Looking to cut the cord? You have many excellent options beyond Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Netflix. Our Best Streaming Services of 2022 rating covers our top-rated picks for both on-demand and live streaming services. We’ve rated industry-leading giants like Netflix and Hulu as well as platforms with a more niche focus, such as Crunchyroll, which specializes in anime content, and FuboTV, a sports-first streaming service.
Our Best On-Demand Streaming Services Rating
- #1 Netflix
- #2 Disney Plus
- #3 Hulu
- #4 Amazon Prime Video
- #5 HBO Max
- #6 Youtube TV
- #7 Crunchyroll
- #8 FuboTV
- #9 Peacock
- #10 Paramount+
Compared to other streaming services, no one offers more high-quality content at a single price than Netflix. Pick any category you can think of and Netflix probably has something that will fit the bill. Plus, new content is released every week and as a worldwide service, Netflix is consistently adding movies and TV shows from around the globe that can change the viewing experience in ways you may not have considered.
Netflix has also managed to stay ahead of its competitors by continuously innovating and improving its services. With an extensive library, it includes other content, as well, including mainstream shows, movies, and kid-friendly programs. Parents will appreciate Netflix’s parental controls, which give them the option to block specific titles from their child’s profile and set maturity ratings to limit what they can view.
Disney Plus is one of Netflix's closest competitors -- for good reason. It's the only place where you can stream the vast majority of the Disney media properties and Pixar libraries, along with every Star Wars movie, Marvel films and new original TV shows, National Geographic content and 30-plus seasons of The Simpsons. It's your one-stop-shop for everything Disney, making it catnip for kids, parents, animation fans and anyone looking for some classic films from the likes of 20th Century Pictures. And unlike Hulu, which Disney also owns, there aren't any R-rated movies or shows that curious kiddos can come across.
Hulu is one of the best, all-in-one options for cord cutters, given its diverse set of streaming options. In addition to a strong library of classic shows, and a good selection of movies, Hulu offers a robust live TV option (more than 70 channels of news, sports, and entertainment programming). Still, Hulu trails some top competitors, given its lackluster original content and limited selection of 4K content. Its on-demand library includes mainstream favorites, as well as binge-worthy originals like “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Only Murders in the Building,” and “The Bear.” It also has programming for children and the option for parents to create Kids Profiles, which allows them to set parameters on the kind of content their child can access.
Amazon Prime Video
In recent years, Amazon has focused on curating high-quality original shows, such as Bosch, The Boys, Catastrophe, Fleabag, Hanna, Hunters, Tales From The Loop, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Patriot, Undone, and Upload. The long-rumored, $416 million Lord of the Rings series is still on track, too. Many of these shows are excellent and on par with Netflix's offerings, though the latter has a much deeper content library. One advantage that Prime Video has over Netflix, however, is that it broadcasts Thursday Night Football games. If you're a New York Yankees fan, you can even stream live MLB games for the 2022 season.
Amazon offers access to its video content in one of two ways: a standalone Amazon Video subscription or an Amazon Prime subscription. An Amazon Video subscription costs $8.99 per month and only includes access to Amazon's streaming video library. An Amazon Prime account, which includes Prime Video content and many other shipping and shopping perks, costs $14.99 per month (or $139 per year). Amazon refers to its video streaming service as Amazon Prime Video in most of its support documentation.
HBO Max’s greatest strength is its catalog of prestige original shows, including Barry, Big Little Lies, Chernobyl, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and so on. Recently, HBO Max made pilot episodes of 13 original shows available to stream for free via the HBO Max mobile apps.
In addition to all those TV shows, HBO Max bundles an impressive collection of popular movies from other WarnerMedia properties (Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema ) and other sources (such as The Criterion Collection and Studio Ghibli). Multiple Warner Bros. movies, including Dune, Godzilla vs. Kong, The Matrix Resurrections, and The Suicide Squad launched on HBO Max the same day as they debuted in theaters. However, Warner Bros. returned to the standard theatrical release model in 2022, albeit with a shorter exclusivity window.
YouTube TV’s lineup covers sports, news, entertainment, and family-friendly programming, with channels such as ESPN, CNN, Bravo, and Nickelodeon. Notably, the platform offers unlimited cloud DVR space, meaning you can keep as many recordings as you want for up to nine months.
One geat selling point for sports fans is that instead of always remembering to record a particular game, you can just choose to “follow” a specific team and the DVR will automatically record all of its games. Plus, if you happen to have jumped into the match late, there’s a “catch up with key plays” feature that lets you watch all the highlights up until that point so that you’re up to speed.
Crunchyroll is one of the most complete anime streaming services, with more than 1,300 titles in its library. It’s a niche streaming service known for its extensive library of anime titles and its same-day simulcasts of new anime programs airing in Japan. In addition to TV shows, Crunchyroll also engages with its audience by hosting events such as anime conventions and merchandise sales.
While Crunchyroll has three paid subscription tiers, it also has a free version with fewer features, allowing anime fans to access Crunchyroll content at no cost. To see what the subscription-based plans offer, viewers can sign up for a free 14-day trial.
FuboTV is a great option for any cord-cutting sports fans, which began as a live-streaming platform for die-hard soccer fans. Its base subscription plan, called fubo Starter, costs $64.99 per month and grants you access to about 120 channels, with the exact number depending on your location. For the national sports events, there's CBS, FOX, NBA TV, NBC, and NFL Network. For international sports, you get channels from the beIN network and Univision. Fubo has added Disney-owned channels (including ESPN), but it will no longer carry CNN and other WarnerMedia channels. Most recently, fuboTV dropped six A&E-owned channels: A&E, History Channel, FYI Channel, Lifetime, Lifetime Movie Network, and Vice TV.
If you're ever not in the mood for sports, fuboTV offers a wide variety of entertainment channels, such as AMC, The Food Network, FX, National Geographic, SYFY, and USA. After adding Viacom channels a few months back to the Standard plan, fubo now bundles channels form the Discovery network, such as Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, and TLC, too. You not only get to watch live events and programs from the included channels, but there's also a ton of on-demand shows and movies.
Launched by NBC Universal in 2020, Peacock is a relatively new player in the streaming industry. NBC's Peacock offers three tiers: an ad-supported Free plan with about 13,000 hours of content; a Premium tier with 20,000 hours, some live sports, and clips-based channels; and a Premium Plus option that builds upon the Premium tier by removing ads when you stream on-demand titles. Of these three choices, only Plus is ad-free.
Although you can't stream some of NBC's biggest hits on-demand (Friends, Seinfeld), you can watch other popular past and current entries from NBC, such as 30 Rock, Cheers, Chicago Fire, Friday Night Lights, The Office, Parks and Recreation, Saturday Night Live, Will and Grace, Law & Order: SVU, Superstore, and This is Us. Peacock doesn't yet have many original shows, but it still offers a decent number of popular movies for free.
Paramount+, which shares the same parent company as CBS, Formerly CBS All Access, Paramount+ may get the most attention for originals like Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard and The Twilight Zone. It has a well-rounded selection of content, featuring titles from networks such as CBS, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, and MTV.
It’s becoming a sports destination as well. The app began streaming NWSL soccer matches last summer when the league returned to the pitch. CBS also announced that All Access would be the live streaming home of the US women’s league. Unfortunately, you can’t watch every match there, but it’s a start.