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Netflix, Disney Plus, or Max? All the major streaming services, ranked

Find out which subscription to cancel

people watching tv
cherryandbees / Adobe Stock

In the olden days of streaming, things were fairly simple. You subscribed to Netflix, or maybe if you were very cool or rich, Netflix and Hulu, and you watched what was available. Now, the streaming landscape has gotten a lot more crowded, and that means it can be hard to decide where you should invest your well-earned cash. Netflix may have plenty of great TV shows, but is Hulu’s library better? What about Peacock or Max? To help you sort through the streaming morass, we’ve ranked the major streaming services from worst to best and included some basic information on their prices.

The Peacock TV logo on a black background.
NBC

8. Peacock

Subscription Options: 

  • Premium: $5.99/mo.
  • Premium Plus: $11.99.mo.

Peacock has a couple of solid original shows, including Girls5Eva and Poker Face, but none have broken through to the extent that the service has managed to catch on. On top of that, its list of available movie titles is relatively anemic, and while there are some great old NBC shows on Peacock, the service is really for people who want to watch The Office repeatedly. The cheapest subscription option is relatively affordable, but it does limit what’s available to you on the service and comes with ads.

The Paramount Plus logo on a bright blue background.
Paramount+

7. Paramount+

Subscriptions:

  • Paramount+ Essential: $5.99/mo.
  • Paramount+ with SHOWTIME: $11.99/mo.

Perhaps Paramount+’s greatest folly is that Paramount’s hallmark show, Yellowstone, isn’t on the service. Paramount+ has some Yellowstone spin-offs and plenty of other performances from Taylor Sheridan that are worth checking out. In addition, it has a solid library of old Paramount films, and if you splurge and add Showtime, there’s an even more extensive library of movies and shows. The service’s two biggest draws might be Yellowjackets and the Star Trek universe, particularly Strange New Worlds, which has broken through in a significant way.

The Apple TV Plus Logo
Apple

6. Apple TV+

Subscriptions: 

  • $9.99/mo.

It’s amazing that Apple TV+ is not dead last on this list, given that it has no archival library and only releases a new thing once a week. Even so, Apple has invested in many of the right things to ensure that its streaming service is always discussed, even if it doesn’t have a vast library. Between winning Best Picture with CODA and Ted Lasso and The Morning Show, Apple has created enough buzz around its content to make people think they should subscribe, even if it’s not the kind of service you can browse.

Amazon Prime Video logo on blue.
Amazon Prime

5. Amazon Prime Video

Subscriptions: 

  • $14.99/mo.

Amazon has put some real effort into building out the kind of original library that can compete with services like Netflix, but those efforts have been, at best, a mixed bag. Still, Prime Video has had some major hits, including The Boys and Fleabag, and it’s not like Amazon is in danger of going out of business. The best thing about Prime Video, though, is that it’s free with an Amazon subscription, which means that millions of people have access to the streaming service as a perk that comes with their 2-day shipping.

Hulu logo
Hulu

4. Hulu

Subscriptions: 

  • Hulu (with ads): $7.99/mo.
  • Hulu (no ads): $17.99/mo.
  • Disney+ (with ads) and Hulu (with ads): $9.99/mo.
  • Disney+ (no ads) and Hulu (no ads): $19.99/mo.
  • Disney+ (with ads), Hulu (with ads), and ESPN+ (with ads): $14.99/mo.
  • Disney+ (no ads), Hulu (no ads), and ESPN+ (with ads): $24.99/mo.

The old standby, Hulu, has persevered since the earliest days of streaming and still has a rock-solid library of new and vintage TV shows that are well worth your time. On top of that, the Disney bundle means that Hulu can be a nice add-on for parents who feel obligated to have a Disney+ subscription. Hulu is worth subscribing to in its own right, in part because it’s a great resource for anyone who wants to brush up on classic television. If you’re not a TV nerd, though, Hulu’s partnership with FX means that some of the best shows on TV still wind up on the streamer eventually.

Disney+ cover on a blue background
Disney+

3. Disney+

Subscriptions: 

  • Disney+ (with ads): $7.99/mo.
  • Disney+ (no ads): $13.99/mo.
  • Disney+ (with ads) and Hulu (with ads): $9.99/mo.
  • Disney+ (no ads) and Hulu (no ads): $19.99/mo.
  • Disney+ (with ads), Hulu (with ads), and ESPN+ (with ads): $14.99/mo.
  • Disney+ (no ads), Hulu (no ads), and ESPN+ (with ads): $24.99/mo.

Disney+ came out of the gate with force, and it’s the closest to catching Netflix in terms of the sheer volume of subscribers. In spite of that success, though, Disney’s decision to ratchet up prices for the service and the issues it’s been having with quality control on its original content (see almost every Marvel show) keep it from being even higher on this list. Still, it’s hard to deny that the service has plenty of archival titles it offers, including basically a full lineup of Disney classics that is sure to enchant every kid. And, on top of that, Disney+ has got Bluey.

Netflix wallpaper

2. Netflix

Subscriptions: 

  • Standard (with ads): $6.99/mo.
  • Standard: $15.49/mo.
  • Premium: $22.99/mo.

Netflix remains, at least in many people’s minds, the streamer to beat, but its recent track record has been a little spottier than its unimpeachable run of early success. All indications are that plenty of people still watch Netflix and consider it the best streaming service for finding what they want. Their lineup of reality TV has every other streamer beat, and they’ve successfully launched several originals that have gone on to become genuine phenomenons. Still, because it has virtually no back catalog of great TV or movies, the options are a little more limited than you might like.

Max logo
Image used with permission by copyright holder

1. Max

Subscriptions: 

  • With Ads: $9.99/mo. or $99.99/year
  • Ad-Free – $15.99/mo. or $149.99/year
  • Ultimate Ad-Free – $19.99/mo. or $199.99/year

Although it’s got a pretty busted user interface, Max still has the best combination of original content and library titles, even if it comes at a pretty penny. The service, which combines the catalogs of Warner Bros., HBO, and Discovery and also has a bunch of other partnerships on top of those, has such a wide array of offerings that it’s probably the best service to start with if you’re only going to bother with one. Where else can you watch classic French cinema and Shark Week without leaving a single app? Max is also planning to add news to the streamer, although that feature is still in beta.

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Joe Allen
Contributor
Joe Allen is a freelance culture writer based in upstate New York. His work has been published in The Washington Post, The…
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