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Guide to streaming: from Disney+ to NBA League Pass and Crunchyroll

There is a plethora of streaming services available for anyone with a credit card handy.

Hulu and Netflix are general entertainment providers offering licensed content and originals for subscribers. Others, like anime provider Crunchyroll and NFL Sunday Ticket, are targeted at specific interests. Streaming services like Disney+ and Apple TV Plus are flashy newcomers that are trying to find their place in an overly crowded space.

It’s getting trickier to figure out where to spend your money every month. Netflix and Hulu used to be sufficient; subscribers could watch their favorite shows and a popular original like Stranger Things or The Handmaid’s Tale. Now, between live sports, movies, original TV shows, and even nightly news, no single service offers everything.

Take a look at the most popular shows streaming today: Friends and The Office are two of the most-watched shows on Netflix, but they’re leaving. Friends is returning to its WarnerMedia home next year when HBO Max launches. The Office will leave Netflix in 2021 and be a staple of NBCUniversal’s new streaming service, Peacock. New CW shows, which would normally arrive on Netflix after their seasons aired on TV, are now destined for either HBO Max or CBS All Access. ER and other NBC favorites are on Hulu now, but they will eventually wind up on Peacock. Having trouble following along? So are we.

Some streaming services are better suited for your personal needs. Instead of listing every platform under the sun, we’ve listed a few key categories and the best streaming option in those sections. Note: some services may be duplicated depending on the category.


US-ENTERTAINMENT-CINEMA-DISNEY-D23

Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP via Getty Images

Amazon Prime Video

  • Pros: Different types of streaming options, incorporation of retail shopping, original series and popular licensed content
  • Who it’s for: People who use Amazon to shop regularly
  • Cost: $12.99 a month or $120 a year
  • Top original shows: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Transparent, Good Omens, Bosch
  • Compatible devices: Smart TVs, Blu-ray players, Roku, Google TV, TiVo, Nvidia Shield, Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Android devices, iOS devices, Fire Phone, Fire tablets

Apple TV Plus

  • Pros: Free for anyone who purchased a new Apple product, low cost for standalone subscribers, star-studded shows
  • Who it’s for: People looking to stay up to date on the conversation
  • Cost: $4.99 a month or free for one year for anyone who’s purchased a new or refurbished Apple product recently
  • Top original shows: Dickinson, The Elephant Queen, For All Mankind
  • Compatible devices: Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Browser, iOS, Roku

CBS All Access

  • Pros: Low cost, popular original series, big library of content
  • Who it’s for: Star Trek fans and people looking to binge past classics. CBS All Access is a general entertainment streaming service.
  • Cost: $5.99 a month for ad-supported and $9.99 a month for ad-free
  • Top original shows: The Good Fight, Star Trek: Discovery, Strange Angel
  • Compatible devices: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Browser, Chromecast, iOS, Xbox, Roku, PlayStation

Disney+

  • Pros: Exclusive home for Disney TV shows and movies, low cost, entirely family-friendly, large library of shows and movies
  • Who it’s for: Families and Disney aficionados
  • Cost: $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year. It can also be bundled with ad-supported Hulu and sports streaming service ESPN+ for $12.99 a year.
  • Top original shows: The Mandalorian, Imagineering Story, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series
  • Compatible devices: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Browser, Chromecast, iOS, Xbox, Roku, PlayStation

HBO Max (launching May 2020)

  • Pros: Includes HBO content, heavy focus on human curation, incredibly large movie and TV show library
  • Who it’s for: HBO Max is a general entertainment streaming service. Also a great option for anyone looking to upgrade their HBO Now accounts.
  • Cost: $14.99 a month. People with HBO Now, AT&T TV Now, or standard HBO cable subscriptions can get it for free.
  • Top original shows: The Wire, Succession, Game of Thrones, The Sopranos
  • Compatible devices: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Browser, Chromecast, iOS, Xbox, Roku, PlayStation

Hulu

  • Pros: Next-day programming for certain shows, large quantity of shows and movies, reality TV programming, variety of genres to choose from
  • Who it’s for: Everyone. Hulu is a general entertainment streaming service.
  • Cost: Ranges from $5.99 for an ad-supported plan to $50.99 a month for a subscription that includes live TV
  • Top original shows: The Handmaid’s Tale, Castle Rock
  • Compatible devices: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Browser, Chromecast, iOS, Xbox, Roku, PlayStation

Netflix

  • Pros: Large quantity of movies and TV shows, easy-to-use interface, variety of genres to choose from, interactive programming
  • Who it’s for: Everyone. Netflix is a general entertainment streaming service.
  • Cost: Ranges from $7.99 for a basic plan to $15.99 for top-tier
  • Top original shows: Stranger Things, The Umbrella Academy, You, When They See Us
  • Compatible devices: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Browser, Chromecast, iOS, Xbox, Roku, PlayStation

Peacock (launching 2020)

  • Pros: Reportedly free
  • Who it’s for: Peacock is a general entertainment streaming service
  • Cost: CNBC reports that it will be free. The Verge will update when NBC announces a price.
  • Top original shows: N/A as it hasn’t launched yet
  • Compatible devices: N/A

Disney Streaming Services

Disney

Disney Streaming Bundle (Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+)

  • Pros: Low cost, different types of streaming services, something for everyone
  • Who it’s for: With a sports streaming service, general entertainment platform, and family-friendly option, the Disney Streaming Bundle is made for a wide array of people
  • Cost: $12.99 a month
  • Compatible devices: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Browser, Chromecast, iOS, Xbox, Roku, PlayStation

Spongebob Squarepants

Disney+

  • Pros: Exclusive home for Disney TV shows and movies, low cost, entirely family-friendly, large library of shows and movies
  • Who it’s for: Families and Disney aficionados
  • Cost: $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year. It can also be bundled with ad-supported Hulu and sports streaming service ESPN+ for $12.99 a year.
  • Top original shows: The Mandalorian, Imagineering Story, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series
  • Compatible devices: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Browser, Chromecast, iOS, Xbox, Roku, PlayStation

Nick Hits

  • Pros: Catalog of classic Nickelodeon shows, full seasons available to stream, low cost
  • Cost: $7.99 a month or free with Amazon Prime Video Channels subscription
  • Top original shows: SpongeBob Squarepants, Hey Arnold!, iCarly
  • Compatible devices: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Browser, Chromecast, iOS, Xbox, Roku, PlayStation

PBS Kids

  • Pros: Free, recognizable programming
  • Cost: Free
  • Top original shows: Sid’s Science Fair, Cyberchase Shape Quest
  • Compatible devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android Phone, Android Tablet, Kindle Tablet, Leap Motion (OS X)

Sling Television EMBARGO ONLY WELCH POSTS THIS

AT&T TV Now

  • Pros: Includes HBO, cloud DVR capabilities, multiple prestige channels
  • Who it’s for: Cord-cutters looking for HBO in their TV package
  • Cost: $64.99 a month
  • Compatible devices: Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Browsers, iPhone / iPad, Android Phone, Android Tablet, Samsung Smart TV, and Android TV

Hulu TV

  • Pros: Comes with Hulu, on-demand playback, affordable pricing
  • Who it’s for: Cord-cutters looking to bundle a live service with streaming
  • Cost: $54.99 a month
  • Compatible devices: Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, iPhone, iPad, Browsers, Android Phone Android Tablet, Android TV, Xbox, LG Smart TV, Samsung Smart TV, Vizio Smart TV, Amazon Fire TV

Sling TV

  • Pros: Cheaper than competitors, different package offerings, ability to rent new movie releases
  • Who it’s for: Cord-cutters not trying to break the bank
  • Cost: Sling’s three different packages come in at $24.99 a month (Sling Orange, 30-plus channels, or Sling Blue, 40-plus channels) and $44.99 a month (Sling Orange and Blue, 50-plus channels)
  • Compatible devices: Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, iPhone, iPad, Browsers, Android Phone, Android Tablet, Android TV, Xbox, Samsung Smart TV, LG Smart TV, and Vizio Smart TV

YouTube TV

  • Pros: Easy-to-use interface, excellent DVR capabilities, local networks
  • Who it’s for: Cord-cutters looking for local broadcasts
  • Cost: $49.99 a month
  • Compatible devices: Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, iPhone, iPad, Browsers, Android Phone Android Tablet, Android TV, Xbox, LG Smart TV, Samsung Smart TV, Vizio Smart TV, Amazon Fire TV

Photo by Stefan Etienne / The Verge

BritBox

  • Pros: Vast library of British television shows, top series like Doctor Who, classic British series
  • Who it’s for: Anyone looking to watch classic British television
  • Cost: $6.99 a month
  • Top original shows: Doctor Who, Absolutely Fabulous, Black Adder, Coronation Street
  • Compatible devices: Browsers, Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, Android devices, and Samsung Smart TVs

Boomerang

  • Pros: Classic cartoons all in one spot, family-friendly, new shows, wide variety of content
  • Who it’s for: Adults looking for a nostalgic kick and families
  • Cost: $4.99 a month
  • Top original shows: The best part of Boomerang is the collection of classics, like Scooby-Doo, Bugs Bunny, The Jetsons, Johnny Quest, Yogi Bear, Paddington Bear, and Tom and Jerry
  • Compatible devices: Android, iOS, Apple TV, Roku, Kindle, Browser, Amazon FireTV or Fire Stick

Crunchyroll

  • Pros: The biggest selection of anime titles, ability to read manga, streaming titles not long after airing in Japan
  • Who it’s for: Anime fans
  • Cost: $7.99 a month, $22.99 for three months, or $79.99 a year
  • Compatible devices: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Chromecast, iOS, Android, Browsers

DC Universe

  • Pros: Wide array of DC TV shows, exclusive animated series, classic animated DC films, and digital comic books
  • Who it’s for: DC comics fans
  • Cost: $7.99 a month
  • Top original shows: Titans, Harley Quinn, Doom Patrol
  • Compatible devices: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Browser, Chromecast, iOS, Xbox, Roku, PlayStation

Plex

  • Pros: Ability to share content, good movie selection, host downloads
  • Who it’s for: If we’re being honest, people looking to share pirated content
  • Cost: $4.99 a month, $39.99 a year, or $149.99 for a lifetime subscription
  • Compatible devices: Browsers, iOS, Android, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Amazon Alexa, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Sonos, TiVo

Shudder

  • Pros: Huge selection of titles, cost-effective, original movies and TV shows, podcasts, and live-streaming events
  • Who it’s for: Horror aficionados who want more than what’s on Netflix or Hulu
  • Cost: $5.99 a month
  • Top original shows: Creepshow, Deadwax
  • Compatible devices: Apple, Android, Roku, Fire TV, Browsers

Image: Criterion

Criterion Channel

  • Pros: Thematically programmed with special features, a wide array of titles, more than 1,000 classic and contemporary movies
  • Who it’s for: Cinephiles looking for classic films and additional material on beloved titles
  • Cost: $10.99 a month
  • Compatible devices: Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Browsers, Chromecast, Roku

Kanopy

  • Pros: Free, large catalog of classic movies, wide array of independent titles
  • Who it’s for: University students and library users where Kanopy is available
  • Cost: Free
  • Compatible devices: Apple TV, Chromecast, browsers

HBO Max WarnerMedia Investor Day Presentation

Presley Ann/Getty Images for WarnerMedia

HBO Max (available as HBO Now right now)

  • Pros: Includes HBO content, heavy focus on human curation, incredibly large movie and TV show library
  • Who it’s for: HBO Max is a general entertainment streaming service. It’s also a great option for anyone looking to upgrade their HBO Now accounts.
  • Cost: $14.99 a month. People with HBO Now, AT&T TV Now, or standard HBO cable subscriptions can get it for free.
  • Top original shows: The Wire, Succession, Game of Thrones, The Sopranos
  • Compatible devices: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Browser, Chromecast, iOS, Xbox, Roku, PlayStation

Showtime

  • Pros: Budget-friendly, good selection of new and older series, easy-to-use interface
  • Who it’s for: People who want prestige series on a budget
  • Cost: $10.99 a month
  • Top original shows: Billions, Shameless, The Affair
  • Compatible devices: Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, LG Smart TVs, Roku, Samsung Smart TVs, Xbox One

Starz

  • Pros: Low cost, award-winning shows, exclusive programming
  • Who it’s for: Fans of specific Starz shows
  • Cost: $8.99 a month
  • Top original shows: Outlander, Girlfriend Experiment, Power, Black Sails
  • Compatible devices: Kindle Fire Tablet, Amazon Fire TV and Stick, Android Phone, Android Tablets, Android TV, Nexus Player, Nvidia Shield, Razer Forge, Apple TVs, Browsers, iPhone, iPad, Roku, Xbox One

ESPN+

  • Pros: Carries big UFC fights, a number of other live sports options, low cost
  • Who it’s for: UFC fans and people looking for a cost-effective way to keep up with sports that air on ESPN
  • Cost: $5.99 a month
  • Compatible devices: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku, Android TV, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, browsers

MLB.TV

  • Pros: Plenty of games available to watch, different pricing tiers, single-team subscription, off-season plans
  • Who it’s for: Baseball fans trying to keep up with teams outside of their regional network
  • Cost: Customers can either spend $24.99 a month (giving people the ability to cancel a little easier) or $116.99 a year for full-league coverage. A single team subscription is $89.99 a year.
  • Compatible devices: Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Android TV, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One

NBA League Pass

  • Pros: Subscription packages for individual teams, ability to watch every game, international
  • Who it’s for: Basketball fans trying to keep up with their team or the NBA at large
  • Cost: There are four different options: NBA TV (live games, $6.99 a month), One Team ($17.99 a month gets you access to every single game from one team), All Teams ($27.99 a month, every single game), and All Teams, No Commercials ($39.99 a month, gives you every single game but without ads)
  • Compatible devices: iPhone, iPad, Android Phone, Android Tablet, Kindle Fire, Roku 3, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV and Fire Stick, Xbox One, PlayStation

NFL Sunday Ticket

  • Pros: Every Sunday NFL game that’s not broadcasting in your city, Red Zone
  • Who it’s for: Football fans who don’t live in the same town as their favorite team and fantasy players who need to watch every single game
  • Cost: $293.94 a season for the games, $395.94 a season for the games and Red Zone/Fantasy Zone channels
  • Compatible devices: Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, iOS and Android devices

NHL.TV

  • Pros: Three different subscription tiers, single team options
  • Who it’s for: Hockey fans looking to not miss out on a big game or favorite team
  • Cost: Prices start at $24.99 for one month of games, $119.99 a year for single team access, and $144.99 a year for the entire NHL season’s live games
  • Compatible devices: Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, iOS and Android devices

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