“There’s nothing to watch on television,” said no-one, ever. It might have been true in the old days of television broadcasting that choice was limited, but that isn’t the case anymore. If you don’t like what the usual channels are broadcasting live, all you have to do is fire up a streaming service and pick something from there instead. The best streaming services on the market have choices from every genre, and every decade. That goes for movies as well as television. If you can’t find anything to watch with that level of choice, that’s probably a ‘you’ problem!
If anything, the opposite of the old problem is true. There’s now too much choice, and it’s not easy to know where to start looking. Each streaming provider offers so many shows and movies to watch that they’re a little like mobile slots websites in the UK such as Amigo Slots; there are a million different options to choose from, and sometimes there are multiple takes on the same theme. Well-stocked online slots sites ensure that they have hundreds of slots available in order to deter players from visiting another slots website; by offering more slots than you could ever get done playing, they remove the need for you to look elsewhere. Streaming services are looking to do the same with TV shows – but how do you know which one to go for?
You could always take a free trial with each provider, but that’s a lot of admin to stay on top of, and a lot of auto-renewals to remember to cancel if you don’t like what you’re getting from them. Instead, check out our guide to the most significant players and see if you like the sound of what they currently have to show you!
We’ll start with Netflix because it’s the one that everybody knows. Although everyone else is busily trying to eat into its market share, Netflix is still comfortably the biggest streaming entertainment service in the world. With its global reach it’s able to tailor the shows it offers to viewers depending on their geographical location, although it’s generally felt that American customers get the best range of options. Netflix is a service that doesn’t stay the same; some shows and films are removed each month, and some are added. What’s added might be brand new, or it might be a classic from forty years ago. The jewels in Netflix’s catalog of original productions include ‘Stranger Things,’ ‘Orange Is the New Black,’ ‘House of Cards,’ ‘Black Mirror,’ and ‘The Crown.’ As a company that invests heavily in producing new content, it’s reasonable to expect even more great original programming from them in the near future. At a reasonable $12.99 per month, perhaps the only valid criticism of Netflix is that it has no reason to delete old content. It can afford the server space, so why not keep everything online?
The main selling point for Amazon Prime seems to be that it’s a little cheaper than Netflix, at $8.99 per month. Other than that, despite being perceived as a big-time player, it’s hard to make a case for taking out an Amazon Prime subscription over a Netflix one. If you want access to Amazon’s ‘Prime Video’ content – i.e., their original work – you have to upgrade your account and start paying $12.99 anyway, so the saving is really just an illusion. The top shows made by Amazon include ‘Fleabag’ (which people went crazy for in the UK), ‘Electric Dreams,’ ‘Patriot,’ ‘The Grand Tour,’ and ‘Catastrophe.’ They’re all well-made shows, but can’t hold a candle to the Netflix Originals range. Amazon Prime can offer you one thing that Netflix can’t, though – access to big-name shows made by other networks, including HBO and Starz.
CBS All Access
At $5.99 per month, CBS All Access is undoubtedly cheap. It’s also the default option for most’ Star Trek’ fans, as it’s the only network where you’ll find ‘Star Trek Discovery’ (unless you’re piggybacking it through your Amazon Prime subscription). CBS focuses on the quirky and the cult, and has therefore also spent money on ensuring it’s the only place you can watch the new ‘Twilight Zone,’ as well as (oddly) ‘The Good Fight’ which is the spin-off from ‘The Good Wife’ that nobody asked for. You get a few NFL games in with your package as well, although the range is a little limited. What it may lack in variety, CBS All Access makes up for in depth. There are almost nine thousand episodes of television shows in here, including just about every ‘Star Trek’ story ever made. CBS All Access is probably best described as a niche option for people who have niche interests.
The only advertising HBO needed, for years, was ‘we’ve got Game of Thrones.’ They didn’t have to say anything else to justify their higher-than-average $14.99 subscription fee, because they had ‘Game of Thrones,’ and nobody else did. That show is over now, and so HBO better hope it comes up with another global sensation soon. It has high hopes for ‘Westworld,’ and it did well with ‘Chernobyl,’ but neither of them went viral the same way ‘Game of Thrones’ did. One of the big factors in HBO’s favor is that it plays host to some of the best-loved TV shows of all time. It’s here that you’ll find the archives of ‘Sex and the City,’ ‘The Sopranos,’ and ‘The Wire,’ as well as the still-hilarious ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm.’ What it doesn’t offer is anything in the way of live TV programming. If you want what HBO has to offer, you’d probably be better getting it as an add-on through Amazon Prime.
Whether or not you’ll prefer Starz to any of the other options available depends on what’s more important for you to receive from a streaming service – TV shows or films? If it’s films, then we’d be happy to say not even Netflix can beat what Starz has to offer, and at $8.99 it’s also one of the cheaper options available. Starz comes with well over one thousand films, and it isn’t padding out that number with weak content. If you want fast access to some of the biggest movies released in the past decade, that Starz’ specialty. It’s not as great with original content or television shows, although ‘American Gods’ and ‘Outlander’ aren’t to be sniffed at.
Taking everything into account, we still feel that Netflix has the best all-round package, although as Amazon Prime has bolt-on access to everything other than Netflix, it might offer a broader all-round service. Why not try a little of both of them and see how you feel?