Streaming services are the television of the future in the truest sense of the word. Rigid broadcast schedules, inflexible devices, and dust collectors such as DVDs and Blu-rays are now almost a thing of the past. Amazon, Netflix, Disney, and Co. now dominate daily film and television entertainment with fast and flexible video streams anytime, anywhere, and on the device of your choice. But which video streaming service is the best?
The market for streaming services and platforms is now very large, diverse, and therefore also not easy to choose from. Therefore, we will look at the best video streaming services of 2022. In this article, you will find all the important information about the roundup winner, Amazon Prime Video, and the other top platforms, including their price overviews, and other valuable tips.
1. Amazon Prime Video
- Price: From $7.49/month
- Movies/series: 30,000/5,200
- UHD quality: Yes
Amazon Prime Video is the video streaming service from internet giant Amazon and our top choice of the best streaming service this year. From being an online bookstore selling books, the mail order company has developed into a universal retailer that offers just about everything. This now includes a wide range of series and films.
In contrast to Netflix, however, there are often many movies outside the mainstream. Amazon Studio’s notable productions include romantic comedy “The Big Sick” and Oscar-winning family drama “Manchester by the Sea.” However, Amazon seems to be slowly changing this publication strategy: The political drama “The Report” and the adventure drama “The Aeronauts” found their way to viewers in home cinemas pretty quickly.
Amazon also seems to be rethinking its series productions. While the early focus was on quiet and slowly told dramas or thrillers like “Transparent,” “Bosch” and “Goliath,” they are now stepping on the gas and producing lively comedies like “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” space operas like “The Expanse” and spy thrillers like “Deutschland 83”, “Deutschland 86” or “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” as well as the popular comic adaptation “The Boys.”
After the “Game of Thrones” and “The Witcher” successes, Amazon wants to add to the fantasy genre soon and is investing a lot of money in the upcoming “Lord of the Rings” series and in an adaptation of the 14-part fantasy novel series called ” The Wheel of Time.”
In addition, the provider expanded its broadcasting rights in football. Some Champions League games have been broadcast on Amazon Prime since the 2021/2022 season.
A lot of content, especially newer content, is available on Amazon in HD and UHD quality. You can stream via smart TV, PC, laptop, or smartphone via the in-house Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Why we like Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video has a huge range of services and is very flexible: the service provider has more than 30,000 movies and 5,000 series.
You’ll get what you want here, whether it’s the latest blockbuster shortly after the cinema release or a new series to binge-watch. In addition, the Prime subscription does not cost the earth. You pay around 8 dollars monthly for full access to the flat rate offer, including all exclusive and original content.
What makes Amazon Prime Video different from other streaming services?
Amazon’s biggest unique selling point is the very comprehensive Prime subscription. Prime customers not only get access to Amazon’s VoD offer but also to Amazon Music, Prime Reading, and of course, free premium shipping for ordered items.
Amazon Prime puts together a complete multimedia package with different services. There are hardly any other compared competitors that offer more for the money.
Who is Amazon Prime Video suitable for?
Thanks to the double offer of single access and flat rate, Amazon is suitable for both frequent and occasional streamers. Some are happy about the constantly rotating selection of films and series and the always available original series.
You can also browse the shop for a blockbuster or a beloved classic. Amazon Prime Video is only suitable to a limited extent for families, as the stream is only possible on a maximum of 2 devices simultaneously, whereby the same video may not run on both devices.
- Huge selection of films and series
- High-quality Amazon originals
- Offline mode
- Some classics and films of the mainstream are on offer
- No extra costs for the Champions League games
- Complex subscription model
- Confusing, not necessarily user-friendly service
- Not all content is available in the original version
- Price: from $9.99/month
- Movies/series: 3,600/1,500
- UHD quality: Yes
Netflix is the forefather of all streaming services. It is one of the longest-running services and the streaming giant has quite a bit to offer. While Netflix used to focus on providing only third-party content, the streaming provider has focused more on its productions since 2013.
It has now developed into a serious player in the series market. Netflix-produced series highlights include the David Fincher-produced series “House of Cards” and “Mindhunter,” the animated series “Bojack Horseman,” and the comedy series “Sex Education.”
Netflix continues to be known for giving its promising writing and directing talent as much creative freedom as possible on its projects.
Meanwhile, Netflix is also represented with numerous productions at the Oscars. Recent hit movies include “The Irishman,” “Marriage Story,” and “The Two Popes.” In addition, hardly any other provider offers a wide range of in-house and third-party productions for adults and children.
The younger audience, in particular, has discovered the cult Netflix Originals, the provider’s trademark. You can stream Netflix at the standard rate on all common devices such as PC/laptops, Smart TV, Amazon Fire TV, iOS and Android smartphones, and game consoles. Depending on the price package selected, the quality of the stream ranges from SD to Ultra HD.
Why we like Netflix
Netflix has a lot of high-quality offers (especially for series lovers), a beautiful and user-friendly design, and excellent device coverage. The picture quality is also great since a lot of content on Netflix is already available with 4K resolution (UHD).
These are available in the largest package, “Premium,” for around $19.99 per month, in which you can also stream on up to four devices simultaneously.
What makes Netflix different from other streaming services?
Although the rest of the film and series offer is also decent and is constantly being expanded, it is above all the Netflix Originals that distinguish the flat rate portal.
With award-winning series like “House of Cards,” “Orange is the New Black,” and “Stranger Things,” Netflix revolutionized the series market almost single-handedly and had huge successes. Netflix has already produced around 1500 original series and films to date. There is no end in sight to the success story.
Who is Netflix suitable for?
With the third-largest selection of series in comparison (and the largest of all flat-rate providers), Netflix is particularly suitable for series junkies.
They get their money’s worth with constantly new feeds and can work their way through many different categories, from action, comedy, and mystery to documentary and reality TV formats to anime series. But film fans can also be happy with Netflix if they don’t mind the time of production of the often outdated movies.
- All content available in multiple languages and with multiple subtitles
- Large selection of series and films from different countries
- Several offers regarding prices and image quality can be selected
- Exclusive Series/Netflix Originals
- Videos in UHD quality
- Access from many devices
- Expensive premium offer
- Lack of email support
- Too many older films
- Price: From $7.99/month
- Movies/series: 1,500/500
- UHD quality: Yes
Disney+ (or Disney Plus) is a streaming service from the Walt Disney Company. Launched in November 12, 2019, it’s one of the youngest in the current comparison.
A young-at-heart audience, in particular, will get their money’s worth here because the Disney+ offer includes many animated films and cartoons, and series from Disney and Pixar. This means that you will be offered both classics and modern productions.
Since Disney has now also acquired Marvel Studio and Lucasfilm, numerous Marvel and Star Wars films and series are also being added. Since the acquisition, the group has been celebrating one cinema success after the other, many of which you can also see on Disney Plus+.
With Disney+ Star, there is now a huge range of adult content too. So there is something suitable for everyone.
The flat rate platform is available on most common devices such as PC or laptops, mobile devices, Smart TVs, streaming sticks, and game consoles. It includes 4K resolution as standard, and you can stream on up to 4 devices simultaneously.
Why we like Disney+
Disney+ combines classic Disney and Pixar content with franchises like Marvel and Star Wars and Star’s VoD programming, which features a whole range of other Disney brands.
The mouse company has thus built up a manageable but high-quality range of films and series exclusively from house brands, which should primarily attract fans of the Marvel superheroes or Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean. Nostalgics also get their money’s worth with classic Disney films.
What makes Disney+ different from other streaming services?
Similar to Netflix, Disney+ relies entirely on in-house productions and exclusive content. The Disney titles collected here cannot be found anywhere else in legal video streaming. New exclusive series from the Star Wars and Marvel franchises (such as recently the celebrated Marvel series “Loki”) are intended to bind fans in the long term. In addition, future cinema films from Disney and Co. could also be distributed via the platform or be available earlier exclusively on it.
Who is Disney+ suitable for?
It is clear who Disney Plus wants to target with its offers: fans of classic cartoons and animated films and the big “new” Disney franchises will find a home here with all their favorite movies and series.
Disney+ is particularly interesting for families with children thanks to the stream on multiple devices and the family-friendly content; since February 2021, the content was added to “Star,” but adult series fans can also feel addressed by the Disney offer.
- Exclusive Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel titles
- You can stream on 4 devices simultaneously
- Offline function available
- Wide variety of adult content through Star integration
- Good picture and sound quality
- Few new original series and films so far
- No free trial period
4. HBO Max
- Price: From $9.99/month
- Movies/series: 2,800+/580
- UHD quality: Yes
HBO Max offers numerous high-quality shows and movies, many even exclusive. As an extensive HBO media library, the streaming service already has added value, and there is also access to the extensive Warner film archive.
HBO Max, now replacing the previous HBO services, is much more than just an HBO streaming service. The streaming from Warner Bros offers all kinds of classic films and series in addition to the programs from HBO. The name HBO Max was chosen because viewers were already familiar with the HBO brand.
HBO Max currently offers two subscription models. For $14.99 per month, you get access to the streaming service, and you can stream on up to three devices simultaneously and save up to 30 videos as downloads on your mobile devices. In addition, the streams are available in Full HD and 4K UHD.
A cheaper subscription for $9.99 a month removes the download function and videos in UHD, and there are also occasional commercial breaks. Here, the annual subscription costs $69.99.
Like so many streaming services, HBO Max initially offered a free trial, but nothing is given for free anymore. So you have to pay for at least one month to get an impression of HBO Max.
As a Warner Bros. streaming service, HBO Max rarely buys titles from other studios, so the selection is mainly limited to new and old Warner titles. Of course, the almost 100-year production history offers enough films and series to easily supply an entire streaming service, but not every Warner title can be found on HBO Max.
Hours of good entertainment await those interested in current and past HBO series. However, there are hardly any series from other channels, which is why HBO Max is more suitable in this respect as a supplement to Netflix, where there is a large range of HBO-free series.
If Warner Bros. has already passed on the exclusive streaming rights to Netflix, Amazon, or another provider in advance, HBO Max will first have to wait for the existing contracts to expire. So maybe one day, the entire Warner program will be on HBO Max, but the titles currently come and go without any visible logic.
Why we like HBO Max
The protection of minors from HBO Max is convincing. As soon as you create a child profile, HBO Max will ask you for the young user’s birthday to adapt the program accordingly. You can also determine that a pin must be entered before switching from the child profile to the adult profile.
Regardless of the child’s age, you can decide which age ratings are acceptable for your child. Your son is 10 years old, but should only see titles for viewers over 17? This works out! Of course, you can also ensure that your 16-year-old daughter can only see films and series from the age of 0. You are in control, and that is commendable.
As with most other streaming services, the navigation of HBO Max has been designed to be self-explanatory. The home page provides an overview of what is on offer and lists new products and other recommendations by category. Here you will also find your watch list and a list of titles you have started so you can quickly continue.
In the navigation, you can choose between the areas “Series,” “Movies,” “Originals,” “Newly Added,” “Last Chance,” and “Preview.” You will also find various genres here. The ability to sort films and series alphabetically ensures you won’t miss a title when browsing the range.
Who is HBO Max suitable for?
Movie fans will certainly get their money’s worth with HBO Max. New Warner productions appear on HBO Max just a few months after their theatrical release. For example, you can find the “Superman” and “Batman” films here, but also “Citizen Kane.” The program catalog not only focuses on current titles but goes back to the 1930s.
Here you will find titles that cineastes sorely miss in the Netflix or Amazon Prime Video programs. That is the advantage of streaming services with their film studio behind them. Already at Disney+, users were able to enjoy numerous classics. HBO Max offers a good mix of mainstream and film history that only a few services provide and offers something suitable for every user.
The HBO program predominates in the series area. As a complete station archive, you will find series classics such as “The Sopranos,” “Oz,” “The Wire,” or ” Sex and the City. “Of course, newer titles such as ” Westworld ” or ” Barry ” are also available and are available as streams immediately after they have been broadcast in the linear HBO program.
- Access to the complete HBO archive
- Versatile film selection
- Download function available at no extra charge
- High monthly price
- More like a supplement to Netflix
- Price: From $6.99/month
- Movies/series: 2,500+/1650
- UHD quality: Yes
Hulu is already an old hand in the US. The streaming service once started as a free media library for several broadcasters; later a paid subscription was added with Hulu Plus.
All Hulu users now have to pay, but not only do they get access to a gigantic series archive, but also to shows, films, and in-house productions. Since the Fox acquisition, Disney has owned Hulu, which is why the streaming service is bundled with Disney+ in the US and has become home to all productions that are too “grown up” for Disney+.
In general, the streaming service offers three different subscription models. Simply referred to as “Hulu,” the subscription model lets you access all of the service’s content for $6.99 a month.
However, the series and films are interrupted by short advertising blocks. For the “Hulu (No Ads)” package, you pay $12.99 and, with a few exceptions, have no ad breaks. You can also choose the “Hulu + Live TV” model, which allows you to access US television stations. However, at $75.99 a month, it’s asking a hefty sum.
Why we like Hulu
Hulu gives new users their first month free. This applies to both “Hulu” and “Hulu (No Ads),” which is why it makes sense here to choose the ad-free offer. If you want to continue using Hulu, you can easily change the subscription model in the settings. If you’re going to try out the subscription, including Live TV, you only have one week to do so.
If you want to watch a series directly after the US broadcast, you can’t avoid a Hulu subscription. The program from channels like ABC or FOX can be found on the Hulu offer through Disney, but various series from channels like NBC or CBS are also available on Hulu.
Meanwhile, Hulu also has an impressive arsenal of in-house productions. Above all, of course, ” The Handmaid’s Tale, “the dramatic dystopia, has earned Hulu several Emmys and Golden Globes. Other Hulu Originals include “Castle Rock,” “High Fidelity,” “Pen 15,” and “Normal People.”
Who is Hulu suitable for?
The Hulu streaming service is for Americans and less for people outside the US without a VPN service. Hulu is a great option for watching live TV and streaming new and classic shows on every platform.
The streaming service Hulu offers a large selection of new and old films and TV series. The offer can only be used in the US, but you can access this service using some detours. The price is fair if you choose the cheapest subscription, but without ads and with add-ons, Hulu costs a bit much. For series fans who live with advertising and can do without HBO, Hulu is a worthwhile paradise.
- Current series offer
- Lots of American shows
- In-house productions
- Great image quality
- Access outside of the USA cumbersome
- Poor sound quality
- Downloads are not possible with the lower subscription
- Useless protection of minors
6. YouTube Movies & Shows
- Price: from $2.99/video
- Flat rate: No
- Movies/series: 14,100/2,400
- UHD quality: Yes
It has been known for a long time that Google offers films and series on demand via the Google Play Store; However, the fact that the same offer is also available on the video platform YouTube is not much known. But this service can be accessed on YouTube.com/movies.
The video streaming offer is hidden here but still has a large selection. The stream works on almost all devices (on some even in 4K resolution). The well-known YouTube player is used.
Why we like YouTube
Among our list of the best video streaming services of 2022, YouTube (after Amazon) has the second largest range of films and series you can stream individually.
Of particular interest are current films and blockbusters, which are increasingly available on YouTube 3 to 4 months after their cinema debut. This means that YouTube is in no way inferior to Amazon’s single-access offering. YouTube only has to work on equipping the content with different language tracks and subtitles. There is a need to catch up here.
What makes YouTube different from other streaming services?
YouTube is not primarily known as a streaming service but as a platform for user-generated videos. With the “Movies & Shows” channel and the VoD content from the Google Play Store, Google is pursuing the strategy of bundling all video content on a single platform. This is an exciting idea, especially for users who are often on the go on YouTube anyway. Making things even easier is that all you need to stream is a PayPal account.
Who is YouTube suitable for?
The video streaming offer from YouTube know as Youtube TV is particularly suitable for occasional streamers: inside or those who would like to enjoy current blockbusters very early in VoD.
As a purely single-access portal, YouTube has no flat-rate offer; instead, you pay for each film and series episode or season individually. Fans of the platform are in good hands here thanks to the familiar look and feel and can switch between paid VoD content and free user-generated videos at will.
- Large range of films and series
- UHD and 5.1 surround sound
- Large device coverage
- Weaknesses in user guidance
- Not across the board in the original sound
7. Rakuten TV
- Price: From $4.99 a month
- Films/series: 7,600/200
- UHD quality: Yes
Rakuten TV is the video streaming service of the Japanese Rakuten Group. The platform offers a mix of films and series on demand, a free program with advertising, and two flat-rate models, each with a different concept.
You can stream Rakuten TV on your Smart TV and PC, and mobile devices. UHD quality is already available for individual films and series.
Why do we like Rakuten TV?
Rakuten TV’s single-view offer is not as huge as that of YouTube or Amazon, but we like it because it is up-to-date. The films and series on demand are constantly changing and are often available on Rakuten just a few weeks after the cinema.
There is also an advertising-financed free offer consisting of B-Movies, some older and less well-known films and series (also for children), and various documentaries.
What makes Rakuten TV different from other streaming services?
In addition to single access, Rakuten TV offers not just one but two flat rate offers. With its partner “Filmtastic,” Rakuten sells a series of hand-picked films from the 90s and noughties, which often include real classics and gems, for around 4 euros per month.
In addition, there is the “Starzplay” subscription for about 5 euros per month with films and series from Lionsgate Studios and the US broadcaster Starz, including “Spartacus,” “The Tudors,” and “Mad Men.”
Who is Rakuten TV suitable for?
Rakuten TV is pretty much the most flexible streaming service in the current comparison. With the combination of current blockbusters on demand, classics in “Filmtastic,” mainstream series and films in “Starzplay,” and the free offer, Rakuten TV actually has something for everyone.
Except that the range of series could be larger. Single-access competitors like Amazon and YouTube and even flat-rate portals like Netflix have much more to offer.
- Current blockbusters available
- UHD and 5.1 sound
- Registration via app and Smart TV
- Incomplete offer
- Poor protection of minors
8. Apple TV+
- Price: from $4.99/month
- Movies/series: 105+/50
- UHD quality: Yes
With Apple TV Plus, the tech giant is trying its hand at the streaming market. Apple launched its streaming service at the end of 2019, the same period when Disney+ launched. While iTunes and Apple TV offer films and series to buy and rent, Apple TV+ relies on in-house productions and a subscription whose low price initially makes you prick up your ears.
However, the offer of the still young platform is very limited at the moment. Apple focuses primarily on in-house productions. Everything about series and films that goes beyond that, you have to buy or rent.
Highlights include the sci-fi series For all Mankind by Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek author Ronald D. Moore, the biopic series Dickinson, the star-studded journalist drama The Morning Show, the fantasy Series “See” and the mystery series “Servant” from The Sixth Sense director M. Night Shyamalan.
Why we like Apple TV+
The Apple TV+ streaming service offers prominently cast in-house productions in the best picture and sound quality for just five euros a month.
Many streaming services have said goodbye to free trials, but with Apple TV+, you can still stream for 7 days free. You can secure a longer free trial period with Apple TV+ if you buy a new Apple device. You can then use the streaming service for three months at no extra charge. Until mid-2021, Apple TV + was even more generous and gave a whole year out.
Who is Apple TV Plus suitable for?
Apple TV Plus is ideal for streamers looking for a low-budget service with a free trial. Three years after the start of the streaming service, Apple TV Plus has more than 105 titles. It is a mix of dramas, comedies, children’s programs, documentaries, and specials. Every new subscriber should have enough to do with that, but the amount of content is, of course, still far behind what Netflix and Co.
But new series are released weekly on Apple TV+, with a new season usually starting with two or three episodes.
- Excellent picture and sound quality
- Low price
- A large archive of movies and series
- In-house productions, all of high quality
- Not many movies and shows on offer
- apps for Android and Windows
- No classic films and series
Some of the best streaming services include Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, YouTube, Hulu, and fuboTV, followed by Rakuten TV and Apple TV Plus. These streaming services have a solid selection of films and series, good transmission and picture quality and a fair price-performance ratio. But not all of these streaming services are suitable for everything and everyone. The review highlights who each platform is ideal for.
When it comes to movies, Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, YouTube, and Google Play all come out on top. The absolute leader here is Amazon, with over 30,000 films available; around 4,200 of them are in the prime flat rate. There is something here from all genres and for every taste. The Amazon offer is so large that it is unlikely to find a film on any other VoD platform that is not also available on Amazon Prime Video.
The single-view providers Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, YouTube, and Google Play, as well as the flat-rate provider Netflix, have most of the series in comparison. In the series segment, too, Amazon offers the largest selection with around 5,000 series (of which around 1,000 in the flat rate).
But watch out: Especially with series, the rule of thumb is that a large selection is not everything. Firstly, streaming series is relatively expensive with single-demand providers. Secondly, even if you regularly need a new series feed, you are better off with a flat-rate provider like Netflix, as they regularly come up with new exclusive series and originals.
Netflix offers the largest selection of original and exclusive content of any streaming service. More and more streaming services no longer just want to sell content; they want to produce it themselves. The resulting originals are often what makes the decision between one or the other flat rate platform. In our review, the best and most well-known originals are Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. However, Disney+ also follows suit with original series from the Marvel or Star Wars franchises. Apple is also busy producing its own original series.
All of the featured streaming services have their pros and cons. They address different user groups and have completely different priorities: series junkies will be busy for months due to the enormous savings through the subscription model and great original productions with Amazon Prime Video.
However, Netflix is a great option for those interested in Originals. What distinguishes many streaming services (especially in the flat rate segment) is the originals they offer, i.e., exclusive in-house productions that are only available from this special provider. Originally set in motion by Netflix, the trend towards in-house production has now spread. Many platforms today want to distinguish themselves through the quality of their originals and also want to retain users in the long term.