Best Streaming Platforms for Students

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Mohamed Hassan / Courtesy Photo

Weighing out the cost, pros, cons, bundles, and overall content of today’s most popular streaming platforms

Netflix / Photo Credit

Cost

$8.99/mo 

Deals and Bundles

Netfilx does not offer deals or bundles

Available Content

Specific to Netflix only are their Netflix Original TV shows, animes and movies such as Stranger Things, Devilman Crybaby, and When They See Us, to name a few; many of which are award winning or nominated. With just about every genre under the sun to watch, Netflix is a good platform for users looking to binge shows in bulk, or find something new to get into.

Disadvantages

At times the sections can be lacking in content, with some shows and movies having not been updated/replaced for a year now. Meanwhile, originals on Netflix risk being cancelled without warning frequently and regardless of high viewership, such as Daredevil or Sense8, making it difficult to grow attached to some of the newer originals. Odds are once you’re done with a show, you won’t be frequenting Netflix until the next update.

Hulu / Photo Credit

Cost

$5.99/mo with ads, $11.99/mo without ads

Deals and Bundles

Hulu allows users to add multiple premium channels to your monthly subscription, including HBO and Starz. Spotify and Sprint users can also receive Hulu for free via their providers. Getting Hulu through Spotify specifically provides students with a discount which would make both Spotify Premium, Hulu (with ads) and Showtime only $4.99/mo.

Available Content

Hulu provides users with shows that would otherwise only be available through cable, such as Empire and RuPaul’s Drag Race, making it a good alternative. Hulu also regularly updates episodes as they’re aired on TV. Hulu’s deal with Funimation provides users with one of the largest selections of anime as well, rivaling that of Crunchy Roll, another anime streaming platform.

Disadvantages

Unless you’re an anime fan, or really like sitcoms or cable network shows, Hulu isn’t the best platform to have if you’re hungry for a variety of movies. The standard Hulu plan does not have as large a selection of movies to watch; and unless you’re willing to pay more, Hulu will make you sit through ads during your viewings. It is the only streaming platform on this list which makes you pay extra to remove the ads.

Disney / Photo Credit

Cost

$6.99/mo

Deals and Bundles

Current bundles with Disney+ include adding Hulu and ESPN for only $12.99/mo.

Available Content

Disney+ provides a number of throwbacks from Disney Channel, including their original shows, Pixar movies, and other older classics such as Home Alone, making it an especially great platform for parents. Marvel and Star Wars fans would also benefit from having a Disney+, as it contains everything that has ever been produced by these two genres. Disney+ has also began posting popular original series such as the Mandalorian, which is only available on there platform. And with most Phase 4 from Marvel planning to mainly be posted on Disney+, those hoping to stay on track with Marvel can only do so with this platform.

Disadvantages

Odds are, if you’re not a parent with young kids, or a fan of Marvel and Star Wars, Disney+ offers little to nothing beyond throwbacks that can be binged in just a few viewings.

Disney+ also does not have anything available beyond a PG-13 rating, leaving audiences who might want more mature content to rely on other platforms.

HBO / Photo Credit

Cost

$14.99/mo

Deals and Bundles

Students can receive HBO Now for $9.99/mo by providing your college status via online.*

Available Content

HBO Now provides high quality movies and series, containing many popular series such as Chernobyl, Game of Thrones, Euphoria, and Big Little Lies; as well as throwbacks like the Sopranos, True Blood, and Band of Brothers. HBO also regularly adds new movies, both originals and from theaters.

Disadvantages

HBO, being a premium channel, is not for everyone. A majority of HBO’s shows hold an M rating and can be extremely graphic, making it a platform to avoid if that’s not something you want to worry about. And while the quality of HBO’s shows are often praised and emmy nominated, HBO does not have as large a selection of TV shows as platforms like Hulu or Netflix.

Amazon / Photo Credit

Cost

$12.99/mo

Deals and Bundles

Students can get Amazon Prime for $6.49/mo, making it the cheapest student deal on the list.

Available Content

The biggest benefit that comes from Amazon Prime Video is that it comes with your Prime account, meaning you won’t have to pay extra to see what’s available with it. While Amazon is still adding to their collection of original shows and movies, the few that have been posted are considered both popular and of high quality, such as their new original series the Boys, or the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which recently became an emmy winner.

Disadvantages

Amazon Prime Video has the smallest selection of shows on the list that are Amazon exclusives. And while the few shows that are on Amazon have received high praise, it’s safe to say that at the moment, you’re not missing anything that you can’t find somewhere else for free, as Amazon Prime Video charges for certain shows and movies, similar to YouTube.

*Since this was written, the offer for students is no longer available for purchase.