We’re long past the point where ‘streaming services are the future of television.’ They’re the present and it seems that almost every company out there is setting up their own service. Netlfix was the original but now there’s Amazon Prime, Now TV, Hulu, Sling TV, Twitch, Playstation Vue, DirecTV, Fubo and, of course, YouTube. However, as good as these services are, none of them can get access to the most popular shows in the world today. HBO still reigns supreme when it comes to original content and they have exclusive access to shows like Game of Thrones which raises the question, is HBO the best streaming service you can buy?

Gone are the days of video rental shops. At its peak,Blockbuster had almost 10,000 stores worldwide but fast forward ten years and the company is out of business. People just stopped going to rental shops and why wouldn’t they go when we have ten times the choice at without any need to leave the house? Netflix once ruled the roost but now, there are dozens of streaming services. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of some of the most popular.

Original Content

Amazon Prime and Netflix are the two services which create the most original content. Prime has created exclusive shows like Patriot, The Man in the High Castle, and of course, The Grand Tour from the presenters of BBC’s Top Gear.

Netflix also has a number of big name award-winning shows. House of Cards and Orange is the New Black have both proven to be hugely popular. As has 2016’s Stranger Things.

However, both services pale in comparison to the original titan of original content: HBO. In the past there was The Sopranos and The Wire which were, in many ways, the shows which helped bring about this golden age of television. Away from drama, shows like Veep, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Silicon Valley have all been award-winning smash hits in comedy.

However, nothing compares to today’s flagship television show: Game of Thrones. It’s the most talked about show on the planet as tens of millions of people tune in each week to get their fix of dragons and drama. It’s a complete revelation which has had an impact on so many different areas. There are board games, dedicated podcasts, even an online slot casino game based on the title. It’s a revelation and the only streaming service which has it all year round is HBO Now.

Catalogue

There are close to 5,000 items available to be streamed immediately on Netflix and that’s not including individual episodes of various television series. The numbers on Amazon’s service vary widely depending on source and whichever region you’re watching in but it seems that their collection is bigger. However, one thing which is for certain is that many of these titles need to be bought at an extra cost to your subscription.

HBO’s library is by far the smallest and only stocks HBO shows. They’re of a higher quality but there just isn’t enough to keep you entertained.

Cost and Availability

Netflix is available in over 190 countries and offers several tiers of service in terms of subscription cost. You can get content on different accounts and in better quality if you spend a little more but generally, £7.49/$7.99 per month is the standard price.

Amazon is available in even more countries than its chief rival and also offers the added benefits of Prime membership. You get free next-day delivery on selected Amazon orders as well as music streaming and some cloud storage options, all for £79/$99 per year.

HBO’s service is the most expensive and the least available of the three. It costs $14.99 per month and is only available in the United States, leaving viewers with the decision of whether Game of Thrones on demand is worth the cost of moving to the US.

Verdict

There’s no doubt that streaming services offer far better selection and value for money than costly satellite or cable subscriptions. £10 a month is far better for your bank balance than the ‘super deluxe all in one hyper value saver package’ worth ten times that. However, there are still question marks about which ones to get.

Netflix is the easiest service to use, has a great catalogue of existing and original content and is great value for money. It’s very appealing but so is Amazon Prime. The lure of a year of free next-day delivery will certainly be too tempting for the online shoppers too. The problem is that neither service has the best television out there: the HBO Originals.

HBO Now isn’t an option for anyone outside of the United States and a costly one for the people who live there. The shows are great but don’t justify the cost in comparison to other services. Just get both Netflix and Amazon Prime and buy the Game of Thrones boxset when it comes out later this year.