paramount movies, Showtime programming, kids

Paramount+ Essential (with ads): $5.99/month or $59.99/year

*Included with an active Walmart+ subscription

Paramount+ with Showtime (no ads): $11.99/month or $119.99/year. Includes Showtime programming and live streaming of local CBS station (which includes ads).



Peacock streams NBC Universal TV shows and movies, with next day availability for NBC and Bravo programs, including favorites like the many Law & Order series, Chicago P.D./Fire/Med, and The Office. Universal movies appear on Peacock shortly after their theatrical release. Peacock is the streaming home for Yellowstone, Hallmark, and WWE, and also has exclusive original TV shows.

Best for: Fans of NBC TV shows, WWE fans

Premium (with ads): $5.99/month or $59.99/year

Premium Plus (no ads): $11.99/month or $119.99/year. Includes live streaming of local NBC station.


With these streaming services, you can find a near limitless amount of programming to watch. And if these aren’t enough, there are dozens of other streaming services out there to explore from the mainstream (Starz, AMC+) to niche services (Shudder, Acorn TV).


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page