A guide to choosing your ideal streaming service during quarantine

Media Credit: Photo Illustration by Camille DeSanto | Staff Photographer

For a trip down memory lane, consider a subscription to Disney+, a single platform that includes all the Disney classics.

We now have more time than ever to explore new TV shows and movies to distract us from the pandemic or fill time.

There are luckily several streaming services to choose from to find dozens of movies and shows, but choosing one subscription can be overwhelming. After reviewing contenders in the market, I’ve selected the top services for the content they stream. 

Here is a rundown of streaming services you can subscribe to, based on your entertainment preferences:

Best for quarantine: Disney+

If you’re a Disney fanatic looking, Disney+ is the choice for you. Members can choose from a catalog of newly released content like the Star Wars sequel TV series “The Mandalorian” and any hit movie you can imagine from Marvel, Pixar and Disney Studios.

Take yourself back to your childhood watching classics like “Cinderella” or “Toy Story,” or relive the humor of TV shows you grew up with like “Phineas and Ferb” or “Wizards of Waverly Place.” Disney+ is the best fit for a rainy day or a craving for childhood memories.

Disney+, subscribe here for $6.99/month.

Best for learning something new: Kanopy

Kanopy is your best bet for finding academic videos, documentaries and independent films. Especially notable is its selection of award-winning international films and the Criterion Collection, which features hundreds of classic, independent and art-house films.

If you want to pick up some photography skills, watch National Geographic’s “Fundamentals of Photography.” And if you didn’t get to make your spring break trip to France, watch “Camille Claudel” and enjoy Parisian art and architecture from the comfort of your bedroom. Or explore a new hobby by watching tutorials on everything from yoga poses to how to cut your bangs.

GW partners with Kanopy, giving students free access to the library of films that professors have requested for viewing. Students can sign into their complimentary GW Kanopy accounts using their GW email. Students who have a valid public library card can also ask their local public library if it offers Kanopy to gain access to whichever films the library has licensed.

Kanopy, log in with your participating library or GW here, free for GW students.

Best on a budget: Amazon Prime Video

Prime Video is included in an Amazon Prime membership, giving you all the shows and movies for a lesser cost than other services. Being a student makes the deal even more enticing with the discounted student membership price of $59 annually.

Prime Video has a sizable content selection of TV and films like “Midsommar,” “A Quiet Place” and “Sex and the City.” Access to a larger selection of films still requires a rental fee.

Amazon has also made an effort in recent years to increase its original content, producing shows like “Fleabag” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and movies like “The Big Sick” and “Honey Boy.”

Amazon Prime Video, purchase a student membership here, $59 annually.

Best binge-worthy television: Hulu

Hulu takes the cake for television selection, offering a range of critically-acclaimed shows like “Atlanta,” guilty pleasures like “The Bachelor” and classics like “I Love Lucy.” Hulu is like the fast food of television in the streaming service world. Unlike Netflix which usually releases full seasons of TV shows at a time, Hulu releases new episodes within days of them airing on TV.

This streaming service also excels in the rom-com category with an extensive selection of films like “The Spy Who Dumped Me” to give you a good laugh. Hulu is also trying to step up its game by adding new critically acclaimed movies like “Parasite” to the selection.

Hulu, subscribe here, $5.99/month.

Best variety and original content: Netflix

In 2019, Netflix spent most of its $15 billion in content spending on original content, which has certainly paid off with the development of cutting-edge shows like “Stranger Things” and “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.” Netflix continued to widen eyes by leading all other film studios in Oscar nominations earlier this year, redefining what it means to be a major player in the world of cinema.

This streaming service is among the most expensive with its most basic plan at $8.99/month, in which you can only stream content on one device at a time, compared to its Premium Plan for $15.99/month which lets members access content on four screens at the same time in ultra-high definition. If you’re willing to pay, Netflix’s extensive offerings along with its award-winning original content make it worth paying.

Netflix, subscribe here, starting at $8.99/month.

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