Coronavirus, an unforeseen twist to the decade, has significantly altered people’s lives around the globe. Instead of going out with friends or interacting with the outside world at all, people are confined within their houses, and this new ordeal of self-isolation leaves many feeling adrift and listless, unsure of what to do with their time. Oftentimes, being productive is fulfilling and makes us feel good. However, we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, and morphing into a couch blob as one watches hours of content is perfectly acceptable. This leads to a quintessential question of these troubled times: Which streaming service should I use?
There are four giants in the streaming industry that I will cover today, namely Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. They each have a diverse catalog of offerings, loaded with hours of entertainment. However, not all are created equal.
The first thing to take into account when choosing the best streaming service will be the price point. Hulu is the cheapest, with their Basic subscription coming at $5.99 per month. However, this has advertisements included as you’re viewing, but those can be eliminated with their Premium membership at $11.99 per month. Disney Plus comes in next at a $6.99 monthly fee, with Netflix following at $9 per month for one screen and standard definition, with two screens and high definition at $13 monthly. Netflix has a final Premium offering at $16 dollars per month, with four screens and Ultra HD. Finally, Amazon Prime has their streaming service bundled with Prime, for $12.99. Hulu and Disney plus can be purchased in a bundle, alongside ESPN, for $12.99 per month.
|Service||Cost per month|
|Hulu||$5.99 with Ads, $11.99 without|
|Disney Plus, Hulu, ESPN combo||$12.99|
|Netflix||$9 for one screen and Standard Definition, $13 for two screens and HD, $16 for four screens and Ultra HD|
I’ll start with Hulu, the cheapest service. Hulu’s programming reflects modern television more than the others. They have more reality shows and shows geared for TV audiences, such as Chopped! and others found on a traditional TV provider. They also carry some dreamworks movies such as How To Train Your Dragon, but in the end, Hulu feels very lackluster. If one is paying for the basic version, the ads are annoying and considerably lower one’s enjoyment. For the cheapest option, Hulu is passable, but inevitably boring and superficial.
Next up is Disney Plus. At $6.99 per month, Disney Plus gets you the most bang for your buck. It’s full to the brim of original classic Disney content such as Snow White and Alice in Wonderland, and newer Disney movies like Pirates of the Caribbean and The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. It also carries a solid amount of Pixar movies, like all of the Cars and Toy Story movies, along with other classics such as UP and Ratatouille. Alongside a treasure trove of Star Wars movies and the best of Marvel, Disney Plus is much more entertaining than Hulu for only a dollar more. Disney Plus is also the best offering for families with young children, due to the wealth of family programming.
The third streaming service I will address is hands down the best one. No surprise here, it’s Netflix. It’s the priciest, but the magnitude of content they offer is more than any person could consume, and Netflix has been putting out stellar original content such as Stranger Things, Bojack Horseman, the new sensation of Tiger King, and many others. Netflix also carries classics such as Goodfellas, Groundhog Day, all three of the Matrix movies, Monty Python movies, and so much more. Disney plus may be better for young children and Star Wars fans, but there is simply much more on Netflix and it will last you longer. Netflix is the best of the four.
Finally, the one I have the hardest time writing about. Prime Video. It’s included when you subscribe to Amazon Prime, which has a myriad of its own benefits, but there is one glaring problem with Prime Video. Normally, I wouldn’t mention the user interface (UI) of the services because I’m reviewing their content, but Prime’s UI is so abysmal that it’s almost impossible to actually figure out what they offer, short of searching individual movies. While Netflix, Disney Plus, and Hulu all have the typical rotating “carousels” of shows and movies, Prime video looks like an Amazon page for buying products, which absolutely does not help in figuring out what they have. How I use Prime is to check if they offer a picture that none of the others have. Due to its crummy UI, it’s my last resort. Admittedly, if none of the other three have a title, there’s a good chance it’s on Prime, but if you want to watch a certain movie that badly, renting it is always an option. Prime video is definitely nice to have, but doesn’t hold a candle to Netflix or Disney Plus. Their original programming is good, but Netflix just offers so much more.
|Hulu||Lowest price, has some solid TV show offerings.||Ad-supported is annoying, and TV isn’t really stellar content. There’s not a whole lot.|
|Disney Plus||Great for families with young children, has Pixar and Disney movies, along most Star Wars and Marvel.||There’s not a whole lot of content once you watch it, and it can get stale.|
|Netflix||Has the biggest library, and puts out stellar original content. Has the most interesting, engaging shows and movies.||Most expensive.|
|Amazon Prime||Can act as a catch-all if other services don’t have something.||The user interface is abysmal and makes it really difficult to actually find anything they offer.|
In the end, Netflix is the best. It offers the most content, and most of it is high quality. Disney Plus comes in second, due to it being cheaper and providing a great amount of entertainment for all ages, with Hulu coming in third due to its barebones offerings. Prime Video comes in last due to how much of a pain it is to use, though Amazon Prime has benefits past the streaming.
Now, armed with this knowledge, I wish you luck in your quarantine quandaries, and will be couch blobbing in solidarity.
Dipane, Jared. “Disney Plus Price: Bundles, Deals, & How to Get a Year Free.” androidcentral. 17 Apr. 2020. https://www.androidcentral.com/disney-plus-free-price. Accessed 17 Apr. 2020
Levenson, Josh. “How much does Netflix Cost? A breakdown of the streamer’s plans.” Digital Trends. 17 Feb. 2020. https://www.digitaltrends.com/movies/netflix-cost-pricing-plan-breakdown/. Accessed 17 Apr. 2020.
Honorof, Marshall, and Ramirez, Louis. “What is Amazon Prime?” Tom’s Guide. 10 Apr. 2020 https://www.tomsguide.com/us/what-is-amazon-prime,news-18041.html. Accessed 17 Apr. 2020.