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Peacock vs. HBO Max vs. Disney Plus vs. Apple TV Plus vs. Netflix vs. Quibi: How streaming stacks up

With the launch of Peacock, you have more streaming choices than ever. Let's dive in.

peacock-browse

Peacock, launching July 15, is the latest big streaming service to hit TVs and phones nationwide.

Angela Lang/CNET

As the coronavirus continues to keep people at home watching more TV than ever, a growing list of streaming services vie for American eyeballs. Disney Plus has grown at a tremendous pace, Apple TV Plus has been giving away TV and movies for free, and new services like AT&T's HBO Max  Quibi and Peacock are now available. The latter is the final major entrant in the current round of the streaming wars, expanding nationally earlier this month from its limited early launch this spring. As the list of options continues to grow from the "old days" of just Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, it threatens to become overwhelming.

With the launch of Peacock, now is a good time to stop, take a deep breath, and look at the crowded landscape. Here's a breakdown of where each new service stands right now and how it all compares to Netflix.

The basics: Pricing, titles and more

Netflix interface

Streaming TV apps just keep multiplying.

HBO Max

Pricing for Disney ($7) and Apple TV Plus ($5) is relatively straightforward: A single plan for each service that includes 4K HDR streaming, mobile downloads and the ability for more than one viewer to stream at once. 

HBO Max has a single price too: $15 per month for mobile downloads and multiple streams. It does not, however, currently offer 4K HDR streaming though it has said it is working to add the feature in the future. A cheaper version of HBO Max with ads is in the works as well, but details on when exactly it will be available and how much it will cost remain unknown. 

Read more: HBO Max review: 10,000 hours of great TV and movies but still incomplete

The others have multiple pricing plans with different features. Netflix starts at $8.99 a month for a single, non-HD stream that can download to one phone or tablet. Next is its most popular, $12.99-a-month plan for two streams in HD and the ability to download to two devices. Lastly, it charges $15.99 for four streams in 4K HDR and downloads on up to four devices.

Read more: Netflix review: The best premium streaming service

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The other two new services have ads and charge extra for ad-free options. Quibi, the brainchild of Dreamworks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and led by former HP CEO Meg Whitman, is a new take on streaming with a mobile-only approach. It has only original shows, and each episode runs 10 minutes or less. It's available in the US and Canada, on iOS and Android, for $4.99 a month with ads and $7.99 a month ad-free. 

Read more: Quibi review: 10-minute shows watchable any which way on your phone

Peacock is owned by NBCUniversal, itself a subsidiary of cable TV giant Comcast. There are three versions of Peacock: a free, ad-supported version with access to 7,500 hours of content, a $4.99-per-month premium version that doubles the amount of content available and includes access to Peacock Original shows and movies, and a $9.99-per-month Premium option that is ad-free. 

Comcast customers with a Flex TV streaming box or Xfinity X1 cable box can get the $5 Premium version of Peacock that has ads for free or can pay $4.99 a month to upgrade to the ad-free Premium version (normally $9.99 per month). Like the other services, Peacock is available to stream on a host of phones, tablets, game consoles and smart TVs. But we'll get into that more in a minute. 

Read more: Peacock hands-on: NBC's streaming service isn't must-see TV yet

Each of the competing streaming services has its own group of noteworthy titles. Apple TV Plus, for example, is the only place you can watch Jennifer Aniston's The Morning Show, while Disney Plus is where you'll be able to stream the Star Wars series The Mandalorian. HBO Max, meanwhile, will have Friends after the popular show left Netflix at the start of the year, while Netflix will host The Office at least until 2021, when it will head to Peacock. 

Those nostalgic for NBC's most popular 2000s shows, including 30 Rock, Friday Night Lights and Parks and Recreation, will like Peacock, which also has classics such as Cheers and Everybody Loves Raymond. The new service will also be home to Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Two and a Half Men and Dick Wolf's Chicago and Law and Order franchises. 

Read more: Peacock vs. Hulu: Which TV streaming service is best for you?

Like Apple TV Plus, Quibi lacks the traditional catalogs of hits that can be found on its rivals. Instead, it's launching with a host of original shows featuring stars such as Anna Kendrick, Chrissy Teigen, Chance the Rapper and Liam Hemsworth. With its mobile-focused approach, Quibi offers two ways to watch -- holding your phone vertically or horizontally changes the perspective of the episode. 

Streaming compared


Netflix Peacock Quibi HBO Max Disney Plus Apple TV Plus
Monthly price Starts at $8.99 Limited content for free, Premium with ads for $4.99 per month, ad-free Premium for $9.99 Basic $4.99 with ads, ad-free for $7.99 $14.99 $6.99 $4.99
Ads No Yes Yes No No No
Availability Now Now for Comcast, July 15 nationwide Now Now Now Now
Top titles Stranger Things, The Office, Breaking Bad, 13 Reasons Why The Office (in 2021), 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Tokyo Olympics, early access to The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon Chrissy's Court, Survive, Most Dangerous Game, Punk'd Game of Thrones, Friends, Big Bang Theory, Rick and Morty The Mandalorian, Avengers Endgame, Toy Story, The Simpsons The Morning Show, See, Dickinson, For All Mankind
Mobile downloads Yes Not at launch Yes Yes Yes Yes
4K HDR available Yes (on Premium plan) Not at launch No No Yes Yes
Number of streams 1 (2 for Standard, 4 on Premium) 3 1 3 4 6

Apple TV Plus and Quibi have the most limited selection, but they're also the cheapest without ads. Families will likely gravitate toward Disney Plus, with its extensive catalog of family-friendly content, including Disney's live-action and animated films and TV shows, plus offerings from Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and National Geographic. 

By comparison, while HBO has Sesame Street, Apple has Snoopy and Netflix has its own Kids section, none of these offers the singular, family-friendly focus of Disney Plus. Peacock has a new Curious George series, plus family films such as Dreamworks' Despicable Me series and Shrek.  

If you're looking beyond the wide Disney domain, you'll find large varieties of content across genres at HBO, Peacock and Netflix. But when looking at ad-free pricing, those services are more expensive than Disney's streaming option, with Peacock running $9.99 a month (for its ad-free Premium plan), HBO Max at $14.99 a month and Netflix's most popular plan -- that Standard plan with two HD streams -- running $12.99 a month. 

Disney also includes higher-quality 4K HDR streams, a step up in picture quality from traditional HD, in the subscription price and is available across a host of devices and platforms. Apple includes 4K HDR on some non-Apple devices, but limits premium features such as Dolby's Atmos sound and Vision picture to Apple products. 

Netflix has 4K HDR, but you need its priciest $15.99-a-month Premium tier. 

HBO Max, of course, is without 4K HDR at launch despite its premium price tag. 

Peacock allows for three simultaneous streams on all of its tiers. It will, however, be missing several key features at launch. Mobile downloads, multiple profiles and 4K HDR are all coming, but the company confirmed that they will be absent for the service's nationwide premiere

Mobile downloads will also require users to subscribe to its priciest, ad-free Premium option. 

How to watch

disney-plus-ui-all

Disney Plus will be nearly anywhere you want to watch. 

Disney

When it comes to devices, HBO Max largely follows the same distribution as HBO Now and the Now app on services like iOS, Apple TV, Android and Android TV has been updated to become an HBO Max app. Amazon Fire TV and Roku, however, remain absent due to disagreements between the respective streaming companies and AT&T. Some newer TV models, like the latest Samsung televisions, may have apps for some or all of these services as well.

Supported devices


Netflix Peacock Quibi HBO Max Disney Apple TV Plus Amazon Prime Video
Android app Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
iOS app Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Roku Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes
Amazon Fire TV Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes
Apple TV Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Android TV Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes
Chromecast Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes
Xbox One Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes
PlayStation 4 Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes

The other major limitations are with Quibi, Apple TV Plus and Peacock. Quibi currently only works on iOS and Android devices, although the service just added the ability to AirPlay to an Apple TV, and it's working on adding Chromecast support, too. Meanwhile Apple TV Plus isn't available on Android, Android TV, Chromecast or game consoles such as the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. 

Peacock is available on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Android TV, Chromecast, LG and Vizio smart TVs and Microsoft's Xbox One console. It also works on web browsers and on Comcast's X1 and Flex boxes, as well as the PlayStation 4. 

Like HBO Max, it is currently not available on Roku or Amazon Fire TV. That may change, but for now, it too is absent on the two largest streaming platforms.  

How to save

Saving on streaming


Netflix Disney HBO Max Quibi Apple TV Plus Peacock
Promotion Included with T-Mobile Magenta Free year with Verizon unlimited data plans Bundled with AT&T Unlimited &More Premium and Unlimited Elite wireless plans. Also included with certain TV and internet plans Included with T-Mobile Magenta or One plans with two lines or more Free year with new iPhone, Mac, iPad purchase Premium with ads included for free to Comcast or Cox Contour customers

All six services sweeten the deal with incentives for people who are already using specific services. Depending on your carrier and unlimited plan, you may even be able to get subscriptions for free. T-Mobile unlimited users get free Netflix, for instance, while AT&T bundles HBO on some of its premium unlimited plans and Verizon is offering a free year of Disney Plus. (If you're on Sprint, you may be able to get free Hulu with ads depending on your unlimited plan.) 

T-Mobile is also giving away free Quibi to those on its Magenta or One plans that have at least two lines on the account. 

Current pricing for Peacock amounts to a $5 discount for Comcast customers, who get the Premium version for free with ads and option to pay $4.99 a month for the full ad-free Premium subscription. Cox's Contour customers will also be able to get a similar deal on Premium. 

Those looking for a longer free trial of Premium should sign up for Peacock with an Android device

AT&T will similarly be including HBO Max with some of its highest-tier TV and home internet plans. Those currently with HBO through AT&T will also be upgraded to Max for no additional charge. Many users who currently subscribe to HBO Now or HBO through a cable provider may also be able to upgrade to HBO Max for free

Apple hasn't partnered with any wireless or cable provider, but it is offering a free year of Apple TV Plus to anyone who buys a new iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV or Mac. 

So many services, so little time

With even more streaming options it'll be interesting to see who can actually compete for Netflix's crown and who will fall by the wayside. Grab your popcorn: The latest battle in the streaming wars is fully underway. 

How do you feel about the influx of new services? Will you be unsubscribing from existing ones to make room in your budget? Let us know in the comments below.

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