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2021 Guide to Streaming

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Streaming has become part of our everyday lives. According to Deloitte, 82% of Americans subscribe to a paid video streaming service and have an average of four streaming service subscriptions. With over 300 streaming platforms in the US, the options can be overwhelming. In our 2021 Guide to Streaming, we’ll take a look at the top video streaming services, the best options for streaming with live TV, and the best services for watching your favorite sports teams.

What You’ll Find

Top Streaming Services

Your favorite shows and movies are more accessible than ever thanks to the rise of streaming. We picked out some of the top streaming contenders and compared them head-to-head.

ProviderStarting PriceFree Trial AvailableUS Library Size
Netflix$8.99/mo.No5,724
Hulu$6.99/mo.Yes2,511
HBO Max$9.99/mo.No2,775
Amazon Prime Video$8.99/mo.Yes7,947
Disney+$7.99/mo.No1,343
Apple TV+$4.99/mo.Yes79
Peacock$4.99/mo.Yes1,761
Discovery+$4.99/mo.Yes1,924

All prices vary and are subject to change at any time. Additional fees and terms may apply. As of 9/28/21

Netflix

streaming on netflix

Starting Price (per month): $8.99
Free Trial: No
US Library Size: 5,724 titles
Simultaneous Streams: 1 (Basic), 2 (Standard), 4 (Premium)
User Profiles: 5
Mobile App: Yes

Even with new competitors making gains, Netflix still holds the crown of all streaming services by owning 20% of the US streaming market. Netflix is known as one of the original streaming services and is a fan-favorite for its original content and library size. Netflix offers three plans: Basic ($8.99/mo.), Standard ($13.99/mo.), and Premium ($17.99/mo.). Each comes with unlimited shows and movies but differ based on price, simultaneous streams, number of devices with downloads, and HD and Ultra HD availability. Subscribers have the option to change or cancel their plan at any time. 

Netflix

2021 Guide to Streaming
  • New shows and movies added every week
  • Choose from Basic, Standard & Premium plans
  • Cancel anytime with no fees

Get Netflix

Hulu

streaming on hulu

Starting Price (per month): $6.99 
Free Trial: Yes (30 days)
US Library Size: 2,511 titles 
Simultaneous Streams: 2
User Profiles: 6
Mobile App: Yes

Hulu is a top streaming service with entire seasons of exclusive series, current-season episodes, hit movies, Hulu Originals, kids shows, and more. Hulu without live TV has two plans to choose from; one is ad-supported ($6.99/mo.) and the other is ad-free ($12.99/mo.). Hulu is a great option for those who don’t need live TV but want to watch new episodes of their favorite shows the day after they air. Hulu also offers premium add-ons for additional entertainment including SHOWTIME, HBO Max, Cinemax, and STARZ.

Hulu

2021 Guide to Streaming
  • Thousands of TV episodes and movies
  • Most new episodes the day after they air
  • Ad-free option available

Get Hulu

HBO Max

streaming on hbo max

Starting Price (per month): $9.99
Free Trial: No
US Library Size: 2,775 titles
Simultaneous Streams: 3
User Profiles: 5
Mobile App: Yes

HBO Max is a new streaming service that launched in May 2020. HBO Max is known for its award-winning original series and streaming Warner Bros. movies the same day as they premiere in theaters. There are two plans to choose from: With Ads ($9.99/mo.) and Ad-Free ($14.99/mo.). Both plans have over 13,000 hours of entertainment and HBO favorites, but the Ad-Free plan comes with same-day Warner Bros. movie premiers, downloads for offline viewing, and the option to stream select movies in 4K UHD.

HBO Max

2021 Guide to Streaming
  • Stream blockbuster movies, HBO Originals & more
  • Warner Bros. movie premieres in theaters and on HBO Max the same day

Get HBO Max

Amazon Prime Video

streaming on amazon prime video

Starting Price (per month): Included with Amazon Prime Membership or $8.99/mo.
Free Trial: Yes (30 days)
US Library Size: 7,947 titles
Simultaneous Streams: 3
User Profiles: 6
Mobile App: Yes

Amazon Prime Video has the largest streaming library compared to other top services. Prime Video is Amazon’s streaming service that lets you watch movies, shows, award-winning Amazon Originals, premium channels, sports, and more. Premium features of Prime Video include 4K Ultra HD, High Dynamic Range (HDR), and mobile downloads for offline viewing of select content. Football fans can also enjoy Thursday Night Football live on Prime Video for no extra cost. 

Amazon Prime Video

2021 Guide to Streaming
  • Included in Amazon Prime membership
  • Access to Amazon Prime original series
  • Live Thursday Night Football games

Get Prime Video

Disney+

streaming on disney plus

Starting Price (per month): $7.99
Free Trial: No
US Library Size: 1,343 titles 
Simultaneous Streams: 4
User Profiles: 7
Mobile App: Yes

Disney+ is the streaming hub of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. Disney+ is home to new releases and Disney classics, exclusive new original movies and series, past seasons of your favorite shows, documentaries, and more. With a Disney+ subscription, you get a premium ad-free experience, unlimited downloads on up to 10 devices, and over 100 titles in 4K UHD and HDR. You can also opt for the Disney Bundle which includes Disney+, ESPN+, and your choice of Hulu No Ads ($19.99/mo.) or Ad-Supported ($13.99/mo.).

Disney+

2021 Guide to Streaming
  • Stream originals from Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars & more
  • Access to thousands of Disney movies and shows
  • Unlimited downloads on up to 10 devices

Get Disney+

Apple TV+

streaming on apple tv plus

Starting Price (per month): $4.99
Free Trial: Yes (length varies) 
US Library Size: 79 titles 
Simultaneous Streams: 6
User Profiles: 6
Mobile App: Yes

Apple TV+ is a streaming service featuring Apple Originals, award-winning series, kids’ entertainment, comedies, and more with new Apple Originals added every month. Apple TV+ has a small library size, but its low cost makes it worth the purchase, especially if you’re looking to binge “Ted Lasso,” “The Morning Show,” and other original series. Apple is also generous with their free trials; Apple TV+ is included for 3 months when you purchase an Apple device and redeem the offer within 90 days, otherwise you can try a 7-day free trial. 

Apple TV+

2021 Guide to Streaming
  • Included for 3 months when you purchase an Apple device
  • New Apple Originals added every month
  • Always commercial-free

Get Apple TV+

Peacock

streaming on peacock

Starting Price (per month): $4.99
Free Trial: Yes (7 days)
US Library Size: 1,761 titles
Simultaneous Streams: 3
User Profiles: 6
Mobile App: Yes

Peacock is a streaming service from NBCUniversal, home to exclusive NBC content like “The Office.” There are three plans: a free tier, Premium ($4.99/mo.), and Premium Plus ($9.99/mo.). The free tier includes about two-thirds of the entire catalog with ads. Peacock Premium includes the full catalog with ads, while Premium Plus lets you watch all content ad-free. With Premium and Premium Plus you can enjoy live sports including Premier League, live events like WWE, exclusive Peacock original series, and next-day access to current NBC shows. 

Peacock

2021 Guide to Streaming
  • Free version available
  • Classic shows, movies & Peacock originals
  • Sports coverage & next-day streaming of current broadcast series

Get Peacock

Discovery+

streaming on discovery plus

Starting Price (per month): $4.99
Free Trial: Yes (7 days)
US Library Size: 1,924 titles
Simultaneous Streams: 4
User Profiles: 5
Mobile App: Yes

Discovery+ is a streaming service with entertainment from popular TV brands. A subscription to Discovery+ gives you unlimited access to more than 55,000 episodes of 2,500+ current and classic shows from channels like HGTV, Food Network, TLC, ID, Lifetime, Discovery Channel, and more. You can get the ad-supported plan for $4.99/mo. after a 7-day free trial, or go ad-free for $6.99/mo. 

Discovery+

2021 Guide to Streaming
  • Access to exclusive and original Discovery+ series and channels
  • Ad-free plan available
  • Student discounts available

Get Discovery+

Best Streaming Services with Live TV

If you’re looking to supplement your streaming with live TV, there are several great options to choose from. Streaming services with live TV allow you to cut the cord and ditch the cable TV contract. Check out some of our top picks below.

ProviderStarting PriceChannelsSimultaneous Streams
Hulu + Live TV$64.99/mo.75+2
YouTube TV$64.99/mo.70+3
DIRECTV STREAM$69.99/mo.65+20
Sling TV$35.00/mo.32+1
Philo TV$25.00/mo.60+3

All prices vary and are subject to change at any time. Additional fees and terms may apply. As of 9/28/21

Hulu + Live TV

streaming on Hulu + Live TV

Starting Price (per month): $64.99
Free Trial: Yes
Channels (in entry-level package): 75+
ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC channels: Yes, in most locations
On-Demand: Yes
Simultaneous Streams: 2 
User Profiles: 6
DVR: Yes
Mobile App: Yes

Hulu + Live TV is a streaming platform for watching live sports, news, and entertainment with unlimited access to the entire Hulu streaming library. Hulu + Live TV comes with 50 hours of Cloud DVR with the option to upgrade to 200 hours. Additional paid add-ons include unlimited streams, ESPN+, HBO Max, Cinemax, SHOWTIME, and STARZ. Sports fans can also enjoy the Sports Add-On for $9.99/mo. and get live and on-demand content from NFL RedZone, TVG, TVG 2, MAVTV, Outdoor Channel, and Sportsman Channel. 

Hulu + Live TV

2021 Guide to Streaming
  • Live TV with 75+ top channels
  • No cable required
  • Access to entire Hulu library

Get Hulu + Live TV

YouTube TV

streaming live TV on YouTube TV

Starting Price (per month): $64.99
Free Trial: Yes (length varies) 
Channels (in entry-level package): 85+
ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC channels: Yes, in most locations
On-Demand: Yes
Simultaneous Streams: 3
User Profiles: 5
DVR: Yes
Mobile App: Yes

YouTube TV is one of the more popular streaming services that allows you to watch live TV from major broadcast and popular cable networks, including local and national live sports and breaking news. YouTube TV offers unlimited Cloud DVR storage space and five user accounts included with your subscription.

YouTube TV

2021 Guide to Streaming
  • 85+ top channels of entertainment, news, live sports & more
  • No cable box, contracts, or hidden fees
  • Premium channel and sports add-ons available

Get YouTube TV

DIRECTV STREAM

directv stream streaming service

Starting Price (per month): $69.99
Free Trial: No
Channels (in entry-level package): 65+
ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC channels: Yes, in most locations
On-Demand: Yes
Simultaneous Streams: 20 (must be in-home, or 3 out of home)
User Profiles: No
DVR: Yes
Mobile App: Yes

DIRECTV STREAM, formerly known as AT&T TV Now, is a live TV streaming service that lets you watch primetime favorites, breaking news, sports, and on-demand titles. While there is no free trial, you can get your money back if you cancel the service within 14 days. There are four packages to choose from: Entertainment, Choice, Ultimate, and Premier. HBO Max is included with Premier, but the Choice and Ultimate packages come with three free months. 20 hours of Cloud DVR storage are included in each package, but you can upgrade to unlimited storage for $10 per month. 

DIRECTV STREAM

2021 Guide to Streaming
  • Stream movies, news, local channels & live sports
  • $10/mo. for unlimited DVR storage
  • HBO Max included with select packages

Get DIRECTV STREAM

Sling TV

Sling TV streaming interface

Sling TV is an app-based streaming service for watching live television and on-demand content online, at home, or on the go. There are three different Sling packages: Orange ($35/mo.), Blue ($35/mo.), and Orange & Blue ($50/mo.). All new and existing Sling subscribers (that do not currently have DVR Plus) receive 50 hours of free DVR storage. DVR Plus can be added for $5/mo. to receive 200 hours of storage. Find a little more about each of the plans below: 

Sling Orange

Starting Price (per month): $35
Free Trial: Yes (7 days on select devices
Channels (in entry-level package): 32
ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC channels: Yes, in most locations
On-Demand: Yes
Simultaneous Streams: 1
User Profiles: 1
DVR: Yes
Mobile App: Yes

Sling Blue

Starting Price (per month): $35
Free Trial: Yes (7 days on select devices) 
Channels (in entry-level package): 43
ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC channels: Yes, in most locations
On-Demand: Yes
Simultaneous Streams: 3
User Profiles: 1
DVR: Yes
Mobile App: Yes

Sling Orange & Blue 

Starting Price (per month): $50
Free Trial: Yes (7 days on select devices) 
Channels (in entry-level package): 51
ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC channels: Yes, in most locations
On-Demand: Yes
Simultaneous Streams: 4
User Profiles: 1
DVR: Yes
Mobile App: Yes

Sling TV

2021 Guide to Streaming
  • Sling Orange: great for news & entertainment
  • Sling Blue: perfect for sports & families
  • No rental equipment, no hidden fees, cancel anytime

Get Sling

Philo TV

Man streaming Philo TV

Starting Price (per month): $25
Free Trial: Yes (7 days)
Channels (in entry-level package): 60+
ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC channels: No
On-Demand: Yes
Simultaneous Streams: 3
User Profiles: 10 
DVR: Yes
Mobile App: Yes

Philo is a live TV streaming service with over 60 major entertainment channels but does not include local stations, news, or popular sports channels. With Philo, you can stream on three different devices at a time, create 10 different user profiles, and have unlimited DVR storage. Available paid add-ons include Epix and STARZ. 

Philo

2021 Guide to Streaming
  • Live & on-demand TV
  • Premium channel add-ons available
  • Cancel or restart subscription at any time

Get Philo

Best Streaming Services for Sports

Sports fans and cord-cutters, unite! There are several streaming services that specialize in live sports so you never have to miss another game. From soccer to MMA, there are options for every type of sports fan.

ProviderStarting PriceSimultaneous StreamsSports Coverage
ESPN+$6.99/mo.3MLB, MLS, NCAA Sports, NHL & Tennis
Paramount+$4.99/mo.3NCAA Sports, NFL, PGA Tour & UEFA
fuboTV$64.99/mo.3Regional, National & International
DAZN$19.99/mo.2Boxing & MMA

All prices vary and are subject to change at any time. Additional fees and terms may apply. As of 9/28/21

ESPN+

ESPN+ interface

Starting Price (per month): $6.99
Free Trial: No
Sports Coverage: MLB, MLS, NCAA Sports, NHL, and Tennis
On-Demand: Yes
Simultaneous Streams: 3
User Profiles: 1
DVR: No
Mobile App: Yes

Stream live sports and archived favorites with the ESPN+ subscription. Subscribers get access to thousands of events from MLB, NHL, MLS, UFC Fight Nights, PPV events, and college sports like football, basketball, and lacrosse.

ESPN+

2021 Guide to Streaming
  • Thousands of live events from the best leagues and biggest tournaments
  • Access to the entire “30 for 30” library
  • Live UFC Fight Nights and PPV events

Get ESPN+

Paramount+

paramount plus

Starting Price (per month): $4.99
Free Trial: Yes (7 days)
Sports Coverage: NCAA Sports, NFL, PGA Tour, and UEFA
On-Demand: Yes
Simultaneous Streams: 3
User Profiles: 6
DVR: No
Mobile App: Yes

Paramount+ (formerly CBS All Access) is a streaming platform that lets you watch live sports along with original content from channels like CBS, MTV, VH1, the Smithsonian Channel, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and more. Fans get access to all CBS NFL games, March Madness, the PGA tour, and UEFA. For $9.99 a month you can upgrade to a commercial-free plan. 

Paramount+

2021 Guide to Streaming
  • Brand-new originals and exclusive content
  • Live sports, shows & news with your local CBS station
  • Ad-free option available

Get Paramount+

fuboTV

fuboTV interface

Starting Price (per month): $64.99
Free Trial: Yes (7 days)
Sports Coverage: Regional, National & International
On-Demand: Yes
Simultaneous Streams: 3
User Profiles: 6
DVR: Yes
Mobile App: Yes

fuboTV is a streaming service focused on channels that distribute live sports, including NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS and international soccer, along with news and network television. If you love international sports and soccer, fuboTV is probably your best streaming service option. Popular fuboTV add-ons include Sports Plus with NFL RedZone (NCAA games, NFL RedZone, and more), fubo Cycling (Giro d’Italia and Flanders Classic), and International Sports Plus (world-class soccer including the biggest tournaments). 

fuboTV

2021 Guide to Streaming
  • Watch NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NASCAR, MLS, golf, tennis, boxing, MMA, college sports & more
  • No hidden fees and cancel anytime

Get FuboTV

DAZN

DAZN interface

Starting Price (per month): $19.99
Free Trial: Yes (1 month)
Sports Coverage: Boxing & MMA fights
On-Demand: Yes
Simultaneous Streams: 2
User Profiles: 5
DVR: No
Mobile App: Yes

DAZN is a live and on-demand streaming sports service that gives fans access to boxing and MMA fights. For boxing, DAZN streams fights from promoters including GGG Promotions, Golden Boy Promotions, Matchroom Boxing, and World Boxing Super Series. MMA streaming includes Combate Americas, Bellator, and KSW partners. DAZN is available for $19.99 per month, or $99.99 per year (value of $8.33 per month). 

DAZN

2021 Guide to Streaming
  • Watch the best in boxing, live and on-demand
  • Get exclusive access to all of the fights and original content from GGG, Anthony Joshua & more
  • Available on smart TVs, game consoles, connected devices & more

Get DAZN

Internet Speed Needed for Streaming

You don’t need much to start streaming content with the click of a button — a solid internet connection and a streaming device will do. We break down exactly what internet speed you need to enjoy your favorite TV shows and movies.

A smooth streaming experience begins with a fast internet connection. To find the right internet speeds for your online habits, you need to consider how often you stream videos. Here are a few estimates of the minimum speed required to stream different content:

Standard-definition (SD) video = 3 Mbps
High-definition (HD) video = 5 Mbps
Ultra HD or 4K video = 25 Mbps

We recommend looking for an internet provider that offers speeds of at least 50 Mbps to support your heavy internet usage. The FCC’s definition of high-speed internet is any connection that delivers speeds up to 25 Mbps. However, if your household has more than one person or device connected to your home network, faster speeds will give you a better experience. 

If you’re in need of a new internet service provider with faster speeds for streaming, enter your zip code below to compare providers in your area.

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