Which Streaming Services Give You the Most for Your Money?


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In the past, if you wanted to watch television, you needed a cable TV subscription — but things have changed. These days, there’s no shortage of available streaming services, allowing you to personalize your watch options while saving money. But the streaming costs can pile up quickly!

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Concerned about how much money you’re spending on streaming services? It’s easy to reduce this cost by choosing streaming services that offer the most value.

If you’re in the market for a new streaming service, shopping around can feel a bit overwhelming. Here’s a look at the platforms that offer the most for your money to help you make a well-informed decision.

Last updated: June 14, 2021

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One of the biggest names in streaming, Netflix offers plans ranging in price from $8.99 to $17.99 per month. There are no extra fees and you can cancel anytime, so there’s no obligation to continue your subscription if you find you’re not getting much from it.

As a Netflix member, you’ll enjoy unlimited access to a vast array of content, including feature films, documentaries and television shows. Netflix also has a ton of popular original programming you can’t find anywhere else — i.e., “Bridgerton,” “The Crown” and “Ozark.”

Beyond convenient, you’re able to watch Netflix on an unlimited number of internet-connected devices, and depending on your plan, up to 4 simultaneous streams. You can also download content to watch on the Netflix app when you’re without an internet connection.

See: What These 32 Netflix Stars Did Before They Were Famous

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Another hugely popular streaming service, Hulu offers a variety of subscription options, starting with the basic plan which costs $5.99 per month — or $59.99 per year. You can also upgrade to an ad-free version, which costs $11.99 per month, add live TV for $64.99 per month or bundle with Disney+ and ESPN+ for $13.99 per month.

Content-wise, a Hulu membership grants you access to thousands of television shows and movies. The platform also features Hulu originals you won’t find elsewhere, such as “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Castle Rock” and “The Great.”

All Hulu plans allow you to watch on your TV, laptop, phone or tablet and view on two different screens at once. The ad-free plan also allows you to download content and watch it later.

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Amazon Prime Video

Available as part of an Amazon Prime membership — which costs $12.99 per month or $119 per year — or as a standalone subscription for $8.99 per month, Amazon Prime Video has a lot to offer. You can also opt to subscribe to more than 100 premium channels for an added fee.

Amazon Prime Video includes a huge selection of movies and television shows across a broad spectrum of categories. Membership also includes access to Prime Originals such as “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Bosch” and “One Night in Miami.”

You’re able to stream content from the Prime Video app on your smartphone, tablet, game console, smart TV and more, leaving plenty of ways to watch. You can also download titles for offline viewing.

Related: Here’s How Much Jennifer Aniston and Other Actors Get Paid for Their Reruns

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YouTube TV

A live TV streaming service, YouTube TV offers more than 85 channels of entertainment, news, sports and more. Priced at $64.99 per month, there’s no cable box, contracts or hidden fees.

YouTube TV subscribers enjoy unlimited DVR storage space, along with rewind, fast forward and pause capability. There’s no installation fee, and you can watch your favorite shows from anywhere on mobile devices, computers, streaming media players, smart TVs and game consoles.

It’s available nationwide in more than 99.5% of U.S. households, but channel listings vary by area. You can enter your ZIP code on the YouTube TV website to see your local offerings.

Read: 33 Popular TV Shows With the Highest-Paid Casts

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Launched in 2019, Disney+ is a family-friendly streaming platform available for $7.99 per month or $79.99 per year. Stream content on your television, computer, mobile and tablet devices and game consoles, or download it for offline viewing.

In its first year alone, Disney+ included access to more than 7,500 television episodes and 500 films. Subscriptions also include Disney+ originals, like “The Mandalorian,” “Loki” and “High School Musical:
The Musical: The Series”

You also can get premier access to films the same day they hit theaters — and watch as many times as you like — for an extra $29.99 per film.

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Dropping in the midst of quarantine in May of 2020, HBO Max seemingly came into consumers’ lives at a perfect time, but at a slightly high cost of $14.99 a month.

HBO Max offers access to some the most critically-acclaimed titles like “The Wire” and “Game of Thrones,” while also being the only place you can watch fan favorites like “Friends” and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.  The streaming platform is also making itself known with up and coming series like “Mare of Easttown.”

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Peacock breaks by the mold by offering a completely free option to watch hundreds of movies and shows and get access exclusive channels. For $4.99 a month, you also get access to live sports and events coverage, plus original series like the “Saved by the Bell” reboot and “Girls5eva.”

Peacock Premium Plus costs $9.99 a month, and offers all of this without ads, plus the ability to download and watch titles offline. Certain cable companies offer access to Peacock Premium Plus for no extra charge.

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Shudder is an AMC-sponsored platform that specializes in horror, thrillers and suspense. It costs $5.99 a month, or $56.99 for an annual membership. Horror fans get access to classic films like “Halloween,” plus Shudder exclusives like “Creepshow.” There’s also live streaming events, horror documentaries and podcasts offered through the service.

Memberships offer ad-free watching, and can be canceled anytime. Shudder is available on multiple devices, but there is no option to download content for offline viewing.

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Launching in early 2021, Paramount+ offers 30,000 TV shows, 2,500 movies, Paramount Plus Originals and selected live sports for $4.99 a month with ads. For $9.99 a month, you’re promised “limited” commercials, more live sports, plus access to 4K, Dolby Vision and HDR content. With this tier, you can also download and watch 4K videos offline. 

More than 50 series are said to premiere on Paramount+ over the next two years. These include the “Frasier” revival, and the TV adaptation of “The Italian Job.” If you’re a Star Trek fan, Paramount+ is the place to be. The streaming platform will host “Star Trek: Picard, “Star Trek: Prodigy,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

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Apple TV+

For $4.99 a month, Apple TV+ mainly offers original content like “Ted Lasso” and “The Morning Show.” Those with Apple products may be eligible for one year free of the streaming service.

One advantage to Apple TV+ is its family plan. Up to six people can use the same account with their own logins and passwords. You also get 4K quality video, plus the ability download media to watch offline.

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Laura Woods contributed to the reporting for this article. 

Prices and program availability are accurate as of Feb. 12, 2021.