How does binge-watching sound to you?
Are you afraid of spoilers?
Or maybe you prefer to start today’s game from the beginning and fast-forward through the ads?
If your answer to any of those is Yes!, then join our party!
We will be reviewing some of the best video streaming services. We’ll look at their cool features and perks, pros and cons and why you’ll love them.
Let’s get to it!
|Streaming Service||Key Features||Best For||Ranking||Check It Out|
|Variety of subscription plans||Original TV programs||8/10||hulu.com|
|Comes for free with Prime membership||Original and non-original content||7.5/10||primevideo.com|
|High-quality original content||7/10||hbonow.com|
|Unlimited DVR||Sports, news, entertainment channels||8/10||tv.youtubetv.com|
|Multiple choices of add-ons||Sports and Live TV||6.5/10||sling.com|
|Multiple streams allowed||Live video content||6/10||playstation.com|
|Local, sports & news channels||Live TV and on-demand content||6/10||atttvnow.com|
|Attractive price tag||Reality shows, documentaries||6/10||philo.com|
- How We Reviewed the Best Video Streaming Service – Methodology
- 1. Netflix
- 2. Hulu
- 3. Amazon Prime Video
- 4. HBO Now
- 5. Youtube TV
- 6. Sling
- 7. PlayStation Vue
- 8. AT&T TV Now (DirecTV Now)
- 9. Philo TV
- How To Choose The Best TV Streaming Service
- Direct Comparisons – How Do the Best Streaming Services Fare Against Each Other?
- Wrap Up
- Commonly Asked Questions
How We Reviewed the Best Video Streaming Service – Methodology
We approached the topic with all due seriousness, but, truth be told, we mostly had fun! We focused our research on the following criteria and you’ll find comments about those for each of the listed providers.
▶️ We played around with the interface focusing on ease of use, searchability, categorization.
▶️ Although performance is mostly dependent on your internet service speed, we looked into that as well. We checked the recommended speed, and how that affects picture quality and all that. We noted any sluggishness in streaming, if there was any.
▶️ Of course, we checked all the shows available in the library – how often new content is added to the lists and if they have any original content (and awards that came with it).
▶️ We checked whether you can enjoy your favorite videos on your TV, tablet, phone and every other device out there.
▶️ You’ll also find the number of simultaneous connections included, and if you need to upgrade to get the whole household covered.
▶️ We checked if there are free trials available, and how long they are.
▶️ We examined the plans and prices, packages and promotions.
▶️ We tested the customer service.
▶️ You’ll find pros and cons throughout the review; of course, we tried to be as objective as we could.
We also did an eye-opening stream services comparison based on key features and offerings. A pure comparison has the potential to make all the difference.
We will ultimately provide directions on how to choose the best TV streaming service – what features to look for, some questions you need to ask yourself and topics to research before hitting the subscribe button.
Read on, get yourself equipped with useful details and make your own well-informed decision. Choose among the best video streaming services in 2019.
Reviews of the Top 9 Streaming Services
If we talk top streaming services, Netflix is usually the first platform that comes to mind. Netflix is by far the most popular online video streaming option nowadays. With over 150 million subscribers, the giant is the leader in the industry. We’re eager to share with you what we found fascinating about the service and why it is one of the best on the market. If you’re looking for cord-cutting options, you’ll love what the old DVD rental business has to offer.
Netflix Ease of Use
Seamless, clear and easy to navigate menu. The interface is also consistent throughout all compatible devices. It stands out with some advanced settings. You can turn on notifications for when new movies are uploaded or new TV shows are soon coming out. You can adjust the video quality, the location where downloaded content is stored, language preferences, the list goes on.
You’ll love the seamless performance, the picture and sound quality. Netflix has by far the largest list of titles in Ultra HD 4K resolution. So if you own a 4K tv, you’ll be thrilled. The sound quality is adaptive and although dependent on your network and device, you can get up to 768 kbps for Dolby Atmos surround sound. In other words, as immersive as it can get.
Impressive library with over 700 titles, numerous TV shows, anime and animated series, documentaries, comedy specials and more. Netflix is pushing on original content the most. No wonder we see titles like Stranger Things, Black Mirror, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Roma. No wonder Netflix outruns even HBO by nominations in a number of categories. The streaming provider earned 112 Emmy nominations in 2018. Let alone Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards with numerous awards.
Netflix’s database updates monthly with new titles. You might find it a bit frustrating that an old classic, one of your favorites, is moved out of the library. This happens mostly with non-original content which can be available for one, two years but eventually, it will go because of licensing issues or moving the content to another streaming service.
It appears that the catalog at your disposal in the US quite differs from the one in other parts of the world. Again, licensing matters.
Great choice of foreign titles. If you’re a fan of Asian directing, you’ll love Netflix. The catalog includes so many new releases and old classics, TV shows, anime, and animated series. It’s mind-blowing.
There’s a lot for the documentaries’ addicts too and the comedy specials are just rocking!
You have to see it for yourself.
Netflix Device Compatibility
Try it out directly through the web or use the Netflix app on smart TVs, phones and tablets, streaming media platforms and game consoles. It’s broadly compatible.
You can create separate accounts for family members for a personalized experience and parental control for the kids.
Netflix Simultaneous Connections
Depending on the plan you’ve chosen, you can have up to four concurrent streams.
Netflix Free Trials
A generous 30 days of free trial to explore Netflix to its fullest. Go for it!
Netflix Pricing & Plans
You can choose between three plans depending on your need for simultaneous streams as this is the main difference between the packs. At $8.99 per month, you get a single stream and standard-definition picture quality. At $12.99, you’ll get to watch in high-definition and on two devices at a time. The Premium plan will cost you $15.99 unlocking 4K resolution and four simultaneous streams.
Oh, yes, they still do the DVD rentals if you must.
Netflix Features & Functionalities
Netflix is constantly improving in terms of functionality and features to grant its subscribers an immersive streaming experience. Some of the perks we love:
♥ ‘Skip Intro’ button
♥ Download to watch offline
♥ Whole seasons available for binge-watching
Netflix Customer Service
Great Help Center articles with explicit instructions and examples. Support is available via chat and phone worldwide.
- Superb original content
- High-quality picture
- Foreign titles
- Ability to download and watch offline
- Universal device compatibility
- Available globally
- No live TV
- Limited sports content
- Titles are exchanged on a regular basis
- Region-locked content
Who is Netflix best for?
Simply put – cinema addicts looking for binge-viewing experience would appreciate Netflix the most. Sports fans and live TV viewers might have to look elsewhere as Netflix does not plan on focusing on either of the two.
A well-deserved 9/10 rating goes to Netflix. For its enormous catalog and high-quality originals, for its capable interface with most advanced settings out there, for the global coverage and last but not least, for the decent price tag.
Hulu is one of the US-favorite live TV streaming services out there – and with a cheaper price tag to boot. Let’s explore its key features and find out if you should consider a subscription from Hulu. Most importantly, let’s find out what’s in it for you, shall we?
Hulu Ease of Use
The registration process is super easy and quick. Nothing to scratch your head about. The interface is very intuitive and navigating through it is fun.
Depending on the content you are looking to stream, Hulu videos are available in a variety of quality options, suitable for different internet speeds. Starting at 1.5 Mbps for Standard Definition (SD) to 16 Mbps for 4K Ultra HD quality videos. You can find a very informative article about internet speed system requirements at the Help Center.
The online TV service has an impressive streaming library for its viewers. More than 3000 TV shows and movies will be at your fingertips if you subscribe.
You’ll find the Emmy Award-winning original series The Handmaid’s Tale, Catch 22, The Act, Ramy, and others.
Changes are on the way with the acquisition of control over Hulu by Disney. In terms of original content, we can expect to see a lot more from Hulu in the near future.
Hulu Device Compatibility
You can have Hulu whenever you like:
- Mac, PC
- iPhone & iPad
- Android phones and tablets
- ROKU, Amazon Fire TV & Fire TV Stick
- Apple TV, Chromecast
- Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Playstation 3* and 4* (with a small exception for the Live TV option)
Hulu Simultaneous Connections
Two users can enjoy the Hulu services at the same time using one account. That said, you can download the Hulu app and activate it on as many devices as you want. If you need more than that, you can check the rest of the subscription plans. There’s an add-on for Unlimited Screens which comes at an additional $9.99.
Hulu Free Trials
Yes. Depending on the plan you would like to explore, you can get from seven days to one month of free trial.
Hulu Plans & Pricing
The most popular plan from Hulu comes at the meager cost of $5.99. It supports ads, allows access to thousands of titles, two simultaneous connections and an entire month of free trial. You can choose among four general plans and various add-ons. They’ve got you covered! Switching between plans or canceling is also very easy.
As add-ons to each plan available, you can get access to Showtime, HBO, Cinemax.
If you are a Hulu Live TV subscriber ($44.99 per month), you get 50 hours of cloud DVR storage space and you can expand it. For the big families with numerous devices and opposing tastes, you can consider the Unlimited Screens add-on.
Hulu Customer Service
Customer support is swift and to the point (not trying to upsell you on extra features). Once you select the topic and post your question, you receive an estimation of how long it would take to get a response. That’s kinda neat!
For some more generic questions and topics, there’s the HuluBot chat option. Of course, you can also ask the community if you prefer feedback from other users.
- Multiple plans and add-ons
- Huge library
- Good original shows
- Low-priced basic plan
- Add-on variety
- Live TV is available for local, regional, and national channels available in one area, which are subject to change
- Hulu service might get interrupted if you don’t use it on your mobile device at least once every 30 days while connected to your Home network
- No international coverage
- Games are subject to regional availability and blackouts
Who is Hulu best for?
Stats suggest that more than half of all Hulu users have watched mostly the original series.
However, with the number of optional plans, features, and add-ons offered by the streaming TV, it’s fairly easy to find yourself addicted to it. The average age of a Hulu subscriber is 31, while that of a broadcast viewer is 55. The younger generations are incredibly open to using TV streaming services – which gives them plenty of optimism for the future.
That said, there’s something for everyone. There’s even The Walking Dead on Hulu, what more can we say.
Whether you are a movie addict, you like sports, news or you prefer live TV; whether you tolerate ads or not – Hulu has a plan for you. We find Hulu one of the satisfactory streaming TV options out there, providing several plans for various tastes.
There’s more to expect any time now from Hulu. Cord-cutters are eager to explore the upcoming bundle Disney+/Hulu/ESPN+ which is cooking and sounds promising.
Hulu streaming services receive our 8/10 rating.
3. Amazon Prime Video
The powerful online shopping platform now allows you to watch the latest movies and TV shows on-demand for free with your Amazon Prime subscription. Movie addicts, yes, not only do you get the two-days delivery with your Prime Membership and other perks, but you also get to browse through the movie and TV shows content at your fingertips.
Let’s check out the details about this deal and explore its peaks and valleys together.
Amazon Prime Video – Ease of Use
The interface is pretty straightforward, especially if you are already familiar with Amazon. Once something sparks your interest, the instructions on how to proceed are very clear. You just need to hover over the movie and find out what options you got – to buy or rent it, or watch it for free.
Amazon Prime Video Performance
No wonder Amazon Prime Video is the second most popular video streaming platform for original content. With titles such as The Man in the High Castle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Homecoming and estimation to spend $7 billion on original video and music by the end of the year.
Content is available at SD and HD quality with a growing number of movies and shows available in High Dynamic Range (HDR) and 4K Ultra HDR.
Amazon Prime Video Library
It’s growing! Movies, TV shows, comedy specials, original content, kids’ series and tons more for every taste. You can also browse through the categories and choose among over 100 channels providing just the movie you want.
The most impressive and distinctive feature on the platform is the X-Ray functionality. It’s a brilliant integration with IMDb which provides unique bonus content about the movie you chose. That could be info on the soundtrack, the cast, characters backstories, behind-the-scenes photos, bonus video content and many, many more.
Amazon Prime Video – Device Compatibility
In order to stream TV online using your Prime membership, use the Amazon app. The service is available on all kinds of devices. The list is truly massive:
- Smart TVs
- Amazon Fire TV Stick, Fire Tablet, Fire Phone
- Android and iOS devices
- PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox One and 360
- Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Comcast X1
Of course, you can simply use your web browser on your Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS computer.
Amazon Prime Video – Simultaneous Connections
You can stream up to three videos simultaneously using one Amazon subscription. And “only” up to two streams of the same title.
You can download the app on as many devices as you like, but if you have a bigger family, you would need an additional Amazon subscription.
Videos are also available for download to save and watch without wi-fi. You can even download titles to two devices simultaneously.
Amazon Prime Video – Free Trials
Yep, you have one. You get a 30 days free trial to check out the Prime video streaming services.
Students are the lucky ones – they get a 6-month trial. Not only that – they can also get a Prime membership 50% off upon the trial period.
Amazon Prime Video Pricing
It actually comes “free” with your Prime membership. For the latter, you’ll get charged $12.99 per month or $119 per year. Students are charged $6.49 per month – or $59 per year.
Amazon Prime Video is available as a separate plan at a promotional fee of $2.99 for the first six months. You can also buy or rent a video of your choice. With the weekly Prime member deals, you can rent new releases for $2.99.
If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, adding an external channel such as HBO, STARTZ or SHOWTIME starts at $4.99 per month.
The great thing about it is that with a Prime membership, you get that sweet free movie streaming. Old or new releases, original series or kids shows, just look for the Prime logo sign and enjoy it!
Amazon Prime Video – Customer Service
You’ll most likely find the answers you seek or at least a similar topic within the Prime video Help center library. It’s huge and very useful. If you still need to contact someone, you’ll get help quickly.
Amazon Prime Video Pros
- Great original content
- Ability to download content to watch later
- New promo offers every week
- X-Ray feature for bonus content
- Smart search with Alexa AI
- International coverage
Amazon Prime Video Cons
- Non-Amazon users might find the interface less than intuitive
- Lack of live coverage of sports games
Who is Amazon Prime Video best for?
It’s certainly an option to consider if you’re a frequent Amazon customer and you enjoy a good movie or TV show every now and then. You pay for that order delivery anyway, why not cut the cord, get all the benefits and optimize your budget.
The video streaming services offered by Amazon are still playing second fiddle because of its reputation of a shopping place but times are changing. With the upcoming release of the show based on the Lord of the Rings, anything is possible. Amazon Prime Video could turn into the most preferred online TV and one of the best video streaming services out there, overnight.
After all is said and done, Amazon Prime Video gets a 7.5/10 rating.
4. HBO Now
HBO Now and HBO Go – HBO’s twin streaming services. While there are some minor differences between the two, both platforms allow people to enjoy the best movie streaming service with the same quality and identical library. The deciding factor distinguishing the line between the two comes down to your preferences.
If you already have a cable or satellite and you’re satisfied with it, you most likely already have HBO (check with your provider) and your way to go is the HBO Go since it comes for free (if you have HBO already). However, if you are thinking about cord cutting options and you are a true HBO content addict, the only way to go is HBO Now. Keep in mind that there’s no live TV function, though.
We will focus our review on the latter as one of the market-leading standalone streaming TV packages out there.
HBO Now Ease of Use
The app’s interface has a clear layout and an easy to navigate through menu. You can choose by genre, category, from your watchlist, or simply browse through (or use the search functionality to find a specific title. If you need to stop watching, the app will save your progress so you can resume exactly where you left off.
The mobile interface looks very modern; however, we find both the navigation and the search functionalities a bit painful. Just a pinch of improvement would make the difference. For viewing on your mobile devices, make sure you get at least a 3G connection.
HBO Now Performance
Overall consistent and good quality of the stream. You might experience some issues with the app performance such as lagging or buffering when a new airing episode has just been added to the library and everyone’s watching it.
There’s the annoying requirement to enable Flash on your browser if you watch through the web interface. SD and HD picture quality are still the only supported options. Awaiting for 4K and HDR!
HBO Now Library
Clearly, HBO’s by far one of the major players when it comes to original, high-quality content. It might be the second to Netflix in terms of production budgets but qualitywise, HBO has another story to tell.
The HBO Now library includes over 500 movies – the best movie streaming service for new releases and old classics, numerous original TV series, collections such as Just-Added Movies or Last Chance: Movies Leaving This Month, kids shows, documentaries, sports and comedy specials. Anime and animated series fans might be disappointed as there are none to choose from.
Overall, one of the best libraries out there for movies and TV-series addicts.
HBO Now Device Compatibility
Wide range of compatible devices to choose from:
- Android and iOS devices
- Amazon Fire OS, Amazon Fire TV
- Android TV
- PS4, Xbox One,
- Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast
- Samsung TVs
- Via web browsers on hbonow.com
HBO Now Simultaneous Connections
No limits on the number of devices tied to one account. That said, you might experience a sudden interruption on all simultaneously streaming devices. For security reasons, too many video streams are not allowed.
But how many are too many? HBO Now is vague about that. What you can do is log out some of the devices that are being used by checking through the menu option Manage Devices.
HBO Now Free Trials
Yes, you get a generous 30-days free trial to get a glimpse at the HBO Now’s treasures. The trial is available only for new HBO Now customers.
HBO Now Pricing & Plans
It’s a standalone service with a single price tag of $14.99 per month. However, you can enjoy the movie streaming service as an add-on for Amazon Prime Video, AT&T TV Now, Hulu and PS Vue. Or, if you already have HBO included from your provider, you can still enjoy the HBO Now’s superb content through HBO Go.
HBO Now Customer Service
There’s a ton of topics covered in the Help center, but if you still need to get someone from support, you can use chat, phone, email, or you can even tweet about your issue. You’ll get a solution quickly.
HBO Now Pros
- All HBO original content available
- Top-quality TV series
- Unique sports specials
- Easy to use interface
- Consistent quality of the stream
- No ads
HBO Now Cons
- Library is not updated as often (compared to Netflix and Hulu)
- Video might get interrupted due to too many simultaneous connections
- No DVR option supported, no offline viewing
- No live TV
- Only available in the USA coverage
Who is HBO Now best for?
Cinema addicts will certainly find their way to HBO’s content – one way or another. Audience that regularly goes back to the old-time classics will appreciate the wide selection of the HBO Now library. People eager to see the airing episodes of hit TV shows would also opt-in for the streaming service of the giant.
Outstanding top-notch original content, no commercials and easy to use interface – it’s easy to vouch for this service. The least you can do is give the free trial a go and see for yourself.
We give HBO Now 7/10 rating, mostly thanks to its top-notch originals.
5. Youtube TV
Next in our grande review of the best streaming services is the over-the-top internet TV –
YouTube TV. Like most of its rivals, the platform offers live TV, on-demand video and cloud DVR. Let’s go through our set of criteria and find out how the service stands out. How do cord-cutters perceive it?
YouTube TV Ease of Use
Very intuitive and smooth interface. Lots of customization options at your fingertips.
You also get suggestions on what to watch, a reminder of your top picks, suggestions on what to record – all based on your previous viewing activity.
What’s more, each one of the six personalized accounts included with a single subscription can explore those features separately from the other accounts’ picks. Recordings are organized in a very neat way.
YouTube TV Performance
For watching at 4K resolution, you need a 20 Mbps internet connection. For smooth performance of the service in HD quality with multiple devices using the same network, make sure you have a download speed of at least 13 Mbps. Otherwise, you might get lagging or buffering.
If you’re the only one streaming, you’ll still be able to stream HD videos smoothly with a speed under 10 Mbps. If your speed is even less than that, you can still take advantage of standard definition videos. You don’t want to go lower than that. Save yourself that torture.
You can change the resolution through the settings menu.
If you’re having issues, you’ll find a very useful FAQ section for troubleshooting video streaming issues on a variety of devices.
Overall, YouTube TV delivers better quality than most streaming TV services out there.
YouTube TV Library
Quite a lot to choose from, we must admit – 70+ channels, local and regional programs with complete local network coverage, streaming live and local sports, news, and shows. On-demand movies and shows, as well as more networks such as SHOWTIME, STARZ, Fox Soccer Plus are available for a few extra bucks.
YouTube TV Device Compatibility
You can have YouTube TV running on virtually anything:
- Android and iOS mobile devices
- Chrome web browser
- Chromecast devices
- AirPlay for Apple TV
- Smart TVs
- Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X
- Roku devices
- Amazon Fire Stick, Fire Stick 4K, Fire TV Cube.
You can find a list of all available devices and requirements in the YouTube TV Help guide. It was a pleasant surprise to find out you get to watch the stream on your iPad (iOS 10+) in both landscape and portrait mode. Pretty neat!
YouTube TV Simultaneous Connections
Each subscription allows up to three simultaneous streams. Furthermore, it can be shared among six individual accounts per household and each will get personalized recommendations.
YouTube TV Free Trials
Before you are charged, you’ll get a seven days free trial to explore the platform and make a decision. All you need to do is enter your credit card details.
A friendly reminder just in case you don’t grow very fond of the service – make sure to disable your payment details before the trial period ends. Otherwise, it’ll charge you automatically.
YouTube TV Pricing
One plan – plain and simple. No room for confusion. The monthly subscription will cost you $49.99 and you get:
- Live and on-demand videos
- 70+ channels
- Local channel lineup
- Regional sports networks
- Unlimited DVR storage space
- 3 simultaneous streams
- Up to 6 personalized accounts for your family
You can add more networks, such as Starz, to your plan, starting at $9.00 per month.
No contracts, no software to install, and no tricky cancellation policies.
YouTube TV Customer Service
You’ll find an extremely helpful Help menu with numerous answered questions, as well as user manuals. From billing matters to how to set up your smart TV – you’ll find it all on the Help page.
If you still need troubleshooting assistance, you can choose between chat and email support. We were extremely satisfied with the received support via YouTube TV’s live chat.
YouTube TV Pros
- Best cloud DVR option with unlimited storage
- Three simultaneous streams & six personalized accounts with a single subscription
- Cheaper solution with multiple channels
- Coverage of 98% of US households
- Consistent high-quality picture
- Good categorization of the content
YouTube TV Cons
- Supports ads
- NFL live streams not available on mobile devices
- Poor original content
- Limited international coverage
Who is YouTube TV best for?
Millennials, boomers, gen X, the little ones, virtually everybody. What’s the secret weapon that YouTube TV hides up its sleeve? To name a few outstanding: the better and consistent picture quality than most rivals, the super-intuitive interface, the number of channels (70+), the local network’s coverage.
Features such as the amazing unlimited cloud DVR storage space where all 6 personalized account holders can keep, organize and enjoy content for up to 9 months; the picture-in-picture and split-screen functionalities and the option to watch in landscape and portrait mode on your iPad confirmed our very positive experience with the cable-free TV option.
Fully deserved, we give YouTube TV an 8/10 rating.
With over 2 million users, Sling TV is one of the well-established players among the live TV streaming services providers. Hence, we couldn’t hold ourselves to play around with its features, see what all the fuss is about, and give our verdict.
Sling Ease of Use
A decent, traditional, nice-looking interface with a smooth grid guide allowing you to filter what appears on your screen. You can also choose from resuming a video, watch it live or play from the beginning. Lots of categorization for your convenience – sports, lifestyle, most popular movies, new releases and more.
Depending on the number of connected devices and internet speed, you might find the service performance varying.
For streaming on tablets and phones, 3Mbps should be enough. For a single stream on a TV or computer, you should have at least 5Mbps. Finally, and for simultaneous streams on multiple devices, Sling recommends a constant speed of 25Mbps to enjoy a smooth streaming performance.
The interface stands out with quick responsiveness.
Live TV, 30+ channels, local channels depending on your location, on-demand content, many sports channels including ESPN, a la carte channels and lots of add-on choices. All content is available in HD quality.
Sling Device Compatibility
Sling has it all. Probably the widest range of compatibility, so you’ll certainly find your device on the list:
- Amazon Fire
- Android and iOS devices
- Roku devices, Apple TV, Chromebook, Chromecast
- Android TV
- LG, Samsung TVs
- Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X
- Windows 10 computers and devices
- Web browsers
Plus, Sling has one of the best TV streaming apps in terms of stability.
Sling Simultaneous Connections
Depending on the plan you choose, you can get up to four simultaneous streams with Sling tv. The Sling Orange plan allows a single stream at a time, while Sling Blue will give you up to three. If you opt-in for the complete Blue & Orange bundle, you’ll get four.
Sling Free Trials
Yes, for seven days after the activation of your account. You can cancel at any time.
Sling Pricing & Plans
One word – multiple. The two base plans Sling Orange and Sling Blue cost $25.00 per month, but you can currently get a discount for both and get either one of the plans at $15.00 for the first month. The regular price of the bundle plan Orange & Blue is $40.00. With the current promo at the time of writing, it’s available at $25.00 for the first month.
The main difference between the plans is the channel lineup. With Orange, you get 30+ channels including ESPN, Disney, TNT, CNN, while with Blue, you get 45+ channels including Discovery, History, Fox, TLC. The complete plan includes 50+ channels to choose from.
Furthermore, there are so many add-on channels and services that you wouldn’t believe it! A la carte channels such as Starz and Showtime starting at $3.00 per month, sports networks available as an extra at $10.00 per month, additional kids channels for $5.00, and the list goes on. Unlike its TV competitors, Sling offers 50 hours of cloud DVR storage space – also an added feature for $5.00 per month. The good thing about it is that you can keep your recording indefinitely or as long as you’re a Sling user.
You can rent titles.
Finally, international and Spanish-language plans are available starting at $5.00 per month.
On top of all this, you get to choose from various deals and promotions.
Sling Customer Service
Great Help Center is available to answer all kinds of questions and topics – from details on a specific deal offered to step-by-step instructions on how to troubleshoot your device. You can chat and call support 7 days a week.
- Affordable plans, which include ESPN
- Multiple add-ons available for $5.00 a month
- Wide range of compatible devices
- Ability to control what appears on your screen
- Stable app
- International plans
- Limited local channel lineup
- No free DVR option
- Only one simultaneous stream with Sling Orange
Who is Sling TV best for?
No doubt the sports fans will be thrilled to have ESPN at their fingertips for just $25 a month, along with 30+ additional channels. It’s not just that. Sling TV is one of the preferred alternatives to cable TV thanks to its flexibility and affordable base packages.
With the great choice of extra channels to pick from and based on what channels and networks you care about, you can enjoy one of the best video streaming services on a budget or at least be aware of what you pay for.
We give Sling TV a 6.5/10 for its multiple choice and good prices.
7. PlayStation Vue
The next streaming service we’re looking into is PlayStation Vue or PS Vue. Owned by Sony, the service provides live TV, on-demand content and cloud DVR functionalities. After playing around with it, we’re eager to share our experiences with you. Let’s get to it!
PS Vue Ease of Use
We found the interface pretty simple and straightforward. There’s a clear distinction between categories in the menu. Live TV, sports, kids or featured shows, you won’t get confused. For the live TV audience, there’s a TV Guide in the menu with a very clear timeline. Once you give it a try, you easily get used to it.
PS Vue Performance
While officially the recommended download speed is 10 Mbps, for optimal performance of the streaming television service we recommend an internet connection of 25 Mbps or higher. This way, you’ll be sure to stay away from potential lagging, frame drops, or buffering. So, check this out with your internet service provider.
The picture quality is great. Content is available at HD and SD versions and you can choose between them through the menu options.
PS Vue Features & Functionalities
‘My DVR’ is a great feature you’ll find available with every package. You can record and store content for up to 28 days. Furthermore, with the option to create 10 separate profiles within the same account, they all can get a personal ‘My DVR’ setup. The perk also allows for pausing, fast-forwarding and rewinding, even through commercials. Sweet!
Multiview capability is a feature for the die-hard sports fans. It allows for watching three different channels on the same screen on a PS4 and four on an Apple TV.
PS Vue Library
You get loads of on-demand content, live-streaming HD channels, and lots of local channels to boot. Add-ons include a Sports pack, HBO, SHOWTIME and Espanol Pack for an additional monthly fee. With the recent addition of beIN sports, NHL Network and ACC Network, PS Vue library has the sports fans’ attention with a selection like no other.
PS Vue Device Compatibility
Happily, the PlayStation Vue service does not need a Sony console. At all! You can use it on:
- PS3 and PS4
- Roku devices, Apple TV, Chromecast
- Android TV
- Amazon Fire TV
- iOS and Android devices
- Web browsers
There are handy instructions available for setting up any device.
PS Vue Simultaneous Connections
Officially, you get three simultaneous streams, which is pretty good, compared to other internet TV providers. But that’s not all. There’s a great feature here called ‘Home Device’. Once you set up the main device that will be used in your home, you get two additional streams. You can enable that in the app’s settings. So, in total, PS Vue allows for up to five simultaneous connections.
PS Vue Free Trials
You can explore what the platform offers – browse through the content, make some recordings or enjoy live TV for five days for free. In order to subscribe, you need to enter credit card details. If you find yourself not so fond of the service, make sure to cancel the trial period before it’s over. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying for the basic package automatically.
PS Vue Pricing & Plans
It’s worth noting that PS Vue is available without any annual contracts. If you like it – you can just pay for it every month. If not – you just cancel future payments. It’s really simple and makes a world of difference for people out there.
There are four plans, starting at $49.99 per month. Add-ons and standalones are available for an additional $10.00 to $15.00 per month. A useful comparison of the packages is also available.
PS Vue Customer Service
You will most likely get your question answered by the support bot. In case you need further assistance, there’s phone and chat support, as well as a forum you can join. Once you complete your conversation with the support, you can download the thread itself for future reference. Neat!
PS Vue Pros
- Up to five simultaneous streams
- Cloud DVR capabilities
- Ability to pause live TV stream
- Awesome picture quality
- Less buffering
PS Vue Cons
- A limited number of channels with the base plan
- Sports content available only for an additional fee or with the more expensive plans
- No international coverage
Who is PlayStation Vue video best for?
Certainly for people who own more than a couple of TVs. People who appreciate contracts-free services will find the online TV service from PlayStation pretty appealing. Although sports fans might find it irritating that the base plan is missing sports channels, the Multi-view functionality and the powerful DVR restore the balance. It’s a good choice if you are considering cord cutting options. Try it out!
It’s a pretty good quality service if you are considering cord-cutting options. Try it out!
PS Vue scores a respectable 6/10 rating.
8. AT&T TV Now (DirecTV Now)
Formally known as DirecTV Now, the AT&T TV Now is the new live TV streaming service from the giant. While it’s undergoing a whirlwind of changes, we are eager to find out whether it’s still worth it to be listed among the best streaming services in 2019.
AT&T TV Now Ease Of Use
The interface is fairly easy to navigate with its intuitive menu. You won’t get lost. The search functionality, in particular, is outstanding – you can customize your search by categories, which makes getting useful results so much easier. Or the user guide, which has a very nice timeline.
AT&T TV Now Performance
Overall smooth performance depending on your internet speed, of course. As an absolute minimum, you’ll need a 12Mbps connection, although some users report issues even then.
The picture quality is good and consistent. The platform supports standard picture quality at 480p. Using phones, tablets, and computers – it can be up to 720p and on streaming devices (e.g. Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV) – up to 1080p. 4K is not supported yet.
AT&T TV Now Library
What makes streaming TV so appealing is you get HBO no matter the plan you choose. It’s one of the biggest draws for AT&T’s new service. More channels missing from rivals’ libraries are Comedy Central, BET, Nickelodeon, Nick JR, MTV, VH1. Other than that, you get to choose from loads of live and on-demand content. While packages vary in terms of channel lineups, there are multiple choices that give you plenty of flexibility.
AT&T TV Now Device Compatibility
If you prefer to watch at home, you can choose between:
- Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Amazon Fire TV Cube, Amazon Fire TV Edition
- Roku devices, Apple TV, Google Chromecast
- Samsung Smart TV
On the go, you can enjoy the service via Apple devices with iOS 11+ or Android ones with version 5.0 or higher. You can also try it via Chrome and Safari on the web.
AT&T TV Now Simultaneous Connections
You get two simultaneous streams regardless of your pricing plan. An additional stream is available for $5.00 per month.
AT&T TV Now Free Trials
You get seven days of free trial to explore and judge whether it’s indeed one of the best streaming services available or simply if it works for you.
AT&T TV Now Pricing & Plans
With the number of changes around the re-branded DirecTV Now, the price list is now settled. There are two plans you can choose from – Plus and Max. Both include 2 simultaneous streams, 20 hours of free cloud DVR storage and HBO.
With the base package at $50.00 per month, you get HBO, 45 channels, local channels and new movies added to the library every week. The Max plan at $70.00 per month gets you HBO, Cinemax, and 60+ channels including multiple sports ones.
The service offers a number of additional packages with an ever-increasing TV-channel lineup and international plans starting at $20.00.
Cinemax, SHOWTIME, STARZ, EPIX, and Spanish language channels are available as add-ons starting at $5.00 per month after a seven day free trial period for each.
All plans and additional services can be canceled at any time.
AT&T TV Now Customer Service
Support is provided via messaging. It’s quick and efficient.
AT&T TV Now Pros
- HBO included with every plan
- Compatibility with numerous devices
- Local channels available
AT&T TV Now Cons
- Only 2 simultaneous streams allowed with base plans
- Only 20 hours of DVR storage space
- Pricy for a base plan with 45+ channels
Who is AT&T TV Now best for?
Certainly, the HBO TV shows’ followers will love both base plans on offer. It’s included at no additional cost. It’s for people with an affinity for local channels and anyone who doesn’t mind paying a tad more for a superior streaming experience.
Considering multiple reviews and comments from consumers, there’s an underlined need for improvement in terms of channel lineup, cheaper plans, and more DVR storage. On the other hand, we are to expect more news around the platform shortly. An investor briefing on HBO Max is scheduled for the end of October, so we should stay tuned!
Overall, our final verdict for the AT&T TV Now among the streaming platforms is a 6/10.
9. Philo TV
The last one of the live streaming services providers entering our review is Philo TV. It’s one of the more affordable cable-free TV options. Let’s see if you’ll be ready to give it a go after we reveal our experience with the service.
Philo Ease of Use
The platform offers a fairly easy to use interface. At the top of the home page in your account, you’ll find the latest content you’ve watched. Next appear your favorites or the saved content, followed by trending live titles, top shows, and new & upcoming videos. It makes sense.
Content can be live, on-demand, or such that is to be aired in the future. Well, if you do a search for a specific show which has some past seasons and soon to be aired episodes, the results will be a bit confusing, but this is a minor issue.
Philo TV also features a decent TV guide with the favorites at the top. You also get unlimited DVR storage to save your favorite shows for up to 30 days.
The activation process requires that you enter an activation code sent to your mobile or email. It takes a minute or two to arrive.
Smooth performance, quick and responsive menu. You can also enjoy consistent video (HD) and audio (2.0) quality. For reliable streaming quality, the recommended internet speed is 13 Mbps.
We found that the DVR rewind functionality can be a bit tricky. Instead of rewinding, it started the show we were watching from the beginning.
Live and on-demand video. You get 58 channel lineup including AMC, A&E, Animal Planet, Discovery and more. No local channels or sports networks are available. No add-ons are supported.
The platform is also running a lot of ads, but you do get the option to skip through the commercials, or at least get back when they’re over. (A timer will appear so you can see how long it would take, neat.)
Philo Device Compatibility
You can use Philo through:
- Web browser on Mac and Windows
- iOS or Android phones or tablets
- Android TV
- Apple TV
- Amazon Fire TV
- Roku devices
Philo Simultaneous Connections
Yes, you get to stream content on up to three devices simultaneously.
You can create multiple in-house accounts for a personalized experience.
Philo Free Trials
You can test the service for seven full days for free. For the first 48 hours of that, you’re not even required to add your credit card details. All you need to do is enter your phone number. After 48 hours, you’ll need to add billing details to unlock the full trial period.
Philo Pricing & Plans
That’s simple with Philo. There’s a single plan offered at this time. You get 58 channels for $20.00 per month and that’s it. No contract required and you can cancel at any time after that.
Philo Customer Service
We were able to get all our questions answered through Philo’s help center, but there’s also regular support via phone, chat, and email at your disposal.
- 58 channels at a very low price
- 3 simultaneous streams
- Unlimited DVR storage
- Good video quality
- No sports or local channels
Who is Philo TV best for?
It’s good if you’re keen on entertainment channels without being big on sports. It is a slim package with good options, such as 3 simultaneous streams, personalized accounts, and unlimited DVR storage. For the right type of watcher, this is a true bargain.
It’s a decent solution if you are thinking of cable TV alternatives. It’s not the top streaming service out there, but certainly a valid option for many. And a really affordable one at that.
We give Philo TV a well-deserved 6/10 rating.
How To Choose The Best TV Streaming Service
Here’s our recipe for making the right choice when it comes to internet TV options:
- Shortlist the must-have channels
- Make a list of the streaming services offering the must-have channels
- Explore different platforms using their free trials
- Compare additional key features
- Compare prices and promotional deals
- Consider consistency of the audio and picture quality
- Consider ads density
- Check online reviews for user experience (cord-cutters on Reddit, for instance, share very useful feedback)
Direct Comparisons – How Do the Best Streaming Services Fare Against Each Other?
Hulu vs Netflix
- With Netflix, you can download content and watch it offline while with Hulu you can’t.
- If you’re a fan of TV shows, you’ll enjoy Hulu better than Netflix.
- You can enjoy Netflix around the globe while Hulu is only available in the US.
- With Hulu Live, you can stream live events. Netflix does not offer live events even as an add-on.
Hulu vs Sling
- Cloud DVR storage of 50 hours is included with your Hulu Live TV subscription. With Sling, the same amount is available at $5.00 per month.
- Hulu’s library is way ahead of Sling in terms of TV shows (original and non-original), movies, and on-demand content.
- Sling’s base plan offers more sports channels, including ESPN. Hulu offers it as an extra or for free, but only in more expensive plans.
HBO vs Netflix
- HBO still holds the lead in terms of quality original content and number of TV series. Netflix focuses on original and non-original movies, anime and other animated content.
- HBO Now does not allow for binge-watching TV series, unlike Netflix.
- Netflix’s interface allows creating personal preferences for each viewer, while HBO Now does not.
Netflix vs Amazon Prime Video
- A big selling point of streaming services is the number of concurrent streams allowed. Netflix allows for 4 simultaneous streams. Amazon Prime Video allows for 3, with the option to unlock unlimited screens for an additional monthly fee.
- While you can binge-watch series in 4K quality on both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, Netflix does not integrate with IMDb or Alexa AI for smart searching. Amazon does both of those things.
Netflix vs Sling TV
- No ads on Netflix, while with Sling TV you can only skip them using the DVR functionality available for $5.00 per month.
- Sling features sports channel lineup including ESPN in its base plan while Netflix offers limited sports content such as documentaries or some sports events.
Netflix vs YouTube TV
- The YouTube TV app on your iPad is available in both landscape and portrait modes, whereas the Netflix app only supports landscape mode.
- YouTube TV offers the best DVR among streaming providers with unlimited space for 90 days; however, Netflix lets you download videos to watch them offline.
- With YouTube TV, you can watch live tv, local sports, and news channels while Netflix does not offer live streaming at all.
DirecTV Now vs Sling
- HBO is included in every plan with AT&T TV Now. Sling does not offer it anywhere. It’s not in the channel lineup, nor is it available as an add-on.
- AT&T TV Now gives you decent 20 hours of cloud DVR storage space, while Sling offers DVR only at an additional cost.
- Sling offers more affordable plans with multiple extras to add to your package. Its pricing structure allows you to see what you’re paying for easily. Not so with AT&T’s TV Now, unfortunately.
DirecTV Now vs YouTube TV
- AT&T TV Now includes 45+ channels while YouTube TV – 70+, both at the same monthly cost.
- HBO content is available with each AT&T TV Now package, unlike YouTube TV which does not offer an option to add it.
- YouTube TV allows unlimited storage for your recordings for 90 days while with AT&T TV Now you get 20 hours of cloud DVR for 30 days.
By now you should have a very clear picture of what to look for when choosing the best streaming services for you. To sum up, the benefits of streaming over cable TV:
- Streaming services are more flexible in terms of content
- They are easier on the budget than cable
- They offer multiple functionalities and cool features
Before you jump to cut the cord, do your research, make a streaming services comparison and use those free trials to the fullest. That’s what they’re there for.
One thing is for sure, though – cable is a thing of the past and so are annual contracts. Stats show that 90% of young people prefer accessing TV content through the internet. Quite the staggering number! Subscribe and find out what the best streaming services for you are. Cancel any time!
In such a dynamic industry, with constant changes and re-grouping of networks, emerging technologies and trends, it’s challenging to outline the best video streaming services out there. Competition makes streaming players strive to produce and attract high-quality programming. This way they deliver the best streaming experience and can satisfy their audience’s ever-growing demands and various tastes. The race is always on!
We’ll see you soon!
Commonly Asked Questions
Q: What are the top 5 streaming services?
A: Depending on your preferences:
Hulu Live TV is great for live TV streaming and it has the best TV shows selection.
Netflix stands out with high-quality original shows, a slick interface, and smooth streaming.
Sling TV includes HBO in all packages, plus you get live TV and multiple extras such as additional sports, kids, comedy and more.
YouTube TV has great picture quality that you can adjust, the best DVR feature with unlimited cloud storage, an easy to use interface, and 70+ channels.
Amazon Prime Video is a great choice for binge-watching good quality original programming available at 4K and HDR.
Q: Is Amazon Prime Video better than Netflix?
A: It might be for you. Amazon Prime has great original content but if you value originals most, Netflix is the better choice. Both services allow you to binge-watch your favorite TV shows as soon as they’re aired; however, if you must see HBO originals, you’ll go to Amazon Prime Video, which offers HBO as an add-on.
Q: Which is best for streaming TV?
A: Hulu Live, Sling TV and AT&T TV Now are among the key live streaming providers. While Sling TV and AT&T TV Now are mostly known as strict alternatives to cable TV in terms of local news and sports channels coverage, Hulu goes one step further by offering great original shows, live streaming and multiple sports channels available as add-ons.
Q: What is the best free TV streaming service?
A: If you’re an Amazon Prime user, you’ll enjoy Amazon Prime Video for free included with your Amazon Prime membership. Along with all the advantages as a Prime user, you can browse through original and non-original content, live tv, make recording and share your subscription with additional members of your family. All of this for no additional fee except the regular Prime membership. There are several other free streaming alternatives that are not quite perfect, but you can check them out here.
Q: What is the best TV streaming app?
A: YouTube TV and Sling’s apps stand out with very consistent app performance. The unique functionality of YouTube’s mobile app allows viewers to watch both in portrait and landscape modes. Multitaskers with iPads can have split-screen and watch while doing something else. Furthermore, you can turn on notifications for when the next episode of your favorite TV show is airing and never miss a thing.
Q: Which streaming service has the most content?
A: Netflix’s library provides the biggest movie and TV shows choice for its subscribers with over 700 original titles. Following with huge libraries are Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube TV.
Q: What is the most popular streaming TV service?
A: Hulu Live, Sling TV and AT&T TV Now are among the key live streaming providers. While Sling TV and AT&T TV Now are well-established and count most of the streaming TV subscribers, Hulu is quickly catching up with over 800,000 live TV users.
Q: What is the cheapest way to watch TV?
A: Philo TV is one of the cheaper options for TV streaming. At $20.00 per month, you get good 58 channels in addition. Other feasible alternatives are the Sling Orange and Sling Blue plans – each at $25.00 monthly, both including HBO and a variety of channels in addition.
Q: What is the best streaming service to replace cable?
A: It all depends on your preferences as a viewer, what devices you would like to watch on, and the number of people in your household. Netflix, HBO Now, Hulu, YouTube TV, Amazon Prime Video are certainly worth trying.
Q: Do Amazon Prime members get free Netflix?
A: No. Amazon Prime members get Amazon Prime Video with their subscription. It’s an alternative streaming platform with a growing library of original and non-original titles, live streaming, DVR cloud storage, and enhanced searchability among other features, let alone the Amazon Prime membership perks.
Q: What’s the Difference Between Amazon Prime and Amazon video?
A: Amazon Prime membership gives you perks such as free two days shipping, unlimited photo storage, access to free ebooks and so on. Amazon Prime Video is the video streaming service owned by Amazon, which comes free for Amazon Prime members.
Q: Does Amazon Prime have live TV?
А: Yes. Amazon Prime Video allows only active Prime subscribers to get live streaming access. If you’re a Prime Amazon user, you can choose from a range of Prime channels and add them to your channel lineup at an additional monthly fee.