Family sitting on a sofa looking at new streaming services on a computer.

Over the past 18 months, the number of streaming video services has exploded, offering consumers more choices than ever when it comes to alternatives to traditional pay TV.

Now a growing number of options from big tech and entertainment companies are on the way.

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By the end of 2018, consumers can expect to see both DC Universe, from DC Entertainment, and a new Vudu-branded subscription service from Walmart. Then in 2019, Apple and Disney are promising their own new streaming services. Additionally, Amazon is planning a new free, ad-supported service but hasn’t said when it will debut.

The new options will join all-you-can eat monthly subscription services from giants such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, along with cable TV-style packages from companies such as DirecTV Now and Sling, designed to help consumers cut the cable cord.


Amazon is planning a new ad-supported streaming video service for its Fire TV streaming devices, according to reporting in The Information, a technology business publication. Such a service would be similar to the Roku Channel, the free, ad-supported service offered by Roku. It would live alongside its Amazon Prime service, which is free with a yearly Prime subscription.

Amazon has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Roku recently expanded the availability of the Roku Channel beyond its own players and Roku TVs with the Roku Channel for the web, which lets you access the programming from a computer, smart phone, or tablet. It’s not clear whether Amazon plans to make the free service available beyond its own streaming devices.

The service could be called Amazon Free Dive, according to the reporting in The Information, and focus primarily on an older catalog of licensed TV shows.


Apple still hasn’t announced a name or pricing for its new streaming service, but the company has said it’s earmarking $1 billion for video content. That war chest could help it produce shows to compete with popular titles such as HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and Netflix’s “House of Cards.”

Apple already owns a few original shows, including “Planet of the Apps” and James Cordon’s “Carpool Karaoke: The Series,” which are currently available free as part of an Apple Music subscription.

And the company has made deals with some big-name entertainment partners, including Oprah Winfrey. In a brief announcement in June the company said, “Winfrey and Apple will create original programs that embrace her incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world. Winfrey’s projects will be released as part of a lineup of original content from Apple.”

Apple could roll its new programs into a comprehensive entertainment bundle that combines TV shows and movies, music, and possibly even its AppleCare service. The company could also offer some of the programs free to beef up its TV app on iOS and tvOS. 

According to tech publications and Hollywood trades such as Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, other Apple streaming content includes a reboot of Steven Spielberg’s 1980s series “Amazing Stories”; a drama about a morning talk show, starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston; an untitled series from Damien Chazelle, director of “La La Land”; and a thriller from director M. Night Shyamalan.

DC Universe

Warner Bros. has revealed some of the details of its upcoming DC Universe streaming service, which will leverage DC’s comic-book characters and superheroes. The service will cost $8 per month, or $75 for a yearly subscription, when it launches on Sept. 15, 2018.

DC Universe will include a mix of new exclusive original series, classic live-action TV shows and movies from the DC library, digital comic books, and a daily news show. Presumably, new DC movies will also be available on the service. And the service will give subscribers access to exclusive merchandise from a members-only store.

The company has revealed that its first big original series, “Titans,” will hit the service Oct. 12.

The company is already allowing customers to preorder the service; those willing to sign up early get three additional months of DC Universe free, plus an automatic entry into a contest to win tickets to the December 2018 premiere of the movie “Aquaman.”


Disney executives described the company’s new streaming service at a media conference earlier this year, promising a family-focused service priced below Netflix.

This week, during a call with Wall Street analysts, the company offered a few more details, including the expectation that the service will launch late in 2019.

The breadth of the content could be formidable, considering that Disney now owns all the “Star Wars” movies—though most are still licensed to other entities—as well as Marvel Studios films and Pixar animated movies. And, of course, Disney has a huge library of its own animated and live-action films and TV series. Some of that content is currently licensed to Netflix in a deal that ends next year.

At the conference, chairman and CEO Bob Iger cited (PDF) a number of 2019 titles that will stream exclusively on Disney's new service, including an Avengers movie, “Toy Story 4,” “The Lion King,” “Frozen,” “Aladdin,” and “Dumbo.” And, he said, “We’ve talked about a Marvel series, a ‘Star Wars’ series, a Disney-branded series—‘High School Musical,’ for instance,” along with new, original movies. All “Star Wars” movies released in 2019 or later will available on the service, along with older ones once their licensing deals expire.

Additionally, the company recently got shareholder approval to purchase 20th Century Fox, home to movie franchises such as “Avatar,” “Deadpool,” and “X-Men,” and TV shows such as “The Simpsons” and “Empire.” Fox also owns the highly regarded Fox Searchlight studio (“The Shape of Water,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”), the FX cable channel (“American Horror Story”), and NatGeo. The purchase will also make Disney the majority owner in the Hulu streaming service.


Among all these new proposed services, Walmart’s entry into the space seems the most speculative.  

There have been conflicting reports as to whether the service would be offered as a part of Vudu, the pay-per-view service Walmart bought in 2010, or as a standalone service.

Thanks to its rental and download pay-per-view service—as well as its free, ad-supported Movies on Us offering—Vudu already has relationships with most of the major content companies. But licensing deals for a subscription-based service would need to be negotiated.

According to Variety, if the company moves forward, the service will hit at the end of this year and will include some original content, as well as licensed TV shows and movies. Earlier reports said Walmart was looking to price the new service at about $8 per month. Adding a low-cost streaming service could help Walmart craft an e-commerce offering to compete with the company’s biggest retail competitor, Amazon, which includes free streaming as a component of its Prime two-day shipping service.