Comparison of streaming services by usability and features

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Streaming is the future. If you’re still a cable subscriber, what do you do? Of course, there are a few live TV events each year that you probably want a traditional TV package for. If you’re switching from cable to streaming, you’ll need to find a way to watch the Super Bowl, the Oscars, Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, the Olympics, and a few wandering episodes of Diners, drive-ins and dives. But hey, that’s what your disconnected, techno-awkward neighbor is for.

Right now, the problem isn’t streaming, it’s knowing what service you actually need. Where is Seinfeld? It was on Hulu, now it’s on Netflix. Where are the Harry Potter movies? They seem to bounce between HBO Max and Peacock. Interested in checking Star Trek: Picard? Looks like you need to sign up for Paramount+. Depending on how many services you subscribe to, your streaming bill may end up looking like what your cable bill was before you cut the cord.

Netflix has long dominated the world of streaming, but the new Disney+ and Apple TV+ have grown rapidly since their launch in November 2019. Disney+ is expected to overtake Netflix in global subscriber count by 2026. HBO Max has gained significant viewers since its launch, as it automatically gave former HBO linear subscribers automatic access to the expanded streaming business.

Of course, the whole content discussion is secondary if you can’t actually get those services to work. Content aside, we’ve compared the major streaming services based on their features and overall usability.

peacock
What is free? What is free with ads? What are you paying for who still has ads? How much to receive no advertising? Is there live tv? can i just watch Office, please? The weirdest streaming service is about as clueless as the bird it’s named after.

Peacock offers a flexible pricing plan where you can get a limited free plan (with ads), a premium plan for $4.99 per month (with ads) and a more enhanced premium option for $9.99 per month (without ads ). Users have complained that Peacock doesn’t distinguish the shows available on each option well enough. Some shows like Office aren’t offered in full unless you get the premium plus plan, but “preview” episodes are left on the lower tiers. It all sounds like some kind of Dwight Schrute prank.

HBO Max
Between HBO’s library of shows, hundreds of great classic and international movies, every DC comic book adaptation, Cartoon Network shows, everything from Sesame Workshop, and new movies right after they hit theaters, HBO Max easily has the best lineup of any of the streamers. – not that you can actually watch any without the service crashing, as it just did again in the highly anticipated Season 2 finale of Euphoria. Stop blaming teenagers and fix your service!

Also, good luck finding the latest episode of Euphoria or whatever you’re trying to watch. HBO Max takes you through a new search and five screens before you can return to where you last were. Can they already add a “continue watching” feature?

HBO Max made headlines when it announced that the entire Warner Bros. theatrical releases slated for 2021 would also be available to stream on the service, which has ruffled the feathers of angry Hollywood talent. Users weren’t happier; the movies were only available for 30 days. Former W.B. President Jason Kilar later admitted that Warner Media rushed into the decision.

Paramount+

Does anyone know what this is? We have yet to meet anyone who actually has Paramount+. All we know is that there was a Super Bowl commercial for the streaming app featuring Spongebob, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Captain Picard, and a few athletes engaged in a marketing gig. We haven’t checked it yet, but it seems a bit sketchy to us.

Similar to how HBO Max upgraded existing HBO linear subscribers, Paramount+ expanded the options of what was available on the CBS All-Access service. It’s a bit confusing, because neither “CBS” nor “Paramount” have any iconic characters that you can associate with their brands. Recent polls have suggested that the two services work the same way, and that few people subscribed to Paramount+ who hadn’t used CBS All-Access before.

Hulu
Ah, Hulu, aka the most intrusive ads ever. How many times do we have to see the same Dove Lotion ad? Don’t tell us to pay for the upgrade either. We’re just trying to catch up The Handmaid’s Tale then cancel.

A better option for Hulu actually exists overseas. In international territories that do not offer Hulu, more “mature” programming (such as The Handmaid’s Tale) is available through Disney+ in another hub called Star+. This feature appears as a category alongside Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar, and National Geographic and requires a code so kids don’t accidentally access inappropriate content.

Amazon Premier
It makes us a little embarrassed when we have to look at our irresponsible Amazon cart wishlist every time we look The boys. Amazon Prime also has a sneaky way of not telling you which movies and shows you actually have to pay to rent until you’ve already made your popcorn. You wanna watch shit Alien: Resurrection? Luckily it’s free. But if you want to watch the original Extraterrestrial? Rental $4.99.

Those worried about Jeff Bezos’ continued malevolence have even more reason to worry. Amazon tracks viewing habits and doesn’t tell viewers what data it collects, which makes Prime a scary prospect for those concerned about privacy. Worse still, Amazon will remove a mid-binge series overnight without any warning.

netflix
We have to admit, picking a profile picture is a lot of fun, although picking one of Squid Game’s hapless characters can be a bit morbid. If only Netflix could stop keeping us awake after our bedtimes by automatically starting the next episode five seconds after the credits start. Alright, let’s watch the next one. ozark. Alright, we’re going to finish the season. You know what? Guess we’re now watching another random Jason Bateman movie that’s in our recommendations tab.

Netflix is ​​trying to woo a new segment of the population next year: gamers. The service announced that it would begin offering gaming content with an initial focus on mobile accessibility. Later, they plan to incorporate branded content from the studio’s library of titles, such as stranger things, the witcher and The Umbrella Academy. It’s unclear if this extra content will end up appearing on the front page like the rest of the headlines, which could lead to even more confusion.

Disney+
OK, this one is actually quite sweet. You have yours star wars, Marvel, Pixar, National Geographic, and classic Disney collections organized into handy little subsections. We don’t know which category The simpsons falls under, however. We also noticed that the creepy episode where Bart befriends Michael Jackson is strangely absent.

At the same time, Disney+ could take steps towards an expanded library in the US, similar to the international Star+ feature. The service recently announced that TV-MA Marvel shows previously aired on Netflix, including daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, iron fist, The Punisher and The defenders would be added this month. You can watch the show using the same PIN that overseas viewers use for Star+.

Criterion channel

The pride and joy of hipsters, the Criterion Channel doesn’t just run smoothly. You just look smarter if it’s prominently displayed on your Roku homepage.

The two-week free trial might help win over budding snobs, but Criterion Channel might not be worth it for those who subscribe to HBO Max or have Criterion Blu-Rays. HBO Max currently has a “Criterion” hub that offers significant crossover with the other service, and Criterion Blu-Ray discs include more special feature options than streaming ones.

quiver

Listen, you have to be a little depraved to have a service dedicated solely to grizzly horror movies and series. It is, however, extremely easy to use and won’t throw away something you look at without telling you. We’ll keep signing up for free trials until we’ve watched all of the puppet master suites. Yes, all. All 14.

Shudder is even easier to use than ever thanks to the expanded audience it receives from the AMC+ package. Those worried about the growing expense of keeping up with their subscription services are in luck, as the AMC+ option includes Shudder, independent film service IFC Unlimited, UK exports from Sundance Now, linear shows from ‘AMC and all The Walking Dead library. It’s an easier way to get more things you want to watch for less money. Unlike CBS and Paramount, AMC has actually managed to grow beyond its former TV users.

AppleTV+
If you have an Apple TV or iPhone, this one manages to pop up as soon as you wake up! Seriously, no ads. No weird trailers exploding at maximum volume when you’re in a public space. No streaming cuts. It’s basically perfect. If only there was something to watch between seasons of Ted Lasso and whatever Charlie Brown seasonal special pops up.

The other reason Apple TV+ has been such a compelling prospect is that the service is pretty easy to access for free. One of the reasons Apple TV+ grew so rapidly in its first year was a one-year free trial offered to anyone who purchased a new Apple device. Currently, anyone with an email address can get a week free, and new device buyers still get three months off. So basically, as long as you can create dummy email accounts or grab an upgraded iPhone, you can watch the new season of Servant as many times as you wish.

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