Netflix vs. HBO Max vs. Disney Plus vs. Paramount Plus vs. Discovery Plus: How the streamers compare

As the coronavirus continues to maintain folks at residence watching extra TV than ever, a rising list of streaming services are vying for American eyeballs. It’s been a busy yr for streaming: Disney Plus has hit roughly 95 million subscribers in simply over a yr, HBO Max now has over 17 million accounts and is including major theatrical releases nearly every month, whereas Peacock has added The Office and signed a new deal to stream the WWE. Quibi quickly came and went however new selections simply preserve coming, together with Discovery Plus and now Paramount Plus, which launches on March 4 after a sequence of splashy Super Bowl adverts. And do not forget Apple TV PlusAmazon Prime VideoHulu, Showtime, and, in fact, Netflix.

Yes, that is a giant checklist, nevertheless it would not should be overwhelming. In this text we’ll allow you to cease, take a deep breath and navigate the crowded streaming landscape. Here’s a breakdown of the place a couple of of the main new providers stand proper now and the way it all compares.

The gamers 

There are lots of streaming providers competing on your money and time in 2021 and we’re not going to cowl all of them right here. In an effort to maintain this checklist extra manageable we will deal with three of the greatest streamers — Netflix, Disney Plus and HBO Max — in addition to two of the new entrants, Discovery Plus and Paramount Plus. 

Here’s somewhat on every. 

Angela Lang/CNET

When you consider streaming you most likely consider Netflix. The service that impressed this checklist stays the most dominant participant on the subject with over 200 million subscribers, a large and ever-growing catalog of movies and TV exhibits and integration on almost each main linked TV or good gadget. At $14 per 30 days for its hottest Standard plan (its most cost-effective choice is $9), it is not the most inexpensive on this checklist however it’s the bar all different providers compare to. 

Read our Netflix review.

Angela Lang/CNET

Disney has an insane quantity of standard characters and franchises and is flexing all of its muscle mass on Disney Plus. The residence for Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, National Geographic and all the traditional Disney movies and exhibits, at $7 per 30 days it is not onerous to see why folks have been flocking to the streamer. Those trying so as to add Hulu and ESPN Plus can seize a bundle for $13 per 30 days. 

Note: In March the worth will go as much as $8 per 30 days for Disney Plus or $14 per 30 days for the bundle. 

Read our Disney Plus review.

Angela Lang/CNET

The successor to HBO, WarnerMedia’s HBO Max builds on the standard cable channel by including in additional authentic sequence and movies in addition to a higher library of different properties together with reruns of Friends and The Big Bang Theory, Sesame Street and DC Comics fare together with the upcoming Zack Snyder cut of Justice League. At a daily charge of $15 per 30 days it’s amongst the priciest choices, however for 2021 it does imply you can watch all Warner Bros. theatrical releases from home as an alternative of going to a theater. 

Read our HBO Max review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Whereas HBO Max is amongst the most costly choices, Peacock is alone on this checklist with a tier that is really free. NBCUniversal’s streaming providing has a rising library that consists of reruns of previous NBC hits like The Office, 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation, new originals together with a Saved By The Bell revival and movies like Kick-Ass, Apollo 13 and The Big Lebowski. Live information and sports activities are additionally accessible, and the WWE joins the fun on March 18. While a few of that is accessible at no cost, the full expertise requires both a $5 per 30 days subscription to observe with adverts or $10 per 30 days to go ad-free. 

Read our Peacock review.


The new identify for CBS All Access launching Mar. 4, Paramount Plus will take that have and add programming from MTV, BET, Comedy Central, CBS and different ViacomCBS channels and types, plus movies from the Paramount Pictures studio and add in some originals. Like CBS All Access, the new providing may also allow you to stream your native CBS station, together with stay sports activities and native information, in most markets. The beginning worth for the present service is $6 per 30 days for an ad-supported subscription, with ad-free streaming accessible for $10 per 30 days. 

Read more about Paramount Plus.

Discovery Plus

Discovery joined the streaming wars in January with a brand new service aptly named Discovery Plus. Running $5 per 30 days with adverts or $7 per 30 days with out, the new service brings collectively content material from its number of networks together with the Discovery Channel, Food Network, TLC, Animal Planet and HGTV. It additionally affords content material from A&E, The History Channel and Lifetime. 

Read more about Discovery Plus.

How they stack up

Streaming in contrast

Netflix Disney Plus HBO Max Peacock Paramount Plus (at present CBS All Access) Discovery Plus
Monthly worth Starts at $9 $7 $15 Basic is free with adverts, Premium entry with adverts is $5 Starts at $6 Starts at $5
Ads No No No Yes Yes Yes
Availability Now Now Now Now Now (as CBS All Access) Now
Top titles Stranger Things, The Queen’s Gambit, Bridgerton, The Irishman The Mandalorian, WandaVision, Toy Story, The Simpsons Game of Thrones, Friends, Big Bang Theory, Rick and Morty, Sesame Street The Office, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, early entry to Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon Yellowstone, Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, SpongeBob SquarePants 90 Day Fiancé, Pawn Stars, House Hunters, Cake Wars
Mobile downloads Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
4K HDR accessible Yes (on Premium plan) Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Number of streams: 1 (2 for Standard, 4 on Premium) 4 3 3 2 4

Part of the cause why Netflix stays the champ is not simply the large catalog and first-mover standing (although each assist). It is also continuously the finest at rolling out new options. It affords cellular downloads and has been releasing its originals in 4K HDR for years (although you want its priciest Premium plan to observe in the higher-quality). Netflix additionally advantages from having its app accessible on almost each good TV and streaming platform you might consider. 

Disney Plus, nevertheless, is true on the tail of the present streaming king. The Mouse House’s streamer has cellular downloads, a large assortment of 4K HDR content material, permits for extra folks to observe and does so for a $7 per 30 days worth that’s cheaper than even Netflix’s most inexpensive non-HD plan. While its content material library stays extra family-friendly in the US, these searching for something Disney/Marvel/Lucasfilm/Pixar (a not small internet) shall be very proud of Disney Plus. 


Marvel Studios’ WandaVision is a Disney Plus unique. 

Marvel Studios

HBO Max obtained off to a rocky begin, missing options like 4K HDR, cellular downloads and even apps for Roku or Amazon Fire TV, however with time it has begun to search out its footing. Major releases like the 2021 Warner Bros. theatrical slate and the upcoming Zack Snyder’s Justice League will stream in 4K HDR, the cellular app permits for downloads and apps are lastly accessible for all main TV platforms. It has but to launch a “Max Original” to match the success of latest hits like Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit or Disney’s The Mandalorian, however HBO Max does have a powerful library providing all the things from Friends and Game of Thrones to Sesame Street and Looney Tunes. 

Like HBO Max, Peacock obtained off to a sluggish begin however has improved in latest months. Although it nonetheless lacks an app for Amazon Fire TV, it’s on most different main platforms and even has 4K HDR on some titles. Mobile downloads are additionally current and the additions of The Office, Modern Family and the WWE Network are positive to be welcome boosts for its in any other case nonetheless missing library. The upcoming Olympics also needs to add extra content material and it additionally will get factors for being the solely service with a free providing. 

Paramount Plus, the soon-to-be new identify for CBS All Access, is amongst the oldest on this group and mum or dad ViacomCBS is hoping the March 4 rebrand will give it contemporary life to compete with the others. It already has apps on all the main providers and affords cellular downloads plus 4K HDR for some titles. The residence for Star Trek, SpongeBob and Yellowstone — plus native CBS streams — makes it an attention-grabbing choice, however it’s going to want extra to rival the others. 

Discovery Plus is the different main new participant. It has apps on most platforms, however not all, and a few 4K HDR content material. It doesn’t, nevertheless, have cellular downloads and its content material library lacks the mainstream hits provided by all the others. That mentioned, if you happen to’re a fan of Pawn Stars, House Hunters or Cake Wars it’s the choice for you. 

Device help

Netflix Disney HBO Max Peacock Paramount Plus Discovery Plus
Android app Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
iOS app Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Roku Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Amazon Fire TV Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Apple TV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Android TV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Chromecast Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Xbox Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
PlayStation Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No

HBO Max, Netflix and Disney Plus are amongst the greatest names in the “streaming wars.” 

Sarah Tew/CNET

What about free trials? 

In the early days of streaming free trials have been plentiful. Now, properly, not a lot. 

All three of the main streaming heavyweights — Netflix, Disney Plus and HBO Max — provided free trial intervals of their early days and all have since deserted the choice. CBS All Access has a seven-day free trial, as does Discovery Plus. In addition to its free tier, Peacock has a seven-day trial for each of its Premium plans. 

Thankfully, nevertheless, no matter which service or providers you join you may nonetheless cancel your subscription at any time. 

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