What do you enjoy doing in your free time? Most people spend at least some time watching television throughout the day, and if you’ve cut the cord on cable, you likely use at least one streaming service to watch your favorite shows and movies. Unfortunately, streaming services can be just as expensive as cable, so if you’re not careful, you could end up spending more money on shows and movies you don’t even watch. Choosing the right streaming products or service for you will help you save some money while ensuring you have something to watch no matter what.
Here’s how to find the best streaming service:
1. Discuss Favorite Shows
Streaming services can’t carry all your favorite television shows and movies, and even if they do, they’re only available for a limited time. When a television show is removed from a streaming service, it’s highly likely it might be picked up by another one. However, many streaming services create their own television shows and movies, which will be available in perpetuity in most cases.
Once you understand the television shows your family wants to watch, you can start researching different streaming services and the types of content they offer. Remember, just because Netflix has your favorite show now, it doesn’t mean they’ll have it in a month since they replenish their content regularly. Still, knowing what everyone wants can help you make the best decision for your household.
2. Consider Channels
Some streaming services offer live streaming, while others don’t. If you want to watch live television, you should look for a provider with as many channels and networks as you want. Again, you’ll need to discuss this with the entire household to understand what everyone wants to watch. There’s a streaming service for everyone, including your dog, so everyone in the entire family should have something they can watch. While you may look at the most popular streaming services, do your research to find the best options for kids and even pets.
3. Find Bundles
Many streaming services partner with other channels and companies to offer bundles that allow you to get multiple channels or networks in one. For example, Hulu partners with Showtime, allowing you to watch content on both platforms. Meanwhile, your Disney Plus subscription gives you access to all Disney-affiliated channels, including National Geographic.
4. Consider Internet Speeds
Streaming requires high-speed internet, and if you don’t have a good internet connection, watching television shows and movies can be frustrating as they continuously pause to buffer. Most people already have high-speed internet, but you should check the speed requirements for different services to ensure you have what you need. If you don’t have the right speeds, you’ll need to upgrade your internet, which means spending more money.
5. Check the Catalogs
Researching streaming services that have your favorite television shows and movies can help you make the right decision. You can search for the movie or show on Google, and you’ll see which streaming services offer it and the potential costs of renting it through Amazon if Prime doesn’t carry it. Of course, while media content will change over time, you can pick and choose your streaming services based on your research to ensure you can provide the entire household with content they’ll actually watch.
6. Use Free Trials
You won’t know which streaming service you like best until you try them all. Luckily, most streaming services offer free trials to help you decide whether or not you want to spend money on them. Sign up for free trials one at a time so you can make the most of them. If you use all the free trials at once, you won’t have enough time to browse catalogs to figure out which one you like most.
7. Consider Plan Options
Many streaming service providers have different plan options depending on your budget. Unfortunately, not all of them do, so you’ll get stuck with one plan and a few options. However, other providers offer lower costs if you’re willing to watch ads throughout shows and movies, but that’s not always ideal for everyone. If you want to watch content ad-free, you’ll need to pay for a premium plan. However, if you want access to thousands of titles but don’t want to pay too much, you can pay for the plan with ads and upgrade whenever you want.
8. Rotate Plans
If you have several streaming services and realize you haven’t used one in a while because you’re not interested in their content, consider ending your subscription and using the money you save on a different service. Rotating your plans can help you find the right service when your viewing habits change.
9. Review Your Subscriptions
Since streaming services can be expensive when added up, you should review your bills regularly. Prices are subject to change over time, so reviewing your subscription will ensure you’re not paying more than you need to stream your favorite shows. When reviewing your plans, consider how often you use different streaming services. Depending on your viewing habits, you might use some more than others, giving you the opportunity to find which ones should be canceled.
10. Don’t Cancel Without Talking to the Household
Before you cancel a streaming service, talk to your family and household members to determine how often they use different streaming services. For example, if you have children, you likely don’t want to cancel Disney Plus, but do you really need both Showtime and HBO Max if no one is using either of them? Talk to everyone who uses your accounts to ensure canceling them won’t cause an interruption in their viewing experience.
Finding the right streaming service can keep the whole family happy, but there are many things to consider before you make a final decision. Of course, investing in multiple streaming services is the best way to ensure you always have something to watch, but using too many can be costly. Do your research into each streaming service to browse its catalog of content and plan options.