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Watching Paid Streaming Video Services

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The differences between the most popular paid streaming services, including Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, CBS All Access, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, and Peacock—and how to watch them.

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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book


In this chapter, you learn about the most popular paid streaming services, including Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, CBS All Access, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, and Peacock—and how to watch them.

  • arrow.jpg Watching Amazon Prime Video

  • arrow.jpg Watching Apple TV+

  • arrow.jpg Watching CBS All Access

  • arrow.jpg Watching Disney+

  • arrow.jpg Watching HBO Max

  • arrow.jpg Watching Hulu

  • arrow.jpg Watching Netflix

  • arrow.jpg Watching Peacock

  • arrow.jpg Watching Other Paid Streaming Services

Streaming Internet video is the way to cut the cable/satellite cord and reduce your monthly entertainment expenditures. With an Internet connection and a streaming media player or smart TV, you’re ready to stream all sorts of television programs and movies over the Internet.

Many of the most popular streaming video services today are paid services. That is, you need to sign up for them and pay a monthly subscription fee. These services include such well-known brands as Hulu and Netflix, newer services such as HBO Max and Peacock, and lesser-known but still popular services such as Acorn TV and The Criterion Channel.

Watching Amazon Prime Video

Amazon offers a streaming video service called Amazon Prime Video. You can watch it on just about any streaming media player, as well as your computer, phone, or tablet. Not surprisingly, it plays very well on Amazon Fire TV devices.

Prime Video offers free streaming of thousands of movies, TV series, and original programming. Unlike competing services, Amazon, an online retailer, also sells or rents streaming versions of tens of thousands more titles. When you browse Prime Video, look for those titles or categories labeled “Included with Prime” or that have a “Prime” banner on the thumbnail—that’s the free content included with your Prime Video subscription. You have to pay separately for anything not labeled as Prime content. Still, the combination of free subscription streaming and paid/rental titles gives Amazon the most content of any online service.

What’s Playing?

What kind of content can you find on Amazon Prime Video? Amazon offers a selection of new and older movies and TV series as part of its Prime Video subscription. This selection is weighted toward newer movies and shows (as is the case with most streaming video services), although many older movies and TV series are available for rental or purchase through the Amazon online store. You can browse the for-purchase content from within the Amazon Prime Video app, which is convenient.

Amazon also offers a variety of original programming, which it calls Prime Originals. Prime Original series include Bosch, The Boys, Fleabag, Good Omens, The Man in the High Castle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Modern Love, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, and Upload. Prime Original movies include Cold War, Late Night, The Lost City of Z, Manchester by the Sea, The Report, Seberg, and The Vast of Night.

In addition, Amazon offers content from other providers as part of (or in addition to) its Prime Video subscription. This additional content is offered as Prime Video Channels, and includes Acorn TV, Boomerang, BritBox, Broadway HD, CBS All Access, HBO, IMDb TV, Showtime, Starz, and similar streaming services. Some channels are included free with your Prime Video subscription; others (typically premium cable channels) incur an additional fee of anywhere from $4.99 to $14.99 USD per month.

What It Costs

Amazon Prime Video is an extension of Amazon’s Prime service, which gives you free two-day shipping on selected Amazon purchases. If you’re a Prime member, your subscription to Amazon Prime Video is included free. (Prime membership costs $119 USD per year.) If you’re not a Prime member, you can subscribe to only Prime Video for $8.99 USD per month (which comes to $107.88 USD per year). Given the minimal difference in price, most people are better off getting the whole Prime membership (with Prime Video thrown in free) than paying for Prime Video separately.

Tech Specs

The majority of Amazon content is in 1080p HD with Dolby Digital 5.1-channel surround sound. Some Prime Video content—primarily newer movies and original programming—is in 4K with HDR. Dolby Atmos sound is less common, with only a few programs offering this option. Unlike some other streaming services, Amazon does not charge extra for you to view its 4K content. You can view Prime Video programming on up to three screens at a time.

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