4 hours and 49 minutes – that is how much time the average American spends watching TV per day. Live TV accounts for 2 hours 53 minutes, time-shifted TV for 34 minutes, and on-demand streaming for 1 hour 22 minutes. That’s according to a report from Nielsen, a global data measurement firm. 

According to their findings, 82% of viewers have more than 1 streaming subscription. But despite the great interest in services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and others, many people want to reduce the monthly cost of their subscriptions, which for many are $60 or more per month. So they ask themselves the question: Which streaming service offers me the best entertainment and the best value for money?

We compared the most popular streaming platforms and took a look at their offerings and the respective subscription costs. Here’s BudgetBakers’ guide on how to streamline your streaming. 

Netflix 

Let’s start with Netflix. Users around the world love the streaming platform for its series, movies, documentaries and reality TV shows. 

However, since the beginning of 2022, more and more young people have been canceling their Netflix subscriptions. One reason is inflation. Consumers restrict their spending as a result of high food and fuel costs. And Netflix’s price increase at the beginning of 2022 doesn’t match their lower disposable budget. Another reason is the lifting of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and the desire for other entertainment options, such as going to the movies.

If you, too, are thinking about canceling your Netflix subscription, make sure you make a decision with the help of our information about its library and costs. 

How much is Netflix? 

Basic  Standard  Premium 
$9.99/month $15.49/month $19.99/month

What do I get for my money? 

Netflix has a huge selection of movies and TV shows old and new, tons of high-quality programs, and an easy-to-navigate interface. They produce their own original films and series with top-notch directors and actors. In addition, Netflix ensures an good customer experience with personalized offers.

The streaming service offers 3 types of subscriptions. The cheapest one costs $9.99. With Basic, you can watch on your phone, tablet, laptop, or TV and you get unlimited access to all movies, series and mobile games. 

With the standard subscription for $15.49 you can watch on two screens at the same time, in HD quality. 

For $19.99/month, Premium gives you unlimited access to all movies, shows and games, and lets you watch movies in HD as well as 4K Ultra HD. 

At the end of the year, Netflix wants to launch an ad-supported subscription that will cost less than the Basic subscription. The exact price hasn’t been announced yet. 

With a Netflix subscription, you’ll get access to some of the most popular series of the last few years, like Stranger Things, Bridgerton, The Crown, Ozark, Emily In Paris, and many more. 

Summary 

  • Netflix has a large library of currently 5,800 titles – original and external content
  • With a VPN you can unlock more titles that are not available in your country 
  • The standard subscription allows you to watch on 2 devices at the same time and download to 2 devices, in 4K HD resolution 
  • There are no commercial breaks. 
  • You can’t watch live TV with Netflix 

 

Hulu 

Hulu is an increasingly popular streaming platform owned largely by The Walt Disney Company. After initially being available only in the USA and Japan, the service has now been expanded to Canada, Western Europe, the UK, Australia and parts of Asia Pacific. 

How much is Hulu?

Ad-supported plan Ad-supported plan Ad-free plan  Hulu + (ad-supported) Live TV now with Disney+ and ESPN+ Hulu (ad-free) + Live TV now with Disney+ and ESPN+
$6.99/month $69.99/year $12.99/month $69.99/month $75.99/month

What do I get for my money?

Hulu is a bit cheaper than Netflix. Having a $7 option for a streaming service is great if you’re on a budget. If you’re a student, you’ll pay even less: for just $1.99, you can subscribe to the ad-supported plan. It’s only worth it, though, if commercial interruptions don’t bother you. If you subscribe to the ad-free plan, Hulu will cost you $13. 

Also, Hulu “only” has 2,600 titles, 50% less than Netflix.

But despite this lower amount of content, you get access to binge-worthy movies and TV shows like The Dropout, Wu-tang: An American Saga, Life & Beth, The Girl from Plainville, Woke and many more. 

Also, with Hulu you only have to wait up to a week for a series from a popular TV channel to be uploaded. That’s faster than any other streaming service. 

What’s best? You can get Hulu, ESPN+, and Disney+ for $75.99/month. This allows you to stream almost all videos from Hulu’s streaming library without ads, and you can take advantage of everything the Live TV plan has to offer. Plus additional content on Disney+ and ESPN+. 

Summary 

  • Hulu is $2.50 cheaper per month than Netflix
  • It’s only available in the US, so you’ll need a VPN if you want to stream from another country 
  • You get unlimited access to original and external content
  • Standard subscription allows you to watch on 2 devices at the same time and download to 5 devices, in 4K HD resolution 
  • There are no commercial breaks
  • For $75.99/month, you can watch live TV

Disney+

Disney+ launched in November 2019, and by the end of 2021 the platform claimed nearly 130 million subscribers.

Although Disney+ doesn’t offer as many new TV shows as Netflix, for example, it’s still one of the top streaming platforms. It offers a huge library of series and movies that you can’t find anywhere else. It comes with a well-constructed app and an affordable price without having to watch commercials.

How much is Disney+?

For a month (ad-free) For a year (ad-free) Disney+ with Hulu and ESPN+
$8  $80 $14/month

What do I get for my money? 

For $8, you get an ad-free Disney+ subscription a month that gives you access to all movies and shows. For an annual subscription you pay $80. 

With a Disney+ subscription, you can stream and download an unlimited amount of Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel, and Nat Geo shows and movies. They also offer content from Twentieth Century Fox.

But Disney, of course, is interesting not only for adults, but also for kids and teens. The subscription gives you and your family access to Disney’s world famous family movies and TV shows.

Depending on the content and device there is support for both 4K HDR video and Dolby Atmos surround sound.

Summary 

  • Disney+ is an affordable streaming platform at $8 per month
  • You get unlimited access to original and external content
  • Standard subscription lets you watch movies on 4 devices simultaneously and download to 10 devices, in 4K HD resolution 
  • There are no commercial breaks
  • You can’t watch live TV with Disney+

ESPN+

ESPN+ is a sports streaming platform with original programs, live games, and in-depth analysis

It’s one of the leading sports streaming services in America, popular among sports fans for its low-cost subscription.

It includes exclusive video content from live games to on-demand shows and exclusive stories. The live games, however, come with commercials, just like regular TV.

How much is ESPN+?

ESPN+ ESPN+ Annual Plan ESPN+ with Disney+ and Hulu
$6.99/month $69.99/year $13.99

What do I get for my money?

ESPN+ is $7/month or $70/year. 

With a subscription, you can watch live games from the MLB, NHL, and MLS. There’s also PGA golf, UFC, college football, international soccer, and tennis. However, live NBA or NFL games aren’t available to watch. 

In addition to games, ESPN+ also features original shows, including in-depth game recaps and analyses. 

Summary

  • For $7/month you get access to thousands of exclusive live events, original studio shows, and series
  • Standard subscription lets you watch movies on 3 devices simultaneously 
  • ESPN provides a 1080p HD stream but no 4K 
  • Live games come with commercials
  • You can watch live TV with ESPN+

Amazon Prime Video 

Amazon Prime Video is the streaming-video component of Amazon Prime. Like Netflix, Hulu and Disney+, Amazon Prime offers unlimited streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows. 

In contrast to its competitors, Amazon Prime also allows users to rent and buy content

You don’t need to have an Amazon Prime subscription to use Prime Video. If you choose Amazon Prime, however, Prime Video is included.

How much is Prime Video? 

Prime Video Amazon Prime + Video Amazon Prime + Video Rental  Purchase
$8.99/month $14.99/month $139/year $2.99 to $5.99 $7.99 to $19.99

What do I get for my money? 

The $14.99 monthly fee you pay to be an Amazon Prime member already grants you access to Prime Video’s library of movies and TV shows. If you don’t have a Prime Membership, you can subscribe to Prime Video separately for $8.99 per month.

Renting a movie typically costs between $2.99 and $5.99, while buying it runs anywhere from $7.99 to $19.99, depending on how recent it is and the quality (SD or HD).

With Prime Video, you get access to Amazon’s original as well as third-party content. It allows you to watch in 4K and HDR quality, on three screens at the same time. Also, Prime Video supports offline downloads and audio descriptions. 

You should sign up for a Prime Video subscription if you want to watch original shows like Catastrophe, Electric Dreams, Fleabag, Homecoming, Tales From The Loop, Utopia, The Wheel of Time and many more. It also provides third-party content like Chuck, Hannibal, Mr. Robot, and The Americans. 

Summary

  • Prime Video is an affordable streaming platforms at $9 per month
  • It offers a library of more than 8,000 titles
  • You get unlimited access to original and external content
  • Standard subscription lets you watch movies on 3 devices simultaneously and download to 4 devices, in 4K HD resolution 
  • There are no commercial breaks
  • You can’t watch live TV with Prime Video

Apple TV+

Just like Disney+, Apple TV+ launched in November 2019. The streaming platform offers a high-quality range of Apple Original TV shows and movies. 

Users love Apple TV+ for its inexpensive streaming service which makes it an interesting alternative to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and others. 

Provided you own an Apple device, as is often the case with Apple products (and as we all know, iPhones, iPads and MacBooks are no bargain). Then you can download the Apple TV app and stream content on all available Apple devices – for free for three months. 

The Apple TV app is also available on other platforms like Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Sony PlayStation, Xbox, and even the web at tv.apple.com

However, if you have an Android or Microsoft device, you can only access Apple TV+ content through the web service. The app is not available on these devices. 

How much is Apple TV+?

With an Apple device Monthly subscription Apple One 
Free for 3 months $4.99/month (after a free seven-day trial) Starts at $14.95/month

What do I get for my money?

With Apple TV+, you get an affordable streaming experience for $5 a month. It lets you watch original Apple TV movies and series with up to five other family members. 

It’s also available as part of Apple One, a bundle of 6 Apple apps: Apple Music, Apple Arcade (Apple’s gaming portal), iCloud+, Apple News+, Apple Fitness+, and Apple TV+.

You can download any content to your iOS device in 4K and HDR quality and Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos sound. Streaming is always without commercial breaks. 

However, the current library of movies and series isn’t yet comparable to the huge range offered by Netflix and other platforms. 

Some of the top titles of Apple TV+ are Ted Lasso, The Morning Show, CODA and Severance. 

Summary

  • At just $5 a month, Apple TV+ is one of the most affordable streaming providers 
  • Its library of currently 87 titles is quite small compared to other platforms
  • With a VPN you can stream additional titles from other countries
  • You get unlimited access to original content
  • Standard subscription lets you watch movies on 3 devices simultaneously and download to 6 devices, in 4K HD resolution 
  • There are no commercial breaks
  • You can’t watch live TV with Apple TV+

HBO Max

Let’s move on to HBO Max, owned by Warner Bros. The service combines HBO’s library of original series with a huge catalog of blockbuster movies and TV shows provided by WarnerMedia.

The platform launched in May 2020, replacing HBO’s previous streaming platform, HBO Go.

With 76.8 million subscribers (as of April 1, 2022), HBO Max is one of the most popular streaming services in the US. This is due to the large collection of programs and a growing number of original titles. Like Netflix and Hulu, HBO Max offers more than 10,000 hours worth of TV and movies.

How much is HBO Max?

HBO Max (ad-free) HBO Max (ad-supported) HBO Max Annual (ad-free) HBO Max Annual (ad-supported)
$15/month $10/month $150/year $100/year

What do I get for my money? 

With a subscription price of $15 per month, HBO Max is a bit more expensive than some other platforms. If you’re willing to pay this amount, though, you can stream HBO exclusives like “Euphoria” and “Succession,” as soon as they premiere on TV. 

The service also includes classic shows like Friends and Rick and Morty, hits like Wonder Woman The Wire, The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Game of Thrones, Veep, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Westworld. Warner Bros. movies, like The Batman, also stream on HBO Max as soon as 45 days after they debut in theaters.

The HBO Max app is available on Apple TV, Samsung TVs released after 2016, the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Roku and Fire TV devices.

Summary

  • At $15 per month, HBO Max is about the same price as Netflix, making it more expensive than most other providers 
  • Its library consists of 3,200 titles 
  • With a VPN you can stream additional titles from other countries
  • You get unlimited access to original and external content
  • Standard subscription lets you watch movies on 3 devices simultaneously and download to 6 devices, in 4K HD resolution 
  • There are no commercial breaks
  • You can’t watch live TV with Apple TV+

Paramount+

Paramount+ is an updated version of the CBS All Access streaming service, which launched in early 2021. Its streaming library includes classic TV shows and movies from ViacomCBS, Paramount, and their many subsidiaries

Once you have a subscription, you can watch Paramount+ content on your Mac and PCs, iOS and Android devices, or through a media streamer like the Fire TV Stick, Roku, Chromecast, or Apple TV.

The content available on Paramount+ is owned by CBSViacom and Paramount, which means their shows and movies won’t suddenly disappear at the end of the month.

How much is Paramount+?

Ad-supported Basic plan Ad-free plan  Annual ad-supported plan  Annual ad-free plan 
$4.99/month  $9.99 $49.99 $99.99

What do I get for my money? 

Paramount+ costs $5 per month for an ad-supported plan or $10 for an ad-free subscription.If you sign up for an annual subscription, you will pay $50 for the ad-supported plan and $100 for the ad-free plan.

In addition to the original Paramount content, you can watch lots of CBS content, including Sports HQ, Entertainment Tonight, Nickelodeon, BET, MTV, Comedy Central and the Smithsonian Channel. 

This includes classic shows like CSI Miami, Big Brother, Young Sheldon, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Laguna Beach and many more. 

Summary

  • Standard subscription without commercials is $10 per month 
  • Its library consists of 3,200 titles 
  • With a VPN you can stream additional titles from other countries
  • You get unlimited access to original and external content
  • Standard subscription lets you watch movies on 3 devices simultaneously and download to 6 devices, in 4K HD resolution 
  • There are no commercial breaks
  • You can watch live TV with Paramount+

 

Peacock 

Peacock is NBCUniversal’s streaming service that’s been available in the US since July 2020. 

Then there is Peacock Premium, which costs $4.99 per month and gives you access to everything the streaming service has to offer. This includes all Peacock originals and a big library of movies and shows. You can also watch NBC series the day after they air on traditional TV. Be aware, however, that even the premium version may run ads. However, not as much as with the free subscription. 

How much is Peacock? 

Ad-supported free version  Peacock Premium  Peacock Premium Plus Annual Peacock Premium   Annual Peacock Premium Plus
$0  $4.99 $9.99 $49.99 $99.99

What do I get for my money?

There are multiple Peacock subscription plans: Free, Premium, and Premium Plus. This sets Peacock apart from other services, as most platforms don’t offer free content. 

With the free, ad-supported subscription, you get access to a limited range of quality content. With Peacock Premium, you have full access to Peacock content (about 2,300 titles), but with commercial breaks.

Only with the Peacock Premium Plus subscription for $10 you get an ad-free plan. 

Summary

  • Peacock’s standard subscription with ads is $5 per month 
  • Its library consists of 2,300 titles 
  • There is no possibility to watch additional titles with a VPN
  • You get access to original and external content
  • Standard subscription lets you watch movies on 3 devices simultaneously, in 4K HD resolution 
  • There are commercial breaks
  • You can watch live TV with Peacock

 

CuriosityStream 

CuriosityStream was founded by John Hendricks in March 2015. He was also the founder of Discovery Channel back in 1985. The platform is famous for its 3,000+ in-depth and serious documentaries and hundreds of hours of original content. 

Although some say the library is growing very slowly, the streaming service stands out for its high-quality scientific and historical documentaries – and for its exceptionally affordable price. 

How much is CuriosityStream

Basic HD monthly plan Basic HD yearly plan  Premium 4K monthly plan  Premium 4K yearly plan
$2.99/month $19.99/year $9.99/month $69.99
https://hastyreader.com/is-curiosity-stream-worth-it-review/

What do I get for my money? 

For just $3 a month, CuriosityStream subscribers get ad-free access to original and external documentaries on science, history, nature, psychology, art and health. This sets the service apart from platforms like Netflix, whose documentaries tend to focus on biographies of currently famous people or politics. 

On top of that, the vast majority of documentaries are child friendly, but also fun and educational. 

However, the Basic Plan content is “only” available in 1080p HD resolution. If you want to watch in 4K, you have to subscribe to the Premium Plan for $10 per month. 

Summary: 

  • Curiosity Stream’s standard subscription starts at only $3 per month 
  • Its library consists of 3,000 titles 
  • There is no possibility to watch additional titles with a VPN
  • You get access to original and external content
  • Standard subscription lets you watch movies on 5 devices simultaneously, in 1080p HD resolution 
  • There are no commercial breaks
  • You can’t watch live TV with CuriosityStream

 

YouTube Premium 

YouTube Premium is the ad-free version of YouTube. As a subscriber you get access to millions of videos, without commercial interruptions. You can also download videos and playlists on your mobile device to watch offline.

In addition, you can continue playing videos on your device while you are using other applications or your screen is turned off. This is not possible with the free service. 

Are you a music fan? Then enjoy included access to YouTube Music Premium, which lets you stream (and download!) millions of songs with or without video. 

YouTube Premium doesn’t give you access to more content, though. 

How much is YouTube Premium?

Monthly Premium plan Yearly Premium plan  Monthly Family plan  Monthly Student plan
$11.99/month $119.99/year $17.99/month $6.99/month

What do I get for my money?

For $12 a month, you get YouTube Premium, which is a subscription that lets you watch all videos, including YouTube Originals, without ads. YouTube Originals are original series, movies, and events produced by YouTube. With the annual $120 plan, you’ll save $20 over the year. 

Another advantage is free access to YouTube Music Premium. If you don’t already use a music streaming service, YouTube Premium is a pretty good deal since it combines both premium plans. If you already have a subscription to Spotify or Pandora, however, Music Premium is rather less worth it for you. 

Purchased on its own, YouTube Music Premium costs $9.99 per month.

Summary: 

  • YouTube Premium is $12 per month 
  • You get unlimited access to YouTube Originals and external content
  • Standard subscription lets you watch movies on 10 devices simultaneously and download to 10 devices, in 1080p HD resolution 
  • There are no commercial breaks
  • You can’t watch live TV with YouTube Premium

 

YouTube TV

YouTube TV is the TV service from YouTube that was launched in February 2017. Subscribers get access to live TV, on-demand movies, full seasons of TV shows, unlimited cloud space, YouTube videos, and the latest news clips. 

What makes YouTube Premium so popular is the fact that it offers 85 channels, including all the major sports channels and popular cable networks. You can watch the content on Amazon Fire, Chromecast, Apple TV, all major smart TVs, and game consoles like XBox and Playstation.

How much is YouTube TV?

YouTube Premium 
$64.99/month

What do I get for my money?

YouTube TV is only available with one type of subscription: $65 a month. It allows you to watch cable-free live TV on most devices. In addition to YouTube videos, YouTube Originals, and content from all the major television networks, YouTube TV has NFL Network, NBA TV, and MLB Network. That makes the platform a very interesting choice for sports fans and families. 

You can download content to the unlimited cloud DVR storage space. However, after nine months, YouTube TV will delete your recordings.

Summary: 

  • YouTube TV charges $65 per month 
  • You get unlimited access to all Youtube and TV content
  • You can watch Live TV on 3 devices simultaneously and download to 5 devices, in 1080p HD resolution 
  • YouTube videos are ad-free, live TV includes commercial breaks

 

Mubi

Now let’s move on to alternative streaming services. One of them is Mubi, a lesser-known but very interesting streaming service for cinephiles who want access to a high-quality selection of new and old arthouse titles. The platform primarily presents classics, cult films, independent films and festival hits. This platform is also notable for its selection of non-English language films, with subtitles available in many languages. 

The films aren’t selected by an algorithm, but carefully curated by an editorial team.

One of Mubi’s features is the “Film of the Day” column, which adds a new title to the streaming library every day of the week. For each of these movies there are descriptions, trailers, information about the cast and crew, as well as articles about the importance of the movie. This is truly the “Kino Lover’s” dream service. 

How much is Mubi?

Monthly Mubi subscription Annual Mubi subscription  Mubi channel on Amazon Prime
$10.99/month $83.88/year $5.99/month

What do I get for my money?

Mubi is available with one type of subscription: the Mubi standard plan for $11 per month. Alternatively, you can get the yearly subscription for $84 and save a whopping $48 per year. If you have an Amazon Prime Video subscription, you get access to all Mubi content, too. This costs you $6 per month. 

One thing you should know about the Mubi collection is that some feature films and documentaries are only available for a short period of time. They are usually available to view for 30 days before being removed from the curated list.

Summary: 

  • Mubi charges $11 per month 
  • It currently has 800 titles in its library 
  • There are no Mubi originals 
  • You get unlimited access to all Mubi content, but some movies are taken off the list after 30 days 
  • You can stream Mubi on 2 devices simultaneously and download to 5 devices, in 1080p HD resolution 
  • There are no commercial breaks
  • You can’t watch live TV with Mubi

 

Criterion Channel

Another alternative film platform is Criterion Collection, founded in 1984. The company offers consumers technically high-quality copies of classics and current films, first on laserdisc, then on DVD and Blu-ray.

The Criterion Channel, Criterion Collection’ streaming service, first launched in 2019. It offers a curated library of vintage and contemporary films, including classics, blockbusters, and independent films from Hollywood and around the world

The service divides movies into different categories, so you can easily search by filmmaker, subject and country. Alternatively, you can browse through the entire library alphabetically. Some titles also come with audio commentaries to provide background information on the cast, director, and the film’s relevance in cinema history.

How much is Criterion Channel?

Monthly Criterion Channel plan Annual Criterion Channel plan
$10.99/month $99.99/year

What do I get for my money?

With a Criterion Channel subscription for $11 a month, you get access to over 1,500 titles, as well as trailers, introductions, behind-the-scenes documentaries, interviews and rare archival footage. 

You can use a computer web browser to stream from criterionchannel.com, or use the Criterion Channel app. Many of the films in the Criterion Collection are offered through the Criterion Channel, but not all are available in the app.

Note that the Criterion Channel is available only in the US and Canada.

Whether the curated movie selection on Criterion Channel or Mubi suits you better depends entirely on your personal preferences. If you are mainly a fan of old, classic movies, Criterion Channel is probably the better choice. If contemporary art house movies are your thing, you should get a subscription to Mubi. 

Summary: 

  • Criterion Channel is $11 per month
  • It currently has 1,500 titles in its library 
  • There are no Criterion Channel originals 
  • You get unlimited access to all Criterion Channel content, but not the entire Criterion Collection
  • You can stream Criterion Channel on 3 devices simultaneously and download to 3 devices, in 4K HD resolution 
  • There are no commercial breaks
  • You can’t watch live TV with Criterion Channel

 

The Bottom Line

With so many streaming services, it’s hard to pick a winner or loser. Nevertheless, we’d like to share with you our BudgetBakers score, which evaluates the listed platforms by points. 

First of all, we divided the price of the standard monthly subscription into 4 levels. 

  • For a subscription cost below $5, the streaming service receives 4 points
  • Between $5 and $9.99 = 3 points
  • Between $10 and $14.99 = 2 points
  • Over $15 = 1 point. 

Then we did the same with the number of titles. 

  • Over 5,000 titles = 4 points
  • 3,000 to 4,999 titles = 3 points
  • 1,000 to 2,999 titles = 2 points 
  • Below 1,000 titles = 1 point. 

For each device that you can stream or download to, the service receives one point. For each additional green tick on the graph, another point is awarded. The streaming service with the most points scored is the best according to our criteria. 

What’s the best streaming service?

Taking into account the subscription price, the number of titles, the possibility of VPN use, the availability of exclusive originals, the number of devices to stream and download to, the limitation of content, resolution, commercial breaks and live TV streaming options, Disney+ is currently the best streaming service. 

Paramount+ follows in second place. Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ come in third. 

Rest of the ranking:

4. HBO Max

5. Hulu

6. CuriosityStream

7. Netflix 

8. Peacock 

9. Criterion Channel

10. Mubi 

Since ESPN+ and YouTube TV are live TV services with no number of titles to include, we decided not to rank these platforms. The same goes for YouTube Premium, which is excluded from the ranking due to the sheer volume of YouTube videos.  

Also, please note that Criterion Channel and Mubi ended up at the bottom of the list due to the low number of titles and the lack of exclusive originals, but that doesn’t make them worse than the other providers. The choice of your subscription ultimately depends on your personal preference, your quality requirements, and your budget.  

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