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Streaming Services Actually Worth Your Money

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With all of the streaming services that are available, there’s usually not a problem finding one or two that have the movies and television shows that you watch if you want to cut the cable cord or ditch the satellite. The hard part is choosing which one you want to subscribe to as each one offers something a little different from the others. While there are live-TV services and devices, the following services are considered on-demand.

Choosing Which One Works

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Before you subscribe to every TV streaming service out there like PlanetDish, you should consider a few details so that you’re not wasting your money each month.

Content

One of the first things to look at is the content that the service offers. Think about the movies that you like or the shows that you haven’t seen in a while or that you don’t have time to see during the week. Some services offer the classics while others offer the latest programming. There are also some that have a good combination so that everyone in the house has something to watch. You also need to think about the ages of the people who will be watching the content as some services are geared more toward adults while others have more cartoons and programming for kids.

Quality

Even though streaming services are similar, some work better with audio and video devices than others. A 4K TV tends to work best with streaming services, and if you have a surround sound system, then you’re going to hear more details than if you were to utilize the standard sound from the TV. Keep in mind that if your TV doesn’t support a higher resolution, then you don’t want to waste your money upgrading your service as it’s not going to make much of a difference.

Features

If you have children, then you want to look at some of the parental control features that services offer so that you can limit what younger children watch. Most services allow you to create a profile for each person in the home so that everyone can make a list of their favorite shows. Keep in mind that you’ll likely be limited to the number of devices that can be used at one time when using the service. There are usually options for downloading shows and movies, but you might need to pay more each month for this feature.

Cost

Many streaming services offer a free trial so that you can see if you like the content or not. However, you have to be sure to cancel that trial. You’re usually not tied into a contract for months or even a year, which means that you could pay for a subscription and then cancel it after a month or two if you don’t like how it works.

Netflix

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This streaming service has probably been around the longest. It has content for all ages to enjoy with genres ranging from cartoons to family classics to horror. There’s quite a bit of original content available from Netflix. Movies and shows are usually available for a couple of months before the content is changed out for something new. It’s a service that’s easy to use with little to no ads and is one that’s affordable. Prices range from $9 a month for one device to $18 for four devices and 4K content.

HBO Max

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If you like some of the older content, then this is a service to consider. While it doesn’t offer everything, you’ll be pleased to see that there are several movies from the 1980s and 1990s that you might have forgotten about watching. There are also several new releases and hits that have just come out of theaters to enjoy. You’ll find a good combination of content for all ages in the family. Pricing ranges from $10 a month to $15 a month if you don’t want ads.

Disney+

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This is a service that’s designed for families. There’s so much nostalgic content for those who enjoy watching older movies and shows as well as new series and movies so that everyone in the home is satisfied. You’ll be able to see Disney content as well as Pixar and Marvel. Since there’s no R-rated content on the service, it’s a good option for children as well as teens who might not be quite ready for some of the mature dialogues in movies. You can pay $8 a month for the service or $80 for an entire year.

Hulu

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For some of the latest shows, you’ll want to consider Hulu. You can usually watch shows the next day after they are seen on television so that you really don’t miss out on your favorite storylines. There are several classics as well. Shows and movies are nicely arranged into categories, making it easier to find what you’re looking for along with getting recommendations about what you might like based on the shows that you watch. With the networks that are offered, such as Fox and ABC, this is a service to consider if you want to completely cut ties with your cable company. You’ll pay $7 a month with ads and $13 a month without ads.

Prime Video

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If you have an Amazon Prime account, then you already have access to Prime Video. You can rent or buy content depending on how long you want to keep the shows and movies that you like. This is something different than other streaming services, which is something to keep in mind if you’re looking for something where you can pick and choose what you want to watch at any time. You can get the service by itself without Amazon Prime for $9 a month.

Paramount+

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This is a rather new streaming service that features several classics for both movies and television shows. It’s not a service that 4K likes to support, so keep that in mind if you have an upgraded system. You’re not able to download content to watch later, which is another downfall. However, it’s a good option if you like older content. It’s also affordable at $5 a month.


Ricardo is a freelance writer specialized in politics. He is with foreignpolicyi.org from the beginning and helps it grow. Email: richardorland4[at]gmai.com