How to Navigate the Streaming Wars

December 11, 2019

Photo courtesy of TV Turnoff

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Over the last few years, there has been a steady decline in cable users, while a new generation of video streaming has effectively taken over. With hundreds of services that offer monthly subscription, free–or low-cost–seemingly endless TV is the direction to which many technological consumers are switching. In fact, according to a new report by Grand View Research, the streaming industry is estimated to be worth over $124.57 billion by 2025. 

One major powerhouse in the streaming world is Roku.  A Roku is a device which hooks up into the back of any smartTV with an HDMI cable and unlocks hundreds of streaming channels that save the customer’s subscriptions and show history. According to Motley Fool, not only does Roku boast nearly 40% of the total streaming media player market, but it also “dominates the U.S. Market powering $41 million over the top devices and smart TVs.” Some channels Roku offers include Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sling TV, Disney Plus, Apple TV, YouTube, Hulu, and many more. The price of a Roku is $30-$50 at stores like Walmart and Best Buy.

Of course, number one on the top list of services to stream is Netflix. Netflix was once a mailing movie service, but is now a service you can stream on a laptop, phone, smart TV, or even a vehicle that features wifi. “Netflix began streaming movies and television shows in 2007 and has grown into a giant, spending $12 billion on programming this year to entertain more than $15 million subscribers worldwide,” according to The New York Times. Indeed, watching Netflix has become a favorite pastime for many teens today. But is Netflix’s dominance coming to an end?  

In November of 2019, Disney released their new channel, DisneyPlus. DisneyPlus was all the buzz the first week it came out and far exceeded analysts’ projections. According to The New York Times, “Disney said that more than 10 million people have already signed up for the service. Analysts had been hoping for 8 million by the end of the end of the year.” Aside from providing access to Disney movies, DisneyPlus is also attracting new users with its lineup of Star Wars and Marvel features, as well as new exclusives like the Star Wars spin-off “The Mandalorian.” Another plus is that it is currently available for about half the monthly subscription cost of Netflix. 

Meanwhile, Amazon offers the Amazon Firestick which allows customers to have access to all of Amazon PrimeVideo, as well as access thousands of apps and games. You can also use it to stream other services to which you have memberships, like Netflix and Hulu, all in one location. The remote is audio-activated and the service creates specific profiles for all of the individuals who watch the same account, just like Netflix. It is generally available for a one-time charge of $40, although Amazon offers sales from time to time.

Adding to the mix is HBO Max, a new streaming service featuring a wider range of HBO programs, and Peacock, a service featuring shows like Friends, from NBCUniversal. Both will appear in the spring of 2020. Both applications’ prices have not been announced yet.

Netflix- $8.99; $15.99 for HD

Pros: 

  1. It’s affordable
  2. No commercials
  3. Content is downloadable
  4. Separation of users 

Cons: 

  1. New content is not always available
  2. Outdated selection
  3. Content depends on location 

 

Hulu- $5.99 w/ ads; $11.99 w/o ads

Pros:

  1. Huge content library
  2. Compatible with all devices

Cons: 

  1. No offline access
  2. Ads, upgrade required 

 

Amazon- $8.99

Pros: 

  1. No commercials
  2. 30- day free trial

Cons: 

  1. Bad video quality
  2. Search functions not precise
  3. Extra money for movies 

 

AppleTV- $4.99

Pros:

  1. Turns any TV into a SmarT TV
  2. Endless iTunes streaming
  3. Audio voice control

Cons: 

  1. Only compatible with Apple content
  2. Bad clarity

 

DisneyPlus- $6.99

Pros:

  1. Unlimited downloads
  2. Separation of user

Cons:

  1. Only Disney and Marvel content
  2. Not available on all platforms

 

YouTube Premium- $11.99

Pros: 

  1. Ad-free
  2. Playing background video
  3. Downloadable content

Cons: 

  1. No access to YouTube originals
About the Writer
Photo of MacKenzie Tillman
MacKenzie Tillman, FCHS Journalist

MacKenzie is a senior in her first year of Journalism. She likes playing with her dog and being with friends.

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