Want to get the most bang for your buck when streaming? Let's explore the top providers and find out who offers the best deals.

Since the dawn of streaming, thousands of services have popped onto the scene. As you look for the best streaming service out there, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. After all, there are just so many options vying for your attention.

So, how can you determine which streaming service offers you the absolute best value? Today I’ll dive into the details with a breakdown of the top eight streaming services that offer the most bang for your buck.

Let’s dive in!

Overview of the best values in streaming

Streaming serviceBest forCostFree trialAre there commercials?Popular shows and moviesAdd-on options
NetflixDiverse interests$8.99 to $17.99 per monthNoNoNarcos, Bridgerton, Ozark, The Queen’s Gambit, Virgin RiverN/A
Disney+Families with young children$8.99 to $13.99 per monthNoNoThe Mandalorian, WandaVision,The Lion King, MulanESPN+
Hulu (with ads)
HuluCurrently on-air TV shows$5.99 to $64.99 per monthYes
Yes, at the lowest price pointThe Handmaid’s Tale, This is Us, Cruel SummerDisney+
ESPN+
HBO Max
SHOWTIME
STARZ
CINEMAX
Amazon Prime VideoFree shipping shoppers$8.99 per month, or included in your Amazon Prime MembershipYesNoThe Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Goliath, The Main in the High CastleIncluded with your Amazon Prime Membership
HBO MaxMovie buffs$14.99 per monthNoNoThe Sopranos, Game of Thrones, FRIENDS: The ReunionN/A
CrackleNo-cost streamingFreeN/AYesLemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Going From Broke, WarN/A
Sling TVLive TV$35 to $50+ per monthNoYesNFL Network, HGTV, AMC, Bravo, BBC, ESPN, TLCSHOWTIME, STARZ, EPIX, CineFest, CineMoi, Comedy Dynamics, etc.
PeacockClassic sitcom aficionados$0 to $9.99 per monthYesYes, with some contentThe Office, Parks and Recreation, Downton Abbey, Modern FamilyN/A

Netflix

The 8 Best Values In Streaming: Streaming Services That Give You The Most For Your Dollar - Netflix

  • Types of content – Originals, TV shows, documentaries, movies.
  • Cost – $8.99 to $17.99 per month.
  • Number of shows – About 15,000 titles.
  • Free trial – No.
  • Year created – 1997.

No conversation about streaming services would be complete without including Netflix. As the original streaming giant, it is not surprising that Netflix still offers its customers great value. 

In fact, the streaming giant offers 1,326 TV shows and 4,339 movies to viewers within the U.S. This large number of titles translates into thousands of hours of content for subscribers.

Although Netflix originally hosted popular shows created by other networks, the company has pivoted to focus its efforts on creating original content in recent years. As this transition occurs, some popular titles have left the streaming platform while new shows and movies are created exclusively for subscribers.

Over time, the cost of streaming Netflix has risen. However, it is still a relatively affordable way to gain access to thousands of hours’ worth of content. You can explore the exclusive titles before signing up to ensure there’s something you are interested in. 

Learn more about Netflix.

Disney+

The 8 Best Values In Streaming: Streaming Services That Give You The Most For Your Dollar - Disney+

  • Types of content – Originals, TV shows, documentaries, movies.
  • Cost – $7.99 to $13.99 per month.
  • Number of shows – About 7,000 TV episodes and 500 films.
  • Free trial – No.
  • Year created – 2019.

Disney+ launched late in 2019. Although the entertainment giant was not the first on the streaming scene, it picked up over 100 million subscribers in just 16 months. The draw of Disney’s extensive catalog of original movies and TV shows has drawn new subscribers quickly.

Through Disney+, you’ll have access to different branded content, including National Geographic, the Star Wars universe, the Marvel universe, and Disney classics. Of course, there are thousands of hours of content that Disney has created in its long history on the streaming platform. But the CEO, Bob Capek, has also announced that Disney+ intends to add at least 100 new titles to the platform each year. 

Beyond this extensive library, Disney+ gives you the option to bundle with ESPN+ and Hulu for just a few dollars a month. With that, you’ll have access to everything in Disney+ and live sports!

All in all, Disney+ is a perfect option for families with a wide range of interests. 

Learn more about Disney+.

Hulu

The 8 Best Values In Streaming: Streaming Services That Give You The Most For Your Dollar - Hulu

  • Types of content – Originals, network channels, TV shows, documentaries, movies.
  • Cost – $5.99 to $64.99 per month.
  • Number of shows – About 2,700+ titles.
  • Free trial – Yes.
  • Year created – 2007.

Hulu is a streaming platform that has been available for many years. However, what sets this service apart is the ability to stay up to date with shows that are currently airing on TV. 

With that, you’ll have the option to cut your cable expenses and switch over to a streaming service. Not only will you have access to the latest episode, but also the previous seasons of most shows. In addition to shows that are airing on major networks, Hulu also offers some original content. 

A disadvantage of Hulu is that a base subscription won’t provide a commercial-free experience. At the $5.99 price point, you’ll gain access to the platform. But you’ll still have to suffer through commercials. You’ll need to pay $11.99 per month to enjoy your shows without sitting through commercials. 

An interesting feature offered by Hulu is the Live TV option. With this option, you’ll gain access to over 75 channels without getting cable. If you worry about missing your shows live, then this streaming service could be the best option for you. 

Learn more about Hulu.

Amazon Prime Video

The 8 Best Values In Streaming: Streaming Services That Give You The Most For Your Dollar - Amzon

  • Types of content – Originals, TV shows, documentaries, movies, sports.
  • Cost – $8.99 per month, or included in your Amazon Prime Membership.
  • Number of shows  About 24,000 movies and 2,100+ shows.
  • Free trial – Yes.
  • Year created – 2006.

Amazon Prime Video is known for offering worthwhile original content.

The depth of their original content library is shallower than what streaming giants like Netflix and Disney+ can offer. However, there are still many hidden gems in the Prime Video library. Additionally, the recent purchase of MGM by Amazon should dramatically boost the number of titles available through Prime Video. 

If you are worried about missing out on sports, Amazon has you covered. Beyond TV shows and movies, Amazon also offers Thursday Night Football games. Additionally, recent deals with Comedy Central and Nickelodeon have brought more content to the platform for children and families looking to laugh.

As a streaming service, Amazon Prime Video offers a lot of value. But you can get even more bang for your buck if you choose to access Prime Video through an Amazon Prime membership. At $12.99 per month, you’ll get free shipping on thousands of items. Plus, access to this extensive content library.

Learn more about Amazon Prime Video.

HBO Max

The 8 Best Values In Streaming: Streaming Services That Give You The Most For Your Dollar - HBO Max

  • Types of content – Originals, TV shows, documentaries, movies.
  • Cost – $14.99 per month.
  • Number of shows About 2,000 titles.
  • Free trial – No.
  • Year created: 2020.

HBO Max is a relatively new streaming service, but HBO has been around for a while. In fact, you’ve probably heard of HBO’s track record for creating outstanding original content.  For example, Game of Thrones was an HBO original that took the world by storm. 

Not only does HBO have a track record for creating outstanding original content, but the platform also has exclusive movie rights to some of the latest movies. So if you are a movie buff that wants access to the newest movies as soon as possible, HBO Max is likely the way to go for Warner Bros. Pictures’ movies. 

Although the sheer amount of content available on HBO is less than other platforms, the quality of the content is stellar. All things considered, you may choose to go with HBO Max for the quality, but you might miss out on the quantity available on other platforms. Of course, there is only so much TV you can stream. With that, HBO Max may have plentiful content for your needs. 

Learn more about HBO Max.

Crackle

The 8 Best Values In Streaming: Streaming Services That Give You The Most For Your Dollar - Crackle

  • Types of content – TV shows, documentaries, movies.
  • Cost – Free.
  • Number of shows – About 1,000+ movies and 70+ TV shows.
  • Free trial – N/A.
  • Year created – 2004.

Crackle is a free streaming service that you can access by creating an account. Although the platform is free, you’ll have to put up with commercials to stream any content. 

With a large amount of free content, you’ll find that the quality is hit or miss. The platform itself is a little bit outdated, but overall, it is relatively easy to navigate once you figure out the different groupings.

Essentially, you’ll have to decide if you are comfortable sitting through commercials while watching your TV shows. Since the price is free and there are some interesting titles, you can always give Crackle a try.

Learn more about Crackle.

Sling TV

The 8 Best Values In Streaming: Streaming Services That Give You The Most For Your Dollar - Sling

  • Types of content – Network channels, sports.
  • Cost – $35 to $50+ per month.
  • Number of shows – About 5,000 titles.
  • Free trial – No.
  • Year created – 2015.

If you are hanging onto your expensive cable package just so that you can watch a handful of channels, then Sling TV is the answer you’ve been looking for. You’ll be able to choose which collection of channels you want to pay for. 

With over 45 channels available in a package, it is likely you’ll find everything you are looking for. If not, you’ll have the opportunity to add on additional channels for an extra fee. With that, you can essentially customize your cable experience and cut down on costs.

When you pay for Sling TV, you’ll be able to watch the selected channels live. Plus, you’ll be able to watch on-demand shows through your DVR. 

Overall, Sling TV provides a great option for anyone looking to cut cable without letting go of their favorite channels.

Learn more about Sling TV.

Peacock

The 8 Best Values In Streaming: Streaming Services That Give You The Most For Your Dollar - Peacock

  • Types of content – Originals, TV shows, documentaries, movies.
  • Cost – $0 to $9.99 per month.
  • Number of shows – About 20,000 hours of titles.
  • Free trial – Yes.
  • Year created – 2020.

As a relatively recent creation, Peacock offers a lot of standout content. Most notably, fans of recent hit sitcoms will be impressed with the binge-worthy lineup, including The Office, 30 Rock, and Parks and Recreation.

The new platform offers a fairly deep collection of content. Plus, you’ll have the ability to watch for free if you don’t mind sitting through commercials.

If you have a penchant for rewatching your favorite comedies, then Peacock offers a worthwhile service. Additionally, the NBC-owned platform seems committed to adding content that will range beyond their hit comedies.

Learn more about Peacock.

How we came up with our list of best values in streaming

As we explored streaming services, we looked at a variety of factors when pulling out the best of the best. We researched the price, the quality of the content available, the quantity of content available, and other unique features that make each platform stand out. The selections above were chosen to represent the best available in a range of categories. 

What is a streaming service?

A streaming service is a platform that provides a media format that can be consumed continuously. As a user, you won’t need a lot of storage space to access the media.

In this article, we’ve looked at streaming services that provide video content. However, there are also streaming services that offer audio content, such as Spotify or Pandora. 

Why should you use a streaming service?

Affordability

The average household cable package costs around $217 per month. That’s a lot of cash that you could use to accomplish other things, like building your retirement savings or saving up for your next vacation.

Streaming services offer an affordable way to cut your entertainment costs without missing out on enjoyable content.

Commercial-free options

There are not too many of us that enjoy sitting through a commercial. After all, there are only so many hours in a day. You don’t want to waste precious time sitting through an annoying commercial. Many streaming services offer commercial-free options to help you eliminate this annoying distraction. 

Killer content on your schedule

A streaming service allows you to watch the shows you want to when you want to. Instead of trying to time your TV watching, you can simply press play whenever.

This freedom doesn’t mean that you have to watch mediocre shows. In fact, the streaming services above offer access to some of the most popular shows and movies available. 

Flexibility

When you sign up for a streaming service, you may not be locked into a contract. So if you run out of content that you want to watch on a particular platform, then just cancel until a new show piques your interest. 

Why shouldn’t you use a streaming service?

You don’t watch any TV

If you don’t regularly watch TV, then a streaming service might not be worth it. Consider whether or not the amount of time you spend watching TV justifies a streaming expense. 

Limited sports options

If you are a sports fan who wants to watch particular games, do some research about where the games will be available. In some cases, you may not find a streaming service that offers access to the sporting events you care about. 

Most important features of a streaming service

Here’s what to look for as you explore your streaming options:

Cost

First things first, make sure that the streaming service you choose fits into your budget. Otherwise, you might want to go with one of the many free options. 

Content

The content available on a streaming platform will really help you determine whether or not you want to purchase it. Although there is an abundance of content out there, you’ll need to decide for yourself what interests you the most.

For example, my husband is a big Star Wars fan, and I love Disney movies. With that, we decided to go with Disney+ for our streaming service of choice.

FAQs

According to a study released in 2020, Amazon Prime Video offers the most content per dollar in the U.S. market. You’ll have to decide for yourself if the content is up to your quality standards.
In 2020, Disney+ added the most new content. However, most streaming platforms are regularly adding new content.
Here are the most popular shows, according to Rotten Tomatoes, and their providers: Master of None - Netflix Hacks - HBO Max Lupin - Netflix The Crown - Netflix Cruel Summer - Hulu Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. - Hulu Of course, the most popular TV shows are spread across multiple platforms. You’ll have to decide for yourself which platform carries the shows you care about most.

Summary

Now that you’ve explored the best values in streaming services, it is time for you to make your choice. In the end, it will come down to the shows you care about at a price point you can stomach. 

As you make your choice, don’t forget that you have the option to cancel and move to a different service whenever you want to. With that, don’t feel too locked into your choice. Just find a streaming service that provides ample content to suit your interests without breaking the bank.

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About the author

Total Articles: 62
Sarah Sharkey is a personal finance writer covering retirement, investing, debt, savings, credit cards, mortgages, and student loans. Additionally, she is the founder of Adventurous Adulting, a personal finance blog dedicated to helping readers tackle their money and take control of the adventure of life. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.