in

Netflix vs. Disney Plus vs. Amazon Prime Video vs. Hulu vs. HBO Max vs. Quibi (A Guide to Hearing Over the Hype of the Streaming Wars)

There is a good reason why no one is still paying the exorbitant prices demanded by cable and satellite providers. It’s because they are now able to watch exactly what they want to watch on-demand. With streaming services available nowadays, it seems archaic to sit back and let someone else decide what you must watch.

I’ll do you one better. You can stream to smart TVs, but you can also stream to PCs, laptops, tablets, phones, and gaming systems. Now that there are so many ways to stream and so many streaming service providers are competing for your business, there are many facts to sort out before deciding which streaming service to subscribe to.

I am here to help you by sharing my experience with Netflix vs Disney Plus vs Amazon Prime vs Hulu vs HBO Max vs Quibi to help you hear over all the hype of the streaming war. Here are my experience and my verdict.

Netflix

What is Netflix?

Netflix is a streaming service offering ad-free TV shows, full feature-length films, documentaries, and so much more, much of it award-winning media. Netflix streams through virtually any streaming device you can think of: PCs, Smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Roku, Blu-ray, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Apple and Android phones and tablets, and more.

What is the cost?

$8.99/month – Standard definition video quality and watch on one screen at a time and download onto one phone or tablet

$12.99/month – Full HD 1080p available and watch on two screens at a time and download onto two phones or tablets

$15.99/month – Ultra HD 4K available and watch on four screens at a time and download onto four phones or tablets

Free 30-day trial

What is showing on Netflix?

Netflix has been around for a long number of years now and has many dedicated followers, but with the launch of Disney Plus, it took a hard hit. See, when Disney Plus opened up shop with its new streaming app, it wiped out huge names that had, thus far, had a lot to do with all that dedication we were just talking about.

Many of Netflix’s subscribers stayed with the app for the big names they were being fed, but Disney Plus is now locking much of that franchise material up inside the virtual walls of Disney and hiding the key behind a subscription. These big names include Alien, Star Wars, and Harry Potter.

Netflix is still hanging in there strong, though, because it’s still packed with good movies and TV shows, from TV shows like NCIS for me to The Haunting of Hill House for my son and from movies like Hitch for my daughter to Bad Boys and Bad Boys II for me. Netflix isn’t falling down on the originals game either. Eddie Murphy in Dolemite Is My Name – that is one bad, and by that, I mean great flick. I’m telling you right!

What good experience can you expect?

I spend a lot of time on Netflix trying to relax from stressful workdays. I know its graphics capability is the very best, as is its sound capability. Netflix is easy to use. Everyone has their own profile so that they don’t mess up mine. I enjoy using its ‘My List’ to list all the movies I want to watch before they leave Netflix. You are able to use Skip Intro at the beginning of an episode. You can access other episodes of TV shows right from the watch screen.

Browsing through the episodes of the TV show while watching in Netflix.

One thing I love about Netflix is one of the ways they work to make sure you are getting your money’s worth – the rating system. When you watch a movie and like it (or don’t like it), you simply click the Rate hand and give it a thumbs up (or thumbs down). Netflix’s system continuously computes these Likes and Dislikes and uses them to fill your Home screen with movies you are most likely to find an interest in.

The option to thumbs up or down a movie or TV show in Netflix.

What bad experience can you expect?

The only derogatory thing I have to say about Netflix is that often when I am watching NCIS back and forth between my phone and my PC, I will close one, go to and open the app in the other, and the app will log me in two episodes ago.

Also, I do not like autoplay previews.

Disney Plus

What is Disney Plus?

Disney Plus or Disney+ is a streaming service offering on-demand, ad-free, full feature-length movies and shows. As does Netflix, Disney Plus streams through almost any streaming device you can think of: PCs, laptops, Smart TVs, phones, tablets, and gaming consoles.

What is the cost?

$6.99/month

$69.99/year

$12.99/month – Bundle: Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN+ (with limited ads)

$18.99/month – Bundle: Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN+ (ad-free)

No free trial available

What is showing on Disney Plus?

Disney Plus has been a huge success, but I mean, how could they go wrong? Since the turn of the century, they have acquired Lucasfilm, Marvel Entertainment, Pixar, and 21st Century Fox, giving them intellectual property rights to Marvel’s heroes, like Spiderman, Captain America, and Iron Man, Pixar’s creations, like Toy Story, and Finding Nemo, and Lucasfilm’s works, Star Wars, and Indiana Jones.

Disney has more in its arsenal, as well – shows like The Mandalorian and Gravity Falls, movies like The Rescuers and Disney’s The Three Musketeers (1993), and my favorite, School House Rock’s I’m Just a Bill.

What good experience can you expect?

I have truly enjoyed my experience with Disney Plus. Its graphics and sound capability are equal to that of Netflix. Disney Plus is easy to use. Here, too, we each get our own profiles. It enables you to make a Watchlist for later, and you are also able to Skip Intro.

Disney Plus is a pretty cut and dried app, not much to play with. They just come in with the big names and take over.

What bad experience can you expect?

The only real problem I had with Disney Plus was that it seemed to have an ever so slight lag on my PC that wasn’t present on my phone.

Amazon Prime

What is Amazon Prime?

Amazon Prime Video is a streaming service offering mostly ad-free TV shows, full feature-length films, documentaries, and so much more, much of it award-winning media. I say mostly because they also have IMDb movies available with limited ads also, but that is only a very small percentage of what is available.

Amazon Prime Video streams through any device that Netflix and Disney+ do. Amazon Prime Video comes free with your membership to Amazon Prime, which offers many other perks, including free 2-day shipping, Prime Music, and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. Amazon Prime is a home delivery service that delivers almost anything to your home.

What is the cost?

$8.99/month – just Amazon Prime Video

$12.99/month – Amazon Prime and all its perks

$119.00/year – Amazon Prime and all its perks

Free 30-day trial

What is showing on Amazon Prime Video?

Amazon Prime is unlike other streaming services in that, on Prime Video, you may also rent or buy movies with a click as part of your membership, so there are many, many movies available on Prime Video. It is stuffed with free stuff, first of all. Showing now, for instance, are Mission Impossible: Fallout, Minority Report, The Avengers, and The Bodyguard.

There are free shows on like Bluebloods, Chicago PD, Alias, and Malcolm in the Middle. Prime Video produces wonderful original films like I Am Not Your Negro and shows like Hanna and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, showing now.

What good experience can you expect?

List of movies to watch next as well as suggestions at the home screen of Amazon Prime.

Prime Video supports UHD and Dolby Atmos on most systems and Apple TV 4K. It’s easy to use. There is only one profile, mine. You are able to make a Watchlist for movies to watch later. You have access to your subscription to HBO, Starz, Showtime, Noggin, PBS Masterpiece, and more from one place on Prime Video.

You are able to use Next Up to skip to the next episode. Since all the Rent or Buy movies are mixed in with the rest, it’s a good thing there’s a toggle switch for Free to Me, which shows you only what is cost-free.

What bad experience can you expect?

It bugs me that you have to manually turn the movie back on after a call comes in.

The only other problem with Prime Video is that there is so much to choose from that you get lost.

Hulu

What is Hulu?

Hulu is a streaming service offering TV shows, full feature-length films, documentaries, and more. Hulu streams through all the places that the other three services do.

What is the cost?

$5.99/month – limited commercials

$11.99/month – commercial-free

Free 7-day trial of Hulu

$54.99/month – Hulu + Live TV with limited commercials

$60.99/month – commercial-free Hulu + Live TV

Free 7-day trial of Hulu + Live TV

$12.99/month – Bundle: Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN+ (with limited commercials)

$18.99/month – Bundle: Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN+ (commercial-free)

No free trial available

What is showing on Hulu?

Hulu seems to have its own loyal followers, but they do show some good stuff. From Golden Girls and Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back to Goodfellas and Dirty Dancing. Hulu also produces its own shows. Hulu originals include Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi and Crossing Swords. On Hulu + Live TV, you get all the network shows the next day, plus all the episodes and seasons before it.

You get channels like ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Boomerang, Cartoon Network, CBS Sports Network, 3 Disney channels, 5 ESPN channels, Bases Loaded, Food Network, Fox Business, Fox News, Fox Sports 1 and 2, FX, the History Channel, Lifetime, 2 National Geographic channels, the Smithsonian Channel, SyFy, TBS, TNT, Travel Channel, TruTV, USA, and many more.

You get access to 50 hours of cloud DVR storage. Plus you can access your HBO and Cinemax subscriptions and more from your Home page. You get unlimited screens.

What good experience can you expect?

The Hulu page indicating the movies and shows in My List that are about to expire.

With Hulu, you can search by network or several other ways. The video and sound quality are good. It offers 4K UHD, Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 surround sound. If you have something in My Stuff, Hulu lets you know when it’s about to expire.

What bad experience can you expect?

It’s irritating to me to have to manually turn my show back on after a call c

omes in.

The only other real drawback is that everything on basic Hulu is pretty old. There isn’t really much of anything that’s recent. Hulu + Live TV would be the real Hulu deal, depending on what you are looking for.

HBO Max

What is HBO Max?

HBO Max is an on-demand, ad-free streaming service offering TV shows, full feature-length films, documentaries, and more. HBO streams through all the places that the other four services do, offering essentially the same compatibility. What was the HBO Now app became the HBO Max app in May.

What is the cost?

$14.99/month

Free 7-day trial

What is showing on HBO Max?

HBO Max shows everything that is on HBO, but more, way more. This month on HBO Max, I have watched Die Hard, Die Hard II, Die Hard with a Vengeance, John Wick: Chapter 3- ParabellumNext of Kin, The Beautician and the Beast, Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, A Hard Day’s Night, Full Metal Jacket, Braveheart, Bonnie and Clyde, Raising Arizona, and Lean on Me, and several others are on My List of things to watch later – and that is only on HBO.

HBO Max Hubs open up new worlds – names like DC, Turner Classic Movies, the Cartoon Network Collection, Studio Ghibli films (like My Neighbor Totoro, showing now), the Adult Swim Collection, Looney Tunes, and the Crunchyroll Collection. It will also exclusively have Zack Snyder’s Justice League in 2021.

What good experience can you expect?

The homepage of the streaming service HBO Max with a drop down category list on the side.

HBO Max is working on a tier that is ad-supported with a limited selection to give you a less expensive option.

They and Hulu are the only streaming services that tell you when a movie or show is about to leave the service.

What bad experience can you expect?

HBO Max's viewing screen after a call where you have to tap the play button to resume watching.

HBO Max does not yet support 4K HDR, but it is in the works.

If you get a call during a movie, you have to manually tap the play button on your phone to turn the movie back on.

The Play/Pause button is all the way in the bottom left corner. Being right-handed, this is awkward for me on the phone. I prefer it in the middle of the screen where most services place it.

Quibi

What is Quibi?

Quibi is a streaming service for phones that hosts original movies, documentaries, news programs, unscripted series, and more, and they are all short-form, meaning you can watch in 10 minutes or less.

Quibi’s subscribers will be entertained by:

  • Movies in chapters that are only 7-10 minutes long featuring stars like:
    • Queen Latifah
    • Kaitlin Olsen
    • and more
  • Unscripted series and documentaries featuring:
    • Fashion
    • Travel
    • Food
    • Comedy
    • Talk
    • and more
  • Daily essentials in 5-minute chunks:
    • News
    • Weather
    • Sports

What is the cost?

$4.99/month – with ads

$7.99/month – ad-free

14-day free trial available

What is showing on Quibi?

Available to watch on Quibi right now:

  • Movies in chapters:
    • The Most Dangerous Game
    • When the Street Lights Go On
  • Unscripted series and documentaries:
    • Chrissy’s Court
    • Elba vs Block
    • Thanks a Million
    • Shape of Pasta
    • Gone Mental with Lion
  • Daily essentials
    • Last Night’s Late Night
    • Around the World by BBCN
    • 60 in 6 by CBS News
    • The Rachel Hollis Show
    • Weather Today by The Weather Channel

What good experience can you expect?

The episode page for the streaming service Quibi indicating the remaining time for an episode.

The app works fine. The sound and quality are nice.

In this example, you can see that this movie has 15 episodes of less than 10 minutes each. This one has five minutes to go and looks to be maybe two and a half minutes in.

What bad experience can you expect?

There are, at least at this point, not many choices for movies, and I don’t see any issues but can find no information on video and sound quality available with Quibi.

My Verdict

When you love to relax and forget about the world at night, or during your lunch break, streaming apps are the way to go. I certainly love them, but I cannot keep all six.

Let’s see, I’m getting older now and watching movies in 10-minute increments is only going to, well, let’s just say, upset me. Quibi goes. That doesn’t mean it is a bad choice for you. It seems to me to be a great app for my 25-year-old son or daughter, but it’s not for me. It’s just made more, I think, for someone who is on the go or is just that buzz, buzz, buzz kind of person.

Five streaming services left but the decision gets a lot harder from here.

A TV Shows page of the streaming service Hulu.

I suppose the app I like least regarding looking for a movie to watch would be Hulu. I just don’t like the way it is set up. It’s not quite as bad on PC, but it’s obnoxious on my phone. Each movie icon does not have to be that big. It takes forever to browse, so you just get frustrated and watch something…or not.

A browsing selection at the bottom of the homepage of HBO Max.

The app I like to search with the best is HBO Max. My very favorite way is to scroll to the bottom of the Home page and click on HBO or one of its hubs and then search from A-Z.

All of these services except HBO Max have the best video and audio quality, and they soon will have it, as well, so let’s not let that be a factor unless you have to have it right this minute.

The A-Z Browsing screen of HBO Max.

Each service has its little quirks, as I have listed above, and they all need to work on a better fast-forward/rewind system. It’s not that it’s hard to use, but I often need to rewind much further than 15 seconds. At present, the only way to do this on most devices is to tap roughly where you think you need to go back to on the progress (or seek) bar and let the video buffer back to that point.

Alternatively, you can press and hold the red dot and try to roll it back to the correct place. Either way, it is always quite aggravating to me, and I wish someone would sit down and figure out a better way. All of them have a clear-cut Full-Screen Mode in and out that works well.

Until I have enough money to spare to get Hulu + Live TV, I guess Hulu is next to be nixed from my list. Though I’m truly going to miss my Golden Girls, there is just not that much on there for me without the Live TV.

I have a granddaughter who is almost two years old, so I am going to keep Disney Plus. It’s inexpensive for ad-free viewing, and she, yes, and I, could never run out of top-shelf quality media. However, that cannot be my go-to app, because my favorite genre, thanks to my father, is crime action (crime comedy)…and the search continues.

We are left with Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO Max.

Honestly, I would just go ahead and part with Netflix at this point if that weren’t the only place I could watch NCIS reruns. Actually, since I cannot keep a streaming service for one or two shows only and live with myself, as much as I have adored Netflix, and I have, it is out.

I’ll go ahead and tell you that I am keeping my Amazon Prime, if only for its free shipping and Prime deals. I mean, I have not paid to return a package since I got Amazon Prime. Plus, there is Amazon Music and the Kindle Book lending deal. I really love my Amazon Prime membership, especially the free Amazon Prime Video that comes along with it. Plus, it is the only service where you can rent and buy a video with a click.

About HBO Max, I have decided to keep it, as well. I love the way their app is set up, and the content is better than all the others, by a lot. It is worth a couple of extra dollars, for sure.

By the way, if you have little ones, there is a ton of kids’ stuff on Amazon Prime and HBO Max, too.

If you don’t order online or have kiddos around, go with HBO Max.

If you do order online and can only get one service, go with Amazon Prime.

My final personal decision…

Netflix/Hulu/Quibi – out

Disney+/Amazon Prime/HBO Max – in

…but it really all depends on what your needs and preferences are which service would best suit you.

Quibi Review – Is this Mobile Streaming Service Worth It?

The Amazon Prime Streaming Platform logo.

Streaming Service Review: Amazon Prime