How Do the Major Streaming Services Compare Against Each Other?

April 19, 2019, 4:00 PM UTC

Cable companies are under siege.

As more and more people get frustrated with high cable and satellite bills and being forced to pay for a slew of channels they never watch, streaming services are seeing their subscription numbers grow. And a new wave from major players is on the way.

Disney+ will debut Nov. 12 and is hoping to rapidly gain a significant audience, undercutting Netflix’s pricing, and offering a slew of exclusive shows alongside a formidable Disney library of catalog shows and films. And Apple has its own service set to launch this fall.

The mission of streaming services varies from offering to offering. Some, like Dish Network’s Sling TV or AT&T’s DirecTV now, are basically repackaged offerings of cable channels. Others, though, are finding original content is the key to luring customers. One water cooler show can make their service a must have.

The problem with so many services having must-watch shows is cord cutters (and people supplementing their cable subscription) often end up paying a lot more. If you were to subscribe to all of the streaming services below, you’d add $115 or more per month to your expenses.

That’s too much for most people. So, to help you pick and choose, here’s a breakdown of the offerings and prices of the major streaming services with original content:


Exclusive offerings: Disney’s leaning into its deep catalog of films and TV shows to support Disney+. If you want to watch any film in the Marvel superhero universe, any Pixar release, or any Disney classic, this will be the only place to do so. (Disney is pulling its films from Netflix, which will cut its operating income by about $150 million.)

All totaled, the service will offer 7,500 episodes of current and off-air TV shows, 400 archived Disney (and Fox) movies, and 100 recent theatrical releases. But Disney’s also offering 25 original series and 10 original movies and specials, including series based on High School Musical and Monsters Inc., and The Mandolorian—a Star Wars series set five years after Return of the Jedi that wowed attendees of Star Wars Celebration last week.

Monthly cost: $6.99 per month (or $69.99 per year)

Simultaneous streams: TBD

Free trial period: TBD

Apple TV+

Exclusive offerings: Apple brought out some major celebrities when introducing Apple TV+ earlier this month, including Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg. Many of those stars will be contributing to the service as well.

Winfrey and Prince Harry are making a show about mental health. Battlestar Galactica creator Ron Moore is making a science fiction drama called For All Mankind. Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carrell are collaborating on a scripted drama called The Morning Show. Spielberg will bring back his Amazing Stories series. A remake of the 1981 film Time Bandits is in the works. Meanwhile, Sesame Workshop, creators of Sesame Street, are planning a children’s show. And that’s just scratching the surface.

Apple TV+ will differ from many competitors, in that it does not plan to offer any catalog content, focusing exclusively on original shows.

Monthly cost: TBD

Simultaneous streams: TBD

Free trial period: TBD


Exclusive offerings: The most established of the streaming services, Netflix has a deep catalog of original shows that have already captivated audiences, including Stranger Things, The Crown, Black Mirror, and BoJack Horseman. The company has also revived several TV series that were binge favorites of users, including Arrested Development, Full House, and Queer Eye.

Beyond series, it has also built an award winning film studio, winning three Oscars for 2018’s Roma and one for 2017’s Icarus. And this year’s Bird Box became a cultural phenomenon.

Monthly cost: $8.99-$15.99 per month

Simultaneous streams: 1-4

Free trial period: 30 days


Exclusive offerings: Hulu got a late start to original content, relying instead on its deep catalog of network shows. But it has made up some ground with hits like The Handmaid’s Tale and Runaways. Stephen King is one of the biggest collaborators, due to both the series Castle Rock and the adaptation of his 11.22.63 novel. Hulu also took a page from the Netflix book and gave second life to some canceled series, including The Mindy Project and Veronica Mars, and has said it’s open to reviving the canceled Marvel shows that used to air on Netflix, including Daredevil and Jessica Jones.

Monthly cost: $5.99 per month ($44.99 per month to include Live TV)

Simultaneous streams: 1 (2 with the Live TV package)

Free trial period: 30 days

Amazon Prime Video

Exclusive offerings: Prime Video is one of the features included in an Amazon Prime membership, so the offerings extend far beyond original video programming. Amazon, though, has invested heavily in its own shows, wooing the crew from BBC’s Top Gear after they left that network. It won an Emmy award for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. And other shows, including The Man in the High Castle, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, and Transparent, have received tremendous critical acclaim.

The service’s affiliated production company, Amazon Studios, has also ventured into the cinematic world, with the most notable success being The Big Sick.

Monthly cost: $8.99-$12.99 per month (or $119 per year)

Simultaneous streams: 2

Free trial period: 30 days

CBS All Access

Exclusive offerings: While CBS’s streaming platform is largely built around its network offerings, it offers a handful of exclusive original shows, including Star Trek Discovery, the Christine Baranski-led The Good Fight and Jordan Peele’s remake of The Twilight Zone. It will also be the home for the Star Trek follow-up Picard, which follows the commander made famous in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Monthly cost: $9.99 per month

Simultaneous streams: 2

Free trial period: 7 days


Exclusive offerings: Beyond deeper coverage of major sporting events, ESPN’s streaming service offers exclusive original shows and in-studio programs, such as The Boardroom executive produced by Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant’s Detail, LeBron James’ More Than An Athlete, and upcoming episodes of Dana White’s Contender Series. You’ll also be able to watch all manner of live sports ranging from baseball and soccer to UFC fights and tennis from Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, and the Australian Open.

Monthly cost: $4.99 per month

Simultaneous streams: 3

Free trial period: 7 days


Exclusive offerings: You won’t find anything here that you won’t get if you already subscribe to HBO with your cable or satellite provider, but if you’ve cut the cord and still want to keep up with Game of Thrones, Westworld, and any of the network’s other shows, this service give you access to both all of the live channels as well as a complete on-demand catalog of both original content and recent motion pictures.

Monthly cost: $14.99 per month

Simultaneous streams: 3

Free trial period: 7 days