The Eagle Edition evaluated top streaming services, Netflix comes out on top
HBO Max is the priciest of them all at $15 dollars a month. It has solid content though, with classic shows such as “Game of Thrones,” “Gossip Girl,” “Chernobyl” and “Succession,” causing enough to attract viewers on its own. It also includes new originals, AT&T owned brands, cartoons and anime. It has a wide array of on-demand movies due to its content partnerships with New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. One can stream up to three screens simultaneously, but it is only available in the U.S. and doesn’t include 4K or audio descriptions for its original content. A large problem is that HBO Max is not available on two big streaming media platforms, Roku and Fire TV. At first glance, it seems to have everything, and it does have around 10,000 hours of content, but they have large gaps in their library. For example, many of the best DC movies such as the Christopher Nolan “Batman” trilogy are missing. This service could be a little more organized, and the design doesn’t feel completely finished. There is a Coming Soon tab that details when new shows will be released, but the Last Chance tab does not give dates for when titles will be leaving. HBO Max’s ad-free, great content gains itself a spot higher than Hulu, but it’s large content gaps, lack of 4K and availability on some streaming media platforms brings it below Netflix and Disney+.
Disney+ is a must have for Disney, Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel or National Geographic lovers. These are easily accessible and organized by content pillars where one can select any of these five catagories. There is also an originals tab, though other streaming services like Netflix offer this as well. Another unique addition to the Disney+ content is the 30 seasons worth of “The Simpsons” that is included on the service. They have sing-a-longs and musicals for all Disney fanatics too. It is one of the most affordable streaming services on the market, with a price of $7 a month. This is an incredible price for such rich content, four simultaneous streams, 4K and over 1,000 movies and 7,500 TV shows. In fact, it is such a steal that Disney has been able to gain 50 million subscribers in less than a year. Disney+ also has a bundle package that includes not only the service, but Hulu and ESPN for only $12.99 per month. Subscribing to this bundle rather than each of those services individually saves $5 a month. On the other hand, there have been a couple of odd movie disappearances without warning like “Home Alone,” “Home Alone 2” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.” Movies such as “Deadpool” and “Logan” that have ties with Marvel have been left off the content because of their R rating. Although Disney+ lacks mature content, it has great family friendly shows and movies for a very reasonable price.
Netflix is the most widely used streaming service with approximately 183 million subscribers, 15.7 percent of which were gained in 2020 alone, according to Fox Business. Netflix offers a vast content variety, including more originals than any other service, it also provides a great recommendation system. The system takes into account one’s watch history, ratings of other shows, what other similar viewers liked and the duration of hours one watches shows. Using this data, Netflix creates an accurate list of shows and movies formulated to fit every viewer’s taste. A few popular Netflix originals include “The Kissing Booth” and “Termination,” but there are over 1,500 titles to choose from. There are a variety of plans to choose from, ranging between $9-$16 a month, which is at the higher end of most services. However, the idea is that if one buys a more expensive package, it can be shared with up to four accounts and split between friends or family. Some shows get taken off when the license expires, and Netflix also decides content based on popularity. Netflix’s recommendation system, content and price make it hard to beat. Even though some shows get taken off, the majority of people don’t miss them.
Hulu has a great selection and includes 35 exclusive TV originals such as “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Little Fires Everywhere.” Hulu accounts for around 14 percent of all TV streaming hours and has multiple packages to choose from. The least expensive one is $6 and has 32 million subscribers, but the reason for its low price are the commercials it features—a 30 minute episode will feature 5 minutes of advertising. However, a premium $11.99 a month subscription gives the viewer an ad-free Hulu. For $54.99 a month, one can subscribe to Hulu with live TV, which features more than 60 channels of news, sports and entertainment, and a subscription to Hulu with live TV and no ads runs for $60.99. For those willing to pay this amount, the latter is the best service when trying to cut the cord. With the least expensive package, only two devices can stream simultaneously, which doesn’t help when there are three people living in the same household. But there is an option to add unlimited users to the package for an extra $14.99 a month. Hulu has limited 4K content and only some originals can be streamed at that resolution. The like and dislike buttons were recently added to the content, which have helped create a more accurate recommendation system. Another new change is the platform design, which has taken on a more modern media-first aesthetic and has easier navigation menus. In short, Hulu has a great design and a variety of current TV programming but limited streams and ads if one can only afford the least expensive package.