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TVs

Best online TV streaming services 2018

With the best online streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime all vying for your attention, we have a new directory of services to help you choose the best provider for your needs.

HBO

It's easier than ever to cut the cord and binge-watch the shows you love most. From familiar networks like Showtime and HBO to independent services like Netflix and Hulu, there are a lot of options to choose from. The service(s) you end up choosing will probably depend on which streaming devices they're available on, the shows they offer, and the monthly fee. For additional information on the best TV streaming services, check out this article by Sarah Mitroff. You can also check out CNET's VPN Services directory for special streaming service needs.

Use a streaming service already? Share your personal experience and let us know if we are missing any top providers. Also note, if a purchase is made through the links below, CNET may receive a small share of the sale.

Amazon Prime Video

Until this year, Amazon's TV- and movie-streaming service was exclusively available for Prime members paying $99 per year. Now, anyone can access Prime Video a la carte. Prime Video is known for its huge library of titles, including exclusives like "Mr. Robot" and "Downton Abbey." Read more from CNET editor Ben Fox Rubin on Amazon Prime Video.

Mobile app: Yes. (iOS, Android)

Offline downloads: Yes.

Works with: iPhone, iPad, Windows, Mac, Android, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo, TiVo, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Sony Smart TVs, Vizio Smart TVs, Samsung Smart TV, LG Smart TVs, Panasonic Smart TVs. (Note that Prime Video is not available on Apple TV or Chromecast.)

Binge-worthy shows: "Man in the High Castle," "Transparent," "Goliath," "Downton Abbey," "Mozart in the Jungle," "Bosch."

The latest: Here are the newest TV shows and movies to be added to Amazon Prime.


Netflix

Netflix is known for binge-worthy series like "Stranger Things" and nabbing network shows like "Friends." It's packed with popular movies, TV shows and a healthy library of kids' content. New content is added every week, and Netflix continues to develop exclusive, award-winning shows like "House of Cards."

Mobile app: Yes (iOS, Android)

Offline downloads: No.

Works with: iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Windows, Mac, Xbox, PlayStation, Chromecast, Google TV, LG Smart TVs, Samsung Smart TVs, Panasonic Smart TVs, Vizio Smart TVs, TiVo, Roku, Nintendo.

Binge-worthy shows: "Stranger Things," "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," "The Ranch," Marvel shows like "Jessica Jones" and "Luke Cage," "Narcos," "Supernatural," "Black Mirror," "House of Cards," "Gilmore Girls," "Bob's Burgers," "The IT Crowd," "Friends," "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "Parks and Rec," "Leverage," "The Office," "The Fall," "Broad Church," "Archer."


Hulu

Hulu was one of the first to bring TV online, and it's still a leader in the space. The service is known for next-day streaming of currently airing shows, as well as its large library of comedy, anime and international content.

Mobile app: Yes.

Offline downloads: No.

Works with: iPhone, iPad, Android, Amazon Fire tablet, Windows, Mac, Roku, Chromecast, Xbox, Apple TV, PlayStation, Nintendo, Amazon Fire TV, TiVo, Nexus Player, LG Smart TVs, Samsung Smart TVs, Panasonic Smart TVs, Vizio Smart TVs.

Binge-worthy shows: "New Girl," "The Mindy Project," "Rick & Morty," "Broad City," "Casual," "South Park," "Homeland," "Empire," "Brooklyn 99."


Showtime (Showtime Anytime)

Showtime was once only available with a cable subscription, but now it can be purchased a la carte. Unlike HBO Now, Showtime also includes a live East and West Coast TV feeds. Plus, if you're a Hulu customer, you can add Showtime Anytime for $8.99 ($2 off the regular price.)

Mobile app: Yes (iOS, Android)

Offline downloads: No.

Works with: Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Xbox, Windows, Mac.

Binge-worthy shows: "Dexter," "Billions," "Shameless," "Penny Dreadful," "Weeds," "Ray Donovan."


HBO Now

Home of "Game of Thrones," HBO Now is the best way to stay current on shows like "Veep" and "Westworld." Though it's known for its high-quality, addicting TV shows, HBO Now also includes a library of curated movies that's refreshed monthly.

Mobile app: Yes.

Offline downloads: No.

Works with: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Android TV, Chromecast, iPhone, iPad, PlayStation, Xbox, Samsung Smart TVs, Windows, Mac.

Binge-worthy shows: "Game of Thrones," "Westworld," "Last Week with John Oliver," "The Wire," "The Sopranos," "Deadwood," "Entourage," "Girls," "Veep," "Six Feet Under," "Sex and the City," "The Night Of."


Sling TV

Sling TV is one of the few ways to get live TV without subscribing to cable. You can watch live TV programming any time on many devices, so you're not just tied to your TV at home. If you're a sports fan, you can subscribe to networks like ESPN, but watch out -- add-on packages add up quickly, and you may end up paying just as much as cable.

Mobile app: Yes (iOS, Android)

Offline downloads: No.

Works with: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast, Android TV, Channel Master, Xiaomi, ZTE, iPhone, iPad, Android, Amazon Fire tablets, Xbox One, Windows, Mac.

Best channels: ESPN, CNN, Adult Swim, A&E, Viceland, Comedy Central, AMC.


Vudu

Vudu is a veteran in the streaming space and is known for its movie library. If you want same-day movie releases, this is one of the best options, next to iTunes.

Mobile app: Yes (iOS, Android)

Offline downloads: Yes.

Works with: Built into many Blu-Ray players, also available on PlayStation, Xbox 360, Xbox One, iPhone, iPad, Roku, TiVo, Android, Chromecast.


YouTube Red

If you love YouTube, but hate the ads, you'll want YouTube Red. Red lets you watch ad-free, get access to Red content exclusives and lets you access the YouTube Music and YouTube Kids apps. Read more about YouTube Red.

Mobile app: Yes.

Offline downloads: Yes.

Works with: Chromecast, Android TV, Apple TV, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Roku (LT, 1, 2, 2 HD, 2 XD, 2 XS, 3, Streaming Stick, Roku TV), iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows, Mac, LG Smart TVs, Samsung Smart TVs, Panasonic Smart TVs, Vizio Smart TVs.


iTunes

If you're a part of the Apple ecosystem, iTunes is a great place to keep an organized library of movies and TV shows. Though it doesn't have streaming services like Netflix or Hulu, it's one of the best options for people who want to own movies and TV shows and watch them across many Apple devices.

Mobile app: Yes (iOS only)

Offline downloads: Yes.

Works with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac, Apple TV, Windows.

Great for: Owning your favorite TV series or films. "Season passes" allow you to subscribe to currently-airing TV shows so that they are downloaded as soon as they air.


Google Play Movies & TV

Google Play Movies & TV is Google's answer to iTunes. It's the best option for Android device owners who want to own their movies and TV shows. Note, however, that unlike iTunes, there are no streaming options.

Mobile app: Yes (iOS, Android)

Offline downloads: Yes.

Works with: Android, Chromecast, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Windows, Mac.


CBS All Access

CBS All Access (owned by CBS, which also owns CNET) includes CBS's massive library of 7,500 episodes, including new episodes of currently airing shows. The newest noteworthy addition? "Star Trek."

Mobile app: Yes.

Offline downloads: No.

Works with: iPhone, iPad, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Windows, Mac.

Binge-worthy shows: "Star Trek," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "NCIS," "The Good Wife," "Mission: Impossible," "Twin Peaks," "The Late Show with Steven Colbert," "The Late Late Show with James Corden," "Cheers," "Sex and the City."