Family sitting on a sofa looking at new streaming video 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.

New options from some of the world's biggest tech and entertainment companies are available now or will be soon.

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Consumers can now subscribe to a new DC Universe that recently launched from DC Entertainment. And Amazon has now launched a new free, ad-supported service, called Freedive, to complement its Amazon Prime subscription service. Later this year, we should see new streaming services from Apple and Disney, as well as a new HBO-based service from AT&T subsidiary WarnerMedia. Arriving this spring is the Criterion Channel, a new classic-film subscription service.

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


Amazon's IMDb subsidiary has launched a new ad-supported streaming video service, called Freedive. It's similar to the Roku Channel, the free, ad-supported service offered by Roku, and will live alongside its Amazon Prime service, which is free with a yearly Prime subscription.

You can watch Freedive on the IMDb website, as well as on Fire TV devices or through Amazon Prime Video apps on smart TVs, mobile devices, tablets, Echo screen devices, and Apple TV. To watch, you'll need to sign in using your IMDb or Amazon account, or create one. You can also sign in with your Google or Facebook account.


Apple hasn’t announced a name or an official launch date for its new streaming service, but the latest news is that it will be offered free to users of its devices. According to a report by CNBC last year, which cited unnamed sources, the service will be preinstalled on new Apple iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs as part of a "TV" app on iOS and tvOS.

It's not clear yet whether the service will be available on 2019 TVs, such as those from Samsung, that support Apple iTunes movies and TV shows.

The service is expected to launch early this year. Apple hasn't yet returned our calls for comment.

Apple's new service will reportedly offer a mix of family-friendly fare that includes original Apple programming plus a number of subscription channels, such as HBO and Starz. Sources suggested to CNBC that the service could morph into a paid stand-alone Netflix-like service later in the year if Apple is able to secure or develop a must-see series the way HBO did with "Game of Thrones" or Netflix did with "House of Cards."

Apple has previously stated that it’s earmarking $1 billion for video content. The company 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.”

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.

Criterion Channel

Rising out of the ashes of the now-shuttered FilmStruck, the Criterion Channel classic movie streaming service will make its debut on April 8, 2019.

Once it launches, the Criterion Channel will cost $11 a month or $100 if you pay for an annual subscription. But you can get a break on the price—$10 a month or $90 a year—if you're willing to sign up before the service goes live. Early birds can also get a free 30-day trial, plus accesss to the company's prelaunch Movie of the Week series, which is available exclusively for charter subscribers up until the service launches.

According to Criterion, the new service will offer “constantly refreshed selections of Hollywood, international, art-house, and independent movies, plus access to Criterion’s entire streaming library of more than 1,000 important classic and contemporary films from around the world.”

You can access the Criterion Channel via desktop, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku streaming players, plus iOS, and Android mobile devices.

The stand-alone Criterion Channel is the result of a special deal with WarnerMedia, which shut down the FilmStruck streaming service late last year. The Criterion film library, which had been part of that service, is also expected to be included in a new WarnerMedia streaming service later this year. (See below for more details.)

DC Universe

Warner Bros. has now launched its DC Universe streaming service, which leverages DC’s comic book characters and superheroes. The service, which debuted in September, costs $8 per month or $75 for a yearly subscription.

DC Universe includes a mix of new exclusive original series, classic live-action TV shows, movies from the DC library, specials and shorts, digital comic books, and a daily news show. Presumably, new DC movies will also be available as they're released. The service has a community area for connecting with other members, and access to exclusive merchandise from a members-only store.

The company's first big original series, “Titans,” hit the service in the fall.


Disney executives described the company’s new streaming service at a media conference in 2018, promising a family-focused service priced below Netflix.

Since then, the company has offered a few more details and indicated that the service, which is being called Disney+, will launch late in 2019. 

The breadth of the content could be formidable, considering that Disney now owns all the “Star Wars” movies 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 a number of 2019 titles that would 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 be available on the service, along with older ones once their licensing deals expire.

The company has since announced that it will have a "Star Wars" prequel series based on "Rogue One," and a Marvel series featuring Loki from the "Thor" and "Avengers" movies.

Disney's proposed acquisition of 20th Century Fox, home to movie franchises such as “Avatar,” “Deadpool,” and “X-Men,” and TV shows such as “The Simpsons” and “Empire,” has been approved by shareholders and is expected to be completed early in 2019.

Fox also owns the highly regarded Fox Searchlight studio (which produced “The Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”), the FX cable channel (which produced “American Horror Story”), and NatGeo. The purchase will also make Disney the majority owner in the Hulu streaming service.


Based on new reports, it looks like Walmart has decided not to move forward with its own new subscription streaming service and will instead stick with Vudu, the pay-per-view service it bought in 2010.

According to a report by CNBC, which quotes unnamed sources familiar with the company's plans, Walmart grew uncomfortable with the amount of money it would have to spend to secure content for the service to compete with the likes of Netflix, which spent $8 billion on shows and movies last year.

It was thought that Walmart might be willing to make a significant investment in streaming if it thought it would help the retailer develop an e-commerce offering to more closely compete with Amazon, its biggest retail competitor. Amazon includes free video streaming as a component of its Prime two-day shipping service.

Instead, it appears that Walmart will stick with Vudu, which now has both a pay-per-view service where you can buy and rent movies, as well as a free, ad-supported service called Movies on Us.

The company recently signed a deal with MGM that will have the studio create original series for Movies on Us based on its extensive film and TV catalog. The regular Vudu service is delving into original content this year, with a planned reboot of the '80s comedy movie "Mr. Mom" as a series.

We reached out to Walmart for a comment but haven't heard back.


AT&T's WarnerMedia division will launch a new service late this year that will include HBO as part of its content offering, according WarnerMedia's CEO, John Stankey.

Speaking during a presentation to investors, Stankey said the yet-unnamed service will actually have three different subscription tiers, beginning with a movie-focused starter plan that will draw from the company's film library. A midtier plan will include a premium service with original programming and top-draw movies, and the priciest plan will combine those two offerings, plus additional WarnerMedia library and licensed content.

Stankey didn't disclose pricing for the different tiers of the new service, which is expected to launch late in the fourth quarter of 2019. And it still isn't clear exactly what content would be included in the service.

But in an earlier internal memo acquired by CNN, Stankey said that in addition to HBO, the service would include shows and movies from Turner and Warner Bros. That could include Warner Brothers movies and TV shows, along with content from Turner cable channels such as Cartoon Network, TBS, TNT, and Turner Classic Movies.

Stankey also said that CNN, another Turner property, would not be part of the package, and that the new service would cost more than HBO Now, which will continue to be offered as a separate stand-alone service.

AT&T, which acquired Time Warner earlier this year, has been aggressive in offering new streaming services. In addition to the new HBO-plus service, the company and its subsidiaries now offer DirecTV Now, HBO Now, FilmStruck, AT&T Watch, and ESPN+, plus the recently launched DC Universe.

The company says it plans to launch a new streaming version of its satellite-based DirecTV service later this year. It will be separate from the current DirecTV Now streaming service and designed to replicate the bigger programming bundle that customers currently get as part of a satellite package. Pricing will be higher than DirecTV Now but less than a regular satellite TV subscription plan.