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These Are The Best Streaming Services For Your Buck

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With streamers such as Max, Netflix, Disney, and more upping their subs in recent months, it’s hard to keep track of what your bills will look like when it’s time to pay up; that’s what we’re here for.

Below, we will break down each subscription’s plans/bundles and offer insight into which streaming service gives you, the consumer, more bang for your buck, especially if you missed out on all the Black Friday streaming deals that came out this year.

Let’s observe:

  • Standard with ads*: $6.99 / month
  • Standard: $15.49 / month (extra member slots** can be added for $7.99 each / month)
  • Premium: $22.99 / month (extra member slots** can be added for $7.99 each / month)

Is It Worth It?: No

We’ve already aired our grievances about Netflix, but the short version is Netflix has fallen off and gotten way too expensive to pay for passively at this point. There are also so many screen limitations that you have to pay extra for another member to enjoy the service outside your house. Lastly, there’s no live television service. And with shows getting dropped left and right, we can’t recommend paying for the streamer unless a show you like is assuredly coming back. And we can’t lie; 2024 has a hell of a lineup.

  • Hulu With Ads: $7.99 a month/$79.99 a year
  • Hulu No Ads: $17.99 a month/$179.99 a year
  • Hulu + Live TV: $89.99 a month
  • The Disney Bundle Trio Basic (Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ ad-supported): $14.99 a month
  • The Disney Bundle Trio Premium (Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ ad-free): $24.99 a month

Is It Worth It?: No, only if it’s bundled!

We also can’t recommend Hulu by itself unless you get a bundle offer that includes ESPN, Disney+, or both. By itself, its library of titles doesn’t contain any “must-have” shows or movies outside of a few of its original content. However, its bundle of services brings forth entire libraries that, depending on what kind of TV watcher you are, can smooth the deal over and even save you some money so you’re not spending in full for both streamers individually. Live TV is also a good touch, even if it is pricy for a monthly sub.

  • With Ads – $9.99/month or $99.99/year (16% savings)
  • Ad-Free – $15.99/month or $149.99/year (over 20% savings)
  • Ultimate Ad-Free – $19.99/month or $199.99/year (over 16% savings)

Is It Worth It?: Yes, but only Ad-Free (through a cable provider, if possible)

Max boasts one of the most extensive libraries of content, thanks to the amalgamation of HBO and Discovery+. Within Max, you’ll find an array of renowned content from brands such as Warner Bros., Studio Ghibli, and TCM. Additionally, it is introducing a beta version of its Live service without any cost. While the Ad-Free plan, included with your cable provider if you have HBO, may exclude 4K offerings, we believe it currently stands as the optimal choice. We assert that as monthly subscription costs approach $20, previously available features should not be restricted by a paywall; instead, they should incorporate new additions.

  • Disney+ monthly subscription: $13.99 per month.
  • Disney+ annual subscription: $139.99 per year.
  • Hulu monthly subscription: $17.99 per month.
  • Hulu + Live TV monthly subscription: $89.99 per month.
  • ESPN+ monthly subscription: $10.99 per month.
  • ESPN+ annual subscription: $109.99 per year starting.
  • Disney+ and Hulu Duo Bundle (no ads): $19.99 per month
  • Disney+ and Hulu Duo Bundle (with ads): $9.99 per month
  • The Disney Bundle Trio Basic (Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ ad-supported): $14.99 per month.
  • The Disney Bundle Trio Premium (Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ ad-free): $24.99 per month.

Is It Worth It?: No, only Disney+/Hulu bundle is worth it (if you can even upgrade to it!) Otherwise, wait for both apps to merge.

Disney+ houses the extensive Disney Vault, making it a valuable asset for families wanting to entertain their kids. But it has an overwhelming amount of bundles, including ESPN and/or Hulu. However, the subscription cost for Disney+ may seem steep, given its focus on predominantly children’s content. While the platform does offer Marvel and Star Wars content for adults, including original shows, some may find superhero fatigue and lackluster Star Wars material less appealing. Similar to Hulu, having Disney+ on a monthly basis might not be justified. Plus, it quietly got rid of its GroupWatch feature that enabled folks with accounts to have a watch party. We really loved that feature.

A more practical approach could be to consider subscribing when Disney+ and Hulu are merged into a single app. Although the pricing details are not confirmed, we assume it will align with their existing duo bundle, priced at $19.99/month, with an ad-supported option at $9.99/month. Transitioning to this new bundle as an existing Disney+ member may pose challenges (leading us to cancel our entire account), but we eagerly await updates on the combined app.

  • Premium monthly subscription: $5.99 per month
  • Premium annual subscription: $59.99 a year
  • Premium Plus monthly subscription: $11.99 per month
  • Premium Plus annual subscription: $119.99 a year

Is It Worth It?: Yes, Premium monthly is worth it!

The Premium subscription allows streaming for up to 3 devices at once. Although this sub comes with ads, they aren’t too obnoxious. Of course, the Premium Plus offer largely lessens all the ads, but there are still some “limited exclusions,” as they call it. It also comes with Live local NBC news service and the ability to download content, which used to be available in the basic version of the plan before they locked it behind the Plus subscription. Some promising new shows include Twisted Metal, Poker Face, and Bupkis.

As such, we feel the Premium monthly subscription is one of the best bangs for your buck. Especially if you’re into Bravo, watching live sports and events, or love the WWE (like we do). If you enjoy their film offerings like we do every month, you may want to opt for the annual version of the Premium sub, which will save you 12 bucks.

  • Monthly subscription: $9.99 per month
  • Annual subscription: $99.99 a year
  • MLS Season Pass subscription: $12.99 per month
  • Apple One: Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and additional iCloud storage, plus you can share access with up to five other people with Family and Premier.
    • Individual is $19.95 per month
    • Family is $25.95 per month 
    • Premier is $37.95 per month

Is It Worth It?: Yes, monthly subscription is worth it! (Try to get a free trial!)

Although it began as one of the cheapest services, it has jacked its prices twice in one year. One year ago, before the first hike, it stood at $4.99, then $6.99, and now it’s $9.99 monthly. Even though something like that would annoy us, Apple TV+ is one of the few streaming services offering free trials that sometimes extend from 7 days to 3 months. That evens it out, in our opinion, especially considering the number of quality shows it has accumulated throughout the years, like Severance, Ted Lasso, and Monarch: Legacy of Monsters. And unlike Netflix, the low content volume allows the streamer to see shows through to their natural conclusions, making it a worthy long-term investment (although we can’t say the same for the Apple One offer). We say try to grab a free trial and try the monthly subscription after it’s done.

The only downside is that its library largely consists of only Apple Originals if you use streamers to watch some of your favorite classics.

  • Amazon Prime membership: $14.99 per month, $139 a year
  • Amazon Prime Student membership: $7.49 per month, $69 a year
  • Prime Access membership: $6.99 per month

Is It Worth It?: Yes, but only if you use Amazon Prime delivery!

For avid online shoppers, Prime Video is an obvious choice. Priced at $139 (formerly $119) annually, it provides complimentary two-day shipping for Amazon Prime purchases, a monthly free Kindle book, and unrestricted access to both Amazon Music and Prime Video. Similar to Netflix, Prime Video offers a diverse selection of movies, TV shows, and original content, with notable titles like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Man in the High Castle, Invincible, and The Boys. However, Prime Video releases fewer new shows than Netflix and Max.

This is a make-or-break streamer, as it all depends on how valuable Amazon Prime delivery is to you. If it’s not, Prime Video is easy to cancel and opt back into whenever you need to.

  • Paramount+ Essential: $5.99 per month, $59.99 a year
  • Paramount+ with SHOWTIME: $11.99 per month, $119.99 a year

Is It Worth It?: No, only if you’re a diehard Taylor Sheridan fan.

Although Paramount+ has a pretty decent price point and a pretty robust library of over 45,000 titles under its belt, it’s never talked about as one of the best streamers available. Well, its Essential service is a bit bare and has more than a few commercials. But it comes with the NFL on CBS & UEFA Champions League access.

There’s also a bundle that comes with Showtime that eliminates most ads, allows for downloading, and offers more premiere shows like Yellowjackets, Billions, and The Chi. That plan also comes with live TV with CBS & college football.

Here’s the thing, though: outside of a few shows that have recently ended, like Star Trek: Picard, it has content more catered to “maturer audiences” like Fatal Attraction and Joe Pickett, Taylor Sheridan shows, and those that enjoy network content. Although it has Nickelodeon content for kids, the better titles in its bag are classics like I Love Lucy, Cheers, and Fraiser.

If you’re into streamers and are passionate about cowboys, procedurals, and classic CBS programming, this streamer is for you. Otherwise, you may want to skip it entirely.

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