The best streaming services in 2024

The best streaming services will keep you entertained for, well, ever. Collectively, they house hundreds of thousands of hours of movies and TV shows for you to stream. Continue watching? Yes!

These days, though, streaming services are in a state of flux, with price hikes, password-sharing crackdowns and the introduction of ads. 

These services are just one-half of the streaming equation, though. As the cable box slowly withers away, it's being replaced by smart TVs and the best streaming devices, which include Rokus and Chromecasts. And by testing the best streaming services and devices side-by-side, we figure out the best way to build the ultimate streaming setup with the best selection of content and live channels.

The quick list

Here's a quick overview of the best streaming services you can buy right now based on our testing and reviews. And keep up on scrolling if you want to see our in-depth analysis of all the top streaming services for every user and budget. 

The best streaming services now

The home screen of the Max streaming app has Shazam: Fury of the Gods advertisedEditor's Choice

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey / Tom's Guide)
The best streaming service around is the home box office

Specifications

Starting price: $9.99 per month (with ads)
Simultaneous streams: 2 (4 with Ultimate tier)
Live TV: No
Exclusive originals: Yes
Platforms and devices: Amazon Fire, Roku, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, PlayStation 4, Macs and PCs, Samsung Smart TV, Xbox One, TiVo

Reasons to buy

+
Award-winning original programming
+
Top-tier movies
+
Original news programming

Reasons to avoid

-
4K costs extra
-
Last Chance section is practically hidden

Max has everything HBO Max had, and then some, just like how HBO Max enhanced HBO. Now, the most popular Discovery Plus content is added in, so Logan Roy and Guy Fieri sit side by side in the Series section, in a situation nobody ever imagined. All for the same $15.99 that HBO Max cost.

But there are minor headaches, such as all the shows and movies beginning with "the" are grouped together in alphabetical sorting under T.  Which can get confusing. You need to pay more for 4K, too. Fortunately, existing HBO Max subscribers keep 4K and other perks for the first six months of Max's existence. Oh, and the Last Chance section no longer has the dates for when stuff's leaving, and it's hidden in the New & Notable section. Check out our guide to the best HBO Max shows, and the best HBO Max movies to see what it's offering. 

Check our our full Max review.

The best streaming service for new TV shows

A reclined person on a couch watches Hulu, one of the best streaming servicesbest value awards badge

(Image credit: Hulu; Shutterstock)
The best streaming service for cord-cutters

Specifications

Starting price: $8 per month (with ads)
Simultaneous streams: 2
Live TV: + Live TV upgrade costs $70 per month ($77 starting Oct. 2023)
Exclusive originals: Yes
Platforms and devices: Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Echo Show, Fire Tablets, Fire TV, iPhones and iPads, LG TV (select models), Nintendo Switch, Mac and PC, PlayStation 3 (no live programming), PlayStation 4, Roku, Samsung TV (select models), VIZIO SmartCast TVs, Xbox, Xfinity Flex & X1

Reasons to buy

+
Great selection of current TV
+
Inexpensive
+
Quality original programming

Reasons to avoid

-
Frequent commercials
-
Inconsistent selections from older TV seasons

Hulu's one of the most interesting options on this list, and its unique nature makes sure it's one of the best streaming services. While it doesn't deliver as many new originals as say Netflix, its quality to quantity ratio is better. But more importantly, its next-day airings of cable and broadcast TV  shows make it a must-have for many cord-cutters who don't want to spend $40 or more on the likes of Sling. And while it's still our value pick, a new Hulu price hike puts its ad-free tier at $17.99, which is more than standard Netflix and the ad-free Max. There's also Hulu + live TV (which goes up to $77 in October) as the ultimate back to school package, since it includes Hulu's shows and throws in Disney Plus and ESPN.

In addition, the service hosts a number of original shows (including joint ventures with the BBC, like The Wrong Mans and season 4 of The Thick of It), a selection of offbeat movies and a surprising amount of classic anime series. Recent Hulu hits include Only Murderers In the Building season 2, Fire Island and The Dropout. Even with a paid subscription, you have to sit through commercials, but far fewer than if you watched the same shows on cable. Hulu's live TV streaming option is also a solid aspect of its overall package, and that will let you watch CBS too. Wondering what to watch? Check out our lists of the best shows on Hulu and the best movies on Hulu.

Check out our full Hulu with Live TV review or view our Hulu promo codes

The best streaming service with a ton of content

A family watches Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix, one of the best streaming servicesEditor's Choice

(Image credit: Netflix)
Still one of the best streaming services, but looking for its next hit

Specifications

Starting price: $11.99 per month (Basic) or $6.99 per month (Standard with ads)
Simultaneous streams: 1-4
Live TV: No
Exclusive originals: Yes
Platforms and devices: Android, iOS, web browers, Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, Nvidia Shield, Roku, Smart TVs, PS4, Xbox, set top boxes,

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent selection
+
Optimized interface
+
Some of the biggest shows in streaming

Reasons to avoid

-
Too expensive for 4K
-
Titles come and go frequently

The great-granddaddy in the market remains near the top of our list of the best streaming services. As you probably know, Netflix provides unlimited streaming of TV shows, movies, comedy specials and original programming (we need Stranger Things 5 now) for one monthly subscription fee. It's continuing to try and make big movies its big thing, but The Gray Man wasn't exactly a winner (a sequel is coming, though). The new Netflix with ads plan offers a new $6.99 entry-point, but the previously affordable Basic plan just got a price hike. So did the already-too-expensive Premium plan.

Netflix is constantly adding and taking away movies, so you'll want to check our what's new on Netflix guide to see what's coming soon, and what you should watch before it's gone. Some may want to cancel Netflix for trying to get them to pay more, though, as something called "Paid sharing" looks to put an end to shared accounts.

Wondering what to watch? Check out our lists of the best shows on Netflix and the best movies on Netflix.

Read our full Netflix review.

The best streaming service for families

A TV with disney plus, one of the best streaming servicesEditor's Choice

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best streaming service for families

Specifications

Starting price: $8 per month (with ads)
Simultaneous streams: 4
Live TV: No
Exclusive originals: Yes
Platforms and devices: Amazon Fire TV and Fire tablets, Roku, Chromecast, iOS, iPadOS, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Xbox, PlayStation 4, Android-based Sony Smart TVs, Chromebooks, Samsung and LG devices

Reasons to buy

+
Lots of beloved content
+
Great originals
+
UHD resolution options

Reasons to avoid

-
Odd gaps in content lineup
-
Annoyingly high price

Disney Plus is a dominant player in the category, and why wouldn't it be? Disney controls a frankly frightening number of properties, from Marvel, to Star Wars, to Disney's own animated canon, to The Simpsons (all 30 seasons, and counting). The incoming Disney Plus price hike pushes ad-free Disney Plus up another $3 to $14, though the $8 ad-free plan remains unchanged.

While we like the Disney Plus apps — they're all snappy, responsive and well-made — we've always wanted more from the service. For example, we find ourselves waiting for the next big thing too often. 

We're also curious about what will change with the addition of TV-MA content in the U.S., as Disney Plus gets the Netflix Marvel shows and improved parental controls. Deadpool, Deadpool 2 and Logan are the first R-rated Disney plus movies, too, but those are just drops in the bucket, as Netflix and HBO Max have long outranked Disney Plus when it comes to a wide variety of content for adults. Fans of Disney, Marvel, Pixar and/or Star Wars have no choice but to subscribe, which makes Disney Plus one of the best streaming services. 

Trying to figure out what's actually good? Our guides to the best Disney Plus movies and the best Disney Plus shows can help.

Read our full Disney Plus review.

The best streaming service for live TV

The home screen on Sling TV shows cable news options on a wall-mounted TVEditor's Choice

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey / Tom's Guide)
The best live TV streaming service

Specifications

Starting price: $40 per month (often half-off for your first month)
Simultaneous streams: 1-4
Live TV: Yes
Exclusive originals: No
Platforms and devices: Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, iPhone and iPad, web browsers, Android, Android TV, Xbox, Samsung Smart TVs, LG Smart TVs and VIZIO Smart TVs

Reasons to buy

+
Much cheaper than cable
+
Wide breadth of content
+
Now with ABC in select markets

Reasons to avoid

-
Occasional pixelated streams and buffering issues
-
Rising price

Unlike the above on-demand services that outrank it, Sling TV is a streaming service to replace cable, offering many of the most popular live TV channels. We (two of TG's streaming writers) cut the cord with Sling TV for the following two reasons: its competitive price is married with a decent assortment of channels. Sling is especially handy for sports fans, as it offers a variety of ESPN channels — and this alone is worth the price for some. 

Other popular networks, like NBC, BBC America, CNN, Cartoon Network, TBS and the Food Network, sweeten the deal. If you want a live TV service with more channels (such as CBS), we say consider Fubo TV, unless you need TNT. In which case, Sling may be the best for you. Check out our Sling TV guide to packages, channels and more. While the other popular streaming services start at around $65 or $70, Sling stands out with its $40 per month starting price. 

But between the Dec. 2020 $5 price hike and Sling Blue going up by $5 in select markets due to ABC? Things are complicated. At least it's cheaper than the $73 YouTube TV and the $77 Hulu + Live TV. 

Sling keeps changing its new offer deal. It's currently at 50% off for your first month, and that's the best deal. Sometimes it goes to $10 off the first month. 

Read our full Sling TV review or view our Sling TV promo codes

The best streaming service for value

The Office on Peacock

(Image credit: NBCUniversal)
The best streaming service for value

Specifications

Starting price: $5.99 per month for Peacock Premium
Simultaneous streams: 3
Live TV: Sports and WWE
Exclusive originals: Yes
Platforms and devices: Fire TV, Fire tablet, iPhone, iPad, Chromecast, Xbox, PlayStation 4 & 5, Smart TVs, Apple TV, Roku, Xfinity

Reasons to buy

+
Lots of classic TV shows
+
Big sports events
+
Live WWE events

Reasons to avoid

-
Originals offerings still need to improve
-
Free tier no longer available to new members

Peacock is our favorite rising streaming service, as it continues to add great shows. The latest is Poker Face, starring Natasha Lyonne. The recent bad news, though, is that Peacock is the latest service to get a price hike (up $1 per month). We also love Peacock because it's the one major streaming service that's yet to adopt a price hike, something all of the competitors seem to be doing these days.

We at Tom's Guide subscribe to Peacock for a variety of reasons. Some like the Peacock Originals Girls5eva and Vigil, which proved to be two of our favorite new shows — the kind of shows that got us to move from Peacock's free tier to its paid tier, back when the free tier was offered. Unfortunately, Girls5Eva is leaving for Netflix. One staffer (Henry) only has Peacock for the WWE live events and content. Check out the best Peacock shows list for more tips on what to watch.

Read our full Peacock review, and also Peacock TV promo codes to save on monthly costs

apple tv plus

(Image credit: Apple)
The best affordable streaming service for original content

Specifications

Starting price: $6.99
Simultaneous streams: 6
Live TV: No
Exclusive originals: Yes
Platforms and devices: Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, iPhones, iPads, Android TV, Chromecast with Google TV, LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and Vizio smart TVs, web browsers, Xbox One/Series consoles, Android

Reasons to buy

+
Increasingly strong original programming
+
Quality over quantity
+
Excellent music documentaries

Reasons to avoid

-
Recent price hike
-
Web browser app isn't great

When we first named Apple TV Plus one of the best streaming services, it entered this list at the very end, in last place. In the months since? We keep going back to Apple TV Plus, as its hot streak is almost unparalleled outside of HBO Max. Severance was arguably the show of 2022, The Afterparty was a great surprise and Apple TV Plus even took home the best picture Oscar for CODA. So for anyone who says Apple TV Plus is for "Ted Lasso and little else," tell them they need to check out the best Apple TV Plus shows and movies. It's serving up programming that continues to surprise and charm, while Netflix almost feels routine and boring. 

The latest excellent Apple TV Plus show is Shrinking, starring Jason Segel, Jessica Williams and Harrison Ford — and it's from two of the minds behind Ted Lasso. Beyond that, there's the musical Schmigadoon!, the The Velvet Underground documentary and much more, including the excellent Mythic Quest. Want drama? For All Mankind and The Morning Show scratch the prestige and tabloid itches, respectively. And while it's getting into live sports with MLB and MLS, the recent Apple TV Plus price hike is not great news, as it went up from $4.99 to $6.99 per month.

Check out our full Apple TV Plus review.

A phone with fuboTV, one of the best streaming servicesEditor's Choice

(Image credit: FuboTV)
The best streaming service for sports afficionados