Netflix is the top streaming service to watch binge-worthy original TV shows like "Stranger Things," "GLOW," and "The Crown" as well as major and indie films, provocative documentaries, and star-studded comedy and concert specials on your smartphone, tablet, desktop, and Smart TV. Memberships start at $7.99 for watching in standard definition on one device and go up to $13.99 to watch in Ultra HD on up to four devices.
But if you aren't a fan of their original programming or want to watch other TV shows on their actual air dates or want to try one of the award-winning originals on Amazon Prime Now or Hulu or HBO Now, like "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," "The Handmaid's Tale," or "Game of Thrones," then you might be searching for other streaming service options. Or maybe you're just over Netflix's lackluster recommendation algorithm and want a streaming service with more accurate streaming suggestions. Either way, these are the best Netflix alternatives with companion apps for Android and iOS. Many of them even offer a free trial, so you can try before you commit to a monthly subscription.
Hulu (Android, iOS) is the service to watch current and past seasons of popular TV series just after they air, original content like "The Handmaid's Tale," "The Mindy Project," and "Castle Rock," and hit movies for $7.99 (limited commercials) to $11.99 (if you'd rather skip commercials altogether).
Or you can get Hulu with Live TV to enjoy Hulu programming as well as over 50 live and on-demand channels and cloud DVR to record live programming to watch later. If you are part of a big family, users can keep their viewing separate with up to six viewer profiles. You can stream on as many screens as you'd like at home or up to three when you're out and about, but it'll cost you an additional $14.99. The one real downside, though, is no offline viewing, so you'll need a Wi-Fi connection to stream.
2. Amazon Prime Video
Formerly Instant Video, Amazon Prime Video (Android, iOS) is a free perk for Amazon Prime members. But if you're not subscribing to Prime, it's $8.99 per month to stream tons of films and original programming like "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," "The Man in the High Castle," and "Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan." However, you can't stream on more than two devices at once, and there is no option to create multiple accounts.
3. YouTube TV
For $40 a month, YouTube TV (Android, iOS) enables you to stream live TV from 60-plus broadcast, sports, entertainment, news, kids, movie, and Spanish-language channels on your phone, tablet, desktop, or TV set. Or you can DVR all the programming you can handle and store it for up to nine months. With six accounts, everyone can keep their programming separate and get individualized recommendations.
You'll also get a free subscription to YouTube Premium (an $11.99 value), which means an ad-free experience, offline viewing, access to YouTube Music Premium and even more original content from popular YouTubers on the YouTube platform.
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4. PlayStation Vue
PlayStation Vue (Android, iOS) brings subscribers a wide range of TV channels to watch popular shows, sports, news, films, and more from the most popular networks. You'll also get on-demand TV and the ability to DVR shows for up to 28 days -- all for $39.99 to $74.99 per month. With the ability to stream on up to five devices at once and to create multiple personal profiles, everyone's programming and recommendations remain separate, so you'll never see HGTV's "Fixer Upper" mixed in with your list of HBO's "Game of Thrones" episodes again.
5. HBO Now
You no longer need an expensive cable package to watch HBO's hit TV series like "Game of Thrones," "Insecure," and "Silicon Valley" as well as legacy shows like "Girls," "Sex and the City," and "Six Feet Under," or watch movies, comedy specials, talk shows, documentaries, concert and sports events, and more, ad-free. With HBO Now (Android , iOS), it's just $14.99 per month, and you can even watch any of this high-quality content in VR on the HBO Now VR app (Android). But simultaneous streams are limited to three devices and offline viewing is not allowed.
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- Maniac on Netflix: Jonah Hill and Emma Stone get weird, and it works (CNET)
- Netflix to raise technology, marketing, content spending in 2018 (ZDNet)
- How companies can digitally transform like Netflix, Apple, and Amazon (TechRepublic)