Last Updated: Sept 2019
I’ve seen a lot of articles trying to grab headlines about ‘too many streaming services’, ‘cable is dying’, and the like lately. Bah-humbug. What a time to stream! There are so many options. And with so many new streaming services on the rise, it helps people realize there is more than just Cable or Netflix.
How to Watch
My recommendation to friends is Roku. It lets you add all these services to one place. Even has a way to search for a film across all streaming services at once.
But you’re not limited to Roku. Most modern gaming systems, smart tvs, chromecast, and other devices handle this too. And don’t forget about your phone.
Here’s a list of Streaming Services you Should Know About
Here’s a breakdown. 20+ streaming services alphabetically listed below. Let me know if there are ones I should add. I expect many more services to come into play in the coming couple of years.
Free w/ ads
I’ve been making my way through Cowboy Bebop recently on this streaming service. MANY shows (and not just cartoons) available. And remember, not really for the little kids out there even if [adult swim] is on the Cartoon Network. Considering it’s free, has great content, this is an easy choice to use.
$13/m and a discount for students
TONS… I mean TONS of shows, movies, docs, and exclusives. I’ve been loving Carnival Row recently and of course working my way through some of the more modern Dr Who’s. If you buy a lot from amazon.com, you probably already have access to this. If you don’t… then go visit a friend that does and watch a show with them.
$4/m or $43/yr
I had to add this to the list. This is an amazing example of a streaming service that is out there and has an audience. Just look at their tagline of “Badass Cinema”. Are you the right audience for it? Maybe. It’s not trying to compete against Netflix. It’s rallying it’s fans.
I’m always amazed how many American shows are just copies of British shows. So give it a try and watch some Dr. Who while you’re at it.
CBS All Access
$6/m with ads
$10/m without ads
This one I’m torn on. I’m a huge trekkie (#stsp). But I’m not that excited by what I see on Star Trek Discovery. But now they have Picard coming back. Once again… torn. If Patrick Stewart signed on, it’s got to be a great concept. I was more excited when I thought it was a movie. Now that I know it’s a series, I worry it’ll be too formulaic. And with all the other streaming services out there, I just can’t bring myself to paying this much for one show. Maybe I’ll take a 5 day weekend and try to consume it all in a free trial, but right now this doesn’t fit in my viewing habits. Maybe it will yours. I’m sure there are other shows on the platform other than Star Trek… but um… I haven’t bothered to find out what they are and I’m not entirely sure they exist.
$20/yr (that's YEAR) HD
Their motto is “get curious”. Learn about the world around you with this service. Remember when the history channel and discovery channel didn’t have fake reality TV shows? They were amazing. And this feels like it’s sticking to the origins of learning and the world as it is. That excites me. Combine that with it’s cheap price, it’s a winner for me. For it’s cheap price, I can easily make the argument that just a handful of watches with my son on this platform each year is worth it.
$7/m or $70/yr
Disney owns EVERYTHING. Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, and um… what am I forgetting. Oh yeah, DISNEY! I feel that this will be the next big service. The next goliath of streaming. And I’m sure they’ll run into issues. That they’ll end up doing something to anger their subscribers. But they’ll do a good job and it’ll be a solid service. And with the live action Star Wars coming to it…. that is a cherry on top and I will seriously be looking into getting this service.
$6/m or $50/yr
A quick peek into the library of this streaming service and I see films I don’t recognize, but great actors that I do. Fandor is a streaming service for those that love the art of film. They do a great job supporting filmmakers and trying to showcase excellent films. If you’re tired of what your finding in other streaming services, give Fandor a try.
HBO has some of it’s own shows now just like everyone else: Game of Thrones, Barry, etc. But also great movie selection of things I keep missing in theaters. This is one of those services that is not your Goto. But is REALLY complimentary to your bundle of services.
$12/m (no ads)
Can optionally add HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz, and more
Hulu has some great original content getting press. It occasionally has a movie I’m interested in, but mostly I’ve used this to watch TV shows. I feel like it’s library has become smaller over the years. I used to watch Project Runway on it, but now that is on Lifetime’s buggy streaming service (buggy as of me last trying to use it).
Due to the “series” part of Hulu, it’s worth getting off and on to catch up on shows you like. I know it’s where I get my Bob’s Burgers fix in.
Indie Film Hustle
Want to become a filmmaker, then this service targets YOU… and like no one else but you. It is niche. and Niche is good these days. Expect to find more niche streaming services start cropping up.
This service has been around for years (like streaming before Netflix). They do have many good-for-you and social impact shorts, features, and series. If that previous sentence connects with you, then check them out.
Free - it's EXACTLY like old tv with ads
This is an interesting take of the old TV antenna model. If you’re considered “in market” for a city’s broadcast (over the airwaves) transmissions, this service will provide those over the internet. I live in NH and can stream tv channels from Boston area. So I tested this and of course started watching Maury. You’ll never believe the shocking DNS test results!
This is an interesting concept. Mubi curates movies for you. Each day, one movie is added and one is removed. The goal is to always have 30 amazing films available on the platform. So if you’re not wanting to scroll through endless bad films to find the gems in the film libraries, try this service out.
$9/m 1 screen
$13/m 2 Screens + HD
$16/m 4 Screens + Ultra HD
Netflix is the king. The O.G. of streaming services (reality check, it wasn’t the first, though). It’s what everyone including your grandmother and her great grandmother knows about. While it’s good to be king, they are at the top and not many other places to go but down. They are trying to expand into other countries. Even creating content specific to different cultures.
It’s full of great content and has been going on a spending spree in the BILLIONS to make new content. I love me some Stranger Things!
But I’m learning that I can live without Netflix. That I can pace myself and get it every other year. But I don’t believe that Netflix is in as much financial trouble as people think. It has a lot of debt, but it’s got good product and a good flow of money. With it’s new markets, it’s positioning itself to be in the long game. And If I’m wrong… well, I can edit this post :).
My son’s friend came over to visit and installed this on our Roku. I tried it out… and was really impressed. It has a channel on how to setup the service and that guy giving instructions made my wife and I laugh. Kudos Pluto TV for that! Content wise, there is something for everyone on Pluto TV. Tons of content (and a variety of it). I found the variety more than Tubi. The only downside is there is no search. But I didn’t have trouble finding things I wanted to watch.
$11/m or $100/yr
This is an interesting option that will appeal to portions of the population. There are many things on streaming platforms that I do not want my kid to watch. Some have methods to help with that, but Pure Flix is a dedicated to family friendly content. It has home school curriculum movies, it has christian movie library, and kid friendly content.
$5/m or $36/yr
Do you like slashers, supernatural, cult, underground, banned, zombies, classics, and more… well, this is a great platform to try out. For it’s low price/yr, you only need to enjoy a handful of movies on this to make it worth your while.
Seed & Spark
$3/m - but I encourage you to pay more or pick projects to help fund
This is an interesting service that is SUPER supportive of filmmakers. Not as many traditional blockbuster movies, but lots of amazing content. If you are a person who doesn’t connect with most “Hollywood” movies, check out this service.
$4.75/m or has yearly plan, but unsure of price
Horror, Thrillers, Suspense. That’s right on their homepage. I do recognize some recent films on their catalog that I’ve been itching to watch (like Cold Skin).
Shudder also advertises a fan community and ways to communicate with other members.
Every Episode of South Park is free. I remember an interview with the creators of South Park saying they got tired of illegally downloading their show when they wanted to show someone a part of it. So they released it for free for everyone. THANK YOU!
Troma is a spectacular example of content creators finding their audience. Troma is the original indie filmmaker. Think VHS tapes of wonderful awefullness. Are you their target audience? Well… probably not. I have watched the Toxic Avenger. The Class of Duke Nuke em High is on my watch list. Troma isn’t for everyone. But for those it is for… MAN is it for them.
Free (has ads)
This is kind of a no brainer to add to your streaming services. The movie selection is quite nice. And sometimes, you just want to watch Coneheads and this is a great solution for that. Assuming you aren’t too spoiled from Netflix’s no commercials.
Free - not free
Vudu… vudu.. hm. Where have I seen that before? That’s right! Those DVDs from Wal-Mart or 2nd hand at Goodwill. This service is tied with Wal Mart. I grew up in the land of Wal Mart (Arkansas) and am not too keen on giving money to this service. You can purchase and rent videos on this platform. But there is also items that are “Free” in their catalog. You can give it a try and I wanted to add it to this list as it’s a solid and easy add to your streaming services.