Best Streaming Services 2022: HBO Max, Hulu, Disney Plus, and More
Our experts spent thousands of hours researching and testing 20 top on-demand streaming services so you don't have to.
Simultaneous streams: 3
Video: 1080p, 4K
Free trial: None
Amazon Prime Video
Simultaneous streams: 3
Video: 1080p, 4K
Free trial: 30 days
Simultaneous streams: 3
Video: 1080p, 4K
Free trial: None
Simultaneous streams: 4
Video: 1080p, 4K
Free trial: None
Simultaneous streams: 3
Video: 1080p, 4K
Free trial: None
We don’t know what the future holds for HBO Max in the wake of all the reported Warner Bros. Discovery ownership drama, but we do know this: right now, it’s our Editor’s Choice for best overall on-demand streaming service. We had a good run, Netflix, but there’s a new champ in Streaming Town.
If you already have HBO Max or want to add another quality video streaming service, we also love Disney+ for families and Hulu for next-day network shows. But we don’t stop there. Keep reading to find the best on-demand streaming service(s) for you.
Best on-demand streaming TV services
- #1 HBO Max – Editor’s choice ($9.99–$14.99/mo.)
- #2 Hulu – Best for next-day streaming ($6.99–$75.99/mo.)
- #3 Disney+ – Best for families ($7.99/mo.)
- #4 Apple TV+ – Best original content ($4.99/mo.)
- #5 Peacock – Cheapest (Free–$9.99/mo.)
- #6 Netflix – Most original content ($9.99–$19.99/mo.)
- #7 Paramount+ – 5,000+ TV shows and movies ($4.99–$9.99/mo.)
- #8 Prime Video – Best value ($8.99–$14.99/mo.)
- #9 ESPN+ – Exclusive live sports ($9.99/mo.)
- #10 Discovery+ – Best for reality TV fans ($4.99–$6.99/mo.)
See what real customers are saying about these streaming services
Compare on-demand streaming TV services
|HBO Max||$9.99–$14.99/mo.||4.5/5||3||1080p, 4K||View PlansRead HBO Max review|
|Hulu||$6.99–$75.99/mo.||4.475/5||2||1080p, 4K||View PlansRead Hulu review|
|Disney+||$6.99/mo.||4.4/5||4||1080p, 4K||View PlansRead Disney+ review|
|Apple TV+||$4.99/mo.||4.3/5||6||1080p, 4K||View PlansRead Apple TV+ review|
|Netflix||$9.99–$19.99/mo.||4.25/5||1–4||1080p, 4K||View PlansRead Netflix review|
|Paramount+||$4.99–$9.99/mo.||4.25/5||3||1080p, 4K||View PlansRead Paramount+ review|
|Amazon Prime Video||$8.99–$14.99/mo.||4.2/5||3||1080p, 4K||View plansRead Prime Video review|
|Peacock||Free–$9.99/mo.||4.3/5||3||1080p, 4K||View PlansRead Peacock review|
|ESPN+||$9.99/mo.||4.0/5||5||1080p||View PlansRead ESPN+ review|
|Discovery+||$4.99–$6.99/mo.||4.0/5||4||1080p, 4K||View PlansRead Discovery+ review|
Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
They may be cheaper, but don’t sleep on Apple TV+ or Discovery+. Some of Apple TV+’s originals are on-par with the quality of HBO series (We. Love. Ted. Lasso.), and Discovery+ features a staggering 55,000 hours of content.
We’d also recommend springing for the more expensive plans of Prime Video and HBO Max. The $14.99 tier of Prime Video includes Amazon Prime membership, and the $14.99 version of HBO Max gets you access to same-day theatrical movie releases and features zero commercials. (Ads on HBO shows? No thanks.)
Best on-demand streaming TV services in detail
We’ve given you a high-level rundown of the best streaming services, now let’s dig in a little deeper on why we recommend these on-demand streaming services.
Again, if you’re looking for live TV streaming, check out our expert guide, Best Live TV Streaming Services, for more recommendations.
Most original content: Netflix
- Massive variety of movies and TV shows
- 4K Ultra capability
- No live TV or sports
- Long waits for non-Netflix shows
You know it, and you probably already have it—or at least a pal’s password.
Netflix has established itself as a relentless firehose of original programming and curated outside favorites, but live TV is nowhere on its radar. Well, not unless the Tiger King decides to relaunch his internet show, anyway.
We’ve named Netflix our best overall on-demand streaming service because of its commitment to original content for adults and kids. Sure, scrolling through Netflix’s movies and shows can be overwhelming, but no one wants to be underwhelmed—just ask Quibi.
Netflix compatible devices
Netflix is available on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, LG TVs, Nintendo consoles, PlayStation consoles, Roku, Samsung TVs, Vizio TVs, and Xbox consoles.
Best value: Prime Video
- Included with Amazon Prime membership
- Over 25,000 movies and TV shows
- Limited original content
- Less essential as a standalone service
If you like on-demand movies to go with your Amazon Prime free shipping, Prime Video is tough to beat: there are over 18,000 movies available on Prime Video, and most of them stream free with Prime membership. And you thought you were awestruck by Netflix (which carries around 4,500 movies, for comparison).
Amazon may be doubling down on original programming ambitions (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Jack Ryan are a power couple to reckon with), but live TV, not so much.
Prime Video does offer live TV streaming of select NBA and NFL games (including Thursday Night Football), but it’s still largely an on-demand service. We think it’s a killer value, considering what you get for $14.99 a month (or $8.99 a month, if you don’t want the Amazon Prime membership).
Prime Video compatible devices
Prime Video is available on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, LG TVs, PlayStation consoles, Roku, Samsung TVs, Vizio TVs, and Xbox consoles.
Best for next-day streaming: Hulu
- Next-day streaming shows
- Quality originals
- Smaller library than the competition
- Only 2 simultaneous streams
We’ve featured Hulu + Live TV more prominently on CableTV.com than Hulu because it’s a great value in live TV streaming (monthly, $69.99 with ads or $75.99 without ads on Hulu content). But that value comes mostly from Hulu, the on-demand side of the streamer.
For $6.99 (with ads) or $12.99 (without ads) a month, Hulu without the live TV channels still gives you plenty of entertainment, including next-day streaming of shows from channels like FOX, FX, ABC, and more.
Hulu’s original content is also a strong selling point, with series like The Handmaid’s Tale, Letterkenny, and Shrill, and movies and documentaries like Palm Springs, McCartney 3,2,1, and Boss Level. It may not have the sheer content quantity of Netflix or Prime Video, but the critical acclaim over Hulu’s quality output is consistent year-to-year.
And don’t forget FX originals, the cross-corporate deal that produces exclusive content for Hulu and brings next-day drops of FX shows to the streamer. Meaning, you don’t need cable to watch the latest episodes of What We Do in the Shadows or Mayans (if you can wait for 24 hours).
Another value prop: Hulu + Live TV (with ads or no ads) now includes the Disney+/ESPN+ bundle at no extra cost.
Hulu compatible devices
Hulu is available on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, LG TVs, Nintendo Switch, Roku, Samsung TVs, Vizio TVs, and Xbox consoles.
- Inexpensive plans
- Exclusive NBCUniversal content
- Limited original content
- Lackluster interface
NBCUniversal’s Peacock jumped into the streaming wars during the summer of 2020, offering a big twist that set it apart from the others: an ad-supported free tier. Yes, you get more content with Peacock’s two paid tiers—but, in this time of too many subscription apps, a freebie is refreshing.
That said, Peacock’s paid tiers aren’t all that expensive. Peacock Premium (with ads) is $4.99 a month, and Peacock Premium Plus (no ads) is $9.99 a month. The Premium tiers give you access to 15,000 hours of total content from NBC, USA Network, Syfy, Bravo, MSNBC, and other NBCUniversal cable nets, where free Peacock limits you to 7,500 hours (still not bad).
Most importantly, Peacock is now the only place you can stream The Office. Sorry, we should have led with the big one—that’s what she said! (Sorry for that, also.)
Peacock compatible devices
Peacock is available on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, LG TVs, PlayStation consoles, Roku, Vizio TVs, Xbox consoles, and Xfinity Flex.
Best for families: Disney+
- Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic all in one place
- 4K Ultra HD video quality
- Extra cost for same-day movie releases
- Small lineup of original shows (so far)
Disney’s long-awaited streaming service arrived like a digital Deathstar in November 2019, dropping a handful of new originals (like the Star Wars–adjacent series The Mandalorian) and thousands of legacy shows and movies from the Disney, Star Wars, and Marvel vaults. If you haven’t heard of Disney+, where ya’ been?
Considering the sheer volume of content available, most expected Disney+ to cost more than other services like Netflix and Prime Video. Nope: at $7.99 a month (or $79.99 for a year), Disney+ is one of the cheaper on-demand streaming services—chalk one up for the Mouse (and Loki).
Disney+’s low price tag, generous multiple-streams allowance (up to 4), and overall kid-friendly vibe make it a gotta-have for families in our opinion. It’s not just for the little ones, either: Disney+’s mega-premieres of Hamilton and Black Widow prove the streamer aims to be more than just a babysitter.
Disney+ compatible devices
Disney+ is available on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, LG TVs, PlayStation consoles, Roku, Samsung TVs, and Xbox consoles.
Editor’s choice: HBO Max
- HBO series and HBO Max originals
- 45-day theatrical movie releases at no extra cost
- Higher price
- No free trial
HBO Max carries not only the entire HBO library of original shows and films, including same-day theatrical release movies (at no extra charge, unlike Disney+), but also original series like And Just Like That, Doom Patrol, and Search Party, and buzzy hits like Hacks, Made for Love, and The Flight Attendant.
You can also watch this little cult show called House of the Dragon on HBO Max, NBD.
HBO Max’s biggest differentiator from HBO, however, is its exclusive catalog of classic shows produced by its parent company, WarnerMedia. You’ve probably heard that all 10 seasons of Friends now stream only on HBO Max; the same holds true for The Big Bang Theory, South Park, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
You get all of this for $14.99 a month, the same price as standard HBO on cable or satellite. There’s also an ad-supported HBO Max tier for $9.99 a month, but it excludes the same-day theatrical Warner Bros. movie releases and sticks you with commercial breaks. We’d rather pay the five extra bucks.
HBO Max compatible devices
HBO Max is available on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, LG TVs, PlayStation consoles, Roku, Samsung TVs, Wii, and Xbox consoles.
Exclusive live sports: ESPN+
- Rich on-demand library
- Plenty of live soccer and college sports
- No NFL or NBA games
- No popular ESPN shows
ESPN+ isn’t a streaming replacement for ESPN, but it’s a great addition to it. ESPN+ carries live content that its cable counterpart doesn’t, including UFC, MLS, MLB, NHL, international soccer, boxing, tennis, and college sports events—all for six bucks.
But really, ESPN+’s strength is its deep on-demand library, which includes every 30 for 30 documentary, and original shows like Peyton’s Places, In the Crease, SportsNation, and several others. You can even manage your fantasy league on ESPN+ and read exclusive analysis articles from top sportswriters.
Even though ESPN+ lacks in NFL and NBA coverage—ESPN certainly isn’t going to give those up—it’s still a killer sports streamer. When bundled with Disney+ and Hulu for $13.99 a month, it’s even better.
ESPN+ compatible devices
ESPN+ is available on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, LG TVs, PlayStation consoles, Roku, Samsung TVs, and Xbox consoles.
5,000+ TV shows and movies: Paramount+
- Deep library of TV shows and movies
- Local CBS live TV stream
- Limited sports and movies
- Small lineup of originals
Beyond streaming exclusives Star Trek: Picard and Star Trek: Discovery, The Good Fight, and Why Women Kill, the draw of Paramount+ is its deep library of ViacomCBS classics and, in most markets, a live TV stream of local CBS affiliates.
That means live access to CBS Sports, CBS News, and CBS shows like Survivor, NCIS, and Young Sheldon. You can also attempt to keep up with Stephen Colbert’s nightly political takedowns on The Late Show, though we wouldn’t recommend it—it’s exhausting.
Paramount+ also recently added over 70 TV series from the vaults of parent company ViacomCBS. This means you can find SpongeBob SquarePants hanging out with Chappelle’s Show and Snooki & Jwoww.
In all, Paramount+ now carries over 30,000 hours of content from Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, TV Land, VH1, and other cable networks, in addition to CBS shows. That’s a lot of classic content from a lot of different sources—if Paramount+’s new originals don’t wow you, the old library might.
Paramount+ compatible devices
Paramount+ is available on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, LG TVs, PlayStation consoles, Roku, Samsung TVs, Vizio TVs, and Xbox consoles.
Best original content: Apple TV+
- Low price
- Acclaimed original shows
- Limited content
- Limited device compatibility
A week before Disney+ blew up the streaming world in 2019, Apple TV+ debuted with more subdued buzz and little understanding of what exactly it was. Would Apple TV+ stream any of your favorite old shows? Would it be typically Apple-pricey? Would it work on non-Apple devices?
The answers: Apple TV+ carries only new, original content (like Ted Lasso, Mythic Quest, and buzzy hit Severance), no previously released shows or movies from outside sources. Also, the monthly subscription rate of $4.99 is pretty sweet, and it’ll work on most non-Apple streaming devices.
Apple TV+’s performance and picture are as gorgeous as you’d expect from an Apple product, but, right now, the platform is ahead of the content. Going the all-original route means there’s only a small pool of in-house Apple TV+ series and movies to choose from, but the quality of that content is pretty fantastic (no, we’re never going to shut up about Ted Lasso).
Apple TV+ compatible devices
Apple TV+ is available on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, LG TVs, Roku, Samsung TVs, and Vizio TVs.
Best for reality TV fans: Discovery+
- 55,000+ hours of content
- Exclusive original spinoffs
- Some popular shows missing
- No latest seasons of popular shows
Discovery+ is a streaming service with over 55,000 hours of classic and exclusive content from the Discovery group of cable TV channels. Besides Discovery Channel, those include HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery (ID), Animal Planet, OWN, A&E, Lifetime, History, Travel Channel, and Science Channel.
But Discovery+ catalog mostly offers previously aired content. The latest episodes and seasons of your favorite shows are still on cable (or Hulu), not Discovery+. The latest 90 Day Fiance episodes aren’t available here, but several 90 Day spinoffs are; the same goes for Property Brothers and other network hits.
Besides Discovery’s networks, Discovery+ also features content from A&E, Lifetime, HISTORY, and animal-centric digital media brand The Dodo.
Even without the most popular shows and newest seasons, Discovery+ is still a good deal for Discovery superfans who want to keep up with the exclusive spinoffs, or newbies looking to “discover” 55,000 hours of new-to-them content.
Discovery+ compatible devices
Discovery+ is available on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Roku, Samsung TVs, and Xbox One consoles.
HBO’s premium channel rival since the ’70s, SHOWTIME also has an on-demand streaming app to compete with HBO Max. A subscription costs the same as a cable add-on, and streaming SHOWTIME gives you access to original hits like Yellowjackets, Billions, and Dexter: New Blood, as well as SHOWTIME classics like Shameless, Californication, and—surprise—Dexter.
SHOWTIME also carries around 500 on-demand movies, though the selection isn’t quite as recent-blockbuster-packed as HBO Max’s—think critical deep cuts like Spring Breakers, Obvious Child, and The Lobster. If you want a fatter movie library, as well as live sports and Paramount+ originals, you can bundle SHOWTIME with Paramount+ for just $11.99 a month.
SHOWTIME compatible devices
SHOWTIME is available on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, LG TVs, Roku, Samsung TVs, Sony TVs, Vizio TVs, Windows, and Xbox consoles.
Part of the Big 3 of premium channels, STARZ also has a streaming app to compete with HBO Max and SHOWTIME. Popular series like Outlander, Hightown, and the 50 Cent-produced Power franchise are available on STARZ, as well as over 1,000 other movies and original shows for $8.99 a month.
It doesn’t offer much in the way of sports or documentaries like HBO Max and SHOWTIME do, but STARZ makes up for it with buzzy original series and a diverse selection of movies. STARZ also gives you four simultaneous streams, as opposed to the others’ three—not bad for $8.99.
STARZ compatible devices
STARZ is available on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, LG TVs, Roku, Samsung TVs, Sony TVs, Windows, and NVIDIA Shield and Xbox consoles.
AMC+ is an on-demand streaming app that includes not just programming from the AMC cable/satellite channel, but also BBC America, IFC, IFC Films Unlimited, Shudder, Sundance Now, and Sundance TV. There are also over 1,000 movies available on AMC+, ranging from recent favorites like Mad Max: Fury Road to classics like The Usual Suspects.
One of the coolest features of AMC+ is that it gives you early access to episodes of original AMC and BBC America original series like The Walking Dead and Killing Eve, from days to even a week ahead of their cable broadcasts. AMC+ also includes live streams of the AMC, BBC America, IFC, and SundanceTV cable channels.
AMC+ compatible devices
AMC+ is available on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Roku, Sony TVs, Vizio TVs, and Windows.
If you’re into all things horror and supernatural, Shudder is the streaming service for you. Shudder carries over 400 nail-biting movies and TV series, and even a handful of podcasts. From vintage slasher flicks to foreign imports to current releases to the culty-ist of cult obscurities, it’s a scream-geek’s paradise.
Shudder also features original series and movies, like Creepshow, The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs, V/H/S/94, The Medium, and Cursed Films, as well as exclusive movie premieres. If you can’t decide on an on-demand movie or show, you can just click on one of Shudder’s three “live” channels of looping content.
Shudder compatible devices
Shudder is available on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, LG TVs, Roku, Samsung TVs, Sony TVs, Vizio TVs, Windows, and Xbox consoles.
VRV is a streaming service specializing in anime and animation, and it also features some live-action content and gaming. VRV also does “simulcast” anime, which means you can watch new episodes of series the same day they air in Japan.
VRV also offers an ad-supported free tier where you can watch over 20,000 of anime at no cost—to avoid ads, you can upgrade to the $9.99 a month Premium tier. Featured hubs channels of content currently on VRV include Crunchyroll (the world’s largest anime collection), Mondo (alternative animation), and VRV Select (curated content for Premium subscribers).
VRV compatible devices
VRV is available on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, PlayStation, Roku, and Xbox consoles
What to look for in an on-demand streaming TV service
Does it have the content you’re looking for?
If you’re looking for original dramas, comedies, movies, and documentaries, you’ll want a service like HBO Max, Netflix, or Apple TV+. Or maybe classic TV shows and movies are more your speed, in which case you’ll want to check out Prime Video, Hulu, or Disney+. Reality TV? Go for Discovery+ or Paramount+.
Most every on-demand streaming service features a decent mix of genres (except for Discovery+, which is almost exclusively reality shows), but some lean harder into specific types of content. Look over a service’s offerings before you jump in.
Does the service offer a free trial?
One of the best perks of streaming TV services is the free trial period. Unlike cable or satellite, streaming TV services don’t have installation appointments or contracts, so taking a service for a spin is simple and costs nothing. The trial windows are brief (usually seven days) but adequate.
Are your streaming device and apps compatible?
Setting up and trying out a streaming TV service is as easy as downloading an app—but is that app available on your set-top box or mobile devices?
Most services reviewed here are available as smart TV apps, though we think the best way to stream TV is with a streaming device like Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, or Roku for better stability and performance.
Live TV streaming services
In addition to on-demand content, many streaming services also offer live TV streaming. This is a great alternative to cable TV, and we’ve got all the resources you need for when you want to cut the cord.
Final take: HBO Max is the king of on-demand streaming TV
There are hundreds of on-demand streaming services, both free and paid, available in your respective device’s app stores—if we listed them all, you’d be scrolling for days (so, just like with Netflix). We’ve included 16 of our favorites here to get you started on your streaming adventure.
We’re particularly partial to HBO Max, Apple TV+, and Netflix at CableTV.com, though we will admit to spending many an hour watching free app Pluto TV (mostly the looping Mystery Science Theater 3000 channel). But you do you—there are plenty of streams to choose from.
Our experts spent thousands of hours testing services hands-on to review and rate these on-demand TV streaming services on bang for your buck, reliability, features, and customer satisfaction. Then we compared the on-demand TV streamers head to head to contrast their strengths and weaknesses. For more information on our methodology, check out our How We Rank page.