Gone are the days when we used to sit in front of TV at a particular hour and endure the troublesome task of watching every commercial ad so we can enjoy just one episode of our favorite TV show. Thankfully, we have entered a golden era as an entertainment consumer. We get to have the entire season of our beloved TV series just a click away. We have access to all the movies of our favorite director or actor. We get to enjoy the live sports events or awards ceremony on our smartphones while traveling in the tube. We have come a long way regarding advancement in the technology and entertainment content.
Now we have come to a point where we have unlimited options to enjoy our binge watching sessions at an affordable cost. Most of the best online streaming websites are looking to break free the barriers of geo-restriction as well. By going international, Netflix has really set the bar high. We feel more streaming services like Netflix are looking to expand their horizon and reach audiences in the far corner of the globe.
19 Best Movie And TV Streaming Sites In 2017
Can you tell how many TV channels are there? We are guessing the number is in thousands. What about online streaming services? At least, a few hundred. It will take a while to reach the same quantity as TV channels but the online streaming platforms are providing tough competition to each other. A few years back, Netflix seemed to have monopolized the online streaming industry. However, now the geography of streaming platforms is pretty crowded. Different services are focused on different types of content and audience. Ultimately, the good news is we have plenty of options to catch up on all our favorite TV shows, movies, and live programs.
Netflix – The King Of Best Video Streaming Services
Netflix is literally the king of best video streaming services. It is the culprit who started this business and became the favorite of everyone. Netflix was the first one which gave audiences an option other than TV. With massive hit original shows like House of Cards, Strangers Things, and Orange Is The New Black, Netflix won the hearts of millions. Netflix has gone global but we often hear complaints that its content library worldwide is not as expansive as in the US. Overall, Netflix is here to stay and it has plenty of titles in terms of TV shows and movies. However, it is experiencing more than ever competition now from other best movie and TV streaming sites.
Hulu Plus – One Of The Best Netflix Alternatives
Hulu Plus is definitely one service that has given Netflix run for its money. It began its journey in 2007 with the classic act of providing free video streaming services until it gathered enough followers. Once Hulu was everywhere, it started a paid service called Hulu Plus. You can still watch limited programs for free on Hulu but if you need latest TV shows then you need to spend some money. Hulu Plus is not an ideal option for a movie buff but if you are into TV shows then it is perfect. Hulu Plus has a very large content library. Most importantly, it adds the latest episodes of running TV shows just after a few hours of their broadcast.
Amazon Prime Instant Video – The Amazon Way
Amazon Prime Instant Video is Amazon’s way of breaking into the streaming world. And boy! What an entry it has been. Amazon has already been our online shopping center for years as it sells everything. It has tried to bring the same approach to its streaming service. Amazon Prime Instant Video can be a pay-per-view service, monthly subscription based facility, or a shop to buy TV shows and movies. Since it gives so much liberty to the users, there was no way it would not have reached the level of top online streaming websites. Also, original TV series like Transparent and Alpha House are a big hit among the audience.
Vudu – Best Movie Streaming Service
Vudu is Walmart’s baby in the streaming world. Since the competition is tough among best online streaming websites, each one look to provide a unique type of content to attract a certain section of a humungous audience. Vudu caters to movie buffs. It has an enormous content library filled with numerous movie titles. Also, Vudu releases the movie on the same day it comes out on DVD. Vudu is a pay-per-view service so you actually pay for whatever you are watching. The rent is similar to that of a typical DVD in traditional rentals. It usually starts at $3.99 and goes up according to the type of the video.
iTunes – The Founding Father
iTunes is one of the pioneers of this whole concept that entertainment can be sold online. Of course, it started with simple MP3 files and revolutionized the music industry. Eventually, Apple realized that it can sell movies and TV shows too. iTunes doesn’t have a huge content library but it follows the rule of smart selection. iTunes is a pay-per-view service. A slight drawback is its incompatibility with streaming boxes other than Apple TV. But that’s expected because Apple has never been big on being the most compatible service provider. On the whole, iTunes is a decent streaming service.
HBO Now – Elite Online Streaming Channel
HBO has been a premium TV content producer since its advent. HBO is equivalent to excellence in the world of entertainment. It has been known for taking bold decisions and creating shows that no other channel had the guts to go for. HBO used to provide all its content online. The users had to log in with their TV license. HBO Now is the extension of that service. It is a paid subscription per month. You get to access everything that’s available on HBO. The new episodes for ongoing TV shows are uploaded after a few hours of their broadcast.
BBC iPlayer – One Of The Few Free Streaming Services
BBC iPlayer is an ideal online video streaming service if you love British Broadcasting Corporation. The company has been around for so many years and the only reason it has managed to survive and thrive this long is by providing amazing entertainment content. BBC iPlayer is a loved online streaming service because it is free. You don’t even have to add your TV license details. It will only ask you about the TV subscription and you have to choose a yes and no. BBC iPlayer mainly comprises of TV shows from BBC network. Sherlock and Orphan Black are reasons enough to give this one a shot even you haven’t tried BBC iPlayer yet.
YouTube – The Universal Streaming Platform
If you are an internet user then you must know about the YouTube. YouTube has the highest penetration among other online video streaming services. YouTube is not particularly for TV shows. You can watch plenty of movies by renting them for $0.99 to $3.99 or buying for $9.99 to $19.99. However, there is no match for useful user content generated every single day on YouTube. No matter what is your mood or what you feel like watching, YouTube will never disappoint you. It is among the top 10 most visited websites in the world. It provides good entertainment for free.
Sling TV – One Of Its Own Kind
Sling TV is one of its own kind in the crowded industry of online video streaming providers. Sling TV aims to give competition to the traditional TV cable. You can basically add multiple channels on Sling TV like ESPN, HBO Live etc. It is relatively new as it started in 2015 only. However, Sling TV has added channels to its portfolio rather quickly. Sling TV offers more than 200 channels in 18 languages. It is a bit pricier than the normal streaming services but a lot less cheap than the traditional TV cable where you have to subscribe to different TV channels.
Google Play – Just Another Online Streaming Service
Google Play is again not for TV show lovers. Rather it focuses on movies, especially newly released movies. You can watch them a day after they have been released. Google Play also follows the pay-per-view mode. It lets you rent and buy a movie. Once in a while, Google Play offers free movies to make the viewers’ happy. Google Play is Google’s effort to be part of online streaming websites. It is not offering groundbreaking and exceptional services but just following the already set rules. There is no new USP for you to spend money on Google Play.
Crackle – It Is Free
Let us start by saying that Crackle is a free online video streaming service. Oh! Stop applauding, don’t get impressed so quickly. It is owned by Sony. It has a good balance of TV shows, movies, and original programs. We hate one thing about Crackle and we are sure you will too. It has way too many commercials. Their presence is to an extent where you would want to spend money just to get rid of the ads. Other than that, Crackle has a fair amount of options and streams videos in good quality. Crackle lies somewhere in the middle out of all best online streaming services.
Showtime – Online Version Of The Same Channel
Showtime is another channel that has a video streaming service. One of the reasons of Showtime’s video streaming service is that you won’t find the content of Showtime on any other video streaming provider. So Showtime is the exclusive owner of its content. If you love the TV shows on Showtime then you would appreciate on-the-go streaming option of the same channel. The channel has many amazing shows like Masters of Sex, Dexter, Homeland and others. This streaming service focuses on the core audience of the channel only and has no attention to attract masses.
iFlix – Streaming Services Like Netflix
iFlix wanted to apply the same business plan as Netflix in the South Asian market but Netflix ruined its plans by going international. However, it doesn’t mean iFlix has no worth now. Of course, its content library cannot compete with Netflix but iFlix has managed to sign some lucrative deals with MGM, Disney, Warner Bros, Paramount, CBS, Fox, Media Prima, NBC Universal. So you will find enough material on iFlix to binge. Also, it is comparatively cheaper than Netflix. iFlix is one of the streaming services like Netflix that is likely to stay.
Sky And Sky Go – Sky Network Presence In The World Of Online Streaming
Sky TV network definitely felt the heat of this new online streaming wave and decided to jump on the bandwagon. Sky Go allows you to watch the live stream of the Sky TV channel. There is also a video on demand program available. And for additional $5 a month, you can download the content from the Sky Go app. The app is probably most useful during live sports events which you don’t want to miss at any cost. There is nothing special here. Sky Go simply ensures the presence of Sky Network in the online streaming industry.
TVCatchup – TV As It Happens
TVCatchup is for live TV only. It is an online live TV streaming platform that broadcasts different TV channels. TVCatchup is in the ongoing process of adding TV channels in its content library. For now, you can select from 40 different TV channels. BBC One, Film 4, and Dave are a few of the TV channels available on TVCatchup. The quality of the video is not too good. TVCatchup is definitely one of its own kind. Despite being multiple streaming platforms, there are people who love watching TV and TVCatchup just give them the opportunity to view TV on their chosen device.
Funny or Die – The Hilarious One
Funny or Die in an online video streaming channel that focuses on comedy only. It started as a very small project but over the years, Funny or Die has established itself as an authentic web channel for hilarious videos. Its skits like Drunk History and Gay of Thrones are very popular among the viewers. It is not a conventional channel to binge watch. However, Funny or Die has enough fresh material to keep you entertained for a while. In addition, it is free. We would love it to become compatible with more operating systems and devices.
Vevo – Online Streaming Channel For Music Videos Only
Vevo is the modern MTV. Of course, it does not enjoy the popularity of MTV but Vevo is doing a fine job of keep the music videos alive and relevant. It is an online streaming service dedicated to music videos only. Vevo is a free online video streaming website. There is one criticism of Vevo that it focuses more on hip hop and pop but that’s been a common criticism for all music channels. You can also watch music documentaries and upcoming artists. Vevo is providing a very awesome service in the music niche and we love it.
Shudder – The Scary Online Movie Streaming Platform
Shudder is heaven for people who enjoy horror movies. It is an online movie streaming channel by AMC. The video content can be searched by your favorite type of horror characters like zombies or slashers. Of course, you can find your favorite stuff by titles also. Shudder is compatible with most operating systems like Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, and Roku. Shudder will cost you $4.99 a month of $49.99 a year. Now if you are casual horror movies binger then this may seem expensive to you. However, if you are a horror movies fanatic then, of course, $4.99 is nothing.
Crave TV – For Canadians Only
Crave TV is another Canadian contender created for this country only. Crave TV focuses more on TV shows than movies. It has collaborated with HBO and Showtime. CraveTV has a solid content library for TV shows binge watchers. Although it is a bit expensive (starts at $7.99). You can get a bigger content library by paying just a dollar more to Netflix. However, CraveTV has exclusive shows as Game of Thrones and Billions. The online streaming service is compatible with devices like Apple TV, PC, Mac OSX, Android, PlayStation, Xbox, Roku, iOS, and Chromecast.
Why Do Best Online Streaming Websites Limit Their Reach?
We cannot end this topic without talking about geo-restriction. Most of the websites mentioned above are geo-restricted. Geo-restriction basically means limiting the content to certain locations only. The website identifies the location of the visitor by checking the IP address. There are multiple reasons why websites geo-restrict their content. Mostly, movies and TV shows are confined to certain audiences. Some online stores also follow this rule for pricing related issues.
- Copyrights Issue
Let us explain this by giving an example. HBO Now is an entertainment channel available in US only. The parent company of HBO Now called Time Warner has awarded the copyrights of HBO Now’s content to different providers in different countries. It is a way of making profits. You produce one entertainment program and sell it to multiple broadcasters in different countries. That’s why streaming services are very concerned about geo-restriction.
- Price Discrimination
Price discrimination has little to do with entertainment or streaming services. It is related to online stores only, especially those who deal with digital goods like video games. The same video game can be sold at a different price in one country and maybe at hiked price in another country. The owners are able to play price discrimination in their favor by geo-restricting the content.
Binge Watchers! Break Free With Best VPN For Online Streaming
Binge watchers! There is no need to feel bad because you cannot access most of the above mentioned online streaming websites. We wouldn’t have mentioned the geo-restricted movie and TV streaming sites if we didn’t know the solution. They identify you by your IP addresses so you need a service that can replace your IP address.
That’s why we present to you the best VPN services that can enable you to access any online streaming website and enjoy your favorite show. We have also highlighted all the features of each VPN service provider in their reviews so you can know them better. Here we go;