Best Movie and TV Streaming Sites of 2018

Ryan Brown ·
Updated
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We tested all the top movie and TV streaming services to determine the best for most people. We compared streaming selection, monthly price, whether it is commercial-free, and the user experience for each service. After our testing, we recommend Netflix as the best streaming service for most people. It has a great selection of past TV shows and movies, and a growing library of excellent original content. Netflix is available on almost any device that connects to the internet, and it has some of the fastest and best customer service of all the services we tested.    

Best Overall

Netflix

Netflix has a massive library of movies, TV shows and original content, as well as great customer service. New content is being added all the time, and you can stream your content across all devices.
View on Netflix
Best Value

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video lets you stream popular movies and TV shows, as well as Amazon’s original content. A Prime subscription costs more than some streaming plans, but it also gets you free two-day shipping from Amazon.
View on Amazon
Best for Current TV Shows

Hulu

You can watch current episodes of network shows as well as movies and original content with this service. The regular Hulu subscription has commercials, but you can pay more to make them go away.
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Price
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Overall Rating
9.5
9.3
8.7
7.7
6.6
5.9
5.8
5.8
Content
8.8
10
10
8.8
6.8
4.5
4.5
4.5
Features
10
8.8
7.3
6.8
8
8.8
8
8
User Experience
10
8.8
8
6.8
4.3
4.3
4.3
4.3
Help & Support
10
9.5
10
9.5
7.5
8.8
10
9.5
Kid-Friendly
Original Content
N/A
N/A
N/A
Multiple Networks
N/A
Current Episodes
N/A
Classic Series
N/A
Full Streaming Seasons
Exclusive Content
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Multiple Viewer Profile
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Taste Recommendations
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Ease of Use (percentage)
100%
90%
95%
90%
80%
80%
75%
80%
No Streaming Commercials
N/A
N/A
Binge-Watcher Friendly
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
User Rating System
N/A
No On-Page Advertising
N/A
Customizable Viewer Profile
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Game Console App
N/A
Smart TV App
Search Feature
Closed Captioning
Queue
Parental Controls
N/A
N/A
Offline Viewing
N/A
N/A
N/A
Mobile App
Membership Fee
$7.99/Month
$99/Year
$7.99/Month
$15.00/Month
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Pay Per View (SD)
N/A
$1.99
N/A
N/A
$1.99
$1.99
$1.99
$1.99
Pay Per View (HD)
N/A
$2.99
N/A
N/A
$2.99
$2.99
$2.99
$2.99
Free Trial
1 Month
1 Month
1 Week
1 Month
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Social Media
Customer Support
All
Email & Phone
All
Email & Phone
Email
Email
All
Live Chat & Phone
FAQs
N/A
Best Overall

Netflix

One of our only complaints with Netflix is that the service has so many shows and movies that it’s sometimes hard to decide what to watch. Of all the services we tested, Netflix has the most shows, and its original content is critically acclaimed.
You can watch multiple past seasons of favorite shows from the big four networks, and “Orange is the New Black” and “Stranger Things” are binge-worthy original series. One downside to Netflix is that it takes an average of 10 months for new seasons of current shows to show up on the service. This company offers apps for all mobile devices as well as smart TVs, Blu-ray players and gaming consoles. You can stream regular-definition content over most internet connections. If you want high-definition service, you’ll need a connection running over 7 megabits per second. And if you want to stream Netflix’s Ultra HD content, you’ll need an internet connection with 25 Mbps or higher. Netflix charges more for streaming in HD and UHD, and you must pay for a more expensive plan if you want to watch on more than one screen at a time. It has three streaming plans to choose from, and you can cancel your plan at any time without a fee.
Pros
  • Netflix has exciting and popular original content.
  • Almost any device with an internet connection can stream Netflix.
  • You can stream a limited selection of 4K titles.
Cons
  • This site doesn’t host current seasons of TV shows.
  • Too many options can feel overwhelming.
  • There’s no option to view live sports.
USStarting at $7.99Netflix
Best for Current TV Shows

Hulu

Hulu is our best pick for fans of current TV shows because it’s one of the only services we tested that lets you keep up with the newest episodes of current shows. You must wait only one day after a new episode airs before you can stream it.
.In our testing, however, we did find that, with some shows, only the five most recent episodes were available. Hulu has been trying to break into the original content game like Netflix and Amazon, and some of its series, like “The Handmaid’s Tale,” are popular. However, this service’s basic plan has commercials, and that can be a major turnoff. We counted seven minutes of commercials in a typical 42-minute TV episode, which is better than live TV but still annoying. You can pay a few dollars more each month for commercial-free viewing. This service gives you a personal queue, with recommendations and your recent watch history, and you can stream Hulu on most internet-connected devices. You can’t download episodes or movies to view offline, however, or set parental controls on your account to restrict certain content. If you need help, you can consult Hulu’s FAQs page or check for a tutorial to solve your issue. This company also hosts a blog advising of the shows, features and plan options to expect in the future.
Pros
  • You can watch new episodes of current shows.
  • Hulu’s monthly cost is low and affordable.
  • There’s a plan that lets you watch live TV.
Cons
  • You must pay extra to make the commercials disappear.
  • There are few parental controls.
  • You can’t view shows and movies offline.
$7.99Flexoffers
Best Value

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video is our top pick for best value because its yearly subscription comes with a great selection of movies and shows, as well as free two-day shipping from Amazon. You can stream unlimited shows and movies, typically up to (but not including) the current season of a show. If you want to watch current episodes, you must pay $1.99 per episode, which adds up fast.
Amazon has exclusive deals with several shows and TV channels, including “Downton Abbey” and Nickelodeon. You can also buy episodes of shows that air on paid cable channels like HBO, which is a feature missing in many other services we tested. You can stream episodes in standard definition or HD, and some of Amazon’s content also supports 4K streaming. One great thing about Prime is that you don’t have to pay more for 4K streaming, like you do with Netflix. You can watch this service on a wide range of devices, including smart TVs, mobile devices, Rokus and gaming consoles. However, the user experience is not as polished as other services.
Pros
  • You also get free two-day shipping with this subscription.
  • You can purchase episodes from paid cable channels.
  • Amazon has exclusive contracts with many shows.
Cons
  • You can’t customize your profile to adjust your preferences.
  • You must pay $1.99 per episode to watch current shows.
  • This service isn’t available on as many devices as others are.
Amazon

Why Trust Us?
We tested all the top movie and TV streaming services for this comparison. We didn’t test services like Sling TV or PlayStation VUE because they offer only live TV streaming and typically don’t let you delay watching or watch on demand. We included services like Vudu, Google Play and iTunes in our review because you can download movies and whole seasons of shows, but we recognize there is a fundamental difference between those sites and sites like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.

We tested the sites by using them as a normal consumer would, making profiles, watching episodes, turning on closed-captioning and contacting each company’s customer support team.

Top Ten Reviews has been reviewing tech products, software and services for over a decade. We’ve published reviews and ratings of movie and TV streaming services since 2016. 

How We Tested
We signed up for each of the streaming services that allow subscriptions. For sites like iTunes, Google Play and YouTube, we compared the pricing for single TV-show episodes and movie rentals and purchases.

For the other streaming sites, we used each account and gave each service a percentage score out of 100. If a site was straightforward and easy to use, it scored 90 percent or higher. A lower score means the design of the site was difficult to navigate, and we encountered problems browsing and searching during our testing.

We also noted whether a site allowed for customizable profiles or multiple user profiles. Companies that allow for different profiles for family members and that have kid-friendly options scored higher in our comparison than those without this type of customization.

We weighted each category and then calculated the overall score for each streaming site on our list to determine our final rankings.

Choosing a Streaming Site

Content
You need to make sure that a streaming site has the content you want before you sign up. Our top picks all have trial periods that let you experience the streaming library for a month or a week for free.

Streaming Live TV
If you want to stream live TV, you have several options. Sling TV, PlayStation VUE and Hulu Live TV let you pay a monthly fee for basic channels. These services are usually cheaper than cable or satellite TV providers, but you typically must pay extra for sports and movie channels.

These services can be convenient, but they lack the on-demand nature of streaming sites, and many don’t let you download content for offline watching. You also must tolerate commercials with these services, something that Amazon and Netflix let you avoid.

Features
Features like closed-captioning and customizable profiles are standard across many services we tested. Closed-captioning may have a slightly different look on each site, but the function is the same.

Offline viewing is one feature that we think is useful. Of our top streaming picks, only Amazon Prime Video and Netflix allow downloading for offline viewing. Hulu and HBO NOW don’t allow this.

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