Last night I was asked which streaming platforms I subscribe to. My answer was "All of them... just not all at the same time." Firstly, because who can afford that? And secondly, there's only so many hours in the day I can watch television.
Those that I pay for with annual memberships (or monthly if they are backwards and don't offer the money-savings)...
- Disney+ (Annual)
As the Marvel Studios and Star Wars content keeps ramping up, I am watching more and more. Marvel worried me at first because I wasn't as enchanted as most people were, but Hawkeye redeemed their efforts. If I could only have one streaming network, this would be the one I keep because it's the one I most enjoy. Plus? Obi-Wan is almost here.
- HBO Max (Annual)
Color me surprised. I had subscribed for a month at a time off and on when there was something I wanted to watch. But then with Dune and The Suicide Squad and Matrix Resurrections I held onto it for a while... and was surprised at how often I was watching it. There's just so much stuff happening, which makes it a great value.
- YouTube Premium (Annual)
I watch a crazy amount of YouTube for everything from learning to entertainment, but I'm mortified at the number of ads they cram into their bullshit. Fortunately, you can pay money to eliminate the ads entirely. It seems more expensive than it's worth, but given how much I use it, it's worth it to me so I'm not wasting valuable time watching shitty ads.
- Discovery+ (Annual)
I watch an absurd amount of home renovation shows, and they can all be found here. And while the Magnolia Network section has been a scorching disappointment, there's still plenty I end up watching.
- Amazon Prime (Annual)
I don't order as much from Amazon as I used to, and started seriously questioning whether or not I needed to subscribe to their Prime service. But between the wide variety of "free" streaming programming and a nice discount on their music service, Prime is worth a lot more than just free shipping. Heck, I'd pay the price just to watch Reacher.
- Apple TV+ (Monthly)
Apple has been a mixed bag. For every total gem like Ted Lasso you get an abhorrent crap-fest like Foundation. And while the content it definitely lacking, the stuff I actually like is stuff I really, really like. I don't know yet where Severance falls... it's intriguing, but so slow-moving that I'm completely bored waiting for the interesting bits. This should either have been nine half-hour episodes or four to five hour episodes. Not nine hour-long episodes.
- Philo (Monthly)
I get a nice discount every month as a part of my T-Mobile perks, so I hang on to this for Hallmark Channel and some other content that I watch from time to time.
Those I turn off-and-on, as needed...
- Hulu (Cheap-Ass Ad-Supported)
While not entirely enchanted by their offerings, they do have some really cool shows and movies I've enjoyed over the years. So I activate my subscription a couple times a year to watch them.
- Netflix (Cheap-Ass Basic SD)
They raised their prices. Again. And so now I am just activating it a few times a year to catch up on the great stuff they do... while not sinking my money into a service which is quickly spending a lot of resources on crap I don't want and won't use (like games). The SD quality option looks like crap, but since I'm not watching all the time, it's fine.
- Peacock (Cheap-Ass Ad-Supported)
NBC's streamer is kinda... bad. There's just not that much there that interests me. But every once in a blue moon I subscribe for a month to see what I'm missing. Most of the time it's nothing, but they do have some good shows and movies.
Anime heaven. And even their cheapest plan is ad-free. I sign up for a month when I feel like taking a deep dive into anime, which happens a couple times a year. I prefer Funimation to Crunchy Roll, though there's some content there that's worth a look as well. What I don't understand is that Funimation and Crunchy Roll are both backed by Sony. Why?
- BritBox/Acorn TV
I have a deep, deep love of British television. These two services are good for a month or two when I simply have to have it. But both services, good as they are, have pretty sad back-catalogs. Love 8 Out of 10 Cats? Well, you're not getting everything... just the past four seasons. Like, WHY?!? WHY NOT ALL THE FUCKING SEASONS? And where are all the old episodes of shows like Never Mind the Buzzcocks? Nowhere to be found. It is hugely frustrating that these streamers are so bloody limited in scope, because I'd likely be an annual subscriber if they would only have some depth to their catalogs.
AMC (American Movie Classics) has ten-or-so streaming networks, none of which are worth much to me on their own. With the possible exception of Sundance, which is home to shows I like such as This Close. Why in the hell AMC doesn't just combine all their crap into a single mega-streamer (including Acorn TV!) is a complete mystery to me. That is something I might pay an annual fee to have.
Those that I pay for out of protest...
- Paramount+ (Annual, Cheap-Ass Ad-Supported)
This streaming service is technically 100% shit but has some programming I enjoy (most of the Star Trek stuff and cool shows like Magnum P.I. and NCIS: Hawai'i are here). But it's so fucking frustrating trying to get their shows to actually play. Newer shows often play without issue. But any of their older programming? 90% of the time it simply will not play. They'll say you are using a VPN or blame it on your browser or whatever... but I'm not using a VPN on my television and AppleTV doesn't have a browser. I've wasted entirely too much time being blamed for their problem by their customer "service" when I have zero problem with EVERY OTHER service. I detest these assholes and their fucking turd of a service, but still subscribe from time to time so I can watch a show that's only found here. I used to buy seasons of Magnum PI from iTunes, now I just sink the money here so I can watch Picard and stuff.
So far I haven't felt a need for streamers like Showtime and Starz and such... but if there's a series or movie that's exclusive and something I'm dying to see... well... I guess you do what you gotta do.