With the ever-growing options for streaming content, it can be challenging to keep up. While the technology has been around even longer, the first commercial TV and movie streaming services appeared in the early to mid-2000s. Since then, the offerings have multiplied, giving consumers more streaming options than we could have imagined 20 years ago.
What was the first streaming service?
It can be hard to pin down the very first streaming service. While YouTube began accepting uploads in April 2005, it was initially focused solely on user-generated videos. It would take another year before Amazon launched its Amazon Video video-on-demand service in 2006. Nevertheless, this represented the first service that resembled what most consumers think of when they think of live video streaming. The following year, Netflix, already popular for its DVD by mail service, announced it would be launching a streaming service, followed by Hulu in 2008.
What are the best streaming services now?
Ranking the best streaming services is complicated by the growing number of services and the amount of exclusive content. A perfect streaming service for one viewer may lack the specific movies or shows desired by another. Ranked by total subscribers, Netflix continues to lead the pack with over 200 million subscribers. Amazon Prime video comes in the second slot with 175 million, though subscriptions are linked to the purchase of Amazon Prime, so not all customers necessarily use the video service.
Disney+, one of the newer additions to the streaming service roster, comes in right behind with 116 million subscribers. The top ten are HBO Max, Peacock (from NBC), Hulu, Paramount+, Apple TV+, YouTube Premium, and Curiosity Stream.
Again, these are the most popular by the number of subscribers. The sheer number of potential viewers shows a service’s popularity. However, what is best for you, depends on the content available. With more top content exclusively shown on one platform and more original programming coming online from streaming services, the best streaming service for you will depend on what you most want to watch.
What popular TV & movies can I stream?
As the number of streaming services grows, it becomes more likely you can find the show or movie of your choice available if you have the right service. For example, content production companies with their streaming service, like Disney+, limit streaming to their service. So if you want to watch movies from Disney, you will not most likely need Disney+. The same goes for original content from HBO, available only on HBO+. In some cases, older movies and shows produced on a network without a streaming service may be available on multiple services.
Finding the most popular TV and movies to stream can take a little effort since some tend to come and change service monthly.
Also, not all streaming services release specific viewership data. However, as of the beginning of this year, Netflix is having success with its crime drama series, Pieces of Her. Meanwhile, HBO+ draws viewers’ attention with the Ryan Reynolds comedy, Free Guy. Disney+ has another hit with its animated, Encanto. Again, in the animated Genre, Amazon Prime Video currently has the right to stream the popular Sing 2. It is not always new shows that top the charts. On Hulu, the original Law and Order, Special Victims Unit, holds the spot as the most-watched show on the service.
How much data does streaming use?
When it comes to streaming video and audio, the amount of data used can vary greatly depending on the quality of the content and the number of devices being used. For example, a standard definition video stream can use as little as 0.5 GB per hour, while a high definition stream can use up to 3 GB per hour. Meanwhile, a single audio stream can use as little as 40 MB per hour, while a high-quality audio stream can use up to 150 MB per hour.