Remember the good old days when Netflix was the only streaming service any of us paid for? Well, now just about every TV network has its own, and while that means amazing things for our entertainment, paying for several monthly TV subscriptions can really drain the wallet. So, which one really is the best?
Each streaming service has its own set of pros and cons. Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max—these tend to be the main players, and while each one of them is somewhat comparable cost-wise, there are a few other advantages and disadvantages to consider, too. At the end of the day, it depends on what you want to watch and how you want to watch it. Keep reading for our comparison of Netflix, Disney Plus and HBO Max—from cost and content to what’s available in HD versus what’s not.
Netflix Versus Disney Plus Versus HBO Max Cost
Price: Plans start at $8.99 per month.
By far and away the most popular streaming site is Netflix. After all, it’s been around the longest and basically paved the way for streaming platforms to be a thing, but being around the longest isn’t enough to be the best. Netflix continues to be the cream of the crop streaming service because of its relatively low subscription cost—$8.99 monthly for basic, $13.99 for standard and $17.99 for premium—its frequently added movie and TV titles (for about 13,900 titles total), as well as loads of original content (at least one new original movie each week of 2021). With more than 200 million subscribers, Netflix is hands down the benchmark for where to begin if you’re new to streaming, but it also tends to stay in the picture long after viewers venture to other streaming sites, too.
If you’re not sure which plan to choose, here’s how each Netflix plan stacks up:
Basic: For $8.99 per month, the basic Netflix subscription gets you one screen, one tablet and/or phone to view downloads on, unlimited movies and TV shows and laptop, phone and tablet access.
Standard: The most popular Netflix plan is the standard. For $13.99 per month, the standard plan gets you two screens (that can watch simultaneously), two phones and/or tablets to view download on, HD titles when available, unlimited movies and TV shows, and laptop, phone and tablet access.
Premium: For $17.99 per month, the premium Netflix plan gets you all of the above, with the added bonus of four screens to watch simultaneously and access to Ultra HD titles when available.
Price: Plans start at $7.99 per month, or $14 per month for the bundle.
Disney Plus caused a stir among the streaming sites (to say the least) when it first premiered in November 2019. That’s because we all know just how much content—quality, coveted content, that is—that the Walt Disney Company owns. Now, instead of Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services competing for Disney titles, Disney simply has its own way of distributing. It’s genius, and if you have kids, it’s even more genius. No more “movies going to the vault” and all that as a marketing technique; almost every Disney and Disney-owned movie and show—animated, live-action or otherwise—is available for your streaming pleasure for $7.99 per month. That accounts for more than 7,500 TV shows and 500 film titles! Beyond the exclusive Disney content (and the Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic content), Disney Plus also has a GroupWatch feature that allows family members and friends in different households to host watching parties at the same time. Need more of a reason to go all in on Disney Plus? The platform also offers titles in 4K HDR, mobile downloads and is totally ad-free, as well. If you combine all that with the fact that Disney Plus is also the cheapest option, the answer to, “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” is Disney Plus.
If you’re not sure if you should go solo or bundle, here’s how each Disney Plus plan stacks up:
Standard: For $7.99 per month, Disney Plus subscribers get unlimited access to more than 7,500 TV show and 500 film titles.
Bundle: For $14 per month, those who snag the Disney Plus bundle can also gain access to ESPN Plus and Hulu content. That comes out to about $6 less than what you’d pay if you subscribed to Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN Plus individually. However, there are more tiers to the bundle, too: For $20 per month, you can get Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and ad-free Hulu; for $73 per month, you can get Disney Plus, ESPN Plus, and Hulu Basic and Hulu Live; and for $79 per month, you can get Disney Plus, ESPN Plus, and ad-free Hulu and Hulu.
Price: Plans start at $9.99 per month.
The most expensive of all three of these platforms is HBO Max, which starts at $9.99 per month. Still, the price point is relatively comparable to other streaming sites, particularly when you take into consideration all that you’re unlocking. So, here’s what HBO Max has to offer: a massive, massive library. You can find nearly everything on HBO Max—from Friends and Sesame Street to Game of Thrones and Big Bang Theory. HBO Max is home to Cartoon Network shows, DC Comics, Adult Swim, Studio Ghibli, Sesame Workshop, Looney Toons and Crunchyroll, as well as the HBO originals (duh!). Plus, as a direct response to COVID-19, HBO Max also has a deal with Warner Bros. to premiere all of their theatrical releases from home during 2021. So, you don’t even have to leave your couch to watch the latest blockbusters—Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Suicide Squad, Matrix Dune, etc. (Oh, and did we mention these films—and others—are available in 4K UHD, too?) With 17 million accounts and counting, HBO Max also just got more accessible this past June, when the streaming service unveiled a new, less expensive, ad-supported tier for those on a budget.
If you’re not sure if you should go solo or bundle, here’s how each HBO Max plan stacks up:
With ads: For $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year (which equates to a 16 percent savings), subscribers get access to thousands of hours of titles as well as HD access.
Ad-Free: For $14.99 per month or $149.99 per year (again, about a 16 percent savings), subscribers get HD (with select movies in 4K UHD), downloads to watch when you’re offline and access to Warner Bros. 2021 movie premieres on the same day as theaters.
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