Best On-Demand Streaming Service 2021

Find the best streaming service for you with its new TV shows, binge-worthy series, and original movies.

Editor's Choice
Netflix
Netflix
Starting from
$8.99
/mo
Monthly price:
$8.99–$15.99/mo.
Best for Newer Content
Hulu
Hulu
Starting from
$5.99
/mo
Monthly price:
$5.99–$11.99/mo.
Best Benefits for the Family
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video
Starting from
$12.99
/mo
Monthly price:
$12.99/mo.
Best for Disney Fanatics
Disney+
Disney+
Starting from
$7.99
/mo
Monthly price:
$6.99/mo.
Best for Excellent Productions
HBO Max
HBO Max
Starting from
$14.99
/mo
Monthly price:
$14.99/mo.
Chantel Buchi
Staff Writer, TV & Streaming
Read More
Published on December 15, 2020
8 min read

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.



Quick comparison—best on-demand streaming services
Streaming service
Monthly price*
Details
Netflix

$8.99–$17.99/mo.

Hulu + Live TV

$5.99–$11.99/mo.

Amazon Prime Video$12.99*
Disney+

$6.99/mo.

HBO Max

$14.99/mo.

Data as of 11/11/21. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* Data as of 11/11/21. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Netflix Editors Pick badge

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.
How much does Netflix cost?
Provider
Monthly price
Learn more
Netflix$8.99$17.99*
Data as of 11/11/21. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* Data as of 11/11/21. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

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.

Netflix interface

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

Three plans

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.

Netflix summary

  • 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.
How much does Hulu cost?
Provider
Monthly price
Details
Hulu
$5.99–$12.99
/mo

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
  • Manifest

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?

Hulu summary

  • 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.
How much does Amazon Prime Video cost?
Provider
Monthly price
Learn more
Amazon Prime Video
$12.99–$12.99
/mo

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.

Amazon Prime content screenshot

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
How much does Disney+ cost?
Provider
Monthly price
Details
Disney Plus

$6.99/mo.

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:

  • Onward
  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
  • The Mandalorian
  • The Lion King
  • Avatar
  • 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
  • Moana

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.

Disney+ summary

  • 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
How much does HBO Max cost?
Provider
Monthly price
Details

HBO Max

$14.99/mo.

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
  • Friends
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
  • Lovecraft Country
  • His Dark Materials
  • The Undoing
HBO Max content

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.
Best internet providers
Megaphone

If you need a new, faster internet provider, check out our top internet providers for seamless streaming. No one wants a frozen screen in the middle of a binge-watching Saturday.

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.

Bar chart depicting hours of content available on major steaming service providers

Interesting findings

  • 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.

Total Runtime by Streaming Service
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

Light Bulb

Did you know the average Netflix subscriber only watches 2% of the streaming library in a year? To see just how big Netflix really is, see our full beakdown.

Methodology

Content hours for each streaming service were sourced from Ampere Analysis, What’s on Netflix, and promotional materials from HBO Max and NBC Peacock.

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.

Chantel Buchi
Written by
Chantel Buchi
Chantel is all about finding the best tv or streaming service to watch as many football games as possible to keep her Fantasy Football team in check. Prior to being a TV and Streaming Tech Reporter for Reviews.org, she worked for NFL Network and The Alliance of American Football. Before that, she received a B.A. of Communication at the University of Utah and an M.S. in Sports Journalism at USC. Go Utes and Fight On. Contact her at chantel@reviews.org

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