What Are the Best Streaming Services for My Family?

Hopefully this information is helpful in guiding you to a streaming service that meets your family's needs. Most streaming services offer a free trial, so if you are on the fence about which service to choose, test a few out before signing on. Just remember to cancel your free trial before your card is charged for a full month of service.

If you have decided to cut the cord and avoid the high cost of cable television, you may also be considering signing on for one or more streaming services. Streaming services provide entertainment over your Internet connection. While many people do choose to watch streaming entertainment on their computers, phones, and tablets, it is also possible to watch streaming content on a television.

What are Streaming Services?

Unlike cable or satellite television, streaming services deliver content through the Internet, either through a wired or Wi-Fi connection. Improvements in Internet speeds and technology have made it easier and more affordable for people to stream content rather than depending on cable or satellite television.

Streaming services can be niche products that offer a relatively narrow range of content, or they can be "generalist" services that provide multiple channels of entertainment, news and educational programming. An example of the former is SOMM TV, which focuses entirely on food, wine, and travel programming. Hulu is an example of the latter, as it includes a wide range of programming.

It should also be noted that some streaming services offer entirely on-demand programming, while others include both on-demand and live television programming. Typically live television options are costlier than a strictly on-demand service. Another consideration is that streaming services often have a "basic" service and various premium add-ons that offer more specialized content, including sporting events.

Choosing the Right Streaming Services

As with most consumer products, choosing the right streaming service depends on the needs of you and your family. Here are some things to think about:

Content: Ultimately, content is the most important factor in your choice of streaming service. There's no point in subscribing to a service that doesn't deliver the kind of content you and your family want to watch. Before making a decision about a streaming service, review its programming offerings carefully. This could be particularly important if members of your household are interested in accessing non-English language programming.

Content availability can quickly become an area of irritation for householders who have to placate family members who have different tastes in programming. There are some households that frequently switch between streaming services just so that family members can enjoy the hottest television shows when they are available.

Live programming availability: If you want to be able to watch network and cable channels in real time, you will want to select a streaming service that offers this option. Keep in mind that opting for live programming will significantly increase your monthly bill. However, opting for the live TV option allows you to enjoy local programming, which may be difficult to access if you are depended entirely on a streaming service for television entertainment.

Content availablity: Some streaming services have a reputation of cycling contact frequently, which means that you risk missing a show or movie because you've had a busy week. Pay close attention to the dates on content so that you can remember to tune in before it's removed from the platform.

Cost: Streaming services are generally significantly more affordable than cable or satellite TV. However, it's important to track the number of add-on services you choose with your streaming package. If everybody in your household requests a special add-on, the cost of your streaming service may begin to approach what you might be paying for cable. Some streaming services offer an ad-supported option that can reduce your monthly costs.

Number of users and devices: Streaming services can and do control the number of accounts and devices that can make use of your service. If you have a large family, or multiple roommates, you might want to take into consideration the number of users and devices that can be logged into your account.

Service quality: some streaming services are better than others at offering clear broadcasts and good customer service. Check to see if the service you are interested in has a reputation for offering a good viewing experience and being willing to make things right if you have a problem with your service.

SmartTV access: if you have one or more smart TVs in your household, you may wish to check and see which streaming services it natively supports. This means that the streaming service is already programmed on the TV. All you'll need to do is enter your login information and you'll be ready to go. You should still be able to watch other services, but it may require a few extra steps to access streams on your television.

Streaming devices: If you rely on a streaming device, such as a Roku or Google Chromecast, instead of a smart TV, you'll likewise want to check the compatibility of the service with your device.

App quality: This may not be a big deal for folks who prefer to watch television on an actual television, but if you prefer to stream video on your tablet or mobile phone, do you want to check on the quality of the streaming service's mobile app.

Your Internet Service Provider: Your ISP may provide you with complimentary or low cost streaming options as part of your package. For example, Xfinity provides a free 4K Flex streaming box with the purchase of Internet service. Some ISPs may also bundle a third-party streaming service with your Internet package. ISP streaming services may be more restrictive than those offered by third parties, but they can also be far more cost-effective. They'll also work seamlessly with your internet service.

Popular Streaming Services

Below are some of the most popular streaming services for individuals and families who want a wide range of content types and genres:

Amazon Prime Video: If you already have an Amazon prime subscription, you have access to Amazon Prime Video. This makes prime video one of the most affordable options out there. Prime Video has an excellent selection of included programming as well as multiple add-on options. Be aware, however, that you won't have the option of streaming live television. In addition, some devices are not compatible with Prime Video.

AppleTV +: AppleTV + can be an excellent option for households that already use apple computers and devices. Many people greatly enjoy the selection of original programming on Apple TV+, as well as various add-ons, which include Major League Baseball. The cost for this service is also quite low, making it an affordable option.

Disney+: Disney+ is a newer streaming service that, as you might imagine, offers a lot of programming for kids and teens. The strength of Disney+ is that its parent company owns a lot of franchises, including Disney, Star Wars and Marvel. if you and your family are fans of one of Disney's brands, Disney+ may be an excellent option. The service is known for its affordability, and it is available on a wide range of devices. and it is available on a wide range of devices.

Fubo TV: FuboTV is a streaming service that caters to sports lovers, though it should be noted that it offers a full range of content. In addition to on-demand content, it also offers live television, which means that you'll be able to tune in to local programming, news, and, of course, sports games.

HBO Max: HBO Max is known for excellent original programming, which includes entertainment as well as news. It also offers an excellent selection of movies. If you are concerned about costs, know that HBO Max offers two pricing options, one that offers an ad-free experience with a cheaper ad-supported tier.

Hulu: Hulu is known for offering an experience that is very close to standard cable TV, even if you don't choose its live programming option. The Service offers a full range of popular and current network television shows, as well as some Hulu originals. Add-on options can include sports networks, making this an excellent choice for families that have at least one or two sports fans in the house. The basic Hulu service is considered to be quite affordable, though the live TV option increases your monthly bill significantly.

Netflix: Netflix is one of the oldest players in the streaming industry, and is known for its excellent original programming, as well as an enormous selection of other shows. I can find most genres on Netflix, and it is particularly strong in its offerings of British programming.

Peacock: Owned by NBC, Peacock is a relatively new streaming service, and it's notable because it offers a free tier in addition to premium packages. Peacock can be an excellent option if you have WWE fans in your household, as it does stream live WWE programming along with some other sports options. It also includes a selection of classic programming for when you are feeling nostalgic.

Sling TV: Sling TV is a live TV programming streaming only (no on-demand content) service that many feel does a great job of replacing cable. It's easy to access local networks along with many cable stations, and the cost of Sling TV is far less than what you would pay for services that combine on-demand and live TV. The downside is that if you want on-demand content, Sling TV doesn't offer it.

YouTubeTV: YouTubeTV offers live and on-demand content, as well as DVR service. With over 85 channels, YouTubeTV provides access to an enormous range of content. The service supports multiple devices and up to six household accounts.

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Asked 7 months ago
Updated 7 months ago
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