There are two types of Streaming Services
- “On Demand” format for TV shows and movies – Netflix, Hulu etc. and premium channels (HBO, Starz, Showtime, etc.). Includes free apps like PBS, PBS Kids and YouTube
- Live TV and DVR, also includes “OnDemand” TV shows and movies – Hulu Live, SlingTV, DIRECTV Now, YouTube TV, etc.
Most TV Channels also have apps but they usually require a cable provider login to view content.
First, we’ll compare the “On Demand” type of apps
“Number of screens” refers to the number of screens that can be actively streaming shows/movies at the same time. If you have lots of TV watchers in your house, you’ll want to pay special attention to this. Subscriptions for these are on a monthly basis (except most people pay for Amazon Prime yearly). You can sign up and cancel at any time with no penalty.
Amazon Prime is now offering Amazon Channels. You need to be an Amazon Prime member to access these channels. It offers an interesting a la cart approach to streaming channels as well as many niche channels. More on that here: Amazon Channels
You don’t have to choose only one of these, you can subscribe to as many as you want. We have Netflix and Amazon Prime all year round. We will subscribe to a month here and there of Hulu, HBO and Showtime, depending when TV shows we like are on. For example, we will subscribe to HBO when Game of Thrones is airing. We’ll also watch their other content during that time. When Game of Thrones is over, we cancel HBO.
In additional to these options, most people will also want to choose one of the Live TV Streaming Services. These give you a viewing experience that is much closer to traditional cable.
Are you feeling overwhelmed?
This is a lot of information to take in. If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, I’m here to help! Check out my Services page. If you tell me what channels and shows you like to watch, I will figure out what streaming services are best for you. Email questions are always free.