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The 5 best Netflix alternatives: Binge-watch elsewhere

What is the best Netflix alternative? Hulu is ZDNet's No. 1 recommendation. We analyzed the top streaming services based on price, original content, variety of shows and movies, live TV options, simultaneous streaming, advertisement policy, and more to find the best alternatives for Netflix cynics.
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Written by Allison Murray, Staff Writer on
Reviewed by Elyse Betters Picaro

While Netflix is often hailed as the king of streaming services, it's also known for frequently raising its prices. If the streaming conglomerate has finally priced you out as a subscriber, there are plenty of other options out there to watch TV shows and movies.

Netflix has the most subscribers out of any streaming service at 222 million subscribers in Q4 of 2021. But that doesn't mean you have to buy into the hype. Its standard subscription price has increased by $1.50 in two years, and its premium subscription has increased by $2 in two years, so people are looking for alternatives. In addition, you might want to leave Netflix if you've become frustrated with its ever-changing titles and what is added/removed from the platform monthly.

There is more to the streaming world than Netflix: in fact, there are more than 200 streaming services available today. We've rounded up the best streaming service alternatives that include live TV, unique originals, binge-worthy shows, and more for you to keep on streaming.

Also: Best video streaming service 

Hulu
By AFM Visuals Shutterstock

Features: Access to Disney+ and ESPN+ | Live TV | 3,000 titles

For more than half of the price of a monthly Netflix subscription, you can watch a wide array of TV shows and movies on Hulu for just $6.99 per month. The platform has original content like The Handmaid's Tale, How I Met Your Father, Dollface, and more, along with classic and popular movies.

Something Hulu has that Netflix doesn't is the option to stream live TV. With the highest tier subscription ($75.99 per month), you can watch live TV and sports and get access to Disney+ and ESPN+.

However, two out of three of Hulu's subscription tiers still have ads. Also, its base subscription-only supports one streamer at a time, so you can't share your account with friends or family as you do with Netflix.

Pros:

  • Familiar and popular shows as well as unique content
  • Live TV streaming option

Cons:

  • Still has ads
  • Base service supports only one streamer at a time 
Amazon Prime Video

Features: Comes with Amazon Prime subscription | Buy or rent titles | About 26,000 titles

If you're one of the more than 200 million subscribers with Amazon Prime, you already have Amazon Prime Video. Amazon's streaming service also comes as a standalone option if you don't have a Prime membership, at $8.99 per month.

Amazon Prime Video has original series like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Boys, and The Wheel of Time. What's great about this specific platform is that you can buy/rent movies/TV series a la carte, so if you're looking for something specific, it may be worth it.

While Amazon Prime is a decent Netflix alternative, it lacks the number of original series and movies Netflix offers. Also, even with your subscription, you still must buy/rent certain titles, making the overall cost go up.

Pros:

  • Already included in your Amazon Prime subscription
  • A la carte option so you can buy movies or shows
  • No ads

Cons:

  • Limited original content
  • Pay extra to watch certain movie titles 
HBO Max
HBO Max

Features: Comes with HBO subscription | More than 2,500 titles | 4K UHD streaming

To watch some of the most talked-about shows, you'll need HBO Max. The streaming service costs $9.99 per month with ads and $14.99 per month for an ad-free experience and streaming in 4K UHD. The good news is that if you already have an HBO subscription, HBO Max comes free.

HBO Max is home to popular series like And Just Like That, Euphoria, Succession, Barry, and more. You can also watch recently released movies from the past six months if you couldn't catch them in theaters.

There aren't a lot of downsides to HBO Max except that its higher tier no-ad subscription will cost you almost as much as Netflix.

Pros:

  • Lots of original content
  • Watch recently released movies

Cons:

  • Have to pay almost as much as a Netflix subscription for a no-ad experience 
Apple TV+
Apple

Features: Compatible with many devices | No ads | About 60 titles 

Apple TV+'s lineup is almost all original shows and movies, so you know you're watching something you can't watch anywhere else. At $4.99 per month, you can stream award-winning shows and films like The Morning Show, Ted Lasso, Coda, and more. The best part is that there are no commercials.

While you may think Apple TV+ is only compatible with Apple devices, the platform actually works on gaming consoles, streaming devices like Roku and Amazon Fire TV, Smart TVs, and, of course, on Apple TV and other Apple devices.

However, episodes on Apple TV+ roll out weekly instead of all together, making it hard to binge-watch a really good show. Also, there is currently no Apple TV+ app available for Android devices or PC users. 

Pros:

  • Award-winning original content
  • Inexpensive
  • No commercials

Cons:

  • Episodes only roll out weekly
  • No app for Android devices or PC users 

Also: Best streaming devices: Your top media player options

Peacock
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Features: Free tier | Live TV | More than 60,000 hours of content

NBC's streaming service offers three tiers: a free subscription that still has ads, a premium subscription at $4.99 that has limited ads but also live sports and events, and a plus tier that is $9.99 and has zero ads and allows you to download and watch select titles offline. However, if you're willing to deal with about a minute of ads, the free tier is a solid option.

On Peacock, you can watch original series like Bel-Air, Dr. Death, Girls5Eva, and Wolf Like Me, as well as cult classics like The Office, 30 Rock, the Harry Potter collection, and more. There's also live TV and sports you can tune into, with exclusive 24-hour coverage of every Olympics.

Of course, the downside here is that Peacock still has ads for two of its three subscriptions, but hey, free comes at a price. Also, there is no 4K streaming option, so the quality could be better.

Pros:

  • Live TV and sports
  • Different price tiers, including a free one 

Cons:

  • Still has ads
  • No 4K streaming option

What is the best Netflix alternative?

Hulu is the best Netflix alternative based on our analysis of the top streaming services. 

Netflix Alternative

Price

# of Titles

Hulu

Starting at $6.99/month

3,000

Amazon Prime Video

$14.99/month (with Amazon Prime membership) or $8.99/month

About 26,000

HBO Max

Starting at $9.99/month

More than 2,500

Apple TV+

$4.99/month

About 60

Peacock

Free option with ads, or starts at $4.99/month with limited ads

More 60,000 hours of content

Which Netflix alternative is right for you?

If you really want to leave Netflix to pay less, you can't go wrong with Peacock's free tier. However, if you're more interested in watching popular, original content, HBO Max and Apple TV+ have shows and movies that everyone is always talking about.

As another option, if you are just an occasional watcher but like specific movies or shows, Amazon Prime Video's a la carte setup is a great alternative. 

Choose this Netflix alternative...

If you want...

Hulu

The best overall option

Amazon Prime Video

A streaming service to watch along with Amazon Prime benefits

HBO Max

Access to award-winning and binge-worthy shows

Apple TV+

A streaming service with plenty of original shows and movies 

Peacock

A free streaming service with familiar titles

How did we choose these Netflix alternatives?

We compared each streaming service at the lowest tier it offers. Then, we looked at the most popular streaming services available by subscription numbers and relied on our own first-hand experiences with some of the platforms to determine our decisions.

We also considered the amount of original content that streaming services offer since that is one of Netflix's strong suits.

Have Netflix subscriptions gone up?

Netflix's standard subscription price has increased by $1.50 in two years (from $13.99 to $15.49), and its premium subscription has increased by $2 in that same time frame ($17.99 to $19.99). For reference, a standard subscription in 2014 cost $8.99 and a premium subscription was $11.99. 

Should you cancel Netflix?

If you decide to cancel Netflix, there are plenty of options to replace the platform. And, since its catalog is constantly changing, something on Netflix one day could end up on one of the above streaming platforms the next. The only thing you'd really miss out on is Netflix's original series and movies, which do have a good selection and are award-winning content.

Are there alternative streaming services worth considering?

Here are a couple of other Netflix alternatives to look into: 

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