Our analysis of best video streaming services of 2018, including pricing, differences and international streaming availability.
Gone are the days when you had to buy costly discs or tune in live just to watch your favorite shows and movies. Now there are so many streaming choices. You don’t have to head to DVD rental service in your neighborhood to enjoy your favorite flicks. With access to fast and cheaper internet, the popularity of best video streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon has increased drastically.
Differentiation is the secret of the game in determining streaming success. Netflix has been leading in original programming, but rivals are quickly catching up. Amazon has included Mozart in the Jungle and Man in the High Castle, while Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale just won an Emmy.
There are those in the dilemma of whether it is possible to access these streaming services if they decide to travel abroad. It is common to find that the country you’re visiting may have strict censorship restrictions or that your favorite streaming services are not available outside of your home country. But no need to panic, we will show you how to unblock TV shows with a VPN and avoid being in this situation.
Le VPN is an excellent VPN for streaming service to keep you safe. Whether you want to protect your identity to access restricted content or unblock online videos streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, Le VPN got you covered. The good news is, Le VPN’s new SmartDNS service comes in all plans to help bypass a country’s web censorship quickly and easily so you can watch your favorite shows and enjoy other foreign channels in countries such as the US, the UK, and France.
You can also use the HybridVPN option to unblock streaming which guarantees security and fast VPN connection. If you’re in the UK, there is no need to connect to a Le VPN server based in the US to watch your favorite show. You can just access the nearest HybridVPN servers and every online content from the list of streaming services covered by HybridVPN will be unblocked immediately.
With more and more streaming services coming up, it is important to pick one that fits your needs. We’ve rounded up the best streaming websites of 2018 to guarantee a better watching experience.
Top 12 Best Video Streaming Services of 2018
Netflix is a granddaddy when it comes to online streaming services. Although available worldwide, it’s US version is known to have a much bigger library of video streaming content than in other countries, and Netflix service is geo-restricted in some way to access the full library available to the US-based viewers. It offers a free trial for 30 days. In fact, you can subscribe to three options; regular, HD, and Ultra HD with the difference in video quality between them.
With a great UI and recommendation system, Netflix takes the notch higher to stay ahead of its rivals. You can now watch shows like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Jessica Jones, and Stranger Things. No other streaming service has given Netflix a run for their money thanks to its flexibility in its service. You can upgrade, downgrade, or even cancel your subscription any time you want.
The basic plan stands at $7.99 per month but it’s limited to normal video quality and single streaming. You can upgrade to other packages to get two or more concurrent HD streams but at an additional cost. It works well with a wide range of devices and a compatible platform that delivers the best services.
If, for example, you’re an Australian living out of the country and want to watch Australian Netflix library, you can use a VPN to unblock Australian streaming and enjoy watching it from anywhere in the world.
- Amazon Prime
For online shoppers, Amazon Prime is a no-brainer. The Standalone Amazon Video goes for $8.99 in the monthly subscription. With a $99 year subscription you can access Amazon original services and thousands of popular shows and movies around the world. They even award you with a free Kindle book every month and free two-day shipping on the purchase.
Amazon features over 40,000 titles of live streaming, but only a fraction of those can be found in the Prime streaming. It also allows offline downloads, so if you want to catch up on some old shows on your next summer break, you can simply download it to your tablet and start watching. If not, you get to enjoy other programs like Transparent, Alpha House, and Mozart in the Jungle. Most recently, they have added a selection of comedy and other children programs thanks to a deal with Viacom which controls MTV, Comedy Control, and Nickelodeon.
Amazon Prime Video is available in many countries besides the US, including Canada, Australia, Mexico, the UK, France, Italy, Spain and other countries. You can enjoy watching it on a great number of devices such as Apple TV, Android, Smart TVs, Kodi, Roku, Fire TV Stick, Xbox, and PS4.
When you choose Hulu streaming service, you get to watch the latest TC shows and a selection of movies. With this service, you can access some of the major network shows apart from CBS’ programs and a variety of cable shows every day. It is one of the major streaming websites only available in the US and not yet released in other countries. But the good news is that you can unblock US streaming with a VPN or HybridVPN by Le VPN.
Currently, you may not get the free, ad-supported tier that was there before, but you can subscribe for $7.99 per month for full seasons of current and classic TV shows. You will also access several original shows including The Thick of It and Wrong Mans, a variety of classic anime series, and a selection of offbeat movies.
Hulu has teamed up with other companies such as NBCUniversal for hundreds of TV shows and Spotify to provide a combined package for college students for $5 per month. There is no doubt that there are a plethora of live streams to watch throughout the year on this streaming service.
- YouTube TV
Besides being a good platform to post, watch and share videos, YouTube also provides live TV streaming, but it is only available in the US at this moment.
YouTube TV offers unlimited cloud DVR storage to store different programs for you on YouTube servers. It has joined forces with other big TV networks including Disney, BBC, NBC, etc. With YouTube TV, you get to keep your content for nine months and stream the content from anywhere in the US, as long as you’re connected to the internet. If you find it hard accessing it in your location, you can use Le VPN services to bypass the censorship restrictions and unblock US streaming if you’re in the UK, France, Australia or anywhere else in the world.
YouTube TV membership supports up to three users at once and up to six accounts, so you’re not restricted to share the fun with family and friends. As part of their limited-time promotion, they give a free Google Chromecast player to the user on the first payment.
- HBO NOW
HBO was the first major premium channel to go live on its own. For some years, HBO didn’t want to team up with other cable partners, but it finally complied with fan’s demand and released an online streaming version dubbed HBO Now, for just $14.99 per month.
The original HBO premium content channel offers two modes of streaming: HBO GO from a cable or satellite package and HBO NOW designed for the cord-cutters. These streams offer similar content so don’t worry about the differences in the titles. With HBO NOW, you’re not limited to watching only Game of Thrones, you can keep up to date with new seasons such as Veep or Westworld, and keep track of current events as they occur. Once you subscribe, you can enjoy watching on your PC and other devices.
HBO Now is currently available only in the US and can be accessed with US-based IP addresses.
- DirecTV Now
The DirecTV Now offers dozens of live streaming channels without using running cables or satellite dishes. They have made it possible for users to have an additional premium streaming options where you access 60 channels for an extra monthly fee of $35 per month or 80 channels for $50 per month. You may not find rewind or DVR features, but you can access other premium channels like HBO or Cinemax for an extra $5 per month.
DirecTV offers four plan tiers including Just Right, Live a Little, Gotta Have it, and Go Big. The latest is that AT&T announced it was bringing CBS stations to DirecTV Now which means that it can be accessed in about 75 percent of the country, but as with other major streaming services – DirecTV is currently available only in the US.
As part of the current-time promotion, users who opt for the three months membership of DirecTV Now can get a free Apple TV. Local affiliates like NBC, ABC, and Fox allow it to provide coverage of those networks to more homes in the US.
Showtime is among the best movie streaming sites only available in the US. It allows you to watch a cable network even without the cable. It is part of Showtime Digital Inc., a company based in the New York City. The standard subscription is $11 per month or $9 per month if purchased through other services such as Hulu and Amazon Prime. With this, you can access movies plus original shows like The Affair and Billions Homeland.
Now you can simply sign up on Amazon, Apple devices, Android, as well as Samsung smart TVs and Roku. If you get your membership through a cable provider, Showtime allows you to watch Showtime fare on your tablet, phone, and other devices. All the shows can be downloaded on your device and watched online.
- PlayStation Vue
For that PlayStation fans who are looking for a real cable TV programming package, PlayStation TV is a great option. Their packages range from the basic plan for $40 per month to a comprehensive package that comes with 90 channels including some premium channels such as the Ultra plan at $75 per month. In addition, you can access local channels in major areas in the US plus cloud DVR for those who prefer recording shows.
PlayStation Vue started off in a few areas but went international a year ago adding the most popular channels from other countries, making PlayStation Vue to the list of best-streaming sites in the world. Availability of channels vary by market and their video streaming is currently available only in the US, so it is recommended to check the location before signing up. You can use DVR for PlayStation Vue and the content can be watched inside or outside your home except for CBS shows which can only be accessed inside the home.
With PS Vue you get to enjoy four different packages: Access to basic channels, Core for sports, Elite for niche programming and Ultra for other premium channels. The service is a bit pricey but you gain access to up to 90 channels including news, sports and allows recording of different shows.
- Sling TV
If you prefer a cable subscription that’s not too costly but offers more content, Sling TV might be a good medium for you. Sling sounds like a traditional TV cable service where you pay a monthly subscription fee for 30 channels. However, there is no set-top box rental fee or contract.
For $20 per month, Sling TV gives you Sling Orange plan with live access to channels like TBS, AMC, CNN, The Food Network, and more. There is the basic Sling Blue plan that supports three streams for $25, and you can have both supporting four simultaneous streams for $40.
But why would you go for both? Sling Orange offer some channels that are not available on Sling Blue and vice versa. Sling TV may be favorite for sports lovers since it offers a variety of ESPN channels. There is more to that, with Sling TV you get extra add-ons for about $5 per month each. Kids will find this streaming service fun with a comedy collection of channels such as Disney Junior and Teen Nick. This is an affordable live-streaming service that offers excellent packages, with the chance to pick extra channels depending on one’s interests.
Sling TV is currently available only in the US and Canada, and their website uses Amazon’s CloudFront distribution service to block access to their website from other countries (but a VPN can help!).
- Fubo TV
Fubo TV is a perfect choice for the cord cutters sports fan. This service offers extensive live sports streaming and other entertainment content for all devices, but only to the viewers in the US and Canada (and to all the other smart viewers who know what is a VPN). You can also access TV, movies, news, and additional 65 channels with a DVR included so you don’t miss on your favorite show.
The Fubo Premier subscription plan costs $39.99 per month with access to 82 TV channels to enjoy. For sports fans, Fubo TV offers national sports events on CBS, NBA.TV, NBC, FOX, and NFL Network.
If you prefer to watch something else other than sports, Fubo TV offers a variety of other excellent channels such as CNBC, Food Network, SYFY, USA, FX, National Geographic and more. This service also offers other cheaper plans for international markets such as Fubo Portugues for $19.99 per month and Fubo Latino for $14.99 per month. On top of this, you get other offers such as Lookback and excellent DVR capabilities that allows you to watch anything that you may have missed during the day.
Enjoy non-stop streaming performance with their improved interface and great apps for iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, and Fire OS devices.
- Acorn TV
If the famous BBC America doesn’t satisfy your eyes for entertainment, there is the Acorn TV streaming service from RLJ Entertainment. It allows you to access a more diverse compilation of your favorite shows and TV options from the UK and Australia, but the service is currently available only in the US and Canada.
Acorn TV features about 200 TV series including The Level, Suspects, Parents, Winter, Newton’s Law, Slap, Brief Encounters, etc. All this for a price of just $4.99 per month. The film selection is a bit small -about 50 channels per month- and features earlier work of different actors like Lily James in Fast Girls, David Oyelowo in the Complicit, and Danie Craig in WWI film The Trench.
Acorn has started supporting original productions such as Loch Ness and The Witness for Prosecution. You can watch it on iOS, desktop, Android, Apple TV, Amazon TV, Windows Phone, and smart TVs.
If you still long for the thriller days of action movies and interesting anime of afternoon cable, Crackle will take you back in time. Most TV networks have invested in their own streaming portal but few movie studios have decided to follow suit. Sony platform is the rare exception that defied the odds to launch this platform that broadcasts movies, original programming and TV shows.
With over 200 viewing options, Crackle is among the free streaming sites, although you have to watch through a fair list of commercials for this option. The programming is all about the content you’ve heard of from Pitch Black, Total Recall, All in the Family, etc. You can also enjoy some original shows like Jerry Seinfeld Comedy in Cars Getting Coffee not to mention another assortment of original series such as Start Up with Martin Freeman and Adam Brody, Snatch with Rupert Grint, just to mention a few.
As many other video streaming platforms from our top list, Crackle is only available in the US, but that can be fixed with Le VPN app.
How to access the best video streaming services from outside of the US?
Finding the best streaming service for you is the first step. It all comes down to what you want to watch and which one best fits your needs. Whether you want to view content for free or more options for the advanced package for a fee, there are some great options. Of course, you have to consider the limitations that come with geo-restrictions.
The best way to go about it is to get a VPN and Le VPN is easy to use. With a subscription of $4.95/month on yearly plans, you can begin accessing all online content you want around the world. They provide added benefits of privacy and security just to ensure you get what you want.
Get your Le VPN plan now, change your IP address to the location of your choice (out of 100+ locations available) and start streaming videos, movies and TV shows from any online streaming service.
For the avid series or movie lover on a budget, there is something for you with a variety of options to choose from Netflix. It has unlimited streaming at an affordable price. Cord cutters also have their spot here to ensure they don’t miss on their local sports and weather. We have done our best to list some of the best choices for excellent media content and even take of needs for a limited budget.
These streaming services vary in price. It all boils down to what interests you. With the list expanding daily, it’s a game of trying out with most of the providers before you buy. So, let’s start the year with a bang with these streaming services.
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