Best streaming services 2022: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Apple TV+
There is a streaming service out there for everyone. Horror fans can flock to Shudder, Mubi caters to the independent cinema crowd and BritBox has old episodes of Grange Hill.
In a crowded field, it’s hard to know which streaming platform is right for you. Netflix still rules with superb numbers (only), but Amazon Prime Video is more affordable. Disney+ is home to masked superheroes and Cinderella, but Apple TV+ comes with a bunch of valuable extras. Nobody wants to shell out over £40 a month on multiple subscriptions just to watch their favorite TV shows, so it’s advisable to choose wisely. Here, we break down the highs and lows of the four best streaming platforms out there—Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and Apple TV+—to help you decide which is the best streaming service for you in 2022.
The original movie and TV buffet service, Netflix paved the way for today’s streaming dominance, with Stranger Things, The crown and Orange is the new black help make Netflix the most popular streaming service out there (for now).
Netflix also has one of the largest libraries of movie and TV content out there. It’s the streaming home of countless anime TV shows and movies, documentaries, crime dramas, and kids’ favorites. It’s almost too much on Netflix at times, with some of the best shows lost in a sea of content (or canceled after two series).
However, Netflix’s reign may soon be coming to an end. Earlier this year, Netflix posted its first drop in membership since 2011. Job cuts and a drop in its share price followed. The company has since regained 2.4 million subscribers, but not before Netflix made some changes to membership levels.
In the UK, a ‘basic with ads’ membership costs £4.99 a month. It comes with ads (unsurprisingly), access is only available on one device and some movies and TV shows are unavailable. It’s £6.99 a month for the Basic plan, which includes ad-free viewing on one device, and £10.99 a month for the Standard package, which includes ad-free viewing on two devices. Premium is £15.99 a month, which offers ad-free streaming on up to four devices.
Sign up for Netflix here
Amazon Prime Video
It’s no secret that Amazon is working hard to collect some of that sweet, sweet streaming revenue. Bezos spent an eye-watering $13 billion on movie, TV and music content in 2021, Variety reports. Amazon also produced the most expensive TV series ever with 2022s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Powerand the company has been busy securing exclusives on the TV programmes Jack Ryan, All or nothing and The boys.
An Amazon Prime membership (£8.99 per month, £4.49 per month for students) gives you a whole host of benefits and extras. You get Prime Video, which comes with thousands of TV shows and movies to stream for free. A Prime subscription will also give you access to twenty free Premier League matches per year. There are occasional deals on other Amazon services, from discounts on Audible memberships and Amazon Music, and Prime members can get free shipping on Amazon products. Prime also works seamlessly with the Fire TV Stick, offering fast performance at an affordable price.
In April, Amazon announced Freevee, the streaming service formerly known as IMDb TV. Freevee is a free streaming service that hosts thousands of TV shows and movies, as well as exclusive series such as the crime comedy Sprung and the British spy thriller Alex Rider. Fans of Australian soap operas will also be pleased to hear that it recently cancelled Neighbours returns for Freevee viewers in the UK and US (the series will also stream on Prime Video in Australia, New Zealand and Canada).
Sign up for Amazon Prime Video here
Since launching in 2019, Disney+ has been quick to make its presence known in the streaming wars. The streaming platform recently reported that 221 million people have signed up for Disney+, compared to around 223 million Netflix subscribers.
Disney+’s popularity is partly thanks to the large amount of film and TV assets owned by Disney. The Mickey Mouse company owns the rights to Star Wars, Marvel and The Simpsons. The full merger of Disney and Fox in 2019, which cost $71.3 billion, brought the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters into the Disney universe, along with a series of films such as the fantastic Three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri.
Disney+ currently offers better value for money than Netflix. For £7.99, members can access Disney+ and enjoy unlimited downloads on up to 10 devices and 4K UHD streaming, while up to four screens can stream simultaneously at no extra cost. Right now, members can also get 12 months for the price of 10 when you sign up for an annual Disney+ subscription, compared to monthly.
The Disney+ library may seem a bit limited compared to the competition, at least on first impressions. Disney+ goes big on original programming, from Marvel exclusives like She-Hulk: Lawyer, Hawkeye and Moon Knight to Andor and The Mandalorian. The addition of Hulu, FX, and National Geographic shows is welcome, but there may be too few options for those who don’t like superheroes or lightsabers.
Sign up for Disney+ here
It’s been a rocky road for Apple TV+ since it launched in 2019. There have been ups and downs, with Apple’s CODA win an Oscar for best film in 2022. However, the streaming service has struggled to attract subscribers. Apple is usually very tight-lipped when it comes to releasing subscriber numbers, but some estimates suggest that the streaming platform has somewhere between 20-40 million paying subscribers.
Compared to its competitors, Apple TV+ is a bit thin on the ground when it comes to original programming, but it’s constantly expanding. For £6.99 a month, members can access exclusive offers such as the Emmy win Ted Lasso, Mythical questthe sci-fi epic Foundation and star-studded drama The morning show. Here are some of our personal favourites. Apple TV+ membership is also part of Apple One, a bundle of Apple services that includes various combinations of Apple Music and Apple Arcade – giving access to over 70 million songs and 100+ games with Apple Arcade – Apple News+, Apple Fitness+ and some iCloud storage , depending on how much you pay out each month. Everything is ad-free and available to stream or download in 4K. If you buy a brand new Apple product like an iPhone, iPad or Mac, you’ll also get a three-month free trial of Apple TV+.
Sign up for Apple TV+ here