Photo courtesy of HBO Max
When COVID-19 forced people across the nation to stay indoors, many industries lost customers and more importantly, revenue. However, the media industry, more specifically network television, received an opportunity to take their business to a whole new level. Eager to cash in on this opportunity, an explosion of streaming services have emerged in an attempt to change the way consumers watch television and movies.
This begs the question: which streaming service offers individuals the most value? There are tons currently out there, each with their own range of shows and movies to watch. Additionally, there are often deals where consumers can purchase more than one as a package. However, this list will feature each service as an individual. With that being said, here are the five streaming services with the best value for consumers in no particular order.
CBS All Access/Paramount+
Possessing a wide range of shows and live TV from networks such as CBS, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, CBS All Access has options for everyone. Additionally, the service features films from iconic movie franchises such as “Indiana Jones,” “The Godfather” and “Star Trek.” One drawback of the service is that there is currently no original content. However, a couple of new shows are already in the works for the service like “Y:1883,” a prequel series for the show “Yellowstone.”
Although in March the service will become Paramount+, no content with the exception of added movies is expected to change. Neither will the price, which is currently sitting at a modest $6 a month or $60 for the year with ads and ten dollars a month or $100 for the year without ads. All in all, CBS All Access is one of the best options for consumers interested in getting a total package.
Released in November of 2019, Disney+ was one of the first competitors to longtime streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Now, the service has over 90 million subscribers and releases new content consistently from popular cinematic universes like Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar. WCHS sophomore Brandon Gerber purchased the service when the service released the Star Wars show “The Mandalorian.”
“Disney+ has a lot of options and there’s always a surplus of shows at my disposal,” Gerber said. “I’m a big Star Wars and Marvel fan so it’s great that I have all the old content as well as the Disney+ original shows that they’re going to release.”
Like any streaming service, there are a few drawbacks. For Disney+, the pricing is certainly one of them. Although currently at a low rate of $7 a month or $70 for the year, a price increase is coming on March 26th in which the monthly and yearly price will change to $8 and $80 respectively. However, the price is certainly worth it for all Disney fanatics who want a wide range of shows.
Possessing shows from a wide variety of networks such as ABC, Cartoon Network, CBS, Disney and Fox, Hulu truly has something for everyone. Being the oldest of the five services on this list, one might expect that Hulu would have lost some popularity to newer services. However, this is not the case as innovations within the company have allowed them to persist. Over the past few years, Hulu has added live TV and original content to its arsenal.
Unfortunately, the original content on Hulu is very limited at the moment. This is very troubling when considering some network-specific services have recently pulled their content from generic services like Hulu and their rival Netflix. However, as long as no action is taken (which it hasn’t so far), Hulu is a great investment for consumers who want content from a variety of networks.
An affiliate of Hulu and WarnerMedia, HBO Max hit the market this May as an attempt to capitalize on an increasing demand for shows and movies to binge. Unlike some of the other services on this list, HBO Max has a higher focus on movies. So far, the service has allowed users to stream multiple blockbusters like “Judas and the Black Messiah” and “Wonder Woman 1984.” Also, users have access to franchises like “Harry Potter,” “Fast and the Furious” and the D.C. extended universe. Senior Matthew Freeman has had the service for a while now because his family has the regular HBO channel.
“I would say HBO Max is my favorite streaming service. They have a lot of great movies and shows,” Freeman said.
WarnerMedia has also announced their plans to produce eight to ten films solely for the service. This doesn’t include those like the films listed above that could be seen on other platforms. Unfortunately, HBO Max has a major drawback in regards to price. For those who don’t already have the HBO channel, it costs $15 per month. Although that price may not be worth it, there are often deals for consumers willing to purchase the service at a yearly subscription.
The newest of the five streaming services on this list, Peacock is NBCUniversal’s streaming service that contains a great list of classic shows such as “The Office,” “Saved by the Bell” and “Parks and Recreation.” They also feature live sports and currently have a deal with the Premier League to stream some of their top games. One drawback of Peacock being a new streaming service is that they have a small catalog consisting of solely NBC shows. However, Peacock has been quick to release 21 new shows since its creation.
If that doesn’t sound good enough, Peacock is the only major streaming service to allow users to use a small catalog for free. Although this doesn’t give the best value, considering there are ads and only a few episodes per show available, it does allow potential customers to get a sneak peak of what the premium plan has to offer. Additionally, Peacock has an exclusive agreement with the Tokyo Olympics to give users live coverage from all events this year. Peacock truly gives their subscribers a little bit of everything.
Although there is no singular best streaming service, the five above combine a full catalog of entertainment with a great price.