Don’t waste your money on inferior streaming services

May 3, 2021 — by Vicky Bai and Serena Li

For the past horribly mundane year, the world’s main entertainment sources have been on-demand TV shows and movies. And while there are hundreds of streaming services, each has distinct benefits as well as unfortunate downsides. To save readers time and money, we tried six different streaming services and ranked them. 

The must-have services: 

  1. Netflix

The platform not only has countless shows and movies, including exclusive originals, but it also allows offline downloads. This service costs $8.99/month using the Basic Plan, but it only costs about $4.50/month when shared between three other friends. Netflix has been the defining force in streaming culture — it’s always “I’m binge watching Netflix shows, not I’m binge watching [insert irrelevant platform] shows. 

5/5 stars. 

  1. VIKI Rakuten

Also invaluable is VIKI Rakuten. As K-Pop carves out a growing slice of the music industry, K-Dramas are steadily gaining traction. Although Netflix has an excellent range of K-Dramas, many hidden gems, such as “He is Psychometric” and “Touch Your Heart,” are only available on VIKI Rakuten. The service costs only $4.99/month and has no ads, allowing viewers to enjoy thousands of Asian TV shows and movies while keeping their viewing experience pleasant and their wallet happy. What is not to like if you’re a fan of these genres?

5/5 stars.

Not worth it: 

  1. Hulu

This service is just a Netflix ripoff. It has its own original shows like the “The Hotwives of Orlando,” but almost none of them compare to the iconic Netflix Originals such as “Stranger Things” or “The Umbrella Academy.” Even worse, commercial breaks interrupt in each episode. Why would anyone pay $5.99 a month to watch shows with commercials? Aargh!

2/5 stars. 

  1. Crunchyroll 

Crunchyroll is an anime streaming service that costs $7.99 a month, but the only benefit of the subscription is the absence of ads. Without the subscription, you can still stream the same shows with ads. If you are patient enough to sit through the ads, just watch “Attack on Titan'' without paying for the subscription. 

3/5 stars.

  1. Peacock

Let’s be honest, the only reason any of us have purchased Peacock is to watch “The Office” — the only good part of the service. Despite paying for a subscription, Peacock still has around two to three 1-minute advertisements in a 20-minute episode. Although it costs only $4 a month, the never ending ads spoil the experience.

 1/5 stars. 

  1. Amazon Prime

Unless you are from Generation X, there’s no reason to buy Amazon Prime for $12.99 a month. Its main appeal seems to be black and white movies like “The Grapes of Wrath.” If you are interested in the shopping services (free two-day shipping on eligible items), then maybe Prime is worth it. Otherwise, save your money and stick with Netflix.

2/5 stars.