Pick the best streaming service for you, from Disney+ to Netflix

Some of the biggest companies in tech and media are waging an all-out war in the streaming market. The prize: Your time and your money.

Apple, CBS, Comcast, Disney and CNN’s parent WarnerMedia are all entering the streaming game to compete with Netflix and Amazon — two powerful companies that have transformed the entertainment industry.

The insurgents and the incumbents alike are poaching top-tier talent, spending billions of dollars and making flashy, celebratory announcements about exclusive content deals to lure as many subscribers to their service as possible.

But all of this can be difficult for consumers to navigate. Which service has the best children’s program? Which one is best for classic films? Where can I watch “Friends?” How much will this all cost me? This guide will help you understand the ever-evolving world of streaming.

Where your favorite shows are moving

Streaming content infographic: Where your favorite shows are moving

Explore your streaming choices

HBO Max May 2020

$14.99/mo

Good for:

  • Premium content
  • Movies
  • Kids

What to expect:

HBO Max’s biggest selling point is its wide variety of content. HBO’s hit shows, “Sesame Street,” Warner Bros. blockbusters and bingeable television classics like “Friends“ will be on the platform. Programs from producing star J.J. Abrams will also contribute to the more than 10,000 hours of programming. Users will have on-demand access to a human-curated lineup from the biggest brands of WarnerMedia, CNN’s parent company.

Show and movie highlights:

Friends, The Big Bang Theory, Game of Thrones, Gossip Girl, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, DC Entertainment, Sesame Street, South Park, Rick & Morty, The Wizard of Oz, Spirited Away and the entire Ghibli Film Collection, see the detailed list here.

Apple TV+ Nov. 1, 2019

$4.99/mo

Good for:

  • Price
  • Year free

What to expect:

Apple TV+ may be short on content, but it undercuts its competitors in price with its $4.99 monthly fee (and you get a year free if you buy a new Apple product). Apple TV+ will include content from some heavy-hitters in Hollywood, and it also doesn’t hurt that Apple has access to a massive built-in audience from the more than one billion people who use its devices.

Show and movie highlights:

Oprah’s Book Club, The Morning Show, See, Dickinson, For All Mankind, Snoopy in Space

Disney+ Nov. 12, 2019

$6.99/mo

Good for:

  • Price
  • PG-13 and below
  • Nostalgia

What to expect:

Disney+ will be the exclusive home for some of the most popular blockbuster franchises in Hollywood. Much of Disney+ will cater to the young (or the young at heart), but that’s still a lot of content for $6.99 — or half of what Netflix charges for its standard plan. You can also select a $12.99 bundle with ESPN+ and commercial-supported Hulu.

Show and movie highlights:

Multiple Marvel series, Star Wars (including The Mandalorian), Pixar films and shorts, Disney Animation, Disney Channel series and films, National Geographic, every season of The Simpsons, see the detailed list here.

Peacock April 2020

TBD

Good for:

  • Comedy lovers
  • Movies

What to expect:

NBCUniversal’s Peacock will have some of TV’s funniest sitcoms and series, including “The Office.” Universal Pictures, Focus Features and DreamWorks Animation will create original productions for the service as well as offer their film libraries.

Show and movie highlights:

The Office, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, every season of SNL, reboots of Saved by the Bell and Battlestar Galactica, the Fast & Furious series, Jaws, Back to the Future, Telemundo.

CBS All-Access

$5.99/mo

Good for:

  • Price
  • Sports

What to expect:

CBS is synonymous with broadcast television, but its streaming service, CBS All Access, showcases a solid lineup of programming. It’s a mix of live TV, library content and originals, which includes more than 10,000 episodes of CBS shows from daytime, prime time and late night.

Show and movie highlights:

Star Trek (including originals Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard), The Twilight Zone, The Good Fight, Stephen King’s The Stand, CBS Sports

Amazon Prime Video

$8.99/mo

Good for:

  • Sports
  • Kids
  • Indie

What to expect:

Amazon Prime Video has a deep content library that includes Amazon Studios’ Emmy-winning “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and an overall production deal with “Fleabag” creator, Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Amazon has also partnered with the NFL for “Thursday Night Football,” and is bringing “The Lord of the Rings” to the small screen for a reported price tag that could reach $1 billion.

Show and movie highlights:

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, NFL Thursday Night Football, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Fleabag, The Man in the High Castle, The Boys, PBS Kids

Hulu

$5.99/mo

Good for:

  • Next-day TV
  • Movies
  • Anime

What to expect:

Hulu has a bit of everything. It has the current season’s TV episodes available on-demand, new and classic films, originals including the award-winning “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and different pricing options such a $11.99 ad-free version and a Hulu+Live TV option for $49.99 a month. Hulu is a big part of Disney’s streaming strategy along with ESPN+, which the company plans to bundle together. Also, let’s not forget, Hulu has live sports.

Show and movie highlights:

The Handmaid’s Tale, Killing Eve, ER, Futurama, Family Guy, Stephen King’s Castle Rock

Netflix

$12.99/mo

Good for:

  • Bingeworthy TV
  • International content
  • Anime

What to expect:

Netflix is still arguably the king of streaming thanks to an expanding archive of content and a huge global subscriber base. Netflix is losing beloved classics like “Friends” and “The Office” to competitors, but it’s now the exclusive global streaming home to “Seinfeld” starting in 2021. So, yes, Netflix may have enemies banging at the gates, but it’s still synonymous with streaming.

Show and movie highlights:

Stranger Things, The Umbrella Academy, The Crown, Narcos, stand-up comedy specials, Seinfeld, Netflix original films like The Irishman, Black Mirror, Tall Girl

Life beyond Netflix: What you should know about the new wave in streaming

Header animation by Heewon Kim, CNN; Photos from Getty Images