2020 marks the point in the evolution of entertainment where streaming services officially become the leading power in the industry. Studios are snatching up their old IPs, spending crazy money producing new ones, and even spending more crazy money on things like major revivals - all in effort to stockpile content for their own major streaming services.
If you thought the streaming landscape was confusing enough already (beyond Netflix), 2020 will see even more major new services launching, including HBO Max and Peacock. With so many options on the table a lot of consumers may be wondering which streaming service is best for them. Well, we've got an easy breakdown for you:
This is the no. 1 go-to for anyone just looking to get into what this whole streaming game is about. It's the best-known service, the one your mom, your dad - even your grandparents can use. It's the one that gets used as a verb for the act of streaming - that's how embedded Netflix is in our culture. Is It For You? Netflix has a great mix of TV and movie originals - plus, the deepest (rotating) library of licensed TV and movie hits. With the service's original programming quickly gaining more acclaim and fame than its licensed reruns, Netflix is looking strong going into the future.
Monthly Price: $8.99 Basic (no HD, 1 screen); $12.99 Standard (HD, 2 screens); $15.99 Premium (4K, 4 screens)
Disney+ is new but it launched big, commanding the second biggest library of TV / Movie / original content to Netflix. Is It For You? If you are a major fan of the big geek movie franchises (Marvel, Star Wars) then Disney+ is absolutely for you. If you are a parent, then absolutely, Disney+ will be key to your very survival. The original programming front is still taking shape, with a major valley and peak oscillation (see the rise and fall of interest during The Mandalorian).
Monthly Price: $6.99; $12.99 w/ Hulu & ESPN+ bundle
Hulu has surprised with its staying power over the last decade, emerging from the wild west of streaming's early days to become a major player under Disney's umbrella. Is It For You? Hulu's real advantage is that it's the best platform for getting licensed TV content - especially with next-day airing of new episodes. The recent Disney acquisition and merging with 20th Century Studios networks like FX now make Hulu the clear king of streaming TV.
Monthly Price: $5.99 (basic w/ ads); $11.99 (Premium w/ almost no ads); $54.99 (Basic + Live TV); $60.99 (Premium + Live TV)
HBO GO / HBO NOW
HBO's streaming services offer the premium channel's entire library to users. Is It For You? If you love HBO content (and only that), or you have never watched the channel's decades of hit shows that you've heard so much about (Sopranos, The WIre, Game of Thrones) then yeah, this is good for you.
Monthly Price: HBO Now is $14.99 / HBO GO is free with an HBO subscription.
Amazon Prime Video
Is It For You? Amazon Prime Video is sneaking up on people, dropping some nice hit movie releases and launching some exciting new original series like The Boys and Homecoming, to carry the momentum started by Jack Ryan, Man in the High Castle, and Transparent. With big things on the way like a Lord of the Rings TV series, Prime is only getting bigger and better.
Monthly Price: $8.99 for Prime Video; $12.99 for Amazon Prime w/ Prime Video included.
CBS All Access
CBS All Access gives you access to all of CBS' many hit TV programs, a select listing of Viacom / Paramount films, and some highly-anticipated original series (Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, The Twilight Zone, The Good Fight). Is It For You? If you are in the demographic of viewers that nests on CBS, then obviously this is your jam. If you're a Star Trek fan, this is also a good service to feed your fandom.
Monthly Price: $5.99 w/ ads; $9.99 w/o ads
HBO Max combines HBO, Cinemax, and Warner Bros. movies (DC, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings) and television (The Arrowverse, DC Universe) into one streaming service. Is It For You? No one has used the service yet, so we don't know how good or not it is. In terms of content, HBO Max is quickly seeming like the best option for anyone already paying for an HBO and/or DC streaming service.
NBC's TV programming includes greats like The Office, Friends, and Seinfeld - the most rewatched shows in the history of streaming. Universal pictures also comes with big franchise like the Fast and Furious movies. Is It Good for You? There's some big chips that Peacock holds in its hand, but it faces the same problem as Disney+, in terms of providing enough variety.
Monthly Price: $4.99 w/ ads; $9.99 w/o ads; bundled free for Comcast Xfinity subscribers.
Apple TV+ offers some unique programming featuring big stars and creators. Is It For You? If you're the type of person who lives an all-Apple lifestyle, then this is just another part of that lifestyle. But so far, no Apple TV+ programming has generated a mainstream buzz.
Monthly Price: $4.99
This horror-focused service brings movies and TV series owned or licensed by AMC Networks. Is It Good For You? If you're a true-blue (or rather blood-red) horror fan, this is arguably the only service you need.
Monthly Price: $5.99
This streaming service was launched as the go-to for fans of DC Comics and the DC TV and Movie universes. Is It Good for You? DC Universe came out too fast, too early, and has been somewhat of underperformer. In fact, at this point, it's arguably better to wait and see how DC content gets integrated into HBO Max before paying for DC Universe.
Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.