Streaming Made Simple: The Most Popular OTT Streaming Sites Summarized

With so many streaming options out there here is a quick list to figure out which service is best for you!
Streaming services
Image Source: The Ringer

Every day there seems to be a new streaming service announced that promises to fulfill all of your viewing needs but, sadly that is not always the case. In a world where a pandemic has disrupted all of our lives and many of us are struggling to find a semblance of normal, leisure isn't a luxury but a necessity. with that being said most of us don't possess the buying power to purchase every service available.

Here's a list of the most popular streaming services along with all the information required for you to decide which ones are right for you!

1. Netflix

Netflix Logo Black
image Source: Deadline

Netflix remains the premier streaming service and has become the standard for its competitors. Its Library of movies is expansive and everchanging, allowing anyone to find titles that pique their interest. From Procedural crime shows to obscure niche titles, Netflix has it all. What separates Netflix from its peers is its catalog of original films and Tv shows. An impressive amount of Netflix original content has gone on to either win awards, be critically acclaimed, or both. Titles like Roma and The Irishman Prove that auteur cinema can thrive and impact the audience with a limited theatrical release. Simultaneously, Shows Like Stranger Things and Orange Is the New Black have become staples in popular culture and benefit from Netflixs' binge model.

With this in mind, it important to note that Netflix, while impressive, is not perfect. That everchanging Library mentioned earlier becomes troublesome when a title you look forward to watching becomes unavailable in a blink of an eye. While many shows and movies are known to return, there's no telling when or if that will ever happen. Additionally, the price for Netflix does raise some concerns for more frugal consumers. The service offers three payment plans, Netflix Basic, standard, and premium. Netflix offers premium at a whopping $18 a month, and while it does offer 4K HDR streaming and Dolby Atmos for up to four devices at the same time, that price point is hard to justify for those on a budget.

If you are not a Netflix customer, you can sign up on Netflix here.

Recommendations: Roma, The Witcher, The Umbrella Academy, The Irishman, Moonlight, Lady Bird, Neon Genesis Evangelion, The Queens Gambit, Community

2. Hulu

Hulu Shows And Movies
Image Source: TechCrunch

Hulu is significantly less discussed than its competitors, which is a shame because it has some of the best features for subscribers. One of the most notable features that make Hulus Library so impressive is that it offers next-day streaming access for some of the most popular shows on network television, allowing you to keep up with your favorite shows week to week. Additionally, there's a live tv bundle that gives you access to over sixty-five live and on-demand channels. These channels include HBO, Cinemax Starz, Showtime, ESPN+, Breaking news, Live sports, and awards shows. Additionally, you can pay for Hulu's cloud DVR service for an extra charge, which allows you to record live tv.  Not only that, but you get access to classic shows like Seinfeld, Cheers, Frasier, and many more.

Besides regular tv shows, I would be remiss not to mention that Hulu also features many anime titles. Classic shows like Cowboy Bebop and Dragon Ball, along with new titles like Attack on Titan and The Promised Neverland. Hulu has the most extensive anime catalog I have seen outside of more niche streaming services like Crunchyroll and Funimation. Many of these titles also offer next-day streaming access and official localized English dubbing. Furthermore, the service has an impressive catalog of movies. Hulu is home to a plethora of indie films and popular classic and modern cinema. Hulu, like Netflix, does rid movies from its service. However, Hulu does so far less often and keeps a consistently strong library.

With that being said, to experience all that Hulu has to offer, you'd have to be willing to spend a pretty penny. Hulu offers its live Tv package for an additional $65 a month. Suppose you want Live Tv but without ads, that turns into $70 per month. If you hope to record anything that you watch live, you must cough up another $10.if you want to watch premium channels, that'll be $10 per channel.  If you want to watch Hulu on an unlimited amount of screens, that will be another $10, and so on. With all these additional prices, Hulu becomes very expensive rather quickly compared to its competitors. Although it is possible to purchase Hulu, Disney plus, and ESPN + in a bundle, that option isn't necessarily appealing to everyone.

If you are not a Hulu customer, you can sign up on Hulu here.

Recommendations: The Handmaidens Tale, Parasite, Atlanta, Fargo, Ramy, Killing Eve, Cowboy Bebop, Castle Rock, Rick, and Morty

3. Amazon Prime Video

Prime Video Logo
Image Source: UX Collective

Amazon Prime Video has proven itself a fierce competitor to other popular streaming sites and has a bright future.
Currently, Amazon Prime Video is ranked as the second-largest streaming service behind Netflix. This is due to the frankly genius business decision of prime Video being included in all Amazon Prime memberships. This inclusion without any extra charge makes Prime Video easily accessible since prime users receive the service for basically free.

A remarkable feature of prime is that you can rent/buy movies with ease. Prime Video allows you to purchase virtually any film that's available on Dvd or Blu-ray for a reasonable price. Also, you can enjoy these movies at 4K HDR without any additional charges. Prime Video presents itself as a worthy opponent to Netflix's original content lineup as far as the original content goes. Prime Video has produced many famous and successful shows over the last few years.

Shows like The Boys, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Flea Bag have all contended multiple awards at the Golden Globes and have massive and loyalty fandoms. Recently Prime Video has seen significant success with its film One Night In Miami. Its original film catalog includes popular movies like Manchester By The Sea, Honey Boy, and You Were Never Really Here.

Surprisingly, with an original movie selection that is so elite, you would think that the rest of the Amazon Prime Videos catalog would be of the same quality; unfortunately, you would be wrong. Amazon Prime Video honestly has a weak catalog when compared to its competitors. While there is the occasional hidden gem to be discovered, the rest of the movie and tv show options are admittedly underwhelming and mediocre.

Pursuing through Prime Video will leave you feeling empty as you notice that many movie selections are strange, obscure, and old. While there is a demographic of people who love films like that, casual film viewers will most likely never watch any of those titles. If you fall under the casual viewer camp, then you are left with familiar movies that you may have seen or heard of before.

The Good News is that there is hope. Prime Videos catalog has added some excellent titles in recent months, and a few weeks ago, Amazon announced a deal with renowned Donald Glover. Donald Glover, the showrunner of the FX hit Atlanta, will reportedly produce projects for amazon. Donald Glover has proven he can produce quality content, and with Amazon's original content lineup being so good already, it's an intelligent assumption to assume it will only get better.

If you are not an Amazon Prime customer, you can sign up on Amazon Prive Videos here.

Recommendations: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Boys, Knives out, The Lighthouse, Hereditary, The Twilight Series, One Night In Miami

4. Disney Plus

DIsney Plus Logo
Image source: Android Authority

Ever since its release on Nov 19th, 2019, Disney Plus has established itself as a worthy competitor in the streaming service arena.
What makes Disney Plus so popular is that it has a fantastic array of classic movies worth watching or rewatching. Through Disney plus, you gain access to almost one hundred years of classic Disney titles, as well as titles from the other intellectual properties the Disney corporation owns. You can revisit films like cinderella, snow white, Toy Story and Finding Nemo,  the star wars trilogy, and most of the marvel cinematic universe movies.

Additionally, this includes old and new Disney Channel original movies and tv shows, making Disney Plus the most popular streaming choice for families with young children. Furthermore, Disney plus offers premier access for their theatrical releases. This allows families to enjoy the newest Disney releases at home for an extra charge. however, it is essential to note that new Disney titles will be added to the site for free after a short while. 

The most exciting aspect of Disney plus is what the streaming service has in store for the future. Disney has already successfully added original shows to the site like the Mandalorian and WandaVision, Both of which have been a hit in their respective fandoms. With marvel gearing up to roll out more Disney plus exclusive titles that directly tie in with their upcoming movies and the StarWars franchise announcing that they will expand on the StarWars universe, it's safe to say that Disney plus will be the home to some truly unique and popular content.

Overall, Disney Plus is a very well-received and successful platform. However, it may not be the streaming service for those who crave more mature and gritty content. Disney plus is very family-friendly, and while shows like WandaVision and The Mandalorian appeal to an older audience, it may not be what some consumers are looking for.

If you are not a Disney Plus customer, you can sign up on Disney Plus here.

Recommendations: The Starwars Trilogy, The Mandalorian, WandaVision, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Soul, The Marvel Cinematic Universe, Raya, and The Last Dragon

5. HBO Max

HBO Max Logo
Image Source: Hollywood Reporter

Although it experienced a rough launch, HBO Max has proven itself to be a worthy competitor in the streaming industry. Far before the inception of online streaming services, HBO was a dominant premium channel on television. As the home to legendary shows like The Sopranos, The Wire, and Game of Thrones, HBO Max has a streaming Library that is arguably unmatched. Furthermore, consumers who crave original content will be hard-pressed to find another site as reliable as HBO. HBO Max gives you access to the newest HBO shows and non-HBO shows and movies like Southpark, and The Lord of the rings. 

A great accessory to HBO Maxs already impressive Library is the same-day streaming deal that the service has with Warner Brothers. In short, warner made a deal with HBO Max to release their entire 2021 Slate simultaneously in theatres and on the app. essentially, this means that for one month after a warner movie is released, those that have HBO Max will be able to watch it free of charge. Although Warner promised that the deal would only affect its 2021 slate, many are skeptical and believe that this will usher in a new way we watch movies.

Unfortunately, as good as HBO Max is, it is not without its flaws. The application version of the service is very buggy and makes the viewing experience frustratingly challenging. Oftentimes the service will unexplainably crash and lag and input commands like pause, rewind and fast forward will suddenly stop working.

The technical troubles are more frustrating when you consider the price of HBO Max. you can purchase HBO Max for $14.99 a month but without a cheaper option, the hassle of having to enjoy HBO Max through the app is annoying enough to enrage impatient customers. Overall, HBO Max is a solid streaming service with a bright future.

If you are not an HBO Max customer, you can sign up on HBO Max here.

Recommendations: Game Of Thrones, The Sopranos, The Wire, Zack Snyder's Justice League, Mad Max: Fury Road, Alien, Yojimbo, True Detective, The Knick

Aspiring actor with a love of film, anime , Tv and music

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