Top TV Shows and Movies Streaming Services

Top TV Shows and Movies Streaming Services

Competition between streaming platforms has resulted in a plethora of choices for online movie and TV viewers. It’s now possible to stream just about any movie or TV episode you can think of. And many platforms will even allow you to stream live TV. The streaming possibilities are constantly evolving. But right now, these are the top places to watch movies and TV online.

Apple TV+ is a subscription video streaming service launched by Apple in November 2019. At launch, the service was focused on original content produced exclusively for Apple TV+. Apple TV+ series and movie offerings include projects featuring big-name stars and filmmakers, including Tom Hanks, Billie Eilish, Jennifer Aniston, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Jason Momoa. Unlike most other streaming services, Apple TV+ did not initially include content from other producers, but in 2020 the service acquired some outside content, including the children’s series Fraggle Rock and the Peanuts TV specials.

Features of Apple TV+ include:

  • Ad-free viewing
  • Free one-year subscription with the purchase of a qualifying Apple device
  • Support for iOS devices including Apple iPhones and iPads, as well as Apple Macintosh computers
  • Viewing on some smart TVs and Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV set-top boxes
  • Viewing on Windows PCs and Android devices via a web browser
  • Download shows to Apple devices for offline viewing
  • View on any device signed in to the subscriber’s Apple ID
  • View on up to 3 devices simultaneously with Family Sharing
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Hulu began life as a joint venture between Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and NBCUniversal. The platform was used as a way to get the companies’ TV content available online for streaming. Since 2010, Hulu has offered a subscription option. In 2017, the platform began offering live TV broadcasts with its Hulu + Live TV premium subscription tier. Disney became a majority owner of Hulu in 2019.

Features of Hulu + Live TV include:

  • Access to more than 65 live TV channels
  • Access to an add-supported library of movie and TV content
  • Support for many devices, including iOS, Android, Roku, Fire TV & Fire Stick, Apple TV , Chromecast, Xbox One & Xbox 360, smart TVs and Nintendo Switch
  • Simultaneous viewing on 2 devices at a time
  • DVR cloud storage for recording live TV
  • Add-on channels such as HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax (for an extra fee)

A lower-tier plan without the Live TV option is also available. This basic plan includes only ad-supported access to the streaming library. Hulu also offers an upgraded tier that offers streaming with no ads.

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Paramount+ is an online streaming platform launched by the CBS broadcast television network. Paramount+ began operating in 2014. The platform offers access to an archival library of classic Paramount+ programs, current episodes of the network’s current lineup, and original content developed specifically for the platform. Paramount+ also has a live-TV add-on option.

Features of Paramount+ include:

  • More than 12,000 episodes of current and past Paramount+ programs
  • Available live TV and live sports broadcasts
  • Original series such as Star Trek Discovery and Star Trek Picard
  • Support for a variety of devices including desktop and laptop computers, Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, Chromecast, Android TV, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Samsung Smart TV

The base level subscription plan for Paramount+ includes ad-supported access to the platform’s library. A more expensive premium tier allows ad-free viewing. Live TV options are only available in select markets, and live TV includes ads, even under the premium plan.

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In 2020, HBO launched HBO Max, a new on-demand platform that will eventually replace HBO Now, a streaming platform that launched in 2015. HBO Max is a streaming platform that allows on-demand viewing of content produced by the HBO premium cable network, as well as some content from other producers. HBO Max is available as a stand-alone subscription service and does not require a cable subscription. The platform is separate from HBO Go, which is an on-demand platform for HBO’s cable subscribers. HBO Now subscribers are able to access HBO Max for no additional charge.

Features of HBO MAX include:

  • Access to archived HBO content and current series
  • Library of recently released and older movies
  • Full series such as Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, and The Wire
  • Supported devices include Apple phones and tablets, Android phones and tablets, Chromecast, smart TVs, game consoles, and computers. HBO Max was not available on Roku or Amazon Fire devices at launch

HBO MAX does not offer a live broadcast of the HBO cable channel. However, most content is available on the platform at the same time that it initially airs on the cable network.

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Amazon is a one-stop shop for both movie rentals/purchases and access to thousands of movies and TV programs via a subscription service. Amazon Prime Video is a benefit that comes along with membership in Amazon Prime. The subscription service also includes perks such as free shipping of merchandise, music streaming, free ebooks.

Amazon Prime Video offers a library of several thousand titles that subscribers can stream for no extra charge. The content includes many original movies and series such as the critically-acclaimed The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Fleabag.

Features of Prime Video include:

  • 4K Ultra HD resolution on some titles
  • Support for many device types, including Fire TV, smart TVs, game consoles, mobile phones, and tablets
  • Offline viewing for users of some devices
  • Behind-the-scenes info via the “X-Ray” feature
  • Add-on access to premium channels such as HBO, Starz, and Paramount+ (for an extra fee)
  • Rental or purchase of new release movies. These movies are also available to non-subscribers
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Disney+ is a streaming platform launched in 2019. It offers on-demand access to movies and TV series produced by Disney Studios and other Disney-owned companies. The Disney library includes most of the blockbuster movies of recent years, including Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, Aladdin, and The Lion King. In the future, the platform will also offer current hits such as Toy Story 4, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Frozen 2, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Features of Disney+ include:

  • Access to more than 500 films and 7,500 TV episodes
  • Films from the Marvel and Star Wars franchises, and from production companies Pixar and Disney Studios
  • Support for a range of devices, including Android phones and tablets, Apple iPhones and iPads, Amazon Fire Tablet, Smart TVs, Android TV Devices, Apple TV, Sony PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Roku
  • Original content such as The Madalorian

Disney+ includes archived content from Disney’s cable channels (The Disney Channel, Disney Jr., etc.). Unlike some other streaming platforms, Disney+ does not offer a live TV option.

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Netflix is one of the first subscription online streaming platforms. It currently has the biggest market share among competing platforms. The service launched in 1997 as a by-mail rental service for DVDs. The company began offering on-demand streaming of video in 2010. Netflix originally offered content produced by other movie studios and TV networks. In recent years, the platform has transitioned to providing primarily original content produced by Netflix itself.

Features of Netflix include:

  • Access to thousands of movies and TV episodes
  • Original content such as the TV series Stranger Things
  • Ad-free viewing
  • Ultra HD options for some content
  • Support for viewing on many devices, including Android phones and tablets, Apple iPhones and iPads, Amazon Fire Tablet, Smart TVs, Android TV Devices, Apple TV, Sony PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Roku
  • Offline viewing for some content

Netflix does not offer any live-TV viewing options. Its library of TV episodes from other content providers is available only after a post-broadcast delay, sometimes as long as several months.

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The premium cable network Showtime launched in 1976. Its original focus was on providing recently released, ad-free and uncensored theatrical films. In the years since, Showtime has also produced original content, such as the TV series Shameless, Weeds, and Dexter. Showtime currently offers on-demand viewing of its content in two different ways. The Showtime Anytime app allows subscribers to the cable channel to stream content on devices such as computers, smartphones and smart TVs. The Showtime streaming platform is a stand-alone subscription service available to anyone, even those without cable service.

Features of the Showtime online platform include:

  • Access to archival and current Showtime content
  • Support for several devices, including Amazon, Android phones and tablets, Apple phones and tablets, and Roku
  • Ad-free viewing
  • Live broadcast of both East and West Coast feeds of the Showtime channel

On-demand viewing of Showtime content is also available as an add-on channel through other platforms such as Amazon and Hulu.

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Tubi is an on-demand streaming platform that launched in 2014. Tubi is an independent platform that, unlike most large streaming platforms, is not owned by a studio, TV network, content provider, or media corporation. Tubi has agreements with a large number of production companies, including Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Lionsgate, Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, Studio 100, Shout Factory, Nelvana, DHX Media, NBCUniversal, and Bridgestone Multimedia to include their content on the service. Access to tubi is free for viewers, with the service being supported by ads that run during movies and programs.

Features of tubi include:

  • A library of more than 15,000 movies and television episodes
  • Free viewing without a need for a subscription
  • A range of supported devices, including Android, iOS, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Xfinity X1, Xbox, Samsung Smart TVs, Sony Smart TVs, PlayStation

Tubi does not offer any live-TV viewing options, and some tubi content is not viewable on all devices.

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FuboTV is a live streaming platform that was founded primarily to air sports programming. The platform launched in 2015 as a soccer-streaming service. The service expanded in 2017 to include many other kinds of sports. FuboTV has distribution deals with the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS and international soccer leagues. In 2019, the service expanded even further to include dozens of general entertainment cable channels and networks. With this expansion, the platform became an alternative to traditional cable services.

Features of FuboTV include:

  • Basic subscription plan with 99 channels and a cloud-based DVR service
  • Ultra subscription plan includes 167 channels, Showtime live TV and on-demand, and expanded sports channels
  • Futbol Quarterly plan with 30 Spanish-language channels
  • Supported devices include Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Samsung Smart TV, iOS mobile devices, Android mobile devices, and Chromecast
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Philo is a live TV streaming platform that launched in 2009. Originally called Tivli, the platform was created by students at Harvard University. There was no access to cable TV for the students at the time. Philo expanded with investments from media companies such as HBO. It now promotes itself as a relatively low-cost alternative to traditional cable TV entertainment subscription services. Philo currently offers only one subscription tier with a flat $25/month fee.

Features of philo include:

  • Access to 59 cable entertainment channels
  • Support for devices including Apple iOS phones and tablets, Android phones and tablets, Fire TV, Android TV, and Apple TV
  • On-demand viewing of saved TV shows for up to 30 days

Philo’s current channel lineup only includes entertainment channels. Cable news networks (with the exception of BBC World News) are not included, nor are any cable sports networks. Despite HBO’s investment in the platform, philo does not offer any HBO content. Local TV channels are also not included.

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Whether your streaming needs include new movies, old movies, classic TV, original content, sports, news, reality TV, or anything else, these platforms have you covered. With the right combination of them in your streaming toolbox, you’ll never miss the movies and TV you’re wanting to see.