What are the best streaming services in 2021? With time, how people seek and obtain entertainment has changed drastically. You no longer require going to a multiplex, or head to the DVD rental service in the neighborhood to enjoy favorite flicks. With fast internet access becoming cheaper and widespread, the popularity of online streaming services has shot up.
Who needs to subscribe to cable TV services or buy DVDs when all the latest TV shows and movies can be viewed online in HD resolution? In fact, you do not really need a PC to access these services at all times. With more streaming services appearing on the horizon, you must pick the right one for your needs. We’ve tested quite a lot of streaming channels in the last couple of years. Below you can find the top streaming services as of 2021.
Below listed are the top streaming services you can pick from. Please note that some of the channels are geo-blocked outside the USA. However, you can still access them by using a VPN service.
This is beyond doubt one of the most popular online streaming services. Its excellent selection of TV shows and movies, great UI, and recommendation system make it race ahead of most rivals.
However, it is not free, and brand new content can be somewhat limited. The monthly subscription fee now stands at $9. The fact that users can create a maximum of five different profiles on the same account adds to its versatility.
Its wide device and platform compatibility also works in its favor. I can’t think of a streaming device that does not work with Netflix. Along with Amazon Prime Video, Netflix is the only global streaming service to date.
If you are looking for an affordable streaming service that offers great TV content, Hulu is your best bet. However, its region limitation is there. It is available for those in Japan and the USA only.
However, you may use VPN apps to bypass that limitation. The commercials that pop up every now and then can be irksome, and the UI is not exactly user-friendly.
Now it costs just $8 a month. There is a free version as well, but its limitations turn off most users. Hulu Plus supports several devices, including top gaming consoles and Roku.
Hulu will also launch a live streaming service similar to Sling TV, PS Vue, and DirecTV Now soon. Similar to Netflix, Hulu is compatible with all major streaming devices, including Playstation, Xbox, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV.
Amazon Prime Video
This can be dubbed as the best Streaming Service for the entire family. The content range is incredible, and you do get prime benefits. However, the lack of any monthly fee scheme will seem a turn-off for many people.
It is actually more suited for those who shop online a lot and use Amazon Prime. It is also ideal when you want to watch more children’s programming and comedy shows than other genres.
You can watch Prime Video on all sorts of devices, including Apple TV,Roku, PS4, Xbox, Android, Smart TVs, and Fire TV Stick.
It is one of the free online streaming services that also has a fairly large user base, naturally! The variety of videos offered by it is excellent. But free services come with their hiccups, and here it is plenty of ads that you have to put up with. Sony owns it.
Funny or Die
Well, this is not like any typical streaming service. You will go for it only if you love watching your favorite celebs in goofy acts that make you go split in laughter. In other words, it is for slapstick comedy lovers.
The videos are hilarious and can lighten up your mood instantly. You will find some Hollywood hotties showing off their funny sides like never before in its programs. To some people, it is quite ludicrous, but you do need stress busters at times.
Vevo is mainly is aimed at music lovers. You will be hard-pressed to find another dedicated music video streaming service that comes for free. No wonder the Vevo user base is growing fast.
The hiccup is sloppy navigation. In a way, it can be deemed as the successor of MTV. It is owned by Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group, and music videos from both giants are there in its database. However, the majority of the content is pop and hip-hop genres. Its wide platform compatibility also contributes to its popularity.
Other Top Streaming Services
If we talk about each streaming service individually, it’ll probably take us a lifetime to finish this review. The aforementioned channels are very popular in the streaming industry, but they’re surely not the only ones available. Take a look at the best streaming services in 2021 below:
A Problem with Global Reach
If you’re well aware of the term internet privacy and freedom, you might have come across a lot of threads and discussions revolving around geo-blocking. This mechanism is used by streaming services and websites to restrict their content based on the user’s location.
In other words, your current whereabouts dictate what you can access online. For example, some websites and services are only available in the US, which makes them inaccessible in Canada, and vise-Versa. That’s not all; some sites are blocked in a specific region. The most popular countries to do that are China, Russia, UAE, and KSA.
But there’s a solution to this problem that everyone is facing in today’s internet – A Virtual Private Network. This internet tool can spoof your online location so that you appear in a different region (virtually speaking).
All you have to do is connect to a server in the country of your choosing. That way, your whole traffic will seem to be coming from that location. Then, you’ll receive an IP address in that territory and direct access to all restricted content in the area.
How to Connect?
If you want to circumvent the geo-blocks of Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and all the services around the world, follow the steps below:
Subscribe to a VPN provider that has a decent server network. You’ll find recommendations later on in the article.
VPNs have made it so much easier to connect by creating dedicated apps. Download and install the VPN client on your Android, iOS, PC, Mac, FireStick, or router.
Next, launch the application and sign in with your newly created account.
Now, based on the channel you want to stream, connect to a server in its respective country.
The connecting process will take a few seconds. Once the connection is established, launch your selected channel.
Now, stream what you were once unable to wherever you are.
There are a lot of options to choose from. That’s why I’ve reviewed dozens of VPNs to help you out with your search. Scroll a bit further and find out more.
BulletVPN is based in Estonia, which gives it the edge over other premium services that are based in the US or the UK. While testing the service, I noticed that it has a large server network, covering areas where major streaming services are present.
BulletVPN has around 155 servers across 55 countries, giving users a lot of options to choose from. Most of the servers are located in the US and the UK, but it does have a wide variety in other regions.
When it comes to streaming, BulletVPN has dedicated servers that recorded excellent speed rates. They’re labeled as UltraHD Support, and they’re available in countries like the US, UK, Netherlands, Germany, France, and more.
With BulletVPN, you’ll also be able to unblock American Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime. But it doesn’t stop there. We placed this VPN on top of the list for a reason, and that’s the ability to unblock any streaming service in the industry.
The service was able to access the likes of Showmax, DStv, TVNZ, Kayo Sports, and the likes. This is a task that a lot of top services have failed at, which solidifies BulletVPN’s superiority in this department.
Aside from that, BulletVPN has a free Smart DNS feature that comes with any subscription. With this technology, users get to access geo-restricted content with minimal speed loss. Not to mention that it can be configured on devices like Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation, Xbox, and Smart TVs where VPNs don’t have native apps.
Aside from that, BulletVPN has a kill switch, Bullet Shield, DNS Leak Protection, and a zero-logging guarantee.
So, high-level secruity and impeccable unblocking capabalities… That’s what a well-rounded VPN looks like.
I’m going to kick it off with my number one pick, ExpressVPN. The service provides a huge server network that consists of 3000 servers around 90+ locations. When I first saw ExpressVPN, I subscribed to their service to test it out. During the examination, I noticed that it achieved consistently solid speeds. My video didn’t stop for a second to buffer.
Their application is straightforward and designed for those who don’t know their way around technology. You’ll find clients for Windows, Mac, and Linux. However, you’ll notice that ExpressVPN shines in the mobile department with intuitive apps for iOS, Android, and, yeah, Blackberry.
Furthermore, when you click on a server in a specific country, the VPN will automatically connect you to the fastest server in the region. You don’t have to worry about choosing a slow one at all.
Security-wise, ExpressVPN provides an automatic kill switch, which will disable your internet network if a sudden drop in the VPN connection occurs. That way, whatever you were doing within an encrypted connection will stay private.
Also, your data will be encrypted with the most reliable protocols in the industry. We’re talking about OpenVPN, L2TP – IPSEC, PPTP, and SSTP, along with 256-bit encryption.
One more thing, if you’d like to stream content on a device that doesn’t support VPN, you can always use their Smart DNS Proxy (MediaStreamer). It can be set up on Android, iOS, PC, Mac, Firestick, Apple TV, Smart TV, Chromecast, PlayStation, and Xbox.
That said, if you weren’t satisfied with what ExpressVPN has to offer, you can benefit from their 30-day money-back guarantee.
Vast server network (2500+ servers in 90+ countries)
As they say, age isn’t everything. That goes too well with SurfShark as it’s the youngest provider on our list today. However, if you take a look at what it can do, you’ll see why it’s rivaling the giants in the VPN industry.
SurfShark has more than 800 servers in 50+ countries as well as apps for major operating systems like Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. If that’s too complicated for you, use their Chrome and Firefox add-ons instead.
The first thing that caught my attention is that it offers unlimited simultaneous connections. Can you imagine you and everyone you know can operate under one account? This is a feature none of the big names have provided to their customers.
Furthermore, its privacy features are pretty solid. You have top security protocols such as OpenVPN UDP and TCP, IKEv2, AES-256 encryption, and an automatic kill switch. The last one blocks your internet access in case the VPN connection fails all of a sudden.
The company points out that it’s not required to keep logs of user actions. One of the main reasons for that is that it’s based in the British Virgin Islands. A free territory that’s not located within the 5-eyes jurisdiction.
Although I listed my favorite above, this one remains one of my top picks. NordVPN boasts over 5000 servers around the world while covering 60 countries. It’s able to unblock the streaming services above and so many more. However, that wasn’t the main factor that caught my attention, it’s what the provider has in terms of security.
Alongside its military-grade encryption, NordVPN has some extra features up its sleeves. First, there’s CyberSec, a very advanced technology that protects your device from any malware or malicious software that might target it.
Second, you have their Double VPN Encryption. With this, your data will be rerouted through two servers instead of one, doubling the encryption present, which increases your internet safety as well.
NordVPN’s specific focus on unblocking geo-restricted content is quite obvious. They have their SmartPlay technology, a zero-knowledge Smart DNS that unblocks hundreds of services and websites across the globe.
Just like ExpressVPN, NordVPN offers customers a way out if they’re not satisfied with their product – 30-days money-back guarantee.
Six simultaneous connections
Refund Policy (30-days)
5000+ servers in 59 countries
A few servers were really slow
Best Streaming Services of 2021
You have several online video streaming services at your disposal. Even if you want such content for free, there are some great options. Of course, you have to put up with limitations like ads, but that is hardly a deal-breaker. As for paid streaming services, Netflix is probably the most popular. Music lovers, online shoppers, also have their options.
Ultimately, it boils down to your penchant for media content and your wallet. What do you think of our best streaming services 2021 list? Have we missed out on your favorite VOD channel? Did you manage to unblock them in your region with a VPN? Share your thoughts below.
Streaming gadgets geek. Interested in every little thing there is to know about bypassing regional restrictions. An avid believer in the right to protect online privacy. Charles has also reviewed plenty of VPN service providers and knows how to separate the good apples from the bad ones.