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How To Choose the Best Streaming Service (And Save Money!)

BY Shannon Entin

Published 1 year ago

graph of tv shows per dollar

These days, people are working from home, not working, or dealing with kids at home more than ever before. There has been a surge in subscribers to streaming services, and new services continue to launch. With so many choices, it’s important to choose the right streaming platform for you and your family, and to be sure you will get the best bang for your buck.

To help you choose the best streaming service, movie and TV search engine Reelgood put together a comprehensive guide on which streaming service offers the best value for the money among the big six: Netflix, HBO Max, Prime Video, Hulu, Disney Plus, and Apple TV+.

What Do Streaming Services Cost?

streaming subscription costs

HBOMax is the most expensive streaming service, and also the newest. However, there are different ways to get these services and different levels of service. For example, I still have Xfinity Cable (I know…) with a package that includes Netflix. And Xfinity just announced that HBOMax is included for free. I got a free year of Disney+ through Verizon and I only pay $5.99/month for Hulu because I don’t mind dealing with the commercials. Prime Video is free when you buy Amazon’s Prime Delivery Service. You can also get a free year of Apple TV+ if you buy a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac or iPod touch. So be sure to do your research before paying for any monthly subscription!

What Streaming Service has the Most TV Shows and Movies?

When considering a streaming service, decide if you are more interested in movies or TV series. Do you typically watch a couple movies on the weekend? Or do you prefer to binge-watch a TV show every night? Do you like to re-watch classics like Disney movies or The Office, or do you prefer original shows and movies?

TV shows streaming graph

Who knew that Prime Video has the most TV shows to offer? I would have definitely guessed Netflix or Hulu for the top spot. But if you’re looking for original and highly-rated TV shows, Netflix is undoubtedly your best option.

graph of tv shows per dollar

When looking at price per TV series, Prime is the winner. But that doesn’t mean these are shows you actually want to watch! Looking at quality, Netflix wins again – and is neck-and-neck with Hulu.

graph of movies on streaming services

Prime Video is once again the winner for most movies available. If you’re here for critically acclaimed movies (and lots of them!), go with Prime Video. You’ll get the most high-quality movies for your dollar with Prime, as seen in the graph below.

graph of movies per dollar

Looking at the cost of each streaming service and calculating how much content you get for every dollar, Reelgood found that Prime Video and Netflix offer the best bang for your buck

Other key insights from Reelgood:

  • HBO Max is off to a good start. It’s already beating Hulu for third place in terms of having the most high-quality movies, and total movies available. For reference, HBO Now has consistently lost out to Netflix, Prime Video, and Hulu on all aspects for the past 2 years.
  • Prime Video has been steadily improving the quality of their content. In 2018, Netflix and Hulu had them beat on all counts when it came to quality. Last year saw Prime Video slowly start to climb up the ranks. Here’s hoping the user interface and content discovery on their platform follow the same trend.

I agree that Prime Video has been stepping up their game lately! I’ve recently enjoyed Upload, Undone, and The Boys. And there are so many series I haven’t explored yet.

What are the Best Two Streaming Services to Purchase?

Many people have at least two streaming services. Which you choose, of course, depends on many things. What can you get the best deal on? Are you looking for movies, TV series, or kids’ shows? It’s a personal decision, but Reelgood discovered the most popular combinations.

For me, Netflix is a given. I love their original series and couldn’t imagine being without their streaming service. And as mentioned above, Prime Video has been a strong contender lately! I am a heavy user of Amazon’s Prime Delivery service, so I figure I’ll always have Prime Video, too. My kids watch a lot of Disney+ and Hulu. Beyond that, I’m not sure I’d subscribe to any others (unless it was a free offer!). I’ve tried CBS All-Access (not included in this study) and found their original shows to be low quality, and since I still have cable, I don’t need access to their network shows.

I hope this information is helpful to you in choosing a streaming service. Remember to do your research and keep on top of what bundles and free offers are available. And don’t be afraid to try them out and cancel the ones that don’t work for you!

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