With all the daily stressors bombarding our lives at present and no particular end date to COVID-19, many have fled to the safe havens of television and streaming.

Popular streaming services have boomed during the last few months, many recycling “oldies but goodies” in lieu of a lack of new material. These refreshing pieces of film and TV have provided a greatly needed respite, but money isn’t to be thrown around, so which services are truly worth the cash?

Many would call Netflix their go-to for on demand movies and tv shows, and with as large a collection as the TV titan possesses, that’s not a bad choice. Netflix offers a wide variety of genres to choose from. From anime series to Netflix Original Movies, the content does not easily run dry.

Moreover, Netflix is worthy of attention because of its expanding library, changed monthly. This brings new life into the streaming platform, giving viewers even hotter options to choose from, instead of dredging through C-list movies. 

However, Netflix has downsides that one should be aware of. These include the infamous decisions to remove popular shows off the platform at seemingly a moment’s notice, as well as the having to wait until a show ends on cable TV for the season to be available to stream. The other sad truth is that Netflix might not always have exactly what you wish to watch, which brings us to other streaming service possibilities. 

Next on the list, the giant of new exciting shows: Hulu. This streaming service has a wide variety of content many subscribers appreciate, yet has a nasty pitfall. 

While Hulu offers shows on its platform as soon as they release, the tech company also forces viewers to slog through a seemingly countless number of commercials before resuming their relatively short show. When weighing which streaming services are worth it, ask yourself, “do I want to sit through commercials over and over again?”

The other thing to consider is that since many shows are not currently filming new episodes, the best part of Hulu was erased, leaving many with a fairly similar library as Netflix, but with unwelcome ads. 

Following Hulu comes Disney+, that newcomer that stirred up fanfare and criticisms alike. This service offers Disney classics, as well as Star Wars, National Geographic and Marvel films and shows. Disney+, while offering entertainment highly on demand, has a limited supply of content, especially compared to Netflix. If you watch your way through all the Marvel movies and find yourself missing options, then you’ll know Disney+ is best suited to a supplementary subscription rather than being your primary streaming service.

Lastly, Amazon’s Prime Video, which gathers points in the library size arena, but loses them in availability. Within this streaming platform there are the “what you can watch” and the “what you have to pay extra to watch” shows. This places a handicap on your immediate desires to say, binge all three Lord of the Rings movies in one sitting.

Within Prime, there are a large variety of things to watch, a truly excellent selection. But when spending money is tight, remember Amazon will try to extract every penny from your show cravings.

There are of course more streaming services than these listed here, but the four mentioned warrant the most attention. These possess the largest libraries, are the most accessible and on top of all, are cost effective.

But what if you had to choose one to reign over the others, if you only had the money for one service? Pick Netflix. You receive the most for your dollar, and will always be able to find something new and exciting to watch, even if it’s not the first thing you thought of that day.

Dawson Neely is a staff writer. 

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