By Mason Poepperling / Staff writer
Nowadays, it can seem like every piece of media can be consumed digitally through the internet. Everything from music to books to even video games all exist on the internet to be enjoyed within a moment’s notice. There’s no need to own physical copies of media, it seems.
This surge of popularity in media convenience can be traced directly to movie and TV streaming, the first in a long line of streamable content. Music and TV streaming is currently the most popular form of consuming both forms of media, and just like Cable did before, Movie and TV streaming services have become – and still continue to become – more and more niche as the years go on. Since the inception of Netflix streaming service in 2007, dozens on top of dozens of services have been introduced, and it can be confusing to figure out which ones are worth it.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the more popular streaming services and what they offer.
The elder statesman of streaming services, despite the growing number of competitors and suffering their first loss in subscribers in the second quarter of 2022, Netflix continues to be the most popular streaming service of all time at 230 million subscribers, and for the most part it’s easy to see why.
The thing that Netflix succeeds at the most is putting its best foot forward with showing its best content up front. Scrolling through the movie page alone without vertical scrolling, these were some of the top choices: “The Dark Knight”, “Rocky”, “Scott Pilgrim vs The World”, “Forrest Gump”, “21 Jump Street”, “La La Land”, “It”, “A Knight’s Tale”, “Brokeback Mountain”, “Top Gun”, “Jerry Maguire”, “The Labyrinth”, “Easy A”, and “The Hangover”.
A perfect combination of action, comedy, drama and more. Another aspect that Netflix excels at is original shows. At the time of publication, the 10 most popular shows on Netflix are original shows.
Netflix’s model of releasing every episode of their original shows at once has resulted in shows that usually make a huge splash when they drop and then disappear completely. Another detractor for Netflix is the amount of “Bojack Horseman” ripoffs. “Bojack Horseman” is one of the most emotional adult animated shows of all time, and too many adult animated shows on the service try to recapture Bojack’s magic without really understanding what made it special.
Other than that, Netflix continues to be the closest to the perfect movie and television streaming service, although there is no option to watch live television channels.
Worth it Rating: Absolutely.
Introduced 10 months after Netflix, Hulu has spent the most time in its shadow.
Even though Hulu still has a solid line-up of movies, TV shows, and original content, nothing the platform has produced or carried has quite managed to make a splash in the way things from Netflix has.
What can make Hulu annoying is the introduction of add-ons, where you can watch shows that aren’t actually on Hulu to Hulu for an added fee, such as Starz. This means sometimes, there are movies and shows that appear to be on Hulu, but when you try to watch them, they’re not actually on Hulu.
If one can look past this though and manage to find enough movies and shows that are interesting, viewers can probably get something out of Hulu. One massive benefit of Hulu however is that it’s one of the few streaming services with a college student discount for $2 dollars a month, a massive bargain compared to the prices of other services.
Live television can be a benefit, especially for sports fans
Worth It Rating: Kind of.
Amazon Prime Video
Leave it to Jeff Bezos to have a successful thing in his resume. The second most popular streaming service with 205 million subscribers, Prime Video has developed a reputation for being a dumping ground for some of the worst content available to stream, and it’s easy to see why.
Apart from a handful of exceptions, most of the content Prime Video is the last thing anyone would want to watch, and that’s the stuff that Prime subscribers can watch. Even the best stuff on the platform you still might have to pay for again, because some of what’s on Prime Video you still have to either buy or rent, so you’re paying for the movie or Tv Show when you’re already paying for a Prime subscription. That says it all right there.
Worth It rating: Absolutely not.
The fastest growing streaming service of all time, gaining 10 million subscribers a day after its launch, Disney+ is an excellent example of the nichification of streaming services.
With a similar sense of quality in its content as Netflix, Disney+ succeeds in one way where other services fail, and that’s in family content. While this may just come from Disney being a fantastic creator of family content to begin with, it’s still interesting to see that other streaming services haven’t even attempted to compete with Disney+ and its output of family content.
Another aspect that Disney+ has had a lot of success with compared to other services is live musical performances. Some of the biggest names in popular music – Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, BTS, Elton John, Billie Elish, Beyonce and Miley Cyrus – have all released live musical experiences unlike anything anyone has ever made before.
These reasons, among others, make Disney+ one of the best streaming services around.
Worth It rating: 100%.