Best On-Demand Streaming Service 2021
So you want an on-demand streaming service.
You want to find one that has the on-demand TV series and movies that will keep you entertained for hours. We hear ya.
We know it isn’t that simple, so we’ve put together our top five best streaming services list along with reasons why they might be great or not so great for you and your family.
What’s important to you? Lots of content, newer content, more benefits, family-friendly content, or original content? Let’s find out.
|Streaming service||Monthly price*||Details|
|Amazon Prime Video||$12.99/mo.||View Plans|
|HBO Max||$14.99/mo.||View Plans|
*Date effective 12/15/2020.
Netflix: Editor’s Choice
Netflix’s originals changed the game for on-demand streaming services. That plus its user-friendly interface make it our Editor’s Choice.
What we like
- Unbeatable original content
- Great interface and features
Original content you’ll get hooked on
The one-of-a-kind content you get with Netflix includes hilarious comedy specials and TV series and movies with famous actors. So you’re guaranteed an enjoyable watching experience when you need to pass the time.
Need a laugh? Watch a comedy special by Dave Chappelle or Kevin Hart.
Need to escape from reality? Get sucked into the movie Bird Box with Sandra Bullock or the series Ozark with Jason Bateman.
Other originals include the following:
- Tiger King
- Mind Hunter
- Dead to Me (with Christina Applegate and James Marsden)
- Stranger Things
- Always Be My Maybe (with Marcus Kim and Keanu Reeves)
- Orange Is the New Black
- BoJack Horseman
- Bright (with Will Smith)
The interface we all love
You know we all love the organization of Netflix’s homepage with its vertical rows of suggestions. Netflix sifts through its content for us by putting them in categories of Popular, Trending, New Releases, Top 10 in the US Today, and more.
It even categorizes by genres. So jump straight to documentaries to watch Dirty Money or action movies to watch Bad Boys ll.
An awesome feature Netflix has is strong parental controls. We named it the best streaming service for kids because you can create a kids profile and a PIN. So just tap on your Kids profile on your streaming device, and you won’t have to worry about your little ones accessing mature content.
What we don’t like
- Pricing is a little up there
Netflix plans are one of the priciest in the industry. But you get what you pay for, right?
What are Netflix’s subscription plans?
- Basic Plan ($8.99/mo.): You can stream Netflix on one device at a time in standard definition (SD).
- Standard Plan ($12.99/mo.): You can stream Netflix on two devices at a time in high definition (HD).
- Premium Plan ($15.99/mo.): You can stream Netflix on four devices at a time in HD and Ultra HD.
So if you want to share Netflix with the family or your roommates, the Premium Plan is the way to go.
- Good: Pass the time by with hours or excellent original content, and parents can enjoy the reliable parental controls.
- Bad: Pricing is a little high compared to other on-demand streaming services, but we can say it’s worth it.
- Full review: Check out our full review of Netflix.
Hulu: Best for newer content
You’ll likely find your favorite network show on Hulu.
What we like
- Newly released content
- Lowest plan is affordable
Get new episodes the following day
If you’re all caught up with This Is Us and want the new episodes the day after they air, you need Hulu if you want to avoid spoilers on social media.
Hulu is also great for those who want to stop paying for the cable bill because you’ll get access to the following shows after they air on television:
- The Bachelor
- A Million Little Things
- Saturday Night Live
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine
- The Masked Singer
- Schitt’s Creek
- Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
- The Voice
- The Resident
Ads or no ads
Similar to Netflix, Hulu has different plans. And Hulu’s lowest plan makes Hulu one of the cheapest in the industry.
The two Hulu subscription plans include:
- Basic ($5.99/mo.): Includes limited ads
- Premium ($11.99/mo.): Ad-free
You just have to decide if it’s worth the extra $6 for uninterrupted streaming (we know we don’t like commercials). But the Basic Plan has a price anyone can fit into their budget.
What we don’t like
- Smaller library
Missing classic TV shows and movies
The caveat of Hulu providing newer network content is the lack of older classic content.
To compare, Netflix has about 6,000 movies and TV shows while Hulu has over 4,000. So you can imagine all of the great older content that Netflix has such as Cheers, The Andy Griffith Show, and That ’70s Show.
But not every streaming service has everything. So why not get Netflix and Hulu to cover all of your bases?
- Good: Hulu is perfect for those who want the newly aired shows the following day on-demand for a great price.
- Bad: Hulu doesn’t have as much total content as Netflix.
Amazon Prime Video: Best benefits for the family
You get three perks with Amazon Video.
|Provider||Monthly price||Learn more|
|Amazon Prime Video||$12.99*||View Plan|
What we like
- Three perks you and your family will love
On-demand content is just one perk you get with Prime Video.
We’re pretty sure you like getting the most out of your money, especially if it benefits you and your family.
With Prime Video, you get three perks:
- On-demand content, including originals
- Rent or buy movies
- Prime shipping
Prime Video has popular movies such as I Am Legend, Creed ll, A Quiet Place, and Instant Family, just to name a few. Your little ones will also enjoy the kids section with TV shows Kung Fu Panda, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and Spongebob Square Pants.
Not only do you get lots of on-demand content, but you can also rent and buy movies on Prime Video.
If you haven’t watched newly released movies The Invisible Man, Hobbs & Shaw, or Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, you’ve just found yourself the service you need.
And last but not least, you get super quick shipping with Prime. Does your daughter need a new toothbrush? Order it in a swipe. Do you need desk organizers? Get it on your doorstep within a few days.
Prime Video is a unique service where you get on-demand content, the choice to rent or buy new movies, and quick next-day Prime shipping.
What we don’t like
- A mixture of content
New, old, popular, and unpopular content
There isn’t a theme with Amazon Prime Video in terms of what type of content you will get on there, but hey, we can’t complain.
You’ll find new movies like Rambo: Last Blood, old movies like Scooby-Doo: The Movie, popular TV series like Schitt’s Creek, and somewhat unpopular content like Tyler Perry’s Madea movies.
Either way, you’ll still have lots of content to entertain you and your family. Luckily everything is categorized like Netflix and Hulu for you to find something to watch in a jiff.
Amazon Prime Video summary
- Good: Amazon Prime Video gives you on-demand content, new movies to rent or buy, and speedy shipping.
- Bad: You’ll get quite the mixture of content, but who’s to say that’s a bad thing.
- Full review: Check out our full review of Amazon Prime Video.
Disney+: Best for Disney fans
Get magical Disney content at your fingertips
What we like
- The content, of course
- Great price
Disney is what makes this world go round
Calling all Disney fans! (Which should be everybody.)
Disney+ has answered our prayers by gifting us all with Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel, and National Geographic content.
Disney+ includes the following titles:
- Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
- The Mandalorian
- The Lion King
- Toy Story 4
- Avengers: Endgame
- Frozen ll
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens
- Finding Dory
- Black Panther
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
- The Simpsons
- Black Panther
- The Sandlot
Having a bad day? Turn on Disney+. Need a break from work? Pull out your phone and tap that Disney+ app. Kids need a distraction while you soak in a bath? Disney+ at your service.
Disney at home for $7
Maybe you miss Disneyland, or perhaps you miss California Adventures.
But for less than one takeout meal, you get Disney in your living room. That’s not a bad deal if we do say so ourselves.
Make sure to enjoy Up while making some homemade Mickey Mouse-shaped beignets.
What we (kinda) don’t like
- Solely for Disney lovers
Not a diverse streaming service
Everyone loves Disney, right? But the only reason Disney+ isn’t ranked higher on our list is that Disney+ doesn’t have a variety of TV show and movie genres.
With Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video, each member of the family can find something they want to watch, whether they’re kids, teens, dad, or mom.
- Good: Disney+ has the greatest content, of course, and for a reasonable price too.
- Bad: Disney isn’t for everyone (friendly advice: don’t trust those people).
- Full review: Check out our full review of Disney+.
HBO Max: Best for excellent productions
HBO Max is basically HBO NOW and more
What we like
- HBO Max is full of fantastic series
HBO is known for its Emmy-winning series
HBO has been great at producing Emmy-winning content. HBO Max is free of fluff, and you’ll only find quality content.
HBO Max’s binge-worthy series originals and classics include the following:
- Raised by Wolves
- An American Pickle
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
- Lovecraft Country
- His Dark Materials
- The Undoing
If you want to learn more about HBO Max and the new original content that will come with it, check out our full review.
What we don’t like
- Scarce amount of content
Not as much content as the other services in the industry
As mentioned above, HBO NOW is free of fluff. With that, there are fewer titles available on this streaming service in comparison to the others.
HBO has more than 2,000 titles, while Netflix (with almost the same monthly price) has about 6,000.
But it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth the money for those 2,000 great titles. We just know we don’t like the feeling of missing out on a series everyone is talking about.
HBO Max summary
- Good: HBO Max has fantastic productions that get serious attention.
- Bad: There isn’t nearly as much content as other streaming services that are the same price or less.
- Full review: Check out our full review of HBO Max for more answers to your questions.
Recap: Which is the best on-demand streaming service?
We sorted through more than a dozen streaming services to highlight some of the best. We considered content, originals, and pricing to determine which on-demand streaming service deserves your attention. Overall, we can say this about each:
- Netflix: All streaming services have great original content, but arguably, Netflix is king. You’ll also get about 6,000 on-demand titles.
- Hulu: Hulu gives you your newly aired content within hours straight to your smartphone, tablet, or smart TV to watch whenever it’s convenient for you.
- Amazon Prime Video: Enjoy on-demand streaming, movies you can rent or buy, and fast shipping with Prime Video.
- Disney+: With Disney+, you get access to all Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic movies and series.
- HBO Max: Watch Emmy-winning TV series with HBO Max and enjoy double the content with all of HBO NOW’s and HBO Max’s new originals and classic TV shows.
What do you think?
Which streaming service do you think is the best? Tell us what you think in the comments.
Library Size of Major Streaming Services in Hours
Did you know that Amazon Prime has nearly double the amount of content Netflix has? It would take you more than seven years to watch Amazon Prime’s entire streaming catalog.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have Disney+ still in its streaming infancy with a mere 140 days worth of content (laughable!). Perhaps one day, the little Disney underdog can overcome the odds and catch up. Just kidding, Disney is coming for us all.
- Surprisingly, the Amazon Prime Video library is nearly twice the size of Netflix.
- In fact, Amazon Prime has more content than HBO Max, Peacock Premium, and Netflix combined.
- If a household subscribed to all six streaming services, they would have access to 169,947 hours, or 19 years, of streaming!
In a recent survey, Reviews.org found that only 3% of respondents plan to subscribe to NBC Peacock’s premium offering when it launches July 15. Here’s how the 15,000 hours of premium content stacks up against other streaming libraries.
|Streaming Service||Time in Hours||Time in Years, Months, and Days|
|Disney+||3,340||4 months and 19 days|
|HBO Max||10,000||1 year, 1 month, and 1 day|
|Peacock Premium||15,000||1 year, 8 months, and 20 days|
|Netflix||36,667||4 years, 2 months, and 8 days|
|Hulu||41,370||4 years, 8 months, and 24 days|
|Amazon Prime Video||63,570||7 years, 3 months, and 4 days|
We compared the library size in hours across streaming services for this report. Please note that titles are being added and removed from these streaming services on a daily basis, meaning the total hours available will vary at any given time.
Reviews.org conducted a streaming survey on July 11, 2020, with an anonymous group of 500 U.S. respondents 18 and older. The sample error is ± 4.5 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence.