Five Popular TV Streaming Services: Pros and Cons

Five Popular TV Streaming Services: Pros and Cons

How many hours do you stream a week? Since the start of COVID-19, we have all spent more time streaming television shows and movies than usual. I know I am guilty of binge-watching, playing just one more episode, and waking up bleary-eyed in the morning. There are so many streaming services it is hard to know which one to pick.

Streaming

The Merriam-Webster definition of streaming: the act, the process, or an instance of streaming data or of accessing data that is being streamed.

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Streaming in Canada

According to Statista, 46% of Canadians subscribe to a streaming service; 73% of all Canadians stream at a monthly minimum, while 41% of Canadians stream daily. More and more people are cutting the cord and moving away from cable or satellite towards streaming services.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Streaming

The advantages of streaming include the ability to watch TV at your convenience, instant access, cancel anytime, plus pause/rewind/skip any time. Disadvantages include buffering, online security, and Wi-Fi issues.

It is now possible to watch an entire series one season after another. In fact, some people will not even start watching a season until the show has ended its run so they don’t have to wait. Streaming allows people to get caught up on older content or series they previously missed. I watched Lost, Smallville, and Gilmour Girls years after the shows ended.

Popular Streaming Services

According to the eMarketer, the top five subscription-based streamers are Netflix (52%), Amazon Prime Video (25%), Disney+ (17%), Crave (13%), and Apple TV+ (8%).

These streaming services are affordable, have no ads, and have easy-to-use interfaces. They all offer movies, tv shows, and documentaries.

1. Netflix.

Netflix is the most popular streaming service in Canada with 6.78 million subscriptions. Although by 2024 they estimate that 18.4 million Canadians will have a Netflix subscription. House of Cards from Netflix was the first TV show to drop all thirteen episodes of a season at once. According to the New York Times, Netflix designed the show to be addictive and viewed in one sitting.

Plans range from $9.99 (basic) to $14.99 (HD) to 18.99 (4K) CDN.

Pros

  • New content added weekly
  • Smooth streaming
  • Multiple users
  • Simultaneous streaming
  • Download episodes to watch later

Cons

  • No free trial
  • Not all Netflix content is available in all countries
  • It takes forever to add newer seasons of current shows
  • They cancel shows too quickly

Netflix Original Content

My favourite shows are Ozark, Mindhunter, Altered Carbon, Orange is the New Black, The Last Kingdom, The Queens Gambit, The Witcher, Tiger King, When They See Us, and 13 Reasons Why. I am ashamed to admit that I still haven’t watched Stranger Things, but it is on my list.

2. Amazon Prime Video

As stated on the eMarketer website, Amazon Prime is the second-largest streamer in Canada and will reach 8.8 million Canadian homes by 2024.

The cost is $7.99 a month or prime membership of $79.99 CDN a year. 

Pros

  • Free trial
  • Multiple users
  • Simultaneous streaming
  • Download episodes to watch later
  • Buy or rent movies or shows

Cons

  • Less content than Netflix
  • Some content requires an extra purchase

Amazon Prime Original Content

My favourite shows are Sneaky Pete, Goliath, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Good Omens, The Boys, Jack Ryan, Fleabag, and Man in the High Castle. Although Little Fires Everywhere and Yellowstone are not original prime content, they are both excellent series.

3. Disney+

Launched in late 2019, Disney+ is the official home of Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel, National Geographic, and any Disney movie you ever wanted to watch.

The cost is $8.99 monthly or $89.99 CDN a year.

Pros

  • Free trial
  • Multiple users
  • Simultaneous streaming
  • Download episodes to watch later

Cons

  • Kid based
  • Some Disney titles are not available yet due to licensing issues

Disney+ Original Content

The Mandalorian and All the Right Stuff are the only two shows I have watched, but they are both excellent.

4. Crave

Formerly established as ‘The Movie Network’, Crave, owned by Bell Media, re-launched in 2014 as a subscription streaming site.

The cost is $9.99 for the basic package, $19.98 to include HBO and $25.97  for HBO and Starz CDN.

Pros

  • Free trial
  • Multiple users
  • Simultaneous streaming
  • Download episodes to watch later

Cons

  • No Original Content
  • Extra Cost for HBO and Starz

Crave Original Content

Although Crave doesn’t have any original content, they have exclusive rights to content not available elsewhere in Canada like Westworld, The Undoing, Big Little Lies, Game of Thrones, and The Handmaid’s Tale. This is the only streaming service I don’t subscribe to, but I can recommend these series.

5. Apple TV+

Apple TV+  also launched in late 2019 the same day as Disney+. It has content from big names like Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Momoa, Aaron Paul, and M. Night Shyamalan.

Apple TV is cheaper than the other streaming services at $5.99 CDN a month or get a free year by purchasing an Apple product.

Pros

  • Free trial
  • Buy or rent movies or shows
  • All original content
  • Download episodes to watch offline

Cons

  • Less included content
  • More buffering than other streamers

Apple TV Original Content

My favourites are The Morning Show, See, Home Before Dark, For All Mankind, Ted Lasso, Little Voices, Mythic Quest, Defending Jacob, and Truth Be Told.

Other Streaming Services

I have just touched on the top five subscription streaming services, but there are many others including CBC Gem (Free), DAZN (Sports), YouTube Premium, CBS All Access, Sportsnet Now (Sports), and TSN direct (Sports). The CTV throwback allows for free streaming of older shows like Who’s the Boss or Party of Five.

Final Thoughts

Obviously, I watch too much television, but as a writer, I find it a great way to study characters and dialogue. What are your favourite streaming services and shows? Let me know in the comments.

 

Until next time,

Frankie

Feature image by freestocks.org from Pexels.