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Best Streaming Services of 2024


$7 at Netflix

Best streaming service overall


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$8 at Disney Plus

Disney Plus streaming TV and movies

Best streaming service for families, Marvel, Star Wars

Disney Plus

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$10 at Max

Max streaming service logo on a phone

Best streaming service for premium content


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$8 at Hulu

Hulu logo on a phone

Best budget streaming service


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$10 at Starz

Starz Streaming Service App 2022 Starz Streaming Service App 2022

Best ad-free streaming service with early access to originals


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$6 at Peacock

peacock streaming logo on phone on bright aqua blue background peacock streaming logo on phone on bright aqua blue background

Best budget streaming service for network shows, sports


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$10 at Apple

Vividly clear image of the Apple TV Plus logo with ted lasso tile Vividly clear image of the Apple TV Plus logo with ted lasso tile

Best streaming service for ad-free premium content

Apple TV Plus

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What is the best overall streaming service?

Netflix stood out as a leading contender among the streaming services we reviewed. It boasts a dependable and user-friendly interface while offering a vast range of features and a constantly evolving catalog with diverse content. The streamer consistently adds new originals from around the world, and you can even discover titles by using secret codes. The addition of an ad-based tier makes it even more affordable compared with rivals such as Disney Plus and Max. While there are other quality streaming services out there, Netflix is currently our top recommendation, although it’s essential to consider your budget and personal preferences.

Streaming services have undergone major changes in the past three years alone in terms of price, content and features. With our extensive best list, which includes Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus and Max, we can help you select which platforms are right for you. We’ve reviewed each of these streaming services individually and assigned numeric ratings based on catalogs, app design and features and overall value. Some judgments are based on our tastes for content, so note that if you love a specific show or style of the show, you may have a different favorite. If you want to go beyond on-demand platforms, check out our lineup of the best live TV streaming services.

Best streaming services of 2024

There’s a reason why Netflix has become shorthand for streaming in general. The former movie rental service evolved into the top-tier streaming app that’s a must-have in 2024, even if you’re paying extra to share your password. When big originals like The Witcher or Stranger Things drop, they grab the attention of millions of viewers, along with critical praise and awards, giving us the closest thing we have to watercooler conversations these days. 

The streamer offers a wide variety of familiar network shows and more original series, films, documentaries and specials than any of its competitors. New shows and movies arrive each week. The company doesn’t mind catering to different tastes with gaming options and categories for kids, and anime and foreign-language titles from all over the globe. 

Starting at $7 a month for an ad-supported account and $15.50 monthly for the standard ad-free plan, its price is in the middle of the TV service pack. While the $23 premium option gives you 4K content and four screens, both standard plans — with or without ads — include HD and two simultaneous streams. For the variety you get, it’s still a top pick.

Disney Plus is one of Netflix’s closest competitors for good reason. It’s the only place where you can stream the vast majority of the Disney and Pixar libraries, along with every Star Wars movie, Marvel films, new original TV shows, National Geographic content and 30-plus seasons of The Simpsons. Shows like The Mandalorian, Loki, Andor and She-Hulk, have drawn millions of viewers, while features such as Avatar 2 and Encanto won rave reviews. Plus, there’s lots more Star Wars and Marvel original programming coming in the next few years. 

At the current price of $8 per month for the ad-based plan, Disney Plus is still one of the least expensive streaming TV choices and a great value. We consider it a must-have if you have kids or are a fan of any of its other titles (and who isn’t a fan of Baby Yoda?). 

The premium ad-free version costs $14 monthly, but Disney has four bundles that range from $10 to $25 per month. Duo Basic is a $10-per-month plan that combines Disney Plus and Hulu with ads, ad-free Duo Premium costs $20 per month. For $15 monthly, the Disney Bundle Trio Basic comes with Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN Plus, all with ads. A $25-per-month Trio Premium bundle nets you all three streaming platforms, and only ESPN Plus has ads. If you have a Disney bundle or subscriptions for both Disney Plus and Hulu, you can now watch Hulu content on the Disney Plus app.

Max is an updated app full of popular TV shows and movies. It has HBO’s entire library and DC Universe titles, along with favorites such as Friends, the Lord of the Rings movies and almost every Studio Ghibli film. It’s the primary destination for new Warner Bros.-owned feature films. It’s not Disney Plus, but Max has a solid streaming collection for kids too, with the ability to control ratings on kids’ profiles better than most other services. 

At $10 per month, it sits next to Netflix at the higher end of the streaming spectrum, and if you prefer the ad-free experience, the cost jumps up to $17 or $21 per month. Max is ramping up its new originals, and we expect that to increase over time. With the addition of Discovery Plus unscripted content, there’s more to stream. Although its 8.0 rating is neck-and-neck with Prime Video, Max consistently drops new releases, possesses a large back catalog and offers smooth, user-friendly features. The platform also offers a live sports tier, B/R sports, as part of its current package, but the optional add-on is due to cost an additional $10 per month later this year.

For $8 per month (with ads), Hulu is a perfect complement and counterpoint to Netflix. Its channel lineup has a huge variety of familiar shows from networks like ABC, Fox and FX that you can watch soon after they air (unlike on Netflix), as well as a growing catalog of its own critically acclaimed original series like The Handmaid’s Tale and Only Murders in the Building. If you have $8 a month to spare and don’t mind trading a few ads for a wealth of TV options, Hulu is a no-brainer. You also have the option to upgrade to a no-ads plan for $18 a month or add on live TV streaming for $77 a month for a full cable replacement.

Prime Video now has ads in its default version of the streaming app, but you can pay a $3 fee to stream without them. However, the commercial breaks are relatively short compared with other streamers. The platform offers quality original shows and movies, an impressive back catalog of older favorites (and B-movies you haven’t heard of) and NFL on Thursday nights. 

It lacks the catalogs of Netflix and Hulu and the star power of Disney’s streaming platform, and I found its menus more confusing since there’s some paid content mixed in with free content. Prime Video’s redesign aims to cut down on that confusion with clearer labeling and menu updates for its global customer base. For millions of Prime subscribers, the Prime Video channel is already included at no extra cost. If you’re interested in checking out any of its originals like Fallout or its large movie selection, it may even be worth paying the standalone $9-per-month TV fee (if you don’t have Amazon Prime).

Priced at $10 a month without ads, Starz provides a unique but expanding library of films and original shows. With more than 800 movies in its bank that range from ’80s classics to Westerns to the hottest new Sony releases, the streamer houses every genre in its catalog. Starz has been inching its way into the prestige TV market with a quality lineup of original programming.

It’s best known for the Power Universe, Outlander and The White Queen. Starz also airs Lionsgate movies and shows — like John Wick and Saw. While you can’t stream feature films as day-and-date releases, Starz has a deal with Universal to broadcast its lineup. That includes flicks such as Jurassic World Dominion, Minions: The Rise of Gru and Oppenheimer. For $10 a month, the Starz app gives you unlimited downloads, early access to new TV show episodes, and four simultaneous streams, all with no ads. Whether you want to stream blockbuster movies, documentaries, original series or something for kids, Starz is worth the cost.

ESPN Plus is a great streaming service for tried-and-true sports fans, especially those who follow the NHL, MLS and UFC. This is because ESPN Plus is the new home of all out-of-market National Hockey League games, while also offering out-of-market MLS soccer matches, along with those from other soccer leagues around the world. It hosts exclusive UFC matches and pay-per-view events, such as UFC Fight Night and championship bouts (for additional fees).

Hockey and MLS fans who root for teams that aren’t based where they currently live need ESPN’s streaming service to watch their team’s action. The service won’t be of much use to fans of the home teams. Local games are blacked out on ESPN Plus so you’ll need access to your regional sports network through cable or a live TV streaming service to watch them. Golf fans can stream the PGA Tour live on the platform.

ESPN Plus doesn’t show live NFL or NBA games, and while its vast library of original programming is impressive, it’s difficult to navigate. While the year service is best suited for die-hard fans of the sports it covers well, more casual fans might find themselves with an ESPN Plus subscription anyway through the Disney Bundle, which also includes Hulu and Disney Plus starting at $15 a month. A standalone subscription for ESPN Plus costs $11, but some viewers may find it more cost-effective to pay for one of the Disney Bundles, which range from $15 to $25 monthly.

If you’re looking to watch an abundance of sports content, check out our picks for the best sports streaming services.

NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock offers a premium ad-supported option for $6 a month, granting you access to more than 80,000 hours’ worth of content. Upgrade to Premium Plus for $12 a month to watch without commercials. The service no longer offers its free, ad-supported tier to new subscribers, but existing Peacock customers can downgrade their accounts to watch about 10,000 hours of shows, movies, news and live sports. Fan favorites on the platform include the TV series The Office, and viewers can also watch Premier League soccer matches, WWE events and originals like Poker Face. Keep in mind you need a premium account to watch full seasons of most shows. 

New episodes of NBC shows stream exclusively on Peacock, and Premium Plus members can watch live local NBC channels in real time. Newer additions include a dedicated Hallmark channel that airs simulcasts and new movie premieres that typically arrive 45 days after their theatrical releases.

Peacock drops in the rankings due to its lack of mobile downloads for its non-premium plus tiers and limited 4K HDR streaming, which most of its competitors offer. Although you can get the service as part of a new bundle with Netflix and Apple TV Plus, look out for a price hike in July.

Paramount Plus brings together live news and sports with on-demand shows and movies, including originals, leaning on parent company Paramount’s brands like CBS, MTV, BET, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and Paramount Network, plus its Paramount Pictures movie studio. Now that Showtime series and movies have merged into the Paramount Plus app, you can upgrade to a premium subscription to watch content from both services in one place.

The service has a ton of content: 30,000 episodes of TV and 2,500 movies, plus dozens of original series, for either $6 a month (with ads) or $12 a month (ad-free with Showtime). Two of its biggest draws include the Star Trek catalog and newer originals like Star Trek: Discovery and Picard, and the series The Good Fight. Buzz-worthy originals include Yellowstone spinoffs (although Yellowstone itself is on rival Peacock), two Star Trek animated series, Rabbit Hole with Kiefer Sutherland, and feature films like Mission: Impossible 7.

Much of its value lies in nostalgia: You can watch just about every old Nickelodeon show, Comedy Central stand-up specials and popular series ranging from Frasier and Cheers to SpongeBob SquarePants and Young Sheldon. Additionally, Paramount Plus has a Live Channels feature which enables subscribers to watch curated content in special categories. Check out channels for Star Trek, CBS Sports HQ, Paw Patrol and more with either subscription plan. 

With the price jump to $10 a month, Apple TV Plus is no longer the lowest-priced premium, ad-free streaming service available. It does come with high-end features like 4K resolution, HDR and mobile downloads. It’s also the one service on this list that includes only original content, and no regular back catalog of shows or movies to explore. While it now has more than 50 exclusive, big-budget original programming shows and movies, only a few have captured widespread attention, such as Ted Lasso, Severance and CODA, which won 2022’s Oscar for best picture. Although the service is branching out with additions like live Major League Baseball games on Fridays, its library is far smaller than what you’ll find with any of the other services on this list. 

The app is also confusing because it’s housed in the larger Apple TV app with other content. Apple TV Plus has one big advantage: There are a lot of ways to get it for free, at least for a while. If you’re a degree-seeking college student, a new purchaser of an Apple device, or someone who subscribes to the Apple One bundle, you can snag a long-term free trial of Apple TV Plus.

  • Simultaneous streams: Services usually charge more for more streams. Be sure you’re covered for yourself and other members of your household, and consider whether you have to pay extra to share your account.
  • Finding shows and movies: Is the interface user-friendly? It should be fairly easy to search for things to watch using menus and other features. 
  • 4K content: If you have a device or smart TV that streams in 4K, you’ll want to know which streaming services offer content in ultra HD. Keep in mind you may have to pay more to access 4K, depending on the service’s subscription tiers.
  • Kids’ programming: Some streamers offer a large variety of family-friendly titles for all ages, while others have limited catalogs. The best kids’ streaming services have something for every age. 

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Chances are you’re already pretty familiar with most of the names on this list, but it’s by no means comprehensive. There are plenty of other ways to stream and hundreds of other choices available. As we evaluated these particular streaming options, we kept certain things in mind. 

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This list is ordered based on the numerical value I assigned to each streaming service in their individual review, which I determined by design (i.e. ease of use across different TV and mobile platforms), features (like 4K HDR, mobile downloads, recommendations, watch lists and number of streams), content (number of shows and quality of originals and back catalogs) and value (price compared to these other factors). Click through to the full reviews for more details.

Below is a summarized look at each service’s price, simultaneous streams and availability of ad-based plans to help you decide which platforms are a good fit for you. 

Streaming services compared


Service Monthly price Ads Number of streams
Netflix Starts at $7 Yes (2 for Standard, 4 on Premium)
Disney Plus Starts at $8 Yes 4
Max Starts at $10 Yes 2 (4 for Ultimate)
Hulu Starts at $8 Yes 2
Prime Video Starts at $9 No 2
Starz $10 No 4
ESPN Plus $11 Yes 3
Peacock Starts at $6 Yes 3
Paramount Plus Starts at $6 Yes 3
Apple TV Plus $10 No 6

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Tubi: Known for its large library of free content, Tubi offers some live channels in addition to its on-demand content. You’ll find popular TV series and reality shows along with mainstream movies such as Hobbs & Shaw, Sing and Us. Its catalog now includes titles from HBO, and iPhone users can tap its AI feature to search for content. We consider Tubi one of the best free streaming services, but the service’s selection of originals and obscure titles and its search interface are less appealing than the platforms on this list.

Crunchyroll: The app has not snagged a spot on this best list yet, but we do consider it the best anime streaming service out there. It’s a niche platform with a huge selection of anime and new simulcasts, which fans can watch right after a show airs in Japan. The app boasts some cool features and multiple subscription plans that come with extra perks. What Crunchyroll lacks are parental controls and the ability to set up more than one profile for an account. 

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Are there any tips for internet speed or the best hardware?

To watch any of the services on this list you’ll need a solid internet connection, a compatible device (like a Roku, Amazon Fire TV or Apple TV, a smart TV, phone, tablet or computer) and a valid username and password. CNET offers tips on how to optimize your internet speed for streaming Netflix and these other services.

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Which streaming service is the most cost effective?

Ultimately, you can choose any streaming service you want based on price, content and who watches what in your household. If you’re looking to pare down costs, opt for free platforms or ones that offer the most value for $10 or less. CNET offers tips on how to trim your streaming budget, and we keep up with the latest streaming service deals and discounts. You can always have multiple subscriptions and cancel a service whenever the content feels dry. 

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What about live TV streaming and niche services?

This list includes major on-demand streaming services only. It does not include live TV streaming services for cord-cutters (think Sling TV and YouTube TV, which offer live channels intended to replace cable), free streaming services like Tubi or Crackle or smaller, niche services like Crunchyroll or PBS Kids or regional sports networks. You can check out our other best lists for streaming services that cater to anime, kids and more. 

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