January 5, 2021
Discovery+ is available now. How does it compare to other streaming services?
It's a new year, so naturally why not start it with another streaming service?
On Monday, Discovery+ entered an increasingly crowded landscape of services vying to attract your eyeballs to their endless selection of programming.
Discovery+ features more than 55,000 episodes from channels including Animal Planet, Food Network, HGTV and TLC.
It's only the beginning. Another streaming service from Paramount is expected to launch this year offering CBS All Access as well as content from Paramount and Viacom—owners of channels including MTV and BET.
That doesn't factor in newcomers HBO Max and NBC's Peacock, which have made significant steps in 2020 in bolstering their platforms. There's also the veterans of the space, Netflix and Hulu.
So, how do you choose what to stream and what to skip? Here's a quick guide to the big players in streaming:
How much? $4.99 per month, or $6.99 per month for an ad-free version. Verizon is currently offering a promotion to select customers for 12 months of the ad-free service for free.
Where can I watch? On any Android or iOS device, streaming devices such as Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV or Android TV, as well as Xbox video game consoles.
How many can watch at the same time? Each account supports up to five user profiles and four concurrent streams.
What can I watch? In addition to several new exclusive series, the service will feature content from Discovery Channel, Food Network, HGTV, Animal Planet, TLC, A&E, BBC, The History Channel and Lifetime.
How much? The basic plan is $8.99 a month, the standard plan is $13.99, and the premium plan is $17.99.
Where can I watch? Nearly all streaming media devices features a Netflix app, as do smart TVs, Android and iOS devices, and video game consoles. At this point, we're waiting to see Netflix apps on your smart kitchen appliances.
How many can watch at the same time? It varies by plan. On basic, it's one screen. Standard offers two simultaneous streams while premium doubles that to four.
What can I watch? Over the years, Netflix has bolstered its original programming with shows including "The Crown," "Stranger Things," "The Queen's Gambit," "The Umbrella Academy" and more. There's also a strong selection of third-party movies and TV shows that cycle in and out monthly.
How much? It starts at $5.99 a month for a plan with ads, or $11.99 without ads. If users want to add live TV to the mix, plans start at $64.99. You can also get Hulu bundled as part of a package with other services such as Disney+, ESPN+ and Spotify.
Where can I watch? Just like Netflix, there is an app on nearly every device, between laptops, smartphones, tablets and video game consoles.
How many can watch at the same time? Hulu subscribers can run two streams concurrently. If you choose live TV, you can get unlimited streams.
What can I watch? Like Netflix, Hulu has beefed up its original programming with content such as "The Handmaid's Tale" and "Palm Springs." But it also has a broad selection of movies and TV shows from networks including NBC, ABC and Fox.
Amazon Prime Video
How much? For the service itself, it's $8.99 a month. It's also free as part of the annual Amazon Prime subscription, which boasts perks like free shipping on millions of items.
Where can I watch? Amazon devices such as Fire TV and Fire tablets, of course, as well as most smartphone, tablets, laptops, video game consoles and streaming devices.
How many can watch at the same time? You can stream up to three videos simultaneously.
What can I watch? Original programming includes "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," "Fleabag" and Tom Clancy's "Jack Ryan," as well as a handful of third party movies and TV shows.
How much? It's $6.99 a month, or $12.99 a month if you bundle it with Hulu and ESPN+.
Where can I watch? Web browsers, top streaming players including Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast and Apple TV. There are also PlayStation and Xbox apps, and apps for smart TVs.
How many can watch at the same time? It supports four simultaneous streams.
What can I watch? Pretty much anything and everything Disney is available here. Princess movies? Check. Pixar classics? Check. A TV show about kids who go to school on a cruise ship? Also here. Then there's the wide selection of TV shows and movies from Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic.
How much? $14.99 a month.
Where can I watch? Thankfully, Roku, due to a deal recently reached between the two entities. It's also on video game consoles, iOS and Android devices, and other top streaming devices.
How many can watch at the same time? The service allows three simultaneous streams.
What can I watch? There's HBO programming such as "The Sopranos" and "Game of Thrones." There's the hit TV show "Friends." There's DC Comics related movies such as the just-released "Wonder Woman 1984," plus Warner Bros. plans to release all its 2021 movies on HBO Max the same day as theaters.
How much? Parts of the NBC-owned service are available for free. To unlock everything, it's $4.99 a month, or $9.99 a month if you want to ditch ads.
Where can I watch? It's available on most streaming devices with one notable exception: Amazon Fire TV. You can also watch on your laptop, Android or iOS devices, or video game consoles.
How many can watch at the same time? It supports up to three concurrent streams.
What can I watch? The service just added all seasons of "The Office," which had been a big hit for Netflix until it left the service at the end of 2020. It has started adding some original content like a new "Saved by the Bell" series, and boasts hours of original programming including "Saturday Night Live," "30 Rock" and other NBC hits. There's also some live sports like Premier League soccer.
How much? It costs $4.99 a month.
Where can I watch? Apple devices, obviously, but it's also on PC, video game consoles, streaming devices such as Roku and Fire TV, and some smart TVs.
How many can watch at the same time? A whopping six simultaneous streams.
What can I watch? It's a small but mighty lineup with programming including "Ted Lasso," "Central Park" and "The Morning Show."
One area this doesn't cover is live TV, which more accurately mimics the experience you might get if you had a cable TV subscription. On top of Hulu live TV, options include YouTube TV, the lower-cost Sling, Fubo with its robust selection of live sports and Philo, which offers most non-sports channels for $20 a month. The big difference here is prices are much higher. For example, YouTube TV costs $64.99 a month.
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