loaded question: which streaming services do you have regular access to… and watch regularly?

Which streaming services do you have regular access to… and watch regularly? Do you feel like this covers most of your entertainment needs, or are you considering subscribing to others?

I’m very curious to hear what you all have to say about this, because the streaming environment has gotten a bit out of hand: there are so many services, and it would be absurd — and expensive! — to subscribe to all of them. I do wonder if a breaking point will be reached, at which stage there will have to be some consolidation.

At the moment, however, I have regular access to Netflix, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer. (I’ll say, ahem, having b1lling addre$$es in more than one country makes things a little easier, certainly with a vee-p33-enn in the mix.) This seems like a lot to me, but some I have complimentary professional access to, and the ones I pay for are also for professional reasons (and hence are tax-deductible business expenses). But I bet there are some die-hard movie and TV fans who will have lots more, purely for fun.

(You can also discuss this at Substack or Patreon, if you prefer. You don’t need to be a paying subscriber to comment, but you will need to register with either site to do so.)

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Tue, Nov 16, 2021 1:40pm

The irony is that my free subscription to Apple TV+ finally lapsed, and now I can’t watch half of the movies and shows I’ve purchased over the years unless I become much more technologically literate.

I do pay for Amazon Prime, and I would use it to watch a James Bond movie, because Jeff Bezos is a Bond villain, but I hate both James Bond and Jeff Bezos.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Danielm80
Tue, Nov 16, 2021 5:46pm

If you’ve purchased stuff on Apple TV (formerly the video stuff under the iTunes umbrella), you can still access that. Apple TV+ is sort of just the little walled-off space on Apple TV where the exclusive stuff lives. With your free sub lapsed, you can no longer watch stuff like The Morning Show and Invasion.

I feel like Apple really missed the mark on selling the Plus stuff, because I’ve seen lots of people confused about this.

Tue, Nov 16, 2021 2:40pm

My family currently has:
– Amazon Prime;
– Netflix (including their old physical DVD delivery service, which comes in handy for films we can’t stream anywhere else);
– Hulu (through a joint student discount deal with Spotify that our kid took advantage of);
– Disney+ (through an initial 3-year discount that was offered before the service launched);
– HBO Max (through a 6-month half-off subscription offered to customers who initially signed up through Amazon Prime, before HBO decided to disaggregate itself);
– Angelika Anywhere, the streaming service of the Angelika Film Center (free to register, but you pay to watch individual films).

So, yeah, it’s a patchwork of services (with discounts if we can find ’em) that seems to cover most of our viewing interests. Occasionally, if we want to see something on a different service like Paramount+ badly enough, we’ll sign up for the initial free trial period (or re-sign up and pay just for a month), then unsubscribe ASAP after we’ve seen everything we wanted. (It doesn’t seem to be that much of an additional burden to pay the cost of a movie ticket for a month of streaming films and shows, as long as you remember to unsubscribe afterwards.)

I’ve been contemplating getting Apple TV+, because I’ve heard so much about Ted Lasso, and because I’ve seen several episodes of Dickinson at a neighbor’s place and Hailee Steinfeld is just amazing. But because I don’t actually have a TV and use my desktop to stream things, it seems I need to upgrade my OS and download an app, instead of just clicking on a website like with all the other services. It’s a pain and I may get to it one of these days.

It does all add up, even with deals; and when those run out, we may consider unsubscribing from some—probably from HBO Max, which is the most expensive of the services. Maybe the pendulum is due to swing back the other way and we get bundled services again.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Bluejay
Tue, Nov 16, 2021 5:48pm

Angelika Anywhere

I hadn’t heard of this. Is it new since the pandemic? A lot of arthouses set up their own virtual cinemas when we were in lockdown.

reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Tue, Nov 16, 2021 6:11pm

Yeah, it was launched last December, and I learned about it from their email newsletter.


reply to  Bluejay
Fri, Nov 19, 2021 3:53pm

Oddly, earlier in the week, the Angelika seemed to be offering online screenings of its current films, and then the option went away. Was I imagining it?

Tue, Nov 16, 2021 3:54pm

I have:

Amazon Prime (a side effect of something I’d buy for the free shipping alone, but I do like the service.)

Netflix (both streaming and DVD, though I may cancel the DVD service again – I’ve got a DVD of Creed that’s been sitting around for months….)
Disney+ (a must-have for the Marvel TV stuff)
HBO Max, which I didn’t even realize I had until fairly recently, because their messaging is so confusing. I thought Max was something you had to pay extra for, but it’s included with a regular-cable HBO sucscription.
Paramount+ for the Star Trek stuff (especially Lower Decks!)

Peacock: Basically so I can watch AP Bio

I’m kind of annoyed by the lower two, and would probably try to game the system more (canceling and resubscribing when the particular show I like is released), but I’m too lazy to organize that. (I’m also averse to the horrible hour-long phone calls I still assume are required to cancel things, even though that appears to have gone out with AOL.)

Even with all these, there’s still stuff I’d like to see, but not quite enough to subscribe. Everyone raves about Ted Lasso, but I don’t have AppleMaxPlus or whatever it is, and I really like What We Do in the Shadows and The Orville, but don’t have Hulu.

The whole thing is a house of cards that’s going to inevitably fall at some point, because the amount of product being produced is unsustainable. It’s like Beta vs. VHS or Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD, but instead of going from 2 to 1, it’ll probably be more like going from 78 to 5. And there will be a lot less new content to keep up with then, but it’ll be easier to catch up on Ted Lasso or whatever, because content from the “loser” streamers will get snapped up by the survivors.

Tue, Nov 16, 2021 6:13pm

I bought a year of Disney Plus (back when it was $69) solely to watch Wandavision, Loki, Hawkeye, and She-Hulk… and Amphibia (it’s a sweet, positive show that puts me in a good mood, don’t judge me). It hurts to give Disney even more money, but I collected Marvel comics as a kid (and young adult) and the power of nostalgia compels me.

I also spent $8 for a month of the now defunct DC Direct out of guilt after watching and loving the Harley animated series during a free one-week trial. Otherwise, every couple years I sign up for a free trial month of Amazon Prime, watch a couple shows there, then cancel.

Now that everyone’s streaming and too lazy/busy/worried about Covid to go to the local library, I have free rein of their massive Blu-ray and DVD collections including the most popular streaming/TV shows, so I walk over to the library and check some of them out physically (I don’t own a TV or smartphone, just an ancient projector and cheap laptop).

So far, I’ve spent $77 total on streaming subscriptions. Add to that the VOD movies I’ve paid for, like the World of Tomorrow episodes, and a couple other flicks MA recommended, and I’m still a hair under $100 lifetime. This is probably the grumpy old man in me coming out, but I don’t really feel like I’ve missed out on anything of value. I eventually check out the DVD for stuff like Squid Game a year or two after they release when the hype is gone to see what the fuss was about. When I see something from the library I really like, I buy it physically to support the creators.

Of course, if everyone was a frugal, curmudgeony luddite contrarian like me the world economy would collapse, but I enjoy it – plus being so frugal allowed me to “retire” at 42 (I still work for fun). I’m always shocked to hear and see how much money the teens and twenty-somethings at my office throw away. If they learned to cook some basic healthy meals, cut back on streaming/texting, and got a barebones phone/internet plan, they could be millionaires before their late 40’s without even trying (barring some unforseeen health issue of course – thanks a lot broken US healthcare system!… grrr now I’m grumpy again, well, time for a another Amphibia episode).

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  amanohyo
Wed, Dec 01, 2021 10:32am

Oh, amanohyo, really?

If they learned to cook some basic healthy meals, cut back on streaming/texting, and got a barebones phone/internet plan, they could be millionaires before their late 40’s without even trying

I’m not sure how old you are, but I urge you to do a bit of looking into how wages have stagnated while the price of everything has gone up in recent decades. It’s really not possible for most people, no matter how diligent and frugal they are, to be millionaires in their 40s these days.

Tue, Nov 16, 2021 7:42pm

I’ve got a bunch of the standard ones (Netflix, Prime, Disney+, etc.), but I want to make a quick plug for Kanopy and Hoopla, which you might get for free with your library card in the US (not sure about any international access/equivalents). There’s lots of good stuff on those and they’re free, so more people should take advantage of them!

Tue, Nov 23, 2021 7:46pm

Prime we buy for the shipping, but of course I watch the good shows on it, too.
Netflix Ive had forever. Always good stuff on here.

Sling so my wife can watch live tv and shows not on all the other damn services like cooking shows and hallmark xmas movies. I’d LOVE to get rid of this one as its $40 a month!
Hulu for other stuff
HBOMax cause they have a lot of good shows on it.
Ive turned disney on and off twice to watch mandalorian 1 and 2 and wandavision. its off now. I’m bored of marvel stuff.
I pay too much for all these services. No way am I also getting apple, paramount, etc. too much.
Of course this is all on top of the $110 a month I pay for mediacom internet.

Sun, Dec 05, 2021 4:49am

I have access to HBO and Netflix, due to a friend’s generosity. I don’t watch things regularly enough to make me pay for subscriptions of my own. I also have Sirius XM, which I got for one particular radio show and I have since expanded to others. Does radio count?

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  LaSargenta
Sun, Dec 05, 2021 3:20pm

Why not count radio! :-)