Binge-Watch to Your Heart's Content
The era of cable and satellite TV is coming to an end as more and more people are choosing to pay for streaming services. Live TV is not only more expensive than streaming services, but it no longer offers what people want.
According to the numbers, most viewers of live television are older individuals. A study done by the Pew Research Center showed that 61% of people aged 18-29 get their TV fix primarily from streaming. Something else to keep in mind is that young people keep their eyes glued to their smart devices, such as smartphones and tablets; both devices where streaming services thrive. The future waits for no one, and live TV simply can’t keep up with the times.
The once impressive HDTVs of the last generation have been pushed aside by the rise of 4K TVs/Smart TVs that offer streaming functionality. So it’s only a matter of time before live TV is completely dead, and there’s no reason for anyone to jump aboard a sinking ship.
That being said, it’s high time for you to pick the best TV streaming service to use, isn’t it? There are a lot of streaming services to choose from, for better or for worse.
We’ve narrowed it down to five competitors: Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, and HBO Max. So let's get started on helping you find the best TV streaming service so you can easily watch TV online.
- Basic: $9.99/month
- Standard: $15.49/month
- Premium: $19.99/month
Netflix has been a dominant force in the streaming service market for years. Right before the pandemic, they were ranked as the fastest-growing brand, doubling its value in a year. Back in 2019, Netflix claimed to have 10% of all TV time in the United States.
Netflix is also extremely popular among young people, the primary demographic for streaming services. Britain’s BBC has openly admitted that more young people watch Netflix than BBC. So what is it about Netflix that has people so hooked?
Advantages of Netflix
Netflix is all about original content. It has been cutting back on third-party content and focusing on exclusives. By 2025, almost half of their budget is projected to go toward their original content. And they certainly have a pretty stellar original content lineup.
With widely successful shows such as Squid Game, Bridgerton, Stranger Things, The Witcher, and 13 Reasons Why, Netflix offers up high-quality shows that you won’t be able to watch on any other streaming services.
While most of Netflix’s focus and budget have gone to original programming, the streaming service juggernaut has also spent a ton of money on stand-up comedy specials.
It started back in 2012 when Netflix gave comedian Bill Burr his own string of stand-up specials. Since then, Netflix has made big comedy acquisitions, nabbing deals with legendary comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Ricky Gervais, and Dave Chappelle. Rock, Gervais, and Chappelle have each been paid $20 million per stand-up special, and Seinfeld has been paid a whopping $100 million for several stand-up specials as well as rights to stream his popular web show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
Netflix has a ton of stand-up specials on their service now and continues adding specials practically every week. As a result, Netflix pretty much outperforms the combined efforts of HBO, Showtime, and Comedy Central when it comes to comedy.
If laughing is your thing, there’s no better streaming service to get than Netflix.
Entire Seasons Released at Once
Arguably one of Netflix’s greatest decisions is releasing every episode of their original shows all at once. Do you hate having to wait a week for the next episode to show up? I know I do. How about TV shows that take mid-season breaks and are gone for months? Talk about a drag. Thankfully, every episode of the newest season is released on day one for Netflix's original shows. And this is an absolute godsend.
There are few things more enjoyable on a snowy or rainy day than binge-watching the latest season of your favorite Netflix Original.
Streaming on Four Screens at Once
Netflix’s premium plan is the most expensive option on this list, but it also provides the most streaming benefits. For example, Netflix subscribers with the premium plan are able to stream on up to four devices at once.
Amazon Prime lets you stream to three devices, and Hulu’s streaming-only plans only allow you to stream from two devices.
Accessibility and Convenience
Another great thing about Netflix is how accessible and convenient it is. Netflix subscribers can use the service on a number of devices. Along with being able to watch Netflix via smart devices such as tablets and smartphones, users can also enjoy the streaming service via Smart TVs, Blu-ray Players, and even video game consoles. Netflix also allows offline viewing, which is great when traveling somewhere with shoddy or non-existent WiFi.
Netflix has a pretty clean user interface that makes it easy to navigate, set up preferences, and weed out content/genres that you are uninterested in. As a result, you should have no trouble using Netflix's service, even if you’re not the most technologically savvy person.
Disadvantages of Netflix
Less Content Than Amazon Prime
While Netflix does have more content than Hulu (Hulu has an estimated 3,000 titles for you to choose from), it has much less content than Amazon Prime. Netflix currently has over 5,000 TV shows and movies to enjoy, whereas Amazon Prime has over 26,000, plus additional movies and TV episodes you can buy or rent and over 100 premium channels you can add to your subscription.
The amount of content on Netflix has been sliced in half since 2012 when the company had around 11,000 TV shows and movies. Given that Netflix is focusing more and more on original content, it seems likely that the number of TV shows and movies that Netflix has will continue to decline.
Netflix Has Begun to Suffer From Third-Party Content Casualties in the Streaming Wars
Many media giants are jumping into the streaming industry, and Netflix’s third-party content has taken some major hits because of this.
All of Netflix’s Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars content has been moved over to Disney+, including Star Wars’ The Clone Wars, and the widely popular Marvel shows, Daredevil, The Punisher, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist.
Those aren’t the only major hits Netflix recently took. Friends was moved to HBO Max in 2020. Last year, the streaming giant took another big blow when it lost its close-knit relationship with Fox. Popular shows such as Bob’s Burgers, 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother, Scrubs, and many more were removed from Netflix and are now on either Hulu, Amazon Prime, or Disney+.
As more media giants enter the streaming war, expect more of your favorites to disappear from Netflix’s catalog.
Netflix Is Extremely Slow Adding More Episodes/Seasons of Third-Party Shows
One of the biggest complaints about Netflix is how long the streaming service takes to add seasons of third-party shows to their platform.
Netflix may do a huge service to their customer base by releasing every episode in the season for their original programming shows all at once, but when it comes to third-party shows, Netflix is honestly terrible. It’s not uncommon to have to wait up to six months for another season of the show you’re watching to show up on Netflix. Even when said shows are years old and have long since gone off the air, Netflix won’t have every season in the series.
If You Want to Keep Up with New Shows on Traditional Television, Netflix Isn’t for You
Do you want to ditch traditional TV but still want to watch some of the new TV shows found on traditional TV channels? Then you may want to rethink subscribing to Netflix.
Hulu uploads episodes of the newest TV shows the day after they air. Amazon Prime Video allows you to buy episodes or seasons of new TV shows right after they air as well.
You can expect to wait months before any of these shows arrive on Netflix. Your friends will be talking about Season 2, and you'll still be on Season 1: Episode 4.