Best TV streaming services 2021
We live in a world that is in a pandemic, our lives, both social and work are turned upside down. Most of our free time is spent indoors now, maybe with some close relatives or friends, no large gathering, no party. In this world keeping yourself busy and entertained is very important so we do not lose our minds and try to function as well as we can. Keep up the positive spirit, the pandemic will be over soon but in meantime, let’s see some premium streaming services for tv and film so we can kill time faster with some quality entertainment.
If you’re a connoisseur of movies and/or TV, there’s only one must-have player in town and that’s Netflix. It is, unequivocally, the biggest and best streaming service, despite not always stocking its digital shelves with must-have new movies and TV; that said, this is the staple streamer you need to own if you ever plan on cutting the cord and surviving without it.
These days, most smart TVs have Netflix apps, and finding a streaming box without it is the equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack. The quality of the movies and TV we tried – mostly streamed in Ultra HD – on both TV and on tablets is exquisite.
Amazon Prime Video
Like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video has its own set of original series The Expanse, Hunters, and The Boys among others – but, generally speaking, they don’t receive the same fanfare as their Netflix-bred brethren.
Although Netflix is as guilty for dud programming as the rest of them, it’s worth mentioning Amazon Prime does get some pretty terrible new additions from time to time. So always check out the guide to the best Amazon Prime TV shows before you dive in head-first.
The two big differentiators between the services are the fact that access to Amazon’s streaming service comes standard with a subscription to Amazon Prime – meaning access to Amazon Music and premium delivery services.
Video streaming service Hulu offers big-name titles like The Simpsons, Saturday Night Live, and South Park alongside a huge number of titles from NBC, FOX, and Comedy Central. It’s also the only streaming service app on the Nintendo Switch.
Hulu comes in two flavors: the standard on-demand streaming service you’ve always known and loved, and the new Hulu with Live TV
Disney Plus doesn’t feel like it’s trying to be the main TV streaming offering in your life. Instead, it’s a family-friendly option that feels like it lives alongside a Netflix or Amazon Prime Video subscription. It has a very specific selection of content: Disney animated movies, Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel, and National Geographic.
Essentially, if Disney owns it and kids can watch it, it’s on here, and often streaming in 4K for no additional price. The real reason to sign up are big originals across those different subject areas – WandaVision, The Mandalorian, and Pixar’s Soul, for example, all demonstrate an intention to invest big in blockbuster content for the platform.
Ask someone what they think was the biggest internet revolution of the 21st century and they’ll probably say it was YouTube. And with good reason – the user-generated video-blogging site has changed the online landscape forever.
It lets anyone, however well known they are (or not), whatever the quality of their content and wherever they hail from, upload their weird and wonderful videos for anyone around the world to watch at their convenience. The beauty of YouTube is that in the blink of an eye it’s taken the broadcasting power from the bigwigs and placed it right in our hands.
OK, so it might not have stopped people wanting to watch a high-quality, professionally made production in their living room TVs, but it’s an insight into how TV might be produced in the future. After all, with YouTube you don’t need a big budget or indeed any budget at all to produce your own TV series and establish a massive following.
While the free portion of YouTube will always remain the most popular (the latest statistic says that a whopping eight years’ worth of content is uploaded each and every day to the site), but if you’re looking for quality content, YouTube TV is also an excellent option worth considering.
HBO Max is a new streaming service built on top of an old one. The next evolution of HBO Go and HBO Now, it takes the basis of HBO’s content – which includes many phenomenal shows, like The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, Barry, The Leftovers, and Succession – and adds a heap more content to make it into more of a Netflix competitor.
That’s why a lot of the original fare we’re seeing on the service so far is a bit broader in targeting different audiences, with Anna Kendrick’s Love Life kicking us off, and Kaley Cuoco’s dark comedy The Flight Attendant also feeling a little different to the usual heavy HBO dramas. You’ll find original movies on the service, as well as series previously available on the DC Universe app, like Titans and Harley Quinn.
There’s a big archive of existing shows to enjoy on there, too, like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, South Park, and Rick and Morty. The content channels on HBO Max are great, with Studio Ghibli, Adult Swim, and Cartoon Network among those in the mix.
Sling TV is a kind of cure-all for the cord-cutting generation, something that we knew we needed but no company stepped up to make. That said, it’s everything cable’s not. It’s affordable. It’s no-obligation. And there are absolutely zero sales reps trying to stop you from canceling your contract. Best of all, you won’t have to give up some of the perks cable provided in the last few years like the ability to pause live TV or watch something that aired up to 72 hours ago.
Crunchyroll is the best streaming service any anime, manga, or East-Asian cinema fan in your life has always wanted and never knew about.
Founded by Berkeley graduates back in 2006, Crunchyroll started as a bootleg website of sorts where users uploaded their favorite shows without the permission of the original owners. Not the humblest of beginnings. But now it’s an essential offering for anime fans.
While you won’t find genre staples like Dragon Ball Z, Digimon or Pokémon around, most of the site’s 200-plus series are available to watch for free in SD
Apple TV Plus
Apple’s newest streaming service has money bags and talent on its side. Launching back in 2019 with The Morning Show, an expensive drama starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carrell, as well as See with Jason Momoa, Apple is flexing its muscles to get the best talent.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a deep content library, which is what the platform would need to be the best streaming service in 2021
NBC Universal’s attempt to enter the streaming market is buoyed by one big benefit: it’s free to sign up and use, with an ad-supported tier letting you enjoy a healthy helping of its content for absolutely nothing. That said, a lot of the better stuff is behind a paywall – $4.99 per month if you want to access all of it with ads, and $9.99 if you want to enjoy without ads.
For a certain crowd, Twitch (formerly known as Justin.tv) is about the best invention since sliced bread. Essentially it’s a live-streaming platform that focuses primarily on videogames where you can find everything from world tournament coverage to someone muddling their way through that indie darling you had your eye on buying.
It’s not traditional by any means, but you’ll find plenty to see and do on Twitch. Best of all the app is free on almost any platform you can think of: iOS, Android, Xbox One, PS4, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV … you name it, it probably has a Twitch app.
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