Best Online Video Streaming Services [2021 GUIDE]

  • Cable TV is now passé as today the viewers want to have the upper hand in deciding what they want to see. It has created a demand for apps that offer live streaming videos. However, with so many varieties available in the market for you to choose from, a wrong selection could end up being disastrous. Not only would you end up spending more money than what you were paying to your cable TV operator but along with that, you may also not get to see your choice of programs if your selection is not right.
  • Live streaming is a new concept which was not prevalent a few years ago. It helped to save money even then, but the program choices were limited. That does not stand true today. The video streaming market has changed, and several services cater to the needs of customers. It works in two ways. It cuts cost and gives the viewer complete freedom in deciding what he wants to watch.

Unbiased List Of The Best Video Streaming Providers

1. Netflix

2. Hulu

3. Amazon Prime Video

4. Sling TV

5. YouTube TV

6. CBS All Access

7. HBO Now

8. PlayStation Vue

We regret to inform you that Sony Interactive Entertainment is discontinuing the PlayStation Vue service on January 30, 2020

9. DirecTV Now

10. AT&T WatchTV

11. Philo

Here lies the problem

With the rise in demand for live video streaming apps, many service providers have entered this market. With such a wide variety, it gets intimidating to find out the streaming video site that works the best for you. To figure out which one you should subscribe to can be an overwhelming task. And a wrong selection can take away all the joys of watching your favorite shows and at the same time pinch your pocket.

You need to understand that there is no single service that will work for all, and also there is no formula that you can use to decide which streaming video site will work the best for you. Here is a quick guide that tells you about the major video streaming sites, and you can choose the one that closely meets your requirements.

What exactly is a streaming service, and how does it work?

Streaming- The word in itself is self-explanatory. It is the process of continuously transmitting and playing the data back together and at the same time. When you stream live TV content from a site which can be done either through an app or through video players embedded data, then the file contents get bypassed by the server of the webpage, and it gets sent to the viewer in real-time. However, not all the information gets sent to the viewer. If this happens, then the file could be huge and this, in turn, would result in the poor quality of picture and increase in time because of buffering, which in turn would spoil your viewing experience.

The streaming service breaks up the entire process into small pieces of data, and this gets sent to the video player in a steady flow.

 The media player will then get the information faster than it displays it and it offers a bit of leeway if the information flow gets slowed down. It also discards the data after use, and thus no files get stored in the device that receives it.

The above tells you the technicality of how a live streaming video works. There are many such popular streaming video services, and to understand which one is the best suited for you, you need to understand what each service provider offers and the cost that can help you to decide from the plethora of options available today.

How to choose the ideal streaming setup for your viewing needs

To select a streaming video service is tricky because each service has its quirks and has its deals. So to cobble together, the streaming service is not easy. However, there is a good part too, and that is because of the full range of choices available today, the customer can get a personalized setup and enhance his live video streaming experience.

  • Ask yourself what you want to see

You need to figure out what programs and what channels you want to see. You also have to decide if you wish to watch live content. The on-demand content is less expensive as compared to the services that offer live streaming like DirecTV Now and Sling TV.

To determine this first list out the services and what is essential for you and what is the least important for you. Also, consider your family needs. If more than one person in your family wants to view the same thing, then that particular show should be regarded as high on priority.

You can make use of the streaming search engines that can let you find out what is streaming on the popular providers like Canistream and Justwatch. Many apps specialize in just a single provider like HULU and Netflix.

The other conditions that you need to keep in mind are:

  • The existing content library, along with how frequently the content gets refreshed.
  • Then decide where you want to see your content. It could be a standalone TV, smartphone, or a set-top box.
  • The kind of content that you want to view like sports or comedy or network shows.
  • How you watch is also an essential factor to consider. Do you program in a few days or binge-watch every weekend.

What are you paying for the services?

You need to have a budget to decide on the video streaming services. To determine how much you are ready to pay every month. It can be a smart way to share online streaming subscriptions. If you stay in a shared accommodation where you have several roommates, then you can split the bill and get unlimited access to the streaming service providers. You, however, need to calculate how much it would cost to stream your favorite shows online vs. watch it on a cable connection.

Take the free trial

Now that you have budgeted and narrowed down the options available, you need to make use of the multiple free trails. It will let you shortlist those services that stand as per your expectations. You can try them out and then make any financial commitment.

Taking a free trial takes away the guessing game from you. You can determine in a month whether the service is right for you.

Have realistic expectations

A single service may not offer you all that you need, and this means that you have to make compromises. You may have to do some trials and errors and spend time to figure out which live streaming video works best for you.

To increase your success, focus on the services that offer channel add-ons as it could give you higher flexibility. You also need to ensure that the service that you are considering is compatible with your devices. Else you may end up wasting money and time.

 The specific streaming service that you wish for depends on many factors. 

Comparing the popular streaming video services

Think about the video streaming providers and the names of the companies listed below will pop up first on your mind. The sites listed above provide you with a wide variety of content that is suited for various viewers taste.

The Best Online Streaming Video Services

#1 Netflix

The Netflix subscription is around $7.99 to $13.99 per months. It is for those who want to watch popular movies and TV programs. The streaming app is also easy to use.


The HULU subscription is somewhere between $7.99 to $43.99 per month, and there are additional ones available on this streaming video service. You can choose this if you wish to view primetime content from the popular sites and networks and also want to mix up with cable TV and some original programs.

#3 Amazon Prime Video

The Amazon Prime Video subscription will cost you between $12.99 to $119 for a year. The Amazon Prime Video has a good selection of viral content, and the price is highly justified.

Amazon Prime Video

#4 Sling TV

 The Sling TV subscription costs you between $25 to $40 per month. Viewers have add-on options too. It offers cable-only channels, including sports. The DVR is cloud-based. The add- ons are what makes Sling TV highly customizable.

#5 YouTube TV

YouTube TV will cost you $40 per months. There are add-ons available. It is an easy to use interface, and the content is of high quality. It thus makes the cable TV experience even better, but you do not need cable TV subscription. With a YouTube Red account, the up-gradation will cost you lesser. You can take up to six accounts which make it the right choice if you want to take the subscription for your family.

YouTube TV

#6 CBS All Access

The CBS All Access subscription cost is $5.99 to $9.99 every month. Check out if your choice of programs is being streamed on CBS All Access. If you can get all your choicest programs here, then you cannot go wrong with this subscription. The CBS All Access is popular with the NFL games viewers.

CBS All Access

#7 HBO Now

HBO Now charges you $14.99 per months. It is a network-specific live streaming video service provider where you can enjoy the same content as their channel without taking a cable subscription. You can, however, not download content for viewing it later.

How to Cancel HBO subscription (HBO Now or HBO on iOS)

#8 PlayStation Vue

The PlayStation Vue costs you $44.99 to $79.99 per month, and you get to choose the add- ons. If you have a PlayStation, then you can quickly move to the PlayStation Vue. They offer a vast content library for the viewers.

#9 DirecTV Now

The DirecTV Now subscription will cost you between $ 40 to $ 75 per months, and you choose the add-ons. If the price seems too high, then you can opt for the NOW service that cuts on the subscription price and still gives the viewer’s access to 125 channels and a cloud DVR.

#10 AT&T WatchTV

The AT&T WatchTV subscription cost is $15 per months, and the service is ideal for those who already have the AT&T plan.

#11 Philo

With a subscription cost of $16-$20 per month, the Philo video streaming service is perfect for those who want to see live TV and stream the premium cable content. It also allows for unlimited recording.

Pay per view streaming services

The above were some of the streaming services, which gives you access to content for a monthly fee. There is also some pay per view streaming services.

Amazon Rent or Buy Video

The price for this is $4 to $7 for the HD rental and $5 to $20 for any purchase. It streams the recent movies and TV series on various genres.

Apple iTunes 

The price ranges from $4 to $6 for any HD movie rental and $10 to $20 for any movie purchase. There is a vast selection of movies and TV shows.

Google Play 

The price ranges from $3 to $5 for rentals and $8 and more for movie purchases. It has a selection of old and new movies and some TV shows. You also get access to music, apps, and books.

FandangoNow (formerly known as M-GO)

The price ranges from $2-$7 for HD movie rentals and $5 – $20+ for purchases.

It has a good collection of classics and new releases, and you can stream the content as per your device.


It offers the featured titles for free. Vudu provides a wide selection of content and many new releases which are available as a bonus feature and special edition.

Vimeo on Demand 

The Rentals are $0.99 – $7.99 and purchases are $1.99 – $30+. They have a free video listing service as well as some high purchase videos. There are a variety of genres to choose from, and most of them are independent films.

The small service providers

Apart from the big names as listed above, several small live streaming operators may not let you enjoy viewing if taken standalone, but they enhance your entertainment experience. The famous names in the segment are:

  • Acorn TV
  • AMC Premiere      
  • Boomerang
  • CrunchyRoll
  • CuriosityStream
  • DC Universe
  • Brown Sugar  
  • Crackle (Sony)
  • Disney Play
  • ESPN+


Now that you are aware of the various options of the live streaming videos and also their price, you can go through the services offered and then decide what you would like to watch.

Category: Guides

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