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This fall promises to be a very, very exciting time for streaming platforms. A couple of the big ones have been around for awhile, but Disney+ is set to drop in November so the competition (and your options as a consumer) are picking up.
With all these platforms to choose from, you might be wondering which ones you should subscribe to, especially if your budget is limited. Here’s a list of some of the major players out there, along with what they’re known for and what they’re good at.
Netflix is the old vanguard when it comes to streaming, which is kind of funny considering how they were viewed as an upstart by the traditional TV and film industries for so long. At $16.99 per month for a premium plan, Netflix is one of the more expensive options on this list. Disney is also pulling their content for their own streaming platform, so Netflix is also set to lose a ton of movies—especially when it comes to popular franchises such as Star Wars and Marvel.
Despite these setbacks, Netflix has been preparing for this handover for some time. Their current plan is to replace this loss with 50% original programming, according to Forbes. Netflix has also been increasing its repertoire of international shows and movies, and it continues to produce “Netflix Originals” at a steady, unabated pace.
Additionally, they’ve snagged some very big deals: the two most notable are a TV adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone book series, and a massive, multi-million dollar deal with David Benioff and D.B. Weiss: the frontrunners of the recently complete Game of Thrones series.
Verdict: Netflix is pumping out enough content that it’s fine to stay put if you’re already subscribed. This is especially true if you’re a fan of international TV shows, indie films, or genre TV that is not connected to one of the big franchises.
Amazon Prime Video is another streaming service that has been around for quite a few years, and while it’s definitely a powerhouse it hasn’t developed as ardent a following (or as big of a buzz) as the upcoming Disney+. This might change once their Lord of the Rings TV show is finally released.
Amazon’s catalogue has a little bit of everything, ranging from international movies to big-budget blockbusters and contemporary films. They’ve also produced some Amazon originals, most notably The Man in the High Castle. They’re also home to The Expanse, a fantastic sci-fi series about the clash between Earth and its outer planets.
Verdict: Amazon Prime Video is good to use if you already have a Prime account. It might also be one to watch if you’re a Lord of the Rings fan.
Disney+ is the new kid on the block. They’re also Netflix’s most serious streaming competitor to-date, with a war chest consisting of hundreds of creative properties. They’re set to make a splash when the platform officially launches in the fall.
Previously known-about shows such as The Mandalorian and Lady and the Tramp will be Disney+ exclusives. Additional news about a Lizzie McGuire series and Ewan McGregor reprising his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi for another Star Wars spin-off were also announced at the Disney convention D23. Disney+ also benefits from the fact its parent company owns Hulu—another streaming platform—which it will bundle with Disney+ for new subscribers.
Verdict: Disney+ is going to be essential for anyone who wants to get their Star Wars, Marvel, or Pixar fix. It’s also going to be the #1 spot for animated North American films. With its cheap price and exclusive content there’s tons of incentive to sign up.
Honorable Mention: HBO
Lastly, we need to give an honorable mention to HBO’s US-specific streaming platform HBO NOW: a streaming platform unconnected to their cable service.
HBO has been around for a long, long time, and for ages it’s been known as a powerhouse of prestige TV. It has a distinct style of filmmaking that is unique to its original series—with Chernobyl being one of the most recent to follow this trend. It was the home of Game of Thrones for many, many years, which brought in massive subscriber numbers.
Verdict: HBO NOW is a good alternative if you love the sort of serious, big-budget productions that HBO goes for, but with Game of Thrones gone, it’s a big question mark as to what their next frontrunner will be.
Are there other streaming platforms that you’re interested in? Let us know in the comment section below! Alternatively—if you want to know more about the downsides of streaming—here’s how the “streaming wars” could damage the streaming industry.