Best Streaming Video Services 2017



The days of having to tune in live or buy expensive discs in order to watch your favorite shows and movies are gone. Online streaming makes it possible to watch everything from live news and sports to classic movies to modern TV favorites on your own time, and on any device you choose.

To help you get the most out of your smart TV, game console, set-top box, tablet, smartphone or computer, Tom's Guide has broken down our favorite streaming media services. Whatever you like to watch, there's a service with your tastes in mind, and in your price range.

Streaming Service
Best For
Starting Price
Netflix
Overall
$9 per month
Hulu
Network TV
$8 per month
Amazon Instant Video
Families
$99 per year or $7.99 per month
Playstation Vue
Cable TV Replacement$50 per month
Sling Orange
Budget Cable TV Replacement
$20 per month
Crackle
Vegging Out
Free
HBO GO, HBO NOW
Premium Content
$14.99 per month
Twitch
Gamers
Free
Vevo
Music Fans
Free


Netflix: Best Overall Streaming Service

MORE: Best Shows to Watch on Netflix Now


Hulu: Best Streaming Service for Network TV

MORE: Best Shows to Watch on Hulu Right Now

Amazon Video: Best Streaming Service for Families

MORE: Best Shows to Watch on Amazon Prime Instant Video Now

PlayStation Vue: Best Cable TV Replacement

MORE: PlayStation Vue Online TV Review: Smarter than Cable

Sling.TV: Best Budget Cable TV Replacement

NOTE: For a more comprehensive comparison of cable replacement services, check out the Tom's Guide rankings.

Crackle: Best Streaming Service for Vegging Out

HBO GO/HBO NOW: Best Service for Premium Content

Twitch: Best Streaming Service for Gamers

Vevo: Best Streaming Service for Music Fans

What to Stream

Picking a streaming service is just the first step. The real nitty gritty is deciding what to watch. We've scoured the options on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Now and Showtime Anytime to bring you the best shows to binge watch. We'll tell you which service has each show and exactly how long it will take for you to watch every episode.

Cord cutters should also check out our best HDTV Antennas page to make sure they never miss local sports and weather.


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23 comments
    Your comment
  • vgrandja
    I can think of another "Cons" for most of the online streaming services: available only within USA!
    1
  • JaxChampion
    Netflix is NOT more expensive for those who have more than one TV. I happen to have 4 in my large family. For this I pay $20.00 a month for Netflix. On Hulu I would be paying $32.00 for the same level of service. Also, Amazon prime is sharable as well with my family so Hulu is the most expensive option not Netflix.
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  • mwaldrep4571
    Now with new HDCP 2.2 requirements and HDMI 2.0 requirements, you can't watch HD or UHD streaming unless all hardware meets that standard with Amazon Prime. I also heard that Netflix is starting that also. The only service that appears to still offer HD is Hulu. Unless you make good money and can afford to purchase a New HDTV that meets requirements and if you want to stream via PC or MAC you have to buy a new PC or buy a new video card that meets that standard you are not able to stream at HD or UHD quality. Oh, and Apple doesn't have a mac that meets those standards yet. Not even the Mac Pro.
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  • guganye
    think of another "Cons" for most of the online streaming services: available only within USA!
    0
  • rlndsz
    lol so Hulu has "Subpar movie selection" and Netflix has "Excellent selection". You got that backward, unless you mean the number of titles. Netflix selection of movies however large it is, 80% of it are pure trash. On Hulu side you have superior quality movies and also the whole Criterion collection, with excellent titles, nothing comes near that on Netflix side.
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  • Vault101
    Marshall Honorof, You missed one - VUDU allows you to purchase and rent .Keeping a large library of movies and TV seasons available for viewing. the downside to them is that they use ports that certain firewalls will block. Check them out, I would love to get your feedback.
    0
  • Justin_87
    Playstation Vue is available on Amazon Fire TV, as well as Playstation. Also, the prices are $29.99 for Access Slim (55+ channels), $34.99 for Core Slim (70+ channels), and $44.99 for Elite Slim (100+ channels). I live in Austin and it is available here, so I'm not sure why you are misquoting this stuff. If you actually wrote and published this article on May 4th, then you source of info is bad, because these have been the prices well before May 4th and included many more markets.
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  • gordokc77
    Hulu is nothing but crap all they do is send you to other sites so you're paying $8 to $10 a month for what to be sent to a website you could have went to anyway if you want to stream something you need to get on a good site like Showbox are YouTube rest of them are no good HBO is okay but they want so much money and they don't even play dirty movies
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  • Chris_C_K
    Hulu is jammed packed with adverts! They just don't get the whole pay for streaming paradigm.
    0
  • Mitchblue
    Netflix seems to have nothing I watch anymore. I'm tired of them. I want a service for older movies from the 30's, 40's, and 50's. Not sure anyone has those type.. I like Prime but they use so much freakin' data.
    0
  • jwr0404
    what I like about Amazon over Netflix is the infinite choices. You can just keep clicking, "what other customers watched" and you can get into some pretty neat obscure stuff not found anywhere else; it seems never ending. Netflix limits choices and rarely changes content. I would rather see these services on Roku instead of Amazon Fire because Roku still has streaming problems with 4K content they aren't yet willing to admit.
    0
  • yannisgk
    just try selecttv cable cutter!!!it's very good!!!
    0
  • Prakash1973
    Great List. Great article.
    0
  • Michael_Bluewings
    What about Crunchyroll and Funimation streaming services for anime streaming? Though Hulu does a good job at this as well.
    0
  • j-ameson
    Wow, HUGE miss in the cons for Playstation Vue -- in most areas there is no FOX/NBC/ABC access. They claim that you can 'onDemand' shows from those channels anyway, but the list of onDemand shows is EXTREMELY minimal. You will not actually be able to watch network TV or record your favorite network TV shows, since odds are good they're not on the short list. Also, there's no CBS. Like, anywhere. Seriously.

    Playstation Vue is a "non-network-TV cable replacement", meaning it will give you access to things like AMC, Comedy Central, TNT, TBS, USA, DIY, etc. But the "big 4"? Nope.

    It's extremely disingenuous to call Playstation Vue a "best cable TV replacement" without at a minimum also mentioning that the "big 4" are missing from it for the majority of users.
    0
  • cylois
    You are wrong about sling TV. For $40 you get all the channels plus all the ESPN's Fox Sports NBC sports South East sports. Plus you get a three epicx movies stations. And you can if you want get HBO or any of the movie channels. You can watch sling on three different devices at one time. Sling TV has change......you need to check it out I have it and I love it
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  • sherig
    What about the fitness space? Any recommendations on the best streaming services there?
    0
  • intotv
    I found a great channel- PRO CLASSIC TV - - Its on my Roku, but ive also seen it on HULU, and online (proclassictv.com). Im in my late 40's, but enjoy classic tv shows, and this service has the better ones, even The Bill Cosby show from the 70', which few know about.
    My favorite is My Favorite Martian- gotta love it.
    0
  • ojaioaks
    Actually, you're wrong about Amazon only offering a $99 yearly subscription. They do offer a monthly subscription for $9 a month. I have one. Also, Amazon is shareable on multiple devices. You want tv without paying for cable and monthly subscriptions for streaming apps, get the Amazon Fire Stick or Amazon Fire TV Box. It does cost $99 to purchase one. But that is all you pay. No subscriptions, no other fees and you don't even need an Amazon account to buy one. All you need is an internet connection. You buy the stick or box, connect it to your tv and turn on. It is wireless, so you can easily access your internet without being plugged into it. Then there you are. I can watch any tv show or any movie I want, as long as it's already been aired. Yes, I have to wait until the next day after a show airs to watch. But I have no cable bill, just a $75.00 internet bill, that's it. You don't even need Hulu or Netflix, unless you want them. I can even watch movies that are still in theaters. No paying to go to the movies anymore. I highly recommend if you are looking to cut the cable.
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