Youtube, the world’s first popular video streaming website is over a decade old.
Youtube was started in 2005 but it cannot be considered as a movie streaming service. Netflix, which was a DVD and blu-ray rental business decided to expand their business onto an online streaming platform in 2007.
This can be considered as the inception of online streaming services. Movie streaming platforms were not off to a flying start.
They had to withstand a lot of resistance from the media and film industry. Prominent American director Quentin Tarantino even criticized Netflix. “I am not excited about streaming at all,” he said.
Slowly but surely the movie streaming services started growing and started providing subscribers a lot of options for viewing movies from their couch.
But when the COVID-19 pandemic started and most of the population went under lockdown suddenly things turned out to be in the favor of online streaming.
As restrictions started being imposed on theatres, movies started releasing over OTT platforms. In this post, we would be talking about some of the top movie streaming services.
We would be mentioning some of their best features and how you can figure out which is the best movie streaming service for you.
But before we list down the streaming platforms let’s do some basic streaming services comparison based on popularity and volume of users.
Streaming service statistics
Many people consider the inclination towards movie streaming services to be solely e due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
But I do not think so. Many people would prefer watching a movie in a theatre, on a widescreen with a tub of buttered popcorn on their lap, while others might contradict and say that watching their favorite movie on a streaming app would save them a lot of time and money.
Yes, you might have to compromise a bit on the widescreen theatrical experience, and you might even miss out on the true cinematic effect of IMAX.
But after a long day of work when you are completely exhausted, all you need to unwind is a warm blanket and a fresh movie you have been waiting to watch for a long time. In such a scenario, I think you can compromise on your visit to the theatre.
When it comes to top movie streaming services, Netflix is the biggest fish of them all. As of January 2021, Netflix had over 200 million global subscribers.
Yes, YouTube might have more streaming volume but then again it’s not a movie streaming service.
Netflix also came on top in terms of the percentage of US viewers streaming from their internet TV. While Netflix came first with 34 percentage, YouTube came second with 20% of the total streaming volume.
Now let’s look at each of these movie streaming services closely.
List Of The Best Movie Streaming Services
Netflix is currently the market leader for movie streaming services. It is by far the best movie streaming service and allows you to stream on a spectrum of different devices. It has the largest collection of movie titles and also hosts many Netflix originals. Netflix has more subscribers than other movie streaming service providers.
Massive movie database – According to streaming service search engine real good Netflix has nearly 4,000 movies in their database. They keep adding new titles and releases every week. Their movie categories are spread across different genres which ensures that everyone’s entertainment needs are catered to.
Custom movie recommendation – As you continue using Netflix the application registers the type of movies you are watching and the categories your browsing through. Depending on your movie watching criteria Netflix suggests titles so that you can get recommendations without the need of manually searching through their movie catalog.
Surprise me – Netflix recently launched a “play something” feature, which randomly selects a movie title depending on your preference and plays it for you. A great feature especially when you are bored and want to pick up some new movie titles.
Pricing – The subscription cost of Netflix depends on the number of simultaneous users logged into an account. A single device subscription would cost you $8.99 per month. To simultaneously stream on two devices you have to pay $13.99 per month. While for streaming on four devices you have to pay $17.99.
Prime Video is is a movie streaming service by the e-Commerce behemoth Amazon. All prime video subscribers can choose from hundreds of movie titles across different categories and languages. You can download your favorite movies for offline viewing or add them to your favorite list for easy accessibility in the future.
Ad-free music streaming -All prime video subscribers can use prime music for free. Prime Music is an online music streaming service that lets you listen to original tracks on your mobile devices and smart TV.
Free Amazon delivery – When you are an Amazon prime customer you automatically get enrolled for a prime video subscription. This means you can leverage all the benefits of Amazon Prime delivery, the likes of prioritized pickup and delivery services free shipping on selected categories e.t.c.
Prime reading – If you like reading books with a Prime subscription you can read free ebooks that are listed under the Kindle unlimited category.
Pricing – To get a subscription to prime videos you have to opt for the Amazon Prime plan. Amazon Prime membership will cost you $12.99 per month or $119 for an annual plan.
Disney Plus is Disney’s proprietary movie streaming service that was launched in 2019. After Disney acquired Marvel studio the Disney plus platform hosts all releases from the Marvel cinematic universe and Disney.
Virtual Group watch – The virtual group watch feature is meant for viewing a movie in a group. You can create a group of up to six members and can pause rewind and react together as the group is watching.
Multi-streaming – With Disney plus you can stream your favorite movie simultaneously on 4 devices and also download your favorite movies to your device to watch offline.
Original Marvel & Disney content – You can enjoy original Marvel and Disney content online.
Pricing – A monthly subscription to Disney plus would cost you $7.99. while you can subscribe to an annual plan for $79.99 per year
Hulu watch party – With the Hulu watch party you can watch a movie with a group of friends online. Up to 8 people can be part of your group and can watch, comment, and react to a movie.
Bundle pack available – Hulu also gives you an option to bundle the subscription with few other streaming services like ESPN & Disney Plus. The bundle pack is very useful for sports enthusiasts and those who want to enjoy content from all these 3 streaming platforms.
Pricing – Hulu provides a 30-day free trial. Their subscription varies from $5.99 per month to $64.99 per month.
Mubi is targeted towards cinephiles. If you are a true movie buff and look out for minute narrative and directorial intricacies in a movie then this is the right video streaming platform for you.
Mubi hosts titles from different countries and allows you to get captivated by foreign theatrical masterpieces.
Handcrafted movie selections – Mubi provides you handcrafted movie suggestions. Mubi has a mix of current and vintage films from film producers around the globe.
Student discount – Mubi is probably the only video streaming platform that provides attractive discounts to students. If you are a student you can avail Mubi subscription at $6.99 per month.
International movies – This is probably one of the best suits of Mubi. Unlike other service providers, you are as a viewer are not pushed towards the top-grossing and money churning titles. Mubi focuses on direction, narrative, and storyline and brings a plethora of different film genres from around the globe.
Pricing – You can check out Mubi for a 7-day free trial. After which you can opt for a monthly subscription of $10.99 per month or $95.88 per year.
Apple TV+ is Apple’s own movie streaming service. By subscribing to Apple TV plus you can stream many original documentaries, movies, and latest releases provided by Apple TV plus.
Wide-scale device compatibility – With Apple TV plus you can stream from the Apple TV app on all smart devices, TVs, consoles, or sticks. This means you can access the app from anywhere while you are on the move.
Apple TV and 4K support – It allows online streaming on your Apple TV and supports 4K rendering.
Pricing – You can get a one-year free subscription when you buy an Apple device. Apple TV plus subscription would cost you $4.99 per month.
Now that we are done with streaming services comparison how would you select a streaming service period and your personal preference?
Given the fact that all titles are not available in every service, you are bound to miss out on some movies no matter which streaming service you choose.
To solve this dilemma I have come up with a cheat sheet.
Just ask yourself the following questions.
Do you like mainstream movies?
Are you an Anime fan?
Do you like watching movies in other languages?
Do you have any kids?
There can be a lot more questions to fine-tune your streaming service selection. But these questions will definitely point you in the right direction.
If most of your answers are “Yes” then you can opt for Netflix or Prime Video. Netflix is pretty well set across different genres and you can enjoy animes like Deathnote as well as colorful Hollywood movies.
If you have a kid who is fascinated by the Marvel universe, then Disney Plus can buy you a lot of quiet time.
If you are a glass-half-empty kind of guy and is worried about the titles you would be missing if you subscribe to one streaming service, here’s a thrifty solution for you.
Talk to your friends and subscribe to different streaming services. That way you can select a particular viewing window for a specific platform without creating an access issue while sharing the platforms amongst friends and probably watching movies together.
If you like shopping and are an Amazon Prime member you are already getting the best of both worlds and can even stream high-quality music with Prime Music.