The 10 Best Streaming Services for Movies & TV Shows

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What are the best streaming services for movies & TV shows?

With an increasingly competitive environment for streaming services available to choose from, it can sometimes feel overwhelming to pick the best one for your entertainment needs.

This guide breaks down everything you need to know about the leading streaming services, from live streaming sports and broadcast channels to the services offering the latest movies fresh out of Hollywood.

 

The Best Streaming Services For Movies & TV Shows

We’ve covered the content available, support for 4K and HDR, and any ads to expect when viewing these popular streaming services, to bring you this definitive guide.

Here’s our list of the 10 best streaming services for movies & TV shows:

 

10. YouTube TV – Best For An Alternative To Cable

Best Streaming Services - YouTube TV

YouTube needs little in the way of introductions, with the popular video hosting platform reaching millions of people, and the most viewed YouTube videos even hitting billions of views.

The company – owned by Google – branched out into streaming services with the release of YouTube TV, which allows users to watch live TV across a broad range of networks.

Originally launched in 2017, YouTube TV grants access to everything from local networks such as NBC and Fox, to more niche channels and music channels including VH1.

Sports fans can also access sports channels for pro baseball, basketball, and football, through channels such as Fox Sports, ESPN, and NBC Sports.

With more than 2 billion monthly users, YouTube TV delivers a similar experience to regular cable TV balancing live TV and on-demand that can be viewed across a series of devices.

You can access a program guide for dozens of channels, and there’s a DVR feature, so you can save programs to watch at a later date, with unlimited cloud DVR storage to sweeten the deal.

It’s also compatible with a broad range of devices and can be played through Apple TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, and a long list of smartphones and smart TVs.

Pros:

  • Great value for money
  • Extensive selection of channels
  • Unlimited DVR storage
  • Familiar interface and search tools

Cons:

  • Lacking the tennis and history channels
  • 4K requires an additional fee

Bottom Line

One of the most comprehensive live TV streaming services on the market, YouTube TV might be on the expensive end of the spectrum, but its user-friendly interface and unlimited DVR storage make it a great alternative to traditional cable TV. 

 

9. Fubo TV – Best For Sports Fans

Best Streaming Services - FUBO TV

Fubo TV initially launched with a focus on soccer and has since become one of the most popular live TV streaming services for fans of all types of sports.

One of the best alternatives to traditional cable TV, Fubo TV’s Pro Plan comes with over 120 channels and features many of the major broadcast and cable networks.

There’s also support for 4K for some of its content, so if you’re watching television on a high-end OLED television you’ll get the best possible image quality.

It features a slick and easy-to-use interface for browsing channels, and there are also 250 hours of cloud DVR storage available to line up shows for later viewing.

You can use Fubo TV streaming services on most major platforms, with support for smart TVs, consoles, Chromecast, and most phones and tablets.

In addition to standard network TV shows, you can access networks owned by Viacom such as MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon for a more extensive channel lineup.

For an additional fee, users can also include add-on packages for channels such as Showtime, AMC Premiere, and a range of international sports channels.

Perhaps the only downside is the lack of original programming which you’ll find on competitors such as YouTube TV, Netflix, and Apple TV.

Pros:

  • An excellent option for sports fans
  • Includes some 4K content
  • 250 hours of cloud DVR storage
  • Can stream on up to three devices

Cons:

  • Quite expensive
  • Lacks original programming

Bottom Line

While Fubo TV is on the more expensive side, it’s jam-packed with a broad selection of channels, and sports fans will be especially well-served by the extensive range of channels to suit their requirements. 

 

8. Sling TV – Best For Casual TV Viewers

Best Streaming Services - Sling TV

A more affordable alternative to Fubo TV for fans of sports and general programming is Sling TV, which is also considerably more affordable than its cable alternatives.

This popular live TV streaming service offers a great selection of sports channels including access to a variety of ESPN channels, so you can check out the latest games from the richest NFL teams whenever you like.

There are plenty of other popular networks here for non-sports fans, including the Food Network, CNN, NBC, the Cartoon Network, and BBC America.

Sling TV comes in two subscription options, with Sling TV Blue giving access to content such as Fox and NBC, and the Sling Orange package opening up access to ESPN and Disney.

There’s a Sling TV app that allows you to use their service on most televisions and smartphones, as well as Xbox Series S and X consoles.

While the Orange package doesn’t offer any local channels, it’s a small price to pay for getting access to a live TV streaming service on such a low budget.

That said, you can circumvent this limitation by connecting an HD antenna to the back of your television, so you can keep up to date on news and events in your local area.

Cloud DVR storage is limited compared to competitors, with 50 hours of storage available to subscribers, although if you’re using the free version you can’t protect your recorded shows.

Previous versions of Sling TV had a rather lackluster interface, but the latest version has ironed out these kinks, with swift navigation and a clean aesthetic.

It can certainly get expensive to use if you include a lot of the add-on packages, but for comprehensive live TV streaming on a budget, the basic packages offer great bang for your buck.

Pros:

  • Affordable subscription fees
  • Includes over 50 channels
  • Considerable savings over a cable subscription
  • Doesn’t require a contract

Cons:

  • Sling Orange only allows for streaming from one device
  • Some users experience buffering issues and pixelated streams

Bottom Line

Sling TV is lacking when it comes to high-quality movies and programming, but it’s a fantastic option for casual television viewers looking to access network and cable TV at a fraction of the price.

 

7. Peacock – Best For Streaming On A Budget

Best Streaming Services - Peacock TV

Peacock is a relative newcomer to the on-demand streaming service game and is one of the few streaming services to offer a basic free plan, so you can watch content with advertisements.

The paid monthly plans are also very cheap, with the higher cost plan removing all ads and unlocking some additional content.

Since Peacock is owned by NBC Universal, you can expect plenty of content, with hit TV shows such as The Office and Parks and Recreation attracting plenty of new subscribers to the platform.

In addition to lots of classic TV shows, you can also stream live Premier League soccer matches, while fans of wrestling can catch up on the latest WWE events.

Peacock also live-streamed the Olympics and Super Bowl, with these huge events further driving users to the platform.

The appeal of upgrading to the top paid tier comes in the shape of Peacock’s original content, with shows including GirlSeva, Vigil, and the Saved By The Bell reboot gaining impressive reviews.

After a period of time in which Peacock was unavailable on some devices, you can now stream their content through Roku and Amazon Fire devices, making access much easier than before.

There are also plenty of great films available, with Peacock able to access Universal Studio’s impressive back catalog and present blockbusters such as Jurassic Park to their audiences.

Pros:

  • Includes an ad-supported tier that can be watched for free
  • Free for Xfinity customers
  • Can watch live sporting events
  • Excellent selection of classic TV shows

Cons:

  • No 4K or HDR support is available
  • The premium plan is lacking exclusives

Bottom Line

With a free version available to give you a taste, and a premium tier that’s more affordable than most streaming services, Peacock is a solid streaming service for fans of classic TV shows and sporting events.

 

6. Apple TV Plus – High-Quality Budget Steaming

Best Streaming Services - Apple TV+

The launch of Apple TV Plus helped the company’s growth accelerate to a market value of £1 trillion, delivering an on-demand streaming service that undercuts most of the competition.

While Apple TV Plus has a relatively small catalog of titles available to subscribers, what sets it apart is the high quality of the movies and shows featured on the service.

Shows such as Severance and The Afterparty have wowed critics and audiences alike, while the movie CODA took home an Academy Award for Best Picture.

There’s also a great selection of music-related content, as you’d expect from the company that revolutionized online streaming with its iTunes service.

You can also access the Apple TV Plus content for free in a variety of ways, for instance, if you’re a new buyer of an Apple device, a college student, or a subscriber to the Apple One bundle.

The Apple TV interface is simple to use, with a neat rolling banner and list of content to watch now blending television shows and movies currently available.

The service also supports 4K and HDR streaming, so you can get the best quality viewing experience from the current content that supports these formats.

Finally, as with services such as Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV Plus gives you the option to rent or buy more recent titles, opening up its library for those happy to spend a little extra.

Pros:

  • One of the cheapest streaming services available
  • Some excellent exclusive shows
  • 4K HDR support
  • Optional add-on streaming channels

Cons:

  • The app can be confusing
  • A smaller lineup of shows and movies compared to its competitors

Bottom Line

While Apple TV Plus is light on original content, the excellent image quality and low subscription price make this a promising streaming platform with a potentially strong future.

 

5. Amazon Prime Video – Best For Diverse Selection Of Content

Best Streaming Services - Amazon Prime Video

With its inclusion as part of the Amazon Prime membership, Amazon Prime Video has reached millions of subscribers making it one of the largest on-demand streaming services of 2022.

It features an exceptionally broad lineup of content, with the inclusion of every James Bond movie just one example of how the company continues to expand its movie content.

Amazon Prime Video also features a raft of exclusive movies and TV shows, from shows such as The Boys to Amazon Original movies including The Contractor, Snake Eyes, and Wrath Of Man.

There are plenty of additional streaming services you can add to Prime Video, with art house movies from MUBI, classic cinema from TCM, and horror from Shudder, which also produces original content.

If you want to watch more current movies shortly after their theatrical release, you can rent these through the service, allowing you to access hit movies such as The Batman from your home.

While their original programming isn’t as consistent as Netflix or HBO Max, the quality is consistently high, and it is complemented by a vast catalog of older TV series you can add to your list.

There isn’t a great deal in the way of live TV channels here, but that’s not Amazon Prime Video’s unique selling point, so if you’re after cable streaming services there are better places to get what you want.

Pros:

  • A diverse selection of movie titles
  • Some great original shows
  • Plenty of additional streaming services to add on
  • 4K HDR in the basic plan

Cons:

  • Extra payment is required for some new releases
  • Unavailable on some platforms

Bottom Line

With its extensive selection of prestige content, recent and classic movies, and the ability to support 4K HDR streaming, Amazon Prime Video is the perfect addition to your smart TV and other compatible devices.

 

4. HBO Max – Best For Original Programming

Best Streaming Services - HBO Max

HBO established itself as the premium producer of high-quality television dramas in the 1990s with the release of hit shows Oz and The Sopranos, and continues to lead the way.

With some of the best TV shows of all time under its belt, the HBO Max streaming service has upped its game with its inclusion of the latest cinematic releases from Warner Bros on its platform.

James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, Denis Villeneuve’s masterful adaptation of Dune, and many more big-budget blockbusters have found a new audience thanks to HBO Max.

They continue to produce exceptional television as well, with series such as Barry and A Black Lady Sketch Show drawing in more subscribers to their service.

The app itself is well-designed and simple to use, allowing access to the entire library of HBO content with a few clicks, and there’s also a good selection of content for younger audiences.

It’s on the pricier end of the scale, and you’ll need to upgrade again if you want a completely ad-free experience, but for the price, you’ll get access to a huge amount of original content.

Fans of comic books and the DC Universe are also well-served by HBO Max, and you can also get access to popular hit shows such as Rick and Morty, Friends, and Sesame Street.

Pros:

  • Critically acclaimed movies and shows
  • All new Warner Bros movies added after 45 days from the theatrical release
  • Original news programming
  • Great range of collections from Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies, and more

Cons:

  • On the expensive side
  • A limited number of 4K titles

Bottom Line

Combining blockbuster movies, cinematic television shows, and a huge archive of content covering all genres, HBO Max is a premium-priced service with premium-level content to match.

 

3. Disney Plus – Best For Family Entertainment

Best Streaming Services - Disney Plus

Another relative newcomer to the streaming service game, Disney Plus quickly headed close to the top of the pack, gaining over 100 million subscribers since its launch in 2019.

It’s perhaps not surprising Disney Plus achieved this astronomical feat, given that they own the rights to a large selection of hugely popular franchises.

The Star Wars and Marvel cinematic universes are all under the Disney umbrella, making this the best streaming service available for fans of these franchises.

The app and smart TV browser are nice and clean and easy to use, with plenty of content available in 4K and HDR for viewers with high-end smart TVs to watch content.

They also introduced the Star add-on for a more diverse selection of classic Hollywood movies, opening up the content beyond its more traditional child-friendly catalog.

While you won’t find much in the way of mature content and R-rated movies, its focus on family-friendly content gives it a broad appeal to consumers looking for mass entertainment.

The plan to introduce ads to their platform on a cheaper subscription model might ruffle a few feathers, but the promise to limit these to four ads per hour makes it less intrusive than other streaming services.

Pros:

  • Price is reasonable
  • A comprehensive collection of current and classic Disney content
  • 4K HDR support
  • Up to four screens per subscription

Cons:

  • Lack of mature content for older viewers
  • Content lineup sometimes has gaps

Bottom Line

 Fans of popular franchises that include Star Wars and Marvel, in addition to Disney’s own extensive back catalog of movies and TV shows, will find plenty to keep them occupied with a Disney Plus subscription.

 

2. Hulu – Best For Mainstream Television And Movies

Best Streaming Services - Hulu

Disney-owned streaming service Hulu is one of the more unique platforms available, offering its customers a blend of on-demand and live tv streaming services with the inclusion of Live TV.

The channel lineup offers a nice selection of popular shows, with familiar favorites from networks including ABC, CBS, and Fox making up the bulk of this content.

They also produce their own original programming, with a growing catalog of content such as The Handmaid’s Tale and PEN15 earning praise from critics and audiences alike.

As well as the best TV shows Hulu has to offer, there are plenty of films available, while the Live TV option really opens up the platform to thousands of hours of content to view.

This gives subscribers access to next-day screenings of cable and broadcast TV shows, with potential savings on cable fees and other subscriptions making it one of the best value for money streaming platforms available.

There’s even an impressive selection of classic anime series, with a better library of great Japanese animation than you’ll find on Amazon Prime or Netflix.

 Pros:

  • Live TV option with on-demand viewing
  • Ability to subscribe to additional channels
  • Great quality original programming
  • Discounted bundle available with Disney Plus and ESPN

Cons:

  • Two device limit on the basic plan
  • The basic plan features commercials

Bottom Line

Blending on-demand content with live streaming from cable and network television, Hulu is a comprehensive streaming service that delivers content at an affordable price point.

 

1. Netflix – Best Overall Streaming Service

Best Streaming Services - Netflix

Netflix needs no introduction, having positioned itself as the best streaming service for original content that draws in millions of new subscribers on a regular basis.

Hit shows such as Tiger King, Squid Game, and The Witcher have become cultural phenomenons, cementing Netflix’s reputation as a producer of cutting-edge shows.

These hit series have been complemented with a string of original movies and series, as well as popular documentaries and comedy specials from the likes of Dave Chappelle and Joe Rogan.

They also include a separate interface for children’s programming, making it a great choice for parents who only want one streaming service, but need to keep their viewing segregated from their children.

Everything is clearly presented through the intuitive user interface, and there’s great app support across a variety of platforms including smart TVs, consoles, and web browsers.

While some titles come and go more frequently than is desirable, for sheer quality and quantity, Netflix is at the top of the streaming services game.

Pros:

  • Excellent selection of original content
  • Great user interface
  • Exceptional video streaming quality
  • Recommendations are usually accurate

Cons:

  • The rotation of titles is a little too frequent
  • More expensive than most of its competitors

Bottom Line

Whether you’re looking for the best horror movies on Netflix, original programming and drama series, or a back catalog of classic movies and television, Netflix delivers while offering the best image quality in the streaming market.

Summary

That wraps up this overview of the best streaming services you can find, and we hope this will inspire you to sign up for the best platform for your viewing tastes.

Be sure to check back on this article in the future, as we’ll update it to make sure it reflects the latest additions to the streaming service landscape.

Here’s a quick recap of the 10 best streaming services for movies & TV shows:

  1. Netflix
  2. Hulu
  3. Disney Plus
  4. HBO Max
  5. Amazon Prime Video
  6. Apple TV Plus
  7. Peacock
  8. Sling TV
  9. Fubo TV
  10. YouTube TV

What’s the best streaming service for movies & TV shows, in your opinion? Leave a comment below. 

Andy Dilks
Andy Dilks
Andy Dilks first got into tech with Laserdisc players and hasn't looked back since. When he's not writing he's deciding which room to convert into a home cinema.

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