Remember the days where DVDs took over the media industry? Well, those times are way in the past. Now, you can simply boot up a streaming service, and watch your favorite movies and shows on-demand with a push of a button. But picking the right streaming service can get a bit daunting as there are quite a lot of them. Well, that’s before you had help. I’m here to narrow down your choices and shed some light on the best streaming services in 2019.
In this guide, you’ll be learning all about the top streaming sites/channels across the globe. That includes the US, UK, and other countries around the world. Ready? Let’s go.
The Best Streaming Services/Websites in 2019
There’s nothing better than a chill night while leaning back on your couch and watching your favorite shows and movies. When it comes to TV Streaming, there are plenty of great options to choose from. That includes some big names in the industry as well as some smaller alternatives. That’s why I came up with this guide to help ease your search. Go ahead, check out the 2019 top streaming services below:
Netflix is an over the top streaming service that allows viewers to watch movies and TV shows on-demand over the internet. The giant has gone from being simply a way to rent films and TV shows, to one of the greatest platforms to ever exist. It’s now available across 190 countries around the world will definitely expand more soon. As of 2019, Netflix has passed the 150 million subscribers mark. To be exact, there are 151.5 million Netflix subscribers to this date.
That’s not all. The channel consumes 15 percent of all internet bandwidth, which makes it the number one downstream application worldwide. That’s because most internet users binge-watch the channel’s content non-stop. Remember, Netflix doesn’t work by releasing one episode at a time. It waits until the show is over, then drops the title within its library. However, some original shows can be streamed weekly at the time of the episode’s release.
The channel’s content can be accessed through pretty much every device under the sun, including iPhones, iPods, Apple TV, Android, Samsung Smart TV, Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick, PlayStation, and Xbox. If a fridge has internet, Netflix would probably have an app for that.
It’s Not Free Though
Netflix is a subscription-based service that requires a monthly fee. As of 2019, its fee structure is as follows:
- Basic: $8.99 per month that only want SD resolution access only. Limited to 1 device.
- Standard: $12.99 per month. Up to 1080p resolution – two simultaneous devices.
- Premium: $15.99/month. Allows up to 4 devices concurrently.
The best thing about Netflix is that it allows you to choose from several payment options. That includes Credit or Debit card (Visa, Mastercard, Amex or Discover), PayPal, or Netflix gift card.
Why would Netflix grab your streaming attention? Take a look at some of its original series below:
- Stranger Things
- Russian Doll
- Umbrella Academy
- Jessica Jones
- When They See Us
- Evil Genius
- House of Cards
- Big Mouth
- The Haunting
- Black Mirror
- The Crown
- Money Heist
- Grace and Frankie
- Nailed It
- Altered Carbon
When we speak about juggernauts in the streaming industry, Hulu has to pop up, period. Hulu was founded back in 2007, and now, it has become one of the biggest streaming services in the United States.
Hulu allows viewers to access a vast library of movies, shows, and original programming crafted exclusively for the channel itself. Unlike Netflix, Hulu updates its platform with new episodes of current TV shows within 24 hours of airing. Therefore, you can keep up with every episode without having to wait for the show to end.
As for original content, you’ll be able to stream the full season on the release date, except for a select few such as The Handmaid’s Tale.
The streaming service has gained a lot of popularity over the years reaching a subscriber base of 28 million. Its number of subscribers rose 48.0% from 17 million subscribers in 2017. As of 2018, Hulu had 0.4% in global video streaming traffic share.
How Much is It?
A monthly subscription to the service will cost you $5.99 and $11.99/month commercial-free. However, the channel kept on expanding its reach to a bigger audience by adding the Hulu+ Live TV feature. You can now watch your favorite live sports, news, entertainment, and more for only $44.99 a month.
Don’t forget that you’ll still have access to Hulu’s on-demand library too. Moreover, Hulu’s available on a wide range of devices, including Android, iOS, Roku, Xbox, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast. There’s even a Hulu app for Nintendo Switch and Apple TV.
What’s on Hulu
Hulu releases new content every month, but it’s a bit low on originals. Just like Netflix, Hulu has its own original content that’s exclusive to its library only. Let’s take a look at some:
- The First
- The Path
- Castle Rock
- Future Man
- The Act
- Difficult People
- National Treasure
- The Mindy Project
- The Hotwives
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon’s own streaming service, Prime Video, was launched back in 2007 as Amazon Unbox. Over the years, the service grew with its expanding library and added the Prime Video membership and became what it’s known as right now.
In 2016, the service was available globally except a few countries like Mainland China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria. Every month, the channel adds a certain amount of new titles to its library from different broadcasters. However, the service has been upping its game with original content as well.
As of now, the service has reached over 100 million subscribers around the world. Not only that, but it also takes out 5.7% of global internet marking its spot as 5th in Global Video Streaming Traffic Share. But why does it have that many subscribers? What makes it stand tall in the industry? Well then, let’s talk about content. Amazon Prime stands out due to its great selection of comedy and children’s programming.
What do you expect from the channel that has a deal with Viacom? The company does control the likes of Comedy Central and Nickolodeon after all. The Broadcaster of the Year award winner went big back in June 2018.
It became the first domestic streaming service that secured the rights to broadcast the Premier League in the UK. That’s not all; you can stream the League and all of Amazon Prime’s content on a wide selection of platforms, including Smart TVs, Amazon Fire Stick (Obviously), Android, iOS, PlayStation, Wii, Xbox, Roku, PC, and Mac.
You might know that an Amazon Video subscription costs $8.99 per month and includes access to Amazon’s streaming video library. However, streaming treats keep on getting better with this one as you also can tap into other channels using their Amazon Prime Channel Add-ons.
Each channel has its unique pricing, with more well-known services typically priced from $8.99 to $14.99. You can add or remove your video subscriptions via your Prime account settings anytime. You can stream the likes of:
- MLB.tv ($24.99)
- HBO ($14.99)
- Showtime ($10.99)
- Cinemax ($9.99)
- Starz ($8.99)
- CBS All Access ($5.99)
- Boomerang ($5.99)
- Britbox ($6.99)
- PGA Tour Live ($9.99)
- Comedy Central ($3.99)
Again, what makes Amazon Prime so special? What makes it one of the biggest streaming services in the world? Well, the answer to that is quite simple, it’s award-winning original content. Here’s a small taste of what you’ll be getting:
- One Mississippi
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
- The Man in the High Castle
- Hand of God
- The Boys
- Just Add Magic
I don’t think the channel needs an introduction, but I’m going to do it anyway. The channel is considered to be the oldest and longest continuously operating pay television service in the United States. It has been operating since 1972, giving more than 140 subscribers the best motion picture and original content anyone could ask for, globally.
HBO fans nowadays have been living the streaming dream. They can stream their favorite shows and movies, whether at home or on the go.
This experience and freedom come from the company’s twin streaming services, HBO Go and HBO Now. However, as much as these two are alike, they can’t get any different.
For example, to operate with HBO Go, you need to start with an HBO subscription from your cable or satellite TV provider. That includes the likes of Xfinity, Horizon, Spectrum, DISH, or DirecTV.
As for HBO Now, it gave HBO fans the privilege to cut the cord and never rely on a cable subscription again. All you have to do is sign up and get the first seven days free (then $14.99/month). That’s it. Both of the services can be viewed on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, PlayStation, Roku, Xbox, Samsung Smart TV, Android, iOS, Chromecast, PC, and Mac.
The Epic Content
After Game of Thrones ended, there were rumors that HBO will lose most of its fan-base. Well, that didn’t happen. It seems that HBO has more loyal customers than anyone thought. That’s because the channel isn’t all about Game of Thrones. HBO was the first channel to reach most nominations record in any network history. Remember the 137 Emmy-nominations? Yeah, that’s courtesy of the following content:
- Game of Thrones
- The Wire
- The Sopranos
- Sex and the City
- True Detective
- Big Little Lies
- True Blood
- The Leftovers
- Getting On
- Big Love
- Boardwalk Empire
Ninety-six years ago, we were introduced to the world’s oldest national broadcasting organization, the BBC. BBC One and BBC Two are the flagship television channels. However, you can also get the likes of BBC Four, News, CBBC, and CBeebies (Children). The best part about the BBC is that you can stream different content on their website. That includes live streams and programs as they’re available on television or online.
In 2007, the BBC upped its streaming game to reach a wider audience by releasing BBC iPlayer. The streaming service allows you to watch content from a vast majority of the BBC’s TV show output from the last 30 days. But that’s not the rule for everything. There are a select few programs that reside in the service’s library for much longer. The channel is so popular it gets an estimated average of 9.9 million successful requests per day.
That’s only half of the story. BBC iPlayer is well-demanded outside UK borders. Although the channel is only available to those residing in the UK, analysts estimate 65 million people regularly access the service using VPNs or proxy servers. A BBC Spokesman stated:
If we were to speak of viewers in the UK, BBC iPlayer attracts 45% of internet users aged 16-64 as of last month. That makes Netflix the second top streamed channel with 24% of web users in the country. Furthermore, BBC iPlayer gains more popularity due to its flexibility and compatibility. There’s an app on nearly every device out there including Mac, iOS, Roku, PC, Amazon Fire TV, PlayStation, Apple TV, Xbox, Android, and Chromecast.
This is maybe the most critical factor in why BBC iPlayer is so popular – the service is free. BBC iPlayer does not have subscribers in the traditional sense because it’s free to viewers in the UK. Viewers can tap into an extensive library of British content by just creating a free account.
A while ago, you didn’t even have to create an account to use the service. However, In September 2016, the BBC outlined changes to its online strategy and added the registration section to access most of its services such as iPlayer and Radio.
What’s on BBC?
Although the channel is for free, it really invests in its original content. Well, the BBC is well-known for documentaries and over the top shows. But with so many titles out there, it could be a bit daunting to keep up. Let me give you a brief idea about what you’ll be getting with BBC:
- Doctor Who
- Line of Duty
- Blue Planet
- The Apprentice
- Top Gear
- Planet Earth
- The Hour
- Murder Case
- Peaky Blinders
- Killing Eve
- War & Peace
- Bargain Hunt
YouTube is, at its core, a video-sharing website. The service was purchased by Google back in 2006 and has become an absolute behemoth of online video, with over 1 billion hours of video watched on the site each day. That makes Youtube Google’s most popular service. It’s used even more than Gmail.
Any online user is familiar with Youtube, and most of the insomnia incidents are because of the binge-viewing this platform offers (It’s not a bad thing actually). You can literally find anything, including movie trailers, music videos, vlogs, and even news. Watching isn’t the only option Youtube allows. You can also easily capture and upload videos directly, as well as upload the videos from your iPhone’s Camera Roll. That, of course, is possible if you have a Youtube account.
There’s also more to Youtube than you might know. The service has been expanding to reach an even bigger audience. Take a look at what I’m talking about.
The service was introduced back in 2017 in select areas. However, as time passed, Google claims the service now covers all 210 U.S. markets. The service is a standalone product, which means that, unlike Hulu, you have to download a separate application to operate it. You can’t just go and open the Youtube app or website and start streaming.
On the other hand, Youtube TV costs you $50 dollars a month. You’ll be able to add a few optional extra channels such as Starz and Showtime for an additional fee, but there aren’t any extra packages. With a valid subscription, you can tap into:
- Animal Planet
- BBC America
- CBS Sports
- Golf Channel
- MLB Network
- Nat Geo
- The CW
Youtube tried to find a way for people to get an even better YouTube experience than what was offered in the free version. That’s why back in 2015, for $10/month, Youtube Red was available, bringing you an ad-free experience along with a set of original TV shows. However, it’s now replaced by YouTube Premium for $11.99 a month and offers you the following:
- Ad-free videos
- Background Play.
- Offline Mode (Downloads)
- Access to all YouTube Originals content.
The service is available in 63 locations. That means anyone there can benefit from none stop binge-viewing of original content including:
- We are Savvy
- Cobra Kai
- Bad Internet
- Single By 30
- 12 Deadly Days
- Best Shot
- What the Fit
- Scare PewDiePie
When we speak of streaming websites, Twitch has to be mentioned. Before I kick off explaining everything about this robust website, you should know that it’s aimed for a specific audience, Gamers. Just hit the site and you can watch people play games live or on-demand by visiting their personal profiles.
Twitch was born, inauspiciously, out of the experimental online reality show Justin.tv. However, with more than 55 million viewers, it was only a matter of time before the big names of the digital industry came sniffing. Therefore, in 2014, Amazon bought the platform making it what it is today.
Over the years since its launch, Twitch kept on adding extra features that helped it evolve and expand. Now, users can interact with each other, DM players, and join in live on an online match at any time. That makes it a bit like Facebook. Twitch users watch 95 minutes per day on average with 20% of traffic coming only from the US. Speaking of, Twitch’s Global Video Streaming Traffic Share is 3.5%, which is like 4 down from Netflix itself.
Twitch also provides live streams of the most prominent e-sports competitions. These tournaments offer huge amounts of money for professional players who are contracted to specific franchise teams. For example, Team Liquid of Dota 2. By the way, you can turn any device into a gaming theater with the Twitch App on Android, iOS, PC, Mac, Fire Stick, Chromecast, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nvidia Shield.
Don’t you know your way around? These are the games you’ll be able to stream matches of once you launch Twitch:
- League of Legends
- Dota 2
- GTA V
- FIFA 19
- Destiny 2
- Street Fighter V
- NBA 2k19
- Warcraft III
- Apex Legends
Sports have had a home in the United States for 39+ years. Yes, ESPN has been around bringing you the best sporting events in the world since 1979. As of 2017, statistics say that there are more than 90,000,000 subscribers in the United States. The channel itself is available in more than 200 countries around the world.
As for the application, fans were accustomed to the WatchESPN app. ESPN withdrew the WatchESPN app on July 1st and redirected all of its content to the new ESPN app. However, this new service will function as the predecessor did, with a valid cable subscription. Here’s what ESPN had to say:
“This move is in line with our larger, ongoing strategy to create a one-stop app destination for all things ESPN and allows us to maximize resources to create the best experience possible for fans.”
Another option to consider is for those who decided to cut the cord, ESPN+. It started small, carrying the traditional ESPN experience minus the cable subscription. ESPN+ is available for 4.99$ a month and 49.99$ a year. However, the channel got really popular when ESPN bought the rights to broadcast UFC events early 2019. Now, the Disney-owned streaming service has over 2 million subscribers with 500,000+ added ones in two days only (UFC debut).
Can’t get enough? Here’s what ESPN has to offer:
- Premier League
- Liga MX
- La Liga
- Champions League
- Europa League
- Serie A
25 years ago, Sky was an ordinary television and broadband Internet services. It also provided fixed line and mobile telephone services to consumers and businesses in the United Kingdom. However, as time passed, Sky became one of the biggest TV broadcasters in the country.
Sky Go is part of the top 10 streaming services that hold Global Video Streaming Traffic Share. Individually, it eats up about 0.5% of the entire world’s traffic, which is considered to be pretty good considering how many streaming services we have nowadays.
The channel is very popular not just in the United Kingdom. Studies state that Sky has a total of 22,423,000 subscribers, including:
- 12,691,000 in the UK & Ireland.
- 4,930,000 in Germany and Austria.
- 4,802,000 in Italy.
If you’re a Sky subscriber, you have free access to the provider’s streaming service, Sky Go. Once you have that, you can tap into a wide selection of live and on-demand content at home and on the go. Remember, you can’t access any of its content without a cable subscription (SKY). All new subscribers must pay a £10 installation fee and sign up for a 12-month minimum contract.
Most of you think that Sky is dedicated to sporting events only. On the contrary, it might be a huge sports broadcaster, but you’ll find other top content to binge-watch. Here are the channels you get to tap into with a Sky subscription on your Android, iOS, PC, and Mac:
- Sky Atlantic
- Sky 1
- Sky Arts
- Sky Living
- Channel 4
- Comedy Central
- Nick Junior
- Animal Planet
- Nat Geo Wild
- Sky Cinema
- Sky Sports
Global Reputation, Not Access
As you may have noticed, the internet is known to be a goldmine for streaming videos. However, despite such growth and the global nature of the internet, we’re still victims of geography. Your geolocation dictates what you can access online. The streaming services mentioned above and so many others are available in specific countries.
They determine your location by examining your public IP address. If you’re not within the area of (broadcasting right) coverage, you won’t be able to access the channel. Take Hulu for example. The channel is only available to those residing in the United States. Only if you have an American IP address, you can stream the streaming giant’s content. Well, luckily, that’s pretty much do-able if you know your way around.
You see, the easiest way to fake your location and obtain a different IP address is by using a VPN. Short for Virtual Private Network, this robust software can virtually teleport you to any country of your choosing based on the server you connect to. If you connect to a US server, you’ll get an American IP address. As a result, you’ll have access to all US-based online content despite living abroad. The same goes to each and every channel around the world provided you connect to a respective server in its region.
A VPN is capable of so much more than just changing your current whereabouts. You could also:
- Anonymize your internet browsing.
- Protect your private information from cyber attacks.
- Avoid ISP throttling.
- Get lower prices on PPVs, flight tickets, and merchandise.
- Use public Wi-Fi safely.
- Get access to different Netflix and Prime Video catalogs.
In essence, a VPN is an important factor to roam the internet freely. There are a lot of providers on the market, yet few can get the job done. Based on my research, here’s a quick look at the top four.
- 30-Day Money-back Guarantee
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Apps For All Your Devices
- 24/7 Live Support
There are More – Honorable Mentions
So we mentioned the top streaming services in 2019. However, we don’t want to rule out some of the greatest as well just because they didn’t make our list. That’s why in this part, we’ll be talking about some honorable mentions that you should also consider. Let’s find out what they are:
Some of you might not agree, but DailyMotion has proven itself to be quite a competitor in the video industry. Alright, it’s not Youtube, I know, it can’t compare to the undisputed giant, but still, it’s good. DailyMotion is trying to work its way up in the video-sharing world.
Hosted in France, Dailymotion offers viewers millions of videos at their disposal, and they’re free. On YouTube, videos get flagged for their inappropriate content with regards to underage viewers. On the other hand, Dailymotion targets viewers of all ages ever without restrictions. It might be wrong at times. Here’s more about the platform:
- Dailymotion is the world’s largest video-streaming website after Youtube, of course.
- Dailymotion’s monthly visitor count has exceeded 115 million.
- Has partnerships with giants like Showtime and HBO.
ITV is a streaming service available in the United Kingdom. It grants you access to several channels, including ITV1, ITV2, ITV3, CITV, and ITVBe. The best thing about it is that it’s totally free. The only frustrating issue with the channel is that it’s ad-based.
However, ITV rolled out an expansion of its catch-up and on-demand service with the option for users to pay an extra fee to get it without ads, ITV Hub+, which costs £3.99 per month. Once you create a free account, you’ll be able to stream the best UK content on Mac, PC, Android, iOS, Smart TVs, Fire Stick, Apple TV, and Roku. That includes the likes of:
- Coronation Street
- The Widower
- Midsommer Murders
- The X-Factor
- Inspector Morse
- DCI Banks
- The Saint
- Doc Martin
- Mr. Selfridge
- The Chace
Sling TV is another great way to join in on the best streaming experience. This service offers you up to 40 channels according to the subscription plan you end up with. Both Orange and Blue give you 25 channels at your disposal, while Orange+Blue gives you all 40.
The platform provides you with a 7-day free trial in case you need to test out its service. You can download the application straight on your Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Chromecast, PC, Mac, iOS, Roku, Apple TV, and Samsung Smart TV.
To make things clearer, here are Sling TV’s plans:
- Orange – 25$ (ESPN, A&E, Disney, AMC, CNN, History Channel, Cartoon Network)
- Blue – 25$ (USA Network, TLC, Comedy Central, Fox Sport, Paramount Network)
- Sling Orange & Blue – 40$ (Every single channel Orange and Blue have)
Nowadays, thanks to services like the ones mentioned above, a boring weekend can turn into a binge-watching marathon with a push of a button. You only need to know which service to choose for that to happen. I’ve stated the top streaming services in the world in 2019 along with some other ones that are considered to be pretty good alternatives. Go through them, check their features, and pick one according to what suits you best. If you need any help or have any questions, feel free to drop a line in the comments below.