If you’ve been watching more TV lately, you’re not alone. With more time spent in the house these days, everyone is streaming something whether it’s on Netflix or Hulu or Amazon.
If you’re thinking of cutting the cord, there are a number of streaming services to choose from. But with so many choices, you may find yourself spending as much money if not more than you were for cable TV.
To keep your streaming spending in check, take a close look at your streaming needs. Knowing what you want will help you decide whether there’s one streaming service that rules them all or if you should go a la carte and choose services from different providers.
Here are the major players offering streaming service today. Always check the provider’s site for additional promotions such as free trials or a month free to save money.
Best for selection of content: Netflix
Netflix is one of the, if not the, most popular streaming services today. A new study found that 23% of respondents said Netflix was the first TV source they go to. Netflix boasts an easy-to-use interface, plus an impressive selection of TV shows and movies that they refresh regularly. They also stream their own award-winning original content.
Netflix shows worth binging right now:
Avatar: The Last Airbender
The Umbrella Academy
Netflix offers three streaming plans you can choose from that range from $9-$16 a month. If you plan to stream on multiple devices, you’ll want to go with the Standard or Premium Plan. Check Netflix for the latest prices and current offers.
Basic Plan - Stream on a single device at a time in standard definition. Downloads available to a single phone or tablet. Monthly cost: $8.99/month.
Standard Plan - Stream on two devices at a time in high definition when available. Downloads available to two phones or tablets. Monthly cost: $12.99/month.
Premium Plan - Stream on four devices at the same time and in high definition and ultra-high definition when available. Downloads available to four phones or tablets. Includes your first month free. Monthly cost: $15.99/month.
Best for TV junkies and sports fans: Hulu
In addition to movie and TV classics and original content, Hulu is the best streaming service for TV junkies. They offer plans that let you watch current TV shows on a delayed schedule (you’ll want to avoid spoilers at the water cooler). If you can’t wait to watch or there’s a must-see sporting event on, Hulu does offer a plan that includes regular streaming content plus live TV. Check Hulu for the latest prices and current offers.
Hulu (with ads) - Monthly cost: $5.99/month.
Hulu (with no ads) - Monthly cost: $11.99/month.
Hulu + live TV - Monthly cost: $44.99/month.
Hulu (with no ads) + live TV - Monthly cost: $50.99/month.
You’re also able to customize any Hulu plan with their add-ons, including: HBO, Cinemax, cloud DVR, unlimited screens and more.
Best for original content: Amazon Prime Video
If what you crave is fresh, original voices and new content, check out Amazon Prime Video. Prime Video is available to members of Amazon Prime Prime, which costs $119/year, or $12.99/month. Getting the annual membership will save you $37 vs a monthly subscription. Prime Video’s newest original content includes “Modern Love,” “Fleabag,” and “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.”
>>Calculator: 50/30/20 Budget Calculator
Best for documentaries: HBO
The stand-alone streaming service from HBO (formerly HBO NOW and HBO GO) gives you streaming access to HBO series, specials and movies. When it comes to creating award-winning, stunning documentaries, though, nobody does it like HBO. Check out “A Dangerous Son,” “Andre the Giant,” or “At the Heart of Gold” streaming now. The HBO Now streaming service includes all their documentaries as well as original content. HBO Now can be streamed for $14.99/month.
Note: HBO Now is not the same as HBO Go. HBO Go requires an existing HBO subscription either through your cable provider or Amazon Prime.
Best for everyone: Disney+
Although new to the streaming game, Disney+ is already considered one of the “Big 4” alongside Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. Streaming Disney, Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars has helped this streaming service stay popular among people of every age. It’s low monthly cost helps as well. Disney+ is available for $6.99/month or $69.99/year.
There’s also an offer now to get a three-pack bundle that includes Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99/month.
How to choose the best streaming service
At the end of the day, the streaming service that’s right for you depends on what you’re looking for. Are you a TV junkie? Do you just watch a few movies on the weekends? Compare services to save the most money when it comes to streaming.