What are Video Streaming Sites?
In 2015, a survey by Deloitte revealed that more Americans watched movies and TV shows via internet streaming sites than live TV, with 53% streaming TV shows online as opposed to 45% who watch live TV. Since then, the figures have only continued to rise. In 2017, 25% of households decided on ‘cutting the cord’ entirely, canceling their cable TV subscription and replacing it with internet video streaming.
The benefits of using video streaming sites include paying less than cable TV, only paying for the shows you want to watch, and accessing curated content which learns what you like. The power to choose what, where, and when to watch is every bit as tempting as saving money.
If you’re thinking of joining the move to online streaming sites, make an informed decision with our reviews of the best video streaming service out there.
Our top video streaming sites:
Netflix is the largest video streaming service in the US. Netflix moved into video streaming in 2007 and is now available in 190 countries and supports 17 languages for its thousands of popular movies and TV shows.
Due to copyright laws and licensing deals, only a couple of hundred of Netflix’s 13,500 movies and shows can be viewed in dozens of countries outside of the USA. People use VPN for Netflix to access shows from America, but Netflix recently moved to block users from using a VPN to watch Netflix. Only a handful of VPNs still work to unblock Netflix, so it’s worth researching the best VPN for US Netflix if you want to make the most of your account when on vacation or if you live overseas.
Established in 2006, Amazon Prime Video streaming has been available in 200 countries since 2016. Amazon users outside of these areas use a top VPN for Amazon to be able to get around its location block and watch their favorite shows and movies online.
Amazon Prime shares HD video streaming content from scores of TV and movie channels including HBO and Cinemax, as well as recently starting to share its own exclusive titles such as The Grand Tour and The Man in the High Castle. However, not all Amazon Prime content is available in all countries. Even in countries which can access Amazon Prime directly, viewers use a VPN for Amazon to be able to see the mass of US-only content.
Together with Amazon Prime and Netflix, Hulu makes up the holy trinity offering the best video streaming service. It was launched by Disney, 21st Century Fox, Time Warner, and Comcast in 2007 and shares their huge archive of entertainment. It’s highly popular for lovers of old TV shows and movies.
Hulu is only viewable to customers in the mainland US or to Japanese viewers through Hulu Japan. This leaves viewers who live elsewhere to search for the best VPN for Hulu so that they can unblock old TV shows and exclusive Hulu content.
BBC iPlayer is popular among UK audiences for TV shows like Eastenders and Strictly Come Dancing. BBC iPlayer users can watch the same content that is shown to TV viewers for 30 days after it was first aired.
BBC iPlayer is an entirely free video streaming site with HD video but is only available to UK-based viewers. Customers in the USA and worldwide need to use a VPN for BBC iPlayer to unblock their content. Its live video streaming of top sporting events, like last year’s Rio Olympics, make it well worth it for global viewers.
HBO GO was launched by HBO in 2010. It became available without a cable subscription in 2015 when millions of people signed up before the premiere of HBO exclusive Game of Thrones. HBO GO streams all its own content, as well as popular movies and TV shows.
Through licensing deals and partner networks, HBO GO is available in most of North and South America, parts of Europe, and Asia. Once again though, not all of its content is viewable outside of the USA leaving HBO viewers in other countries reliant on a VPN for HBO GO.
DirecTV Now was established in 2016 by telecom giant AT&T. It offers over 100 TV channels and premium viewing options, including live video streaming and video on demand from channels like HBO. Some of the most popular shows viewable on DirecTV Now include Grey’s Anatomy and The Voice. DirecTV Now is only available in the 50 states of America. This means that customers who want to access the many channels presented by DirecTV Now have to turn to a VPN for video streaming sites.
Sling TV offers a multi-channel video streaming service that includes CNN, ESPN, and the Disney channel. Sling TV brings live video streaming so that sports addicts can follow the game in real time and the next episode of your favorite show is viewable immediately. On the other hand, shows cannot be watched on demand, and some are removed from viewing after a certain period of time. Also, Sling TV is only available in the 50 US states, so Sling users abroad need to use a VPN for Sling TV.
YouTube was founded in 2005 as a personal video sharing site. Certain TV shows and movies are available to watch on YouTube, but they tend to be geo-restricted based on your location, with most of them only available within the USA. Not surprisingly, many YouTube users find the best VPN for YouTube to get around its geo blocks.
Established in 2007 and owned by WalMart since 2012, Vudu is an HD streaming service that lets you rent or buy HD movies to watch on demand. Its movie library is massive, including 18,000 movies and 5,000 TV shows that include The Flash and Mr. Robot. Since Vudu is geo-restricted to viewers outside of the USA, movie and TV fans use a VPN for Vudu to unblock its content.
Showtime’s sites are owned by CBS, making it the home of exclusive TV shows like Homeland and Shameless. All its East and West coast scheduling is available, with live streaming, letting you watch the next episode of your show as soon as it airs. Showtime’s video streaming services are only accessible to viewers in the USA and Canada, so fans across the world use the best VPN for Showtime to keep up to date.
Stream with the Flow
Online streaming services are the way to go, but you don’t have to cut the cord completely to make the most of on-demand viewing and cheaper TV shows. Streaming sites let you take your favorite shows with you when you travel or for students away in college, as long as you have the internet speed required for streaming video. Just remember that if you are leaving the USA, you’ll need to set up a good VPN for video streaming to access all the best content.