Streaming services are over-the-top (OTT) media services. An OTT is a media service provided directly to consumers through the internet. It bypasses satellite, broadcast, and cable TV stations, the traditional distributors and controllers of content like TV shows and movies.
Subscription-based Video-on-demand (SVoD) services offer access to movies and TV content, which includes movies and TV series from other producers and original content produced specifically for that particular service.
People are fully immersed in streaming TV(SVoD), and most of us have left cable TV behind. Services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, HBO Max, Prime Videos, and many more allow people to watch numerous Television series, movies, and cartoons from anywhere in the world.
People are spoilt for choice as many streaming services offer different content and have different subscription fees. Your monthly streaming budget can change depending on which service is worth your time and money.
Depending on your budget, you can choose a service and watch whatever you want with or without ads. Your choices depend on many factors like what shows and movies you want to watch, whether you need to consider other people like kids and roommates, if you are a sports fan, and how much you want to spend. Below are 10 of the cheapest streaming services.
10. ESPN PLUS- $9.99/month
ESPN Plus is the ultimate streaming service for sports lovers. The ESPN streaming service provides various live and on-demand sports games and activities. People who want to watch an MLB or NHL game, daily football and soccer matches, college sports, or PPV UFC events will find a comfortable home at ESPN Plus. The streaming service can be purchased as a standalone service for $9.99 per month or as a bundle with Hulu and Disney Plus for $14 per month. Previously, the service cost $7 per month, but the price went up to $10 per month.
For many NHL and UFC fans, ESPN is the only streaming platform where they can watch their favorite games and teams or their favorite fighter on the regular. According to PC Magazine, the service offers a wide selection of games from soccer leagues worldwide, including Bundesliga and La Liga. ESPN Plus hosts exclusive UFC fights, including the UFC Fight Night and pay-per-view championship events. Unfortunately, the service does not show live NBA or NFL games.
9. HBO MAX- $9.99/month
HBO max launched in May 2020, and two years down the line, it already has more than 75 million subscribers worldwide. The streaming service has become quite popular because of its vast catalog of movies, Tv series, and breakout shows. Starting at $9.99 a month for the ad-supported subscription is not that bad, but there are other cheaper alternatives. Subscribers can choose the ad-free version and enjoy entertainment without the interruptions of advertisements, but that will cost them an extra $5. The ad-free option for HBO Max is $15 per month.
The service is full of binge-worthy titles that are classics and other newer shows, including The House of Dragon, Elvis, Adventure time, Tony Soprano, and a lot of comedic content. The service also included HBO's entire catalog. It has every show that HBO has ever produced, including Emmy award winners, Euphoria and Succession. It also has a range of movies that are loved worldwide, including The Lord of the Rings and Rick and Morty.
8. NETFLIX- $9.99/month
When people hear of a streaming service, Netflix is the first to come to mind. Hence the phrase "Netflix and chill ." Though the streaming service has been facing competition from HBO Max and Disney Plus, it is still one of the best streaming services, mainly because it is available worldwide. Depending on your budget, Netflix offers different plans starting at $9.99, with the highest costing $20 per month. The great thing about Netflix is that none of its subscription plans has ads. According to CNET, they might be introducing an ad-supported plan soon. The platform also lets subscribers download movies and series and watch them when they are offline.
Netflix has many familiar shows, documentaries, movies, comedy specials, and more original productions than most streaming services. Netflix made history in 2021 by winning 44 Emmy awards, which no other streaming service has ever achieved. Subscribers will find big names in the film industry like Stranger things, Squid game, Ozarks, Bridgerton, Money Heist, and many more award-winning shows that will keep them entertained all day long.
7. PRIME VIDEO- $8.99/month
Prime Video is Amazon's streaming service. Even though it is included in the Amazon Prime plans, Amazon offers it as a standalone subscription service. Prime video subscription is $9 per month, but Amazon prime members pay $14. People who have paid for the entire Amazon prime membership get free shipping and access to prime video and Amazon's music streaming service.
The streaming service has an impressive content lineup, including popular movies and TV shows like Scrubs, Heathers, and the Savage x Fenty fashion show. It also has excellent original productions like the Sound of Metal, The Wheel of Time, The Boys, Hanna, Reacher, and many more. Prime Videos' content selection is not as good as Netflix or Hulu, so if you are not already subscribed to Amazon Prime, the streaming service on its own may not be worth the price.
6. STARZ- $8.99/month
Starz premium cable channel launched in 1994 and operated as a network. However, as the internet age took over and streaming services became popular, Starz took its content online with its streaming service. Starz is a serious investor in original content, with most original shows getting over 80% ratings on Rotten Tomatoes critics. Starz has a subscription fee of $8.99 per month. The app does not support advertisements and lets subscribers download content on mobile.
In 2021, Starz had over 18 million subscribers. While the service does not offer a wide range of shows and movies like its counterparts, Netflix and Hulu, Starz has a selection of high-quality, well-written, and exciting shows and movies that will keep you glued to the screen. Hits like Power, produced by 50 Cent, and many power spinoffs that are equally as good that run throughout the year, P-Valley, which has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Outlander, Venom: Let there be carnage, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, The White Princess and many more.
5. DISNEY PLUS- $7.99/month
Disney is synonymous with the cartoon Mickey Mouse and sitcoms, but the Disney plus streaming service offers more than just cartoons and children's shows. The service launched in November 2019, and by the end of 2021, the platform already had over 100 million subscribers. The platform has become very popular because it provides a great selection of movies and series at a relatively low price. The monthly subscription for the Disney plus standalone service is $8, but they announced a price bump that will start on December 8, 2022. According to Disney, from December, the platform will introduce an ad-supported plan for $8 while the ad-free version will be $11, up from the current $8.
Disney Plus is giving Netflix a run with its phenomenal catalog. From the Rise of Skywalker, WandaVision, and Enchanto to its marquee original, The Mandalorian. Subscribers are sure that they can always find something to watch. And at $8, it gives the best value for that amount.
4. HULU- $6.99/month
There is a reason this streaming service has more than 45 million subscribers. Hulu is among the most popular streaming services in the United States. Unfortunately, Hulu is not available worldwide like Disney Plus and Netflix, but it has a good lineup of movies and TV shows that makes the platform appealing to viewers. It complements Netflix with various shows familiar to viewers from networks like NBC, FOX, and ABC that subscribers can watch a short while after they air. Hulu's basic ad supporting plan starts at $6.99 per month, which is cheaper than its counterparts. People who would rather not get ad interruptions pay $13. Hulu announced a price hike which will start on October 10. Its ad-supported plan will be $8, while Hulu Premium will be $15
Most people who watch movies and TV series know that Hulu's original productions can either be a hit or miss, and most shows don't get renewed. The platform has produced several hits. Some of Hulu's best original productions include The Handmaid's tale, High Fidelity, Little Fires Everywhere, Castle Rock, Marvel's Runaways, and Veronica Mars, to mention a few. Hulu also has an expanding catalog of its original shows, some of which are critically acclaimed.
3. PEACOCK- $4.99/month
Peacock is NBCUniversal's streaming platform. NBC launched the platform in July 2020 and has experienced some growth since then. It is one of the cheapest streaming services and even offers a free version with ads. Subscribers who do not want to watch content without interruptions can pay $4.99 per month for Peacock Premium or $9.99 for Peacock Premium Plus. It has a similar interface as other more successful platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max.
Peacock includes a lot of NBC network shows, movies, original series, and some live sports. According to Toms Guide, although the premium version that costs $5 is supposed to be ad-free, it still runs some ads, and the platform does not allow subscribers to download movies for online viewing. Even though it is an NBC streaming service, it still lacks many of NBCs popular shows. But the platform carries popular titles like The Office, Parks and Recreation, Saturday Night Live, Friday Night Lights, Chicago Fire, This is Us, Law & Order: SVU, The Titan Games Superstore, and many more.
2. PARAMOUNT PLUS- $4.99/month
Paramount Plus was previously known as CBS All Access and is home to almost every Paramount Global production worldwide. It is the best streaming service for fans of Comedy Central, CBS, MTV, BET, and Nickelodeon. Paramount Plus has two plans: the limited commercials plan for $4.99 per month and the no commercials plan for $9.99 per month. Subscribers can also buy an annual subscription to the plans they choose.
This streaming service has a ton of great content. It offers over 30,000 episodes of TV shows and films, including over 50 original shows and movies and TV shows from the Paramount Global family, like CBS and MTV. Paramount plus carries many famous and popular shows, including SEAL Team, Ray Donovan, NCIS, The Neighborhood, The Good Fight, Star Trek: Picard, and the Yellowstone spinoff Yellowstone 1883.
1. APPLE TV PLUS- $4.99/month
Apple TV Plus entered the streaming world in 2019, just a few weeks before Disney Plus. The Apple TV Plus subscription service is $5 per month. Making it the cheapest premium ad-free streaming platform in the world.
Although its movie and series selection is lower than most other platforms, it still offers some of the most popular TV shows and has produced high-quality originals. One of its original productions, CODA, recently won an Oscar, making Apple Plus the first streaming service to win the Best Picture award.
Apple TV Plus has proved that it invests in premium shows with the selection on the platform. According to TV Guide, Apple Tv Plus now has more than 110 original shows and movies. Shows like Ted Lasso, The Morning Show, Severance, The Tragedy of McBeth, Pachinko, and many others.
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Written by Dana Hanson
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