The Top 5 Paid Streaming Services in the U.S Ranked

More and more people use streaming services as their main source of entertainment today rather than paying for cable. Why is this? For one, paid streaming services are usually ad free which means audiences can enjoy a show or movie without any interruptions. Additionally, streaming services often have multiple seasons of shows, which makes it easier for audiences to binge watch their favorite series instead of waiting for the next episode to air on cable. While this trend is nothing new, entertainment during the pandemic has been one of the few saving graces for families that are stuck inside with nothing to do. With this being said, the following list ranks the most worth it streaming services while taking into consideration: price, quality of selection, intended audience and consistency of new content. 

  1. Netflix

Netflix is one of best streaming services in 2021, no question. While other services have had delayed releases due to COVID-19, they have consistently put out new content every week this year so far. Netflix has over 15,000 titles and offers something for every kind of audience. They have decent selections of long running TV shows and they have films of every genre. Because Netflix caters to wider interests, the service and the options it provides tend to work their way into popular culture. Original shows such as “The Queen’s Gambit,” “Tiger King,” “Peaky Blinders,” and “Orange is the New Black” all made their impact on social media as well, with people dressing up like the characters, parodying them, or dishing about what they think will happen next. Overall, Netflix is a credible service and with their standard pricing per month being around $12.99, it offers enough to keep the average audience satisfied.

  1. Disney Plus

Disney Plus, while it has about half as much content as Netflix, is a service that caters to families and young adults with wholesome themes and nostalgic stories. They not only have films for kids from Pixar and Disney’s classic archive, but they also offer all of the Marvel film franchise as well as all of the Star Wars movies. Additionally, shows such as “Wandavision” and “The Mandalorian” are high production value series that are worthwhile watches and only available on this streaming service. The best part about Disney Plus is that it’s only $7.99 a month, making it one of the cheaper services featured on this list. In other words, while Disney Plus releases new content more sporadically, the quality of the shows for the price is unmatched. most of the films and television shows are made with the intention of keeping the attention of people of any age with little or no controversy. 

  1. Hulu

Unsurprisingly, Hulu is stuck right in the middle. As a whole they offer over 1,600 TV shows and over 2,500 movies, which is much less than Netflix or Disney Plus; however, Hulu caters to a much more specific demographic of adults who enjoy cartoons, reality TV and comedy series. Their original content releases are  infrequent, but the quality of their shows is generally on the higher end of adult comedy. Furthermore, while they have more films than TV shows, Hulu’s selection lacks luster. They carry mostly independent and older films, both of which are less likely to create the same kind of buzz as the entertainment option on Netflix and Disney Plus. Keeping in consideration the quality of their comedy TV content and their intended audience, Hulu’s standard ad free service is $11.99, a reasonable price for those who love casual viewing of television more than having a cinematic experience.

  1. HBO

HBO has always been considered a high quality premium content service. Their selection of films on their streaming platform, HBO MAX, is small, but it constantly rotates so as to offer new content and features that are still in theaters (such as “Godzilla vs. Kong”). Moreover, HBO’s original series are all extremely well produced and include “Barry,” “Euphoria,” and “Succession.” With this said, their lack of censorship makes it a streaming service that is almost entirely meant for adults. While this is not necessarily a service that caters to a family setting, the content is undeniably original, dark, and comments on the fault of modern society. HBO provides shows that are more cerebral than Hulu’s casual viewing catalog and it’s reflected in the prices. One month of HBO is $14.99 which is on the more expensive side of the spectrum, but for someone interested in being immersed in a high quality story with exciting and uncensored characters it is a worthwhile investment. 

  1. Amazon Prime

Last on the list is Amazon Prime. While Amazon has a larger selection of movies and TV shows (about 45,00 movies and 25,00 series), most of their options are just plain uninteresting. Sure Prime has original shows like “The Boys” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” but almost all of their other non-original content is extremely old or barely relevant for most audiences. The service has so much on it, but realistically they are only a few shows and films that are going to be genuinely entertaining. While their lack of quality offerings is annoying, the fact that Amazon Prime also includes two day free shipping of basically any product makes the $12.99 monthly fee seemingly fair for most households to have.

By Kyra Matus

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