Best Streaming Services of 2022

What are Streaming Services?

Streaming services are subscription-based platforms that deliver video content over an internet connection, unlike cable TV or satellite TV. Some streaming services are free, but most require a monthly subscription. All that’s required is a smart TV or streaming device to start binging. We break down the differences between top streaming services to help you find the right subscription to fit your budget and needs.

Top Streaming Services

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Best Value

Best Value

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Best for Families

Best for Families

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Best Sports Content

Best Sports Content

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Best for Original Content

Best for Original Content

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5

Best Hollywood Content

Best Hollywood Content

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Is Streaming Right for Me?

If you are looking for specific shows or content and don’t need all of the networks and channels that come with traditional TV providers? Then streaming might be perfect for you. If you don’t need live TV, streaming is a great alternative to save money as regular programming that offer local and live TV is considerably more expensive.

One of the benefits of streaming is that you can tailor your streaming subscriptions to meet your needs. You get exactly what you like to watch, rather than dozens and dozens of channels you’ll never watch.

Streaming has some slight inconveniences versus traditional TV, though. The most significant is having to hop in and out of different streaming apps to find what you want to watch. Whereas with cable TV, you can access everything your plan offers from one convenient platform.

Pros

  • Cheaper cost compared to traditional TV
  • Ad-free options available

Cons

  • Latest news & content is sometimes delayed
  • Multiple services are often required to get the lineup you want

Compare Streaming Services

ProviderStarting PriceUS Library SizeSimultaneous StreamsUser Profiles
Netflix$8.99/mo.5,65515
Hulu$5.99/mo.2,44426
Disney+$7.99/mo.1,27847
ESPN+$5.99/mo.1,00031
ProviderNetflix
Starting Price$8.99/mo.
US Library Size5,655
Simultaneous Streams1
User Profiles5
ProviderHulu
Starting Price$5.99/mo.
US Library Size2,444
Simultaneous Streams2
User Profiles6
ProviderDisney+
Starting Price$7.99/mo.
US Library Size1,278
Simultaneous Streams4
User Profiles7
ProviderESPN+
Starting Price$5.99/mo.
US Library Size1,000
Simultaneous Streams3
User Profiles1

All prices vary and are subject to change at any time. Additional fees and terms may apply. As of 7/27/22.

Our Top Streaming Picks

Hulu

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Best Value

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1

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  • Huge library of movies & TV shows
  • Live and local TV option available

Hulu is a top streaming service with entire seasons of exclusive series, hit movies, Hulu Originals, kids shows, and more. Hulu is ideal for those who don’t need live TV but want to watch new episodes of their favorite shows the day after they air. Although, if you do want live TV, it offers that option as well – for a premium.

Things we like:
  • Ad-free option is available
  • Thousands of TV shows & movies
  • Great selection of docuseries
Things to consider:
  • Episodes of current season available one day after they air
  • Live TV costs an additional fee on top of regular subscription

Disney+

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Best for Families

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  • Access to thousands of Disney titles
  • Enjoy popular Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars titles

If you have kids or simply love Disney classics, then Disney+ is meant for you. Disney+ is blowing the vault wide open with its exclusive access to Disney original movies as well as Disney franchises including Marvel, Pixar, and Star Wars.

Things we like:
  • Entire Marvel, Pixar & Star Wars libraries
  • Thousands of Disney movies & shows
  • Access to vault classics & new releases
Things to consider:
  • No content outside the Disney universe
  • Additional cost for premier access

ESPN+

top-providers

Best Sports Content

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  • The best in live sports and analysis
  • Catch highlights and past games

ESPN+ offers the widest selection of sports content available with 24/7 coverage and access. You can bring games with you anywhere on the ESPN+ app, whether that’s a smartphone, tablet, or smart TV. Popular features include select MLB, NHL, NBA, and MLS games, and more.

Things we like:
  • Best source for live sports, shows & analysis
  • Wide selection of pro sports from NHL, MLB, NBA, & more
  • Catch games on-the-go
Things to consider:
  • On par with other platform costs, but content is limited to sports only
  • ESPN+ can be bundled with Disney+ for a small savings

Netflix

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Best for Original Content

4

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  • The largest streaming library available
  • Great resource for foreign titles

Netflix continues to offer a wide variety of content and produce high-quality original content users can’t get enough of. With Netflix Originals like Stranger Things, Ozark, and Bridgerton, there’s something for everyone in the family. In total, Netflix has over 6,000 movies and TV shows in its content library, as well as new releases each month.

Things we like:
  • One of the largest libraries with a significant variety of content
  • Many shows are procured from other countries, offering content diversity
Things to consider:
  • Raises its prices periodically
  • Choice fatigue is common with Netflix, due mostly to its massive library

Paramount Plus

top-providers

Best Hollywood Content

5

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  • Extensive Hollywood titles
  • Paramount Originals, like Yellowstone

Paramount+ is one of the newest and most affordable streaming platforms. It has a growing library of Paramount titles, originals, CBS shows, and live sports. While low-cost and teaming with diverse content, Paramount+ is supported by ads.

Things we like:
  • Massive library from a variety of networks & Paramount studios
  • Access to live sports such as the NFL
Things to consider:
  • As one of the newer platforms, its library is somewhat limited, but growing
  • Affordable, but the entry-level plan is supported by ads

Streaming vs. Other TV Services

Streaming comes with many advantages. You can select services based on your viewing tastes from a variety of platforms and content types, versus paying for many channels you don’t want or need. Depending on how many services you subscribe to, streaming is often much less expensive than a cable TV or satellite TV plans. Additionally, the majority of streaming services do not require contracts. You can cancel anytime without worrying about fees and penalties for doing so.

Glasses Looking

Our Thoughts on Streaming Services

Streaming is a convenient way to watch your favorite shows on a wide variety of platforms. From niche services, like ESPN+, to content aggregators, like Hulu, there’s something for every viewer’s needs.

FAQ

Streaming Services FAQs

A smooth streaming experience begins with fast internet. To find the right internet speeds for your needs, consider how often you stream videos. Here are a few estimates of the minimum speed required for one stream:

  • Standard-definition (SD) video = 3 Mbps
  • High-definition (HD) video = 5 Mbps
  • Ultra HD or 4K video = 25 Mbp

We recommend looking for internet providers that offer speeds of at least 100 Mbps to support heavy internet usage.

One of the biggest advantages streaming has over cable TV or satellite TV is that they do not require contracts. The majority of streaming services offer month-to-month subscriptions, so you can cancel any time you want. However, it’s best to check with the service about contracts before starting a subscription.

The only things required to stream (other than a subscription) is a fast internet connection and some sort of internet-capable device. Choices and price ranges vary for devices.

YouTube TV and Hulu Live TV are the main streaming services that offer access to live and local channels. They are considerably more expensive than streaming platforms without live TV. Each costs about the same amount as a basic satellite or cable TV subscription would cost.

In most cases, streaming is cheaper than cable, but it depends on what services you need. If you’re just using Netflix, Disney+, and Paramount+, then yes, your total streaming bill will be considerably lower than the cost of cable TV. But, if you have YouTube TV or Hulu Live TV, and a couple other streaming platforms, your total monthly bill will be similar to a monthly cable bill. And keep in mind when considering streaming, you will need a streaming device (or a smart TV) for each TV you will be using for streaming content. There are many aggregated streaming devices on the market, starting as low as about $30.