Wednesday, July 15, 2020

CEO Insider

Best Streaming Services Comparison in 2020

Some days, all you need to stay sane at these weird times is a bit of escapism. Streaming services volunteer to provide us with such opportunities. Let’s take a look at 5 streaming channels that are generally recognized as the best, and see how well they pull this weight!

Foreword about the services’ availability

All of the analyzed services are available in the US. However, if you live or travel in a different country and attempt to access them, you may find them unavailable. This is called geo-blocking – when some of the channel’s content, or even the whole site, is restricted in certain locations. In this case, you’re going to need to use content unblocking services, such as KeepSolid SmartDNS, to be able to stream movies and shows without restrictions, lags, and in best quality.

1. Netflix.

  • Monthly subscription – starts at $8.99, standard $12.99
  • # of available movies – 3781
  • # of available shows – 1940
  • Movies per $ – 33 rated 7.5+ on IMDb / 142 rated 6.0+ on IMDb / 291 total
  • Shows per $ – 28 rated 8.0+ on IMDb / 81 rated 6.5+ on IMDb / 149 total
  • Simultaneous streams – 1-4
  • Live TV – No
  • Exclusive originals – Yes

Is Netflix still king? Kind of, not really, it depends. The father of the streaming market is still going strong and is considered by many to be the best streaming service. For your monthly subscription fee, Netflix offers unlimited streaming of films, comedy specials, series, and original programming (including Black Mirror, Glow, and Love Is Blind). With a single account, it’s possible to create up to five profiles, so that your content and recommendations don’t mix up with your friends’ and family’s.

Netflix’ media library is ever-changing, with new titles being added and old ones removed. To be able to get the best bang for their buck, many users prefer to watch the US Netflix library instead of their local ones (since it offers more titles, and of better quality). However, since Netflix doesn’t allow users to change libraries, they end up turning to services like SmartDNS for help. And, obviously, it’s recommended to always check out new Netflix releases, to see what you might want to watch before it’s gone, and what’s coming soon.

In terms of money, other services still don’t have as appealing offers as Netflix does (except for, arguably, Amazon Prime, but that service demands paying for the whole year at a time). Quality, selection and performance consistency are what makes Netflix shine. In recent years, this service has been focusing more and more on the originals. To sum up, Netflix is the best all-around streaming service, though if you want something more specific, there’s a chance other services will work better for you.

2. HBO

  • Monthly subscription – $14.99
  • # of available movies – 1735
  • # of available shows – 410
  • Movies per $ – 28 rated 7.5+ on IMDb / 71 rated 6.0+ on IMDb / 116 total
  • Shows per $ – 7 rated 8.0+ on IMDb / 16 rated 6.5+ on IMDb / 27 total
  • Simultaneous streams – 3
  • Live TV – No
  • Exclusive originals – Yes

HBO as a channel concentrates on original premium content. Recently, their branding got a tad too confusing, so they’re now simplifying it. For instance, they’re intending to remove HBO Go from app platforms this summer, since most of its users have already switched to HBO Max. They’re also renaming their HBO Now service to just HBO, to make it more distinct from HBO Max.

HBO services offer both current-run series like Insecure, and completed seasons such as Westworld, Veep, or Curb Your Enthusiasm. Shows like John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight are a great way to stay updated on the recent events. Adaptations like The Outsider and Watchmen, are also what attracts many viewers to this channel. Although the price of $14.99/mo can certainly alienate some customers.

HBO Max also merits discussion. At its current state, it offers plenty of big highlights, such as Studio Ghibli animated feature films, Friends, and original shows. However, HBO Max feels somewhat raw. For one, it’s still not available on Amazon Fire TV or Roku. So if you consider HBO Max, do keep in mind that it will probably require more time before it becomes a fleshed-out product.

3. Disney Plus

  • Monthly subscription – $6.99
  • # of available movies – 615
  • # of available shows – 235
  • Movies per $ – 12 rated 7.5+ on IMDb / 53 rated 6.0+ on IMDb / 88 total
  • Shows per $ – 4 rated 8.0+ on IMDb / 13 rated 6.5+ on IMDb / 34 total
  • Simultaneous streams – 4
  • Live TV – No
  • Exclusive originals – Yes

At the release, many predicted Disney Plus to become the new big thing on the streaming service market. After all, Disney has all sorts of popular and acclaimed properties, not to mention its own animated canon. At the same time, the price of $7/mo makes Disney Plus one of the cheapest 4K, HDR streaming services.

How does Disney Plus fare now, some time after its launch? Well, at first it didn’t exactly live up to its hype. Some viewers would find the service lackluster in content selection and a few other aspects. However, a couple well-timed and thought-out business decisions by Disney have lately allowed the service to get some very needed traction, and right now it’s considered by many to be the only streaming channel to really go up against Netflix.

Sure, to some it may feel like Disney already owns way too many properties in entertainment, and so they might want to steer clear and not support the media giant with their views. But at the end of the day, if all you need is some quality stuff to watch, not many channels can offer as many shows and movies about our beloved franchises. Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, Disney’s own titles… It’s just too difficult not to get excited!

4. Hulu

  • Monthly subscription – starts at $5.99, no-ads $11.99
  • # of available movies – 1016
  • # of available shows – 1755
  • Movies per $ – 7 rated 7.5+ on IMDb / 42 rated 6.0+ on IMDb / 85 total
  • Shows per $ – 24 rated 8.0+ on IMDb / 80 rated 6.5+ on IMDb / 146 total
  • Simultaneous streams – 2
  • Live TV – Only with $54.99 package
  • Exclusive originals – Yes

Hulu is a great solution if you’d like to stay in the loop with the latest TV shows without investing in an HD antenna or a cable subscription. It offers a number of cable shows the day after they air, along with almost all major network shows. In addition, the service often lets subscribers access all of the program’s seasons, or at least a show’s current season.

Hulu also hosts a bunch of original shows, e.g. The Wrong Mans and The Thick of It, a few bizarre movies, remakes like High Fidelity, and, somewhat surprisingly, a lot of classic anime series. But there are also less enjoyable “features”, for instance unskippable commercials even with a paid subscription.

5. Prime Video or Amazon Prime Video

  • Monthly subscription – $8.99 (billed $119 annually)
  • # of available movies – 12828
  • # of available shows – 2220
  • Movies per $ – 63 rated 7.5+ on IMDb / 395 rated 6.0+ on IMDb / 1427 total
  • Shows per $ – 26 rated 8.0+ on IMDb / 69 rated 6.5+ on IMDb / 247 total
  • Simultaneous streams – 3
  • Live TV – No
  • Exclusive originals – Yes

Do you do your shopping online? Then it’s likely you’ll choose Amazon Prime above other services in this list, no matter what we say. Who wouldn’t! You pay $119/y and get quite a bunch of stuff:

  1. Unlimited access to Amazon Prime Video
  2. Unlimited access to Amazon Music
  3. Free two-day shipping on your Amazon purchases
  4. Free Kindle book each month

Amazon Prime Video, not unlike Netflix, offers a great variety of movies, shows, and original programming (to name a few, The Man in the High Castle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Jack Ryan, Bosch, etc.) When it comes to children’s programming and comedy, Amazon Prime is also going pretty strong thanks to a deal with Viacom (MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon). It has even chomped away at a piece of HBO’s cake, offering some classics from their back catalog, including The Wire and The Sopranos.

Have you read?
World’s Best CEOs.
World’s Best Companies.
Rich List Index (Top Billionaires).
World’s Most Powerful Passports.

Ryan Miller

Ryan Miller

Global Assignment Editor
Ryan Miller is the Global Assignment Editor at CEOWORLD magazine. He covers anything and everything related to CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, senior management executives, business leaders, and high net worth individuals worldwide, whether lists or lifestyle, business or rankings. During his five-year tenure at CEOWORLD magazine, he has employed his expertise in data science across several roles. Ryan was previously responsible for data modelling and analytics, as well as secondary research, on the CEOWORLD magazine Custom Research team. He can be reached on email You can follow him on Twitter at @ceoworld.