Streaming services are replacing cable connections in homes across America for years now. Increasingly abysmal service, poorly designed channel plans and high prices are only some of the factors that are contributing to them. But, the major attraction across the ledge is the arrival of a bevy of streaming services that are here to entertain you to your heart’s content. Then again, which of them is the best choice for you. Here is an objective comparison of some of the top online TV streaming services to help you make your choice.
NetflixNetflix is what started it all. It made streaming services cool long before other services had even entered this industry. For just a $9.99 per month subscription, you can enjoy one of the biggest libraries of the entertainment world. TV shows, movies, documentaries – you name it, they’ve got it. Although its library of third party content is huge, the highlight of this service is its original content. Netflix’s original shows are highly acclaimed and regularly win top awards. If you want high quality programming, then Netflix is where you go. Netflix offers 3 different packages out of which you can choose the one that suits your needs and budget the best.
Of course, nothing is ever perfect, and Netflix is no exception. It is notorious for removing the titles of movies and shows without any warnings when the licensing terms of the respective content expire. You never know which content will be deleted. So, if you were planning on watching something later, you may never get a chance to. When everything is said and done, Netflix still leads the battle of streaming services, simply because of its overall amazing service and low pricing.
Amazon Prime Instant VideoWhen Amazon entered the streaming industry, it came with all guns blazing. It immediately built a huge library of content, which is today about half the size of that of Netflix. It is also producing its own original programming, which, although not in the same league as that of Netflix content, are surely good in quality. Amazon offers access to its premium content under the Prime subscription for a monthly price of $10.99. But, the annual package subscribers only have to pay $99 and get a whole lot of goodies, which include free 2-day shipping from Amazon, free Kindle books, free access to Amazon music, and so on.
If you do not wish to subscribe to the Prime service, then you can enjoy the Amazon content on Amazon Instant Video also. The difference is that without the Prime subscription, you are charged on a pay-per-view basis. This easily spirals into a lot more than what you would have paid for the subscription in the first place. A major plus in favor of Amazon is that it is forging deals with Hollywood’s major producers like Warner Bros., Viacom, and so on, which enable it to feature their content on Amazon Prime Instant Video before they are found on others. In fact, some of this content is exclusive to Amazon.
Sling TVIf you want the best of cable as well as the streaming world, then Sling TV is designed specifically to make you happy. This streaming service is a cable service, minus the cable. That’s it. You don’t need a credit check to sign up for it; you don’t need special equipment; you don’t have to rent any device either. You can pick a whole range of channels to enjoy. This is one of the few streaming services that offer you live TV. Sling TV is relatively pricey and begins at a monthly subscription fee of $20, which brings you 23 channels. For additional charges, you can choose more packages to build your own plan.
A major USP of Sling TV is that it features sports channels, including ESPN and ESPN 2. This is a huge milestone for any streaming service. Now, even sports fans can finally get rid of their cable connection. Be warned, though. The Sling TV app is available on a small number of platforms such as Apple devices, Roku, and Amazon Fire devices.
PlayStation VuePlayStation Vue is without a doubt, the closest thing we have so far for a cable service in the streaming industry. It brings a lot more channels that Sling TV. More channels also mean more money. PlayStation Vue is the priciest streaming service in the industry. Its basic package costs a hefty $40 and gives you access to more than 60 channels. This means that it is in the same league as the cable services, albeit without the cord.
To its credit, PlayStation Vue offers everything from sports channels to movie channels to kids programming. It is an all-round entertainment option with live TV. But, don’t get your hopes up yet. PlayStation Vue is not available on all platforms. It is presently available only on a limited number of devices such as Sony smart TVs, PlayStation, and iPads.
YouTubeYouTube is an outlier in this list. It is vastly different from the other services for a variety of reasons. This service from Google is more like a repository of every type of video available out there. The content on this service is divided among the channels that are maintained by their creators. A lot these videos are silly amateur videos like cat videos, pranks, funny clips, viral phenomenon videos, and so on. But, there is a whole community of dedicated content creators that work industriously to produce original content on the streaming service.
YouTube also features movies and TV shows among other content. But, they are usually on a pay-per-view basis. Some channels, such as those belonging to TV channels, regularly post original content on their YouTube channels too. The biggest advantage of YouTube is that it is available on virtually all platforms. Most manufacturers of TVs and set-top boxes ship their products with YouTube preinstalled. On other smart platforms like Android, iOS, and so on, the app can be easily installed as well. For people who like to enjoy something other than the regular cable entertainment, YouTube is heaven.