The Best Streaming Services in 2024


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There are tons of streaming options out there, but subscribing to every service available will quickly drain your wallet. To help you decide what to sign up for, we’ve rounded up the best streaming services of 2024 and explained what makes each unique.

For instance, Disney Plus is an ideal service for families and big fans of Marvel and “Star Wars,” while Hulu is the best fit for cord-cutters thanks to its large selection of network shows. Viewers interested in prestige TV and unscripted favorites will want to check out Max, and Apple TV Plus is notable for offering one of the most affordable ad-free plans on the market. 

Below, you can find a full breakdown of all the best streaming services, with picks for different budgets and viewing habits in mind. 

Our top picks for the best streaming services

Best for cord-cutters: Hulu

Best for families: Disney Plus

Best for CBS fans: Paramount Plus

Best ad-free plan on a budget: Apple TV Plus

Best for critically acclaimed content: Max

Best for NBC fans: Peacock

Best for sports: ESPN Plus

Best for online shoppers: Amazon Prime Video

Best for originals: Netflix

Best for reality and documentary: Discovery Plus

Best for cord-cutters

Hulu with Ads (Monthly Plan)

Hulu is an excellent choice for cord-cutters thanks to a mix of exclusive titles and next-day streaming for popular network shows. The ad-supported tier is only $8/month. Going ad-free costs $18/month.

  • Hulu with ads: $8/month 
  • Hulu without ads: $18/month
  • Hulu with Disney Plus and ESPN Plus: starts at $15/month

Hulu offers two on-demand streaming plans: a basic option with commercials and a premium tier without ads. Both plans feature access to the platform’s full library of content, which boasts an impressive library of movies and TV series with a wide range of new and classic shows.

This includes next-day streaming access to ABC, FX, and Fox broadcast series, which makes Hulu an excellent pick for cord-cutters who want access to popular network shows. You can also find many licensed movies from various studios, including Oscar winners like “Poor Things” and “Anatomy of a Fall.”

A screenshot of the Hulu interface on a web browser

Hulu has a varied assortment of shows pulled from ABC, Fox, and FX, as a well as movies from various studios, and original programs.


Hulu also offers a solid selection of original shows, like “The Bear,” “Only Murders in the Building,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and “The Kardashians,” but its slate of exclusives isn’t as notable as those of some competitors. Likewise, though Hulu does support 4K HDR on some devices, its selection is limited compared to Netflix, Amazon, and Disney Plus. 

Hulu has a nice assortment of add-ons and bundle options, too. Subscribers can add other services to their memberships, like Max and Starz, for an extra monthly fee so they can consolidate bills. And you can get the Disney Plus Bundle, which packages Hulu with Disney Plus and ESPN Plus for a discounted price. Subscribers to the bundle can now access Hulu within the Disney Plus app, so you no longer need to switch between them. Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery also plan to launch a new bundle this summer that includes Hulu, Disney Plus, and Max. 

And for the ultimate cord-cutting experience, Hulu even offers a full-fledged live TV tier starting at $77/month. This option includes Hulu’s full on-demand library, the Disney Bundle, and over 95 popular channels. Hulu is the only on-demand streaming platform that has its own live TV plan, so this tier gives cord-cutters a convenient all-in-one solution that’s packed with entertainment options.  

Read our full breakdown of Hulu prices and plans.

Check out our guide to all the best live TV streaming services. 

Best for families

Disney Plus Ad-Supported (Monthly Plan)

Disney Plus is the top streaming choice for families and fans of blockbuster franchises like Marvel and “Star Wars.” This plan features ads and does not support downloads. This is the cheapest tier, although the Hulu bundles are only a few extra dollars a month.

  • Disney Plus with ads: $8/month
  • Disney Plus without ads: $14/month or $140/year
  • Disney Plus with ESPN Plus and Hulu: starts at $15/month

Disney Plus is the subscription streaming home of the studio’s many classic animated films and blockbuster franchises. With that in mind, its main draw is its wide catalog of Disney, Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, and 20th Century Studios content. This makes it one of the best streaming services for families since it’s packed with entertainment geared toward younger audiences. 

There are some new original films, series, and concert specials as well, but the lineup isn’t as large as what you’ll find on Netflix or Amazon. Still, the service has a healthy pipeline of exclusives for members to enjoy, including a new Star Wars series called “The Acolyte.” Disney Plus is also the exclusive US streaming destination for new episodes of “Doctor Who.” 

A screenshot of the Disney Plus interface on a web browser.

Disney Plus has dedicated sections for each of the studio’s biggest brands.

Disney Plus

And even though its catalog is geared toward families, there’s still a healthy assortment of PG-13 movies and shows produced for young adults. However, Disney Plus’ selection of R-rated movies and TV-MA shows is vastly limited compared to services like Netflix and Max. Right now, the only notable programs for mature audiences are a handful of Marvel titles like “Deadpool” and “Echo.”  

As a result, adults may want to supplement Disney Plus with a second streaming service to fill their palette with more mature shows. If you fall into that boat, we recommend paying a bit more to get the Disney Plus Bundle with Hulu and ESPN Plus. Bundle members can now access Hulu within the Disney Plus interface, so you can unlock all of Hulu’s mature offerings without switching apps. 

Read our Disney Plus guide and Disney Plus review.

Best for CBS fans

Paramount Plus Essential (Monthly Plan)

Paramount Plus is perfect for viewers who want to stream CBS TV shows, local NFL games, and tons of content from Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, and MTV. And if you get the premium tier you can also unlock ad-free streaming and access to Showtime.

  • Paramount Plus Essential: $6/month or $60/year for ad-supported streaming
  • Paramount Plus with Showtime: $12/month or $120/year for commercial-free streaming, along with Showtime and live CBS

Paramount Plus is a subscription streaming service from ViacomCBS. The platform gives viewers access to a large collection of on-demand shows and movies, and the premium plan also includes live CBS streaming so you can watch your local CBS network without cable or a digital antenna. 

In addition to CBS, Paramount Plus draws programming from Viacom cable channels like MTV, BET, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon. Paramount Plus is also home to exclusive series like “Star Trek: Discovery,” “Halo,” and “Yellowstone” spinoffs like “1883” and “1923.” 

Paramount Plus streaming

Paramount Plus Premium members now get Showtime included.

Paramount Plus

The streaming service adds new Paramount movies to its lineup after they play in theaters, including recent releases like the “Mean Girls” musical and “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning.”

Sports fans can also tune into local NFL games broadcast on CBS, as well as UEFA soccer matches when each season is in session. Unlike live CBS access, NFL and soccer games are available to all members, even those subscribed to the cheaper ad-supported plan. 

If the base Paramount Plus library isn’t enough for you, you can get Paramount Plus with Showtime to stream even more movies and shows. The two services merged in June 2023, and Showtime now comes with the ad-free tier of Paramount Plus by default. Once subscribed, you unlock Showtime movies and shows directly in the Paramount Plus app.

Read our Paramount Plus streaming service guide and our Paramount Plus review.

Best ad-free option on a budget

Apple TV Plus (Monthly Plan)

Apple TV Plus has a limited lineup, but it’s less expensive than other ad-free services and offers a growing selection of critically acclaimed series you can’t stream anywhere else.

  • Apple TV Plus: $10/month or $100/year for ad-free streaming
  • Apple One: Starts at $20/month for Apple TV Plus, Apple Music, 50GB of iCloud, and Apple Arcade

Apple TV Plus is one of the most affordable ad-free streaming services you can subscribe to. It costs $10 a month to access its entire lineup of on-demand movies and shows. That’s less than commercial-free plans cost from Disney Plus, Netflix, Hulu, Max, Peacock, or Paramount Plus. 

But while that’s an attractive price, the Apple TV Plus content library is relatively small. The service does offer a rotating selection of about 40 licensed movies from various studios, but this assortment pales in comparison to what you get from competitors like Max and Paramount Plus. That said, there are some standout exclusive shows like “Ted Lasso,” “Severance,” and “Monarch: Legacy of Monsters,” as well as award-winning films like “Killers of the Flower Moon” and “CODA.” Live Friday Night Baseball games are also included for subscribers to watch.

A screenshot of the Apple TV Plus interface on a web browser.

Apple TV Plus doesn’t have a huge selection of programs but its lineup includes several critically acclaimed originals like “Ted Lasso.”

Apple TV

Like Prime Video, the Apple TV Plus app also has a huge digital store with additional movies and shows that you can pay extra to rent or purchase. Though it would be great to have more programs included as part of your subscription, being able to order more titles within the same app is convenient. You can also add channels to your subscription, like Starz, for an extra fee.

If you plan to use other Apple services, we recommend considering the Apple One bundle to save some money. The base package includes Apple TV Plus, Apple Music, Apple Arcade, and 50GB of iCloud storage for $20 monthly, a $9 discount off the regular combined price of those services. And starting May 29, Xfinity internet customers can get Apple TV Plus as part of a bundle with Peacock and Netflix for only $15 a month. 

Best for critically acclaimed content

Max with ads (Monthly Plan)

Max is a premium service for fans of prestige television, iconic films, and unscripted programs. Prices start at $10 a month for ad-supported, $16 for ad-free, and $20 if you want to view in 4K.

  • Max with ads: $10/month for ad-supported access to Max library in up to 1080p
  • Max ad-free: $16/month for ad-free access to Max library in up to 1080p
  • Max Ultimate ad-free: $20/month for ad-free access to Max library in up to 4K

The Max streaming service, formerly known as HBO Max, combines critically acclaimed shows and movies from HBO’s cable network with new originals, programs from Discovery Plus, WarnerMedia films, classic shows like “Friends,” and collections from other brands like CNN, Studio Ghibli, Adult Swim, TCM, and DC.

HBO shows like “House of the Dragon” and “The Last of Us” continue to define prestige television, and Max has several critically acclaimed originals of its own, like “Hacks.” The service also streams brand-new Warner Bros. movies after they play in theaters, including “Dune: Part 2” and “Wonka.”

Screenshots from "Harry Potter" films, "House of the Dragon," "Fixer Upper: The Hotel," with the Max logo over the top of them.

Max is home to the “Harry Potter” films, “House of the Dragon,” “Fixer Upper: The Hotel,” and much more.

Warner Bros., HBO, Max

Max is also a great option for fans of unscripted television, as it now includes a large selection of programs from the Discovery Plus streaming service, including popular shows from TLC, Food Network, and HGTV. Discovery Plus remains a cheaper option for people who only want unscripted titles, but Max is a good value for viewers who also crave prestige TV.

With that said, Max has become known for removing programs with little warning. Even big releases, like “Westworld,” have been pulled from the service as part of the studio’s cost-cutting measures. This uncertainty surrounding some titles isn’t ideal for subscribers. The service is also pricey, especially if you want 4K streaming, which is something that most competitors don’t charge extra for. 

Read our Max streaming service guide.

Best for NBC fans

Peacock Premium (Monthly Plan)

Peacock is a convenient streaming source for hit NBC TV shows, Universal movies, and select sports like Sunday Night Football. Prices start at just $6 a month, with additional discounts on annual plans.

  • Peacock Premium: $6/month or $60/year for ad-supported streaming access to the full Peacock library
  • Peacock Premium Plus: $12/month or $120/year for ad-free access to the full Peacock library, as well as live NBC streaming

Peacock is the streaming home of current and classic NBCUniversal shows like “The Voice,” “SNL,” “30 Rock,” and “The Office,” as well as original titles like “Poker Face” and “Twisted Metal.” The service also offers a rotating slate of hit movies, including recent Universal titles straight from theaters, like “Oppenheimer” and “Night Swim.”

Peacock used to offer a free plan with a limited content selection, but this is no longer available for new members. Instead, the current entry-level option is Peacock Premium, which offers ad-supported access to everything on the service for $6 a month.  To unlock ad-free playback, you can pay $12 a month for Peacock Premium Plus. The top tier also adds livestreaming access to NBC so you can watch your local station without an antenna or cable.

The Peacock user interface displayed on a television screen.

Peacock is an affordable service with lots of NBCUniversal content.


Peacock also has some live news and sports broadcasts. Most notably, the service is home to WWE events and Sunday Night Football when the NFL season is active. Like NBC livestreaming, sporting events are typically restricted to Premium Plus members. However, live coverage of the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics will be available to all Peacock members.

Subscribers can stream some titles in 4K with HDR, but the catalog is mostly limited to a few new movies. Compared to other services, Peacock has one of the smallest 4K collections, but it has been adding more 4K titles in recent months.

Current and new members should note that Peacock is raising its subscription costs in July. Starting July 18, new members will pay $8 a month for Peacock Premium and $14 a month for Peacock Premium Plus. The new pricing will go into effect for existing subscribers starting August 17. With this price hike, Peacock will match what Disney Plus charges for its comparable plans. 

Read our Peacock TV guide.

Best for sports

ESPN Plus (Monthly Plan)

ESPN Plus is designed for sports, giving subscribers access to live MLB, NHL, NFL, soccer, golf, and UFC fights. You can pay $11 monthly or go for an annual deal, which saves you about $22 a year. There’s also a bundle with Hulu and Disney Plus, which offers an even better discount.

  • ESPN Plus: $11/month or $110/year for ad-free streaming
  • ESPN Plus with Disney Plus and Hulu: starts at $15/month

ESPN Plus is one of the best streaming services for sports, offering a dedicated platform to watch live games and analyses. Designed as a streaming complement to ESPN’s cable networks, ESPN Plus gives members access to many MLB and NHL games during their respective seasons, as well as select NFL games, golf, tennis, soccer, and college league matches.

ESPN Plus is also the exclusive provider of UFC pay-per-view events in the US. Though subscribers must pay extra for these PPV fights, new members can get a discounted bundle with a PPV and an annual ESPN Plus subscription. 

A TV displaying the ESPN+ logo with a person's hand pointing a remote at it.

ESPN Plus is streaming service dedicated to sports.

Alyssa Powell/Insider

Outside live sports, ESPN Plus features a selection of on-demand docuseries, like “30 for 30,” and other original programs with popular sports personalities like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Derek Jeter. Members can also access exclusive articles to dive into more sports analysis. 

On the downside, ESPN Plus doesn’t typically stream NBA games, so it’s not a great option for big basketball fans. And though some coverage is occasionally simulcast across various ESPN properties, ESPN Plus does not actually provide livestreaming access to regular ESPN cable channels. To watch ESPN networks, you still need cable, satellite, or a live TV streaming service. 

However, that could change when Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery launch their proposed new sports platform this fall. This new service will include ESPN Plus and livestreaming access to ESPN cable channels, as well as sports from stations like Fox, TNT, and TBS. Pricing hasn’t been announced for the new platform. 

Read our ESPN Plus guide.

Best for online shoppers

Amazon Prime Video Monthly Subscription

Amazon Prime Video is a capable, competitive streaming service that’s more than just a Prime membership perk. You can also sign up for a stand-alone plan at $9/month.

  • Amazon Prime with ad-supported Prime Video: $139/year or $15/month as part of an Amazon Prime membership
  • Prime Video with ads (Standalone): $9/month for Prime Video on its own
  • Ad-free upgrade: $3/month extra on top of existing plan

More than 160 million Amazon Prime members help make Prime Video one of the largest on-demand services in terms of subscribers, even if they’re not all streaming video on a regular basis.

Since Prime Video is included with a Prime membership, it is a particularly great option for frequent Amazon shoppers who want to enjoy all the perks of the retailer’s service. That said, Prime Video is also available on its own if you don’t want to pay for a full Prime subscription. 

A screenshot of the Prime Video interface on a web browser.

Prime Video is available as a stand-alone service or as part of an Amazon Prime membership.


Though not quite as extensive as some competitors, Prime Video offers a solid mix of movies and shows, including a few notable originals that aren’t available on other services. Exclusives include hits like “Fallout,” “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” and “The Boys.” You can also use Prime Video’s digital store to pay extra to rent or buy just about any film that’s available on home video and watch it through the Prime Video app whenever you like. This is a feature that most subscription streaming apps don’t offer.

Prime Video supports three streams simultaneously and up to 4K playback with HDR on select titles. And, unlike Netflix and Max, it doesn’t charge extra for 4K. However, we’re disappointed that Amazon now charges an extra $3 a month to remove commercials. Prior to January 2024, all Prime Video memberships were ad-free.

Read our Prime Video guide.

Best for originals

Netflix Monthly Subscription

With its exclusive shows and a huge content library, Netflix remains one of the quintessential streaming services.

  • Netflix Standard with ads: $7/month for 1080p streaming with ads on up to two devices at the same time
  • Netflix Standard: $15.50/month for ad-free 1080p streaming on up to two devices at the same time
  • Netflix Premium: $23/month for ad-free 4K HDR streaming with Dolby Atmos on up to four devices at the same time

Netflix has spent the last few years producing a growing collection of original programs, including exclusive movies, ongoing TV series, documentaries, and comedy specials. Though the service isn’t as dominant as it once was, its impressive library still cements it as the quintessential streaming service to beat.

The success of exclusives, like “One Piece,” “Wednesday,” “Bridgerton,” “The Witcher,” and “Stranger Things,” has helped Netflix justify its higher prices and encouraged competitors to create their own originals. Netflix also has a nice selection of licensed content from other studios and networks, including some titles that used to be exclusive to other services, like Max. 

The Netflix logo is displayed on a smartphone with popcorn and laptop keyboard in the background.

Netflix still has one of the best libraries of original content.

Photo Illustration by Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

On the downside, Netflix’s password-sharing policy could cost you extra if you have a bigger household or long-distance connection. It also discontinued its cheapest ad-free plan in 2023, which means the starting price for ad-free streaming is now $15.49 rather than $10. This makes Netflix one of the most expensive streaming options out there.

Still, the overall library is nicely varied, with plenty for adults and children. When it comes to app support, Netflix is available on all of the best streaming devices and best TVs, including computers, smartphones, Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, Google TV, and more. It also offers comprehensive support for all of the latest video and audio formats, including 4K, HDR, and Dolby Atmos — but unlike some of its competitors, it charges extra for those features.

Read our Netflix price and subscription guide.

Best for reality and documentary

  • Discovery Plus (ad-supported): $5/month
  • Discovery Plus (ad-free): $9/month for commercial-free streaming.

Discovery Plus is one of the fastest growing streaming services in the business, delivering a ton of popular series for fans of reality TV, true crime, cooking, and competition shows, like “MILF Manor,” “Chopped,” “Dirty Jobs,” “Extreme Makeover,” and “90 Day Fiance.”

The service collects titles from cable channels, including Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet, Food Network, HGTV, ID, A&E, History, Lifetime, OWN, Travel, and more. Members also get access to a growing selection of original shows, including spinoffs of popular Discovery franchises. It boasts more than 70,000 episodes for on-demand streaming and includes “channels” to let you watch 24-hour streams of select shows like “House Hunters” and “Chopped.”

discovery plus

Discovery Plus starts at $5 a month, and new members get a one-week free trial.

Discovery Plus

Though Discovery Plus now allows downloading titles for offline viewing, this feature is only available for ad-free tier subscribers. Its library also lacks much in the way of scripted series, so the service will only appeal to fans of nonfiction programming.

In May 2023, a large selection of Discovery Plus content was added to the Max streaming service. However, Discovery Plus is still available on its own and remains the better option for people who want to pay less and don’t care about HBO programs. 

Read our Discovery Plus guide and our Discovery Plus review. 

What to look for in streaming services

Watching TV streaming app smartphone Roku HBO Go

Maskot/Getty Images

Choosing the best streaming service for your needs will largely depend on your personal tastes and budget. Each service has its own selection of exclusives, so certain programs may make one platform more worthwhile than another. For instance, if access to every episode of “The Office” is important to you, then Peacock is a must-have service. Conversely, if you’re a big Marvel fan who wants to stream new shows set in the MCU, then Disney Plus is essential.  

When comparing catalogs, we try to consider the range of entertainment offered by each of the best streaming services, how much the platform has invested in exclusive programming, and which age ranges are best suited to watch. While most services have a rotating list of movies, it’s important to consider which series and franchises remain platform exclusive, like “Star Wars” on Disney Plus and “Stranger Things” on Netflix.

Outside programming, we evaluate streaming services based on several common factors, such as video and audio quality, app functionality, and price. On the low end, popular streaming services start at $5 a month for ad-supported plans and can cost as much as $23 a month for ad-free plans with the most features. However, several services, like Disney Plus and Hulu, offer discounted bundles that can save you a ton of money if you package multiple subscriptions together. 

Many of the best streaming services with on-demand content offer up to 4K video quality with HDR contrast and Dolby Atmos immersive audio through compatible gear. That said, live TV channels rarely broadcast in 4K, so we have lower expectations for live TV streaming services and sporting events, which still use HD resolutions like 1080p or 720p.

Quality can also vary depending on the movie or show being streamed, and you’ll need a strong, stable internet connection to stream consistently at 4K. Even if you don’t have one of the best 4K TVs, a good-quality 4K stream will still deliver the best possible image for your setup. Some services like Disney Plus and Amazon Prime Video offer 4K streaming at no extra cost, while others like Netflix and Max make you pay for their premium tiers in order to unlock 4K support. 

You’ll also want to ensure that the streaming services you sign up for are available on the devices you own. Most streaming services offer app support on iOS and Android, as well as streaming media players and smart TVs from every major brand. The one notable exception is Apple TV Plus, which is not offered on Android phones.

The best streaming services also allow subscribers to save select movies for offline viewing while they travel, though an online check-in is still required occasionally. Like 4K streaming, this feature is sometimes restricted to premium plans.


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