Breaking down the PS5 streaming and entertainment apps
The launch of the Playstation 5 on Nov. 12 kicks off the beginning of the next-gen console era — but it’s not just a transition for games. For many users, the hardware will also become a destination for streaming entertainment. A PS5 without Netflix or Disney Plus may not be a desirable console for the consumer who wants it all. And now, with the console out, we have the full list of what Sony features alongside its own movie and TV marketplace. The pickings are slimmer than on Xbox, but that’s the give and take of the “next-generation.”
Which of PS5 apps make sense for you? Here’s a more in-depth breakdown of a few of the bigger offerings.
Amazon Prime Video
In addition to free one-day shipping, discounts at Whole Foods, and exclusive Twitch benefits, one of the biggest Amazon Prime perks is access to the company’s streaming service. Amazon Prime Video offers a massive library of free content for subscribers, including original TV shows and movies alongside licensed properties.
Amazon Video is one of the few video-on-demand platforms to offer other streaming services as add-ons. With Amazon Channels, Prime members can subscribe to services like HBO or Shudder without leaving the Amazon Video app. Notably, though, its biggest competitors — Hulu and Netflix — aren’t available via Amazon Channels … yet.
What it costs: $119/year; $12.99/month (30-day free trial)
What to watch: The Boys, Fleabag, The Expanse, Borat 2, Good Omens,
Subscribe here: Amazon
Apple TV Plus
Unlike Hulu or Netflix, Apple isn’t licensing third-party content for Apple TV Plus. At least at launch, Apple TV Plus is solely a hub for Apple’s own original programming. Structurally, it’s closer to a premium over-the-top add-on like HBO Now than a major platform like Amazon. Still, Apple brings a signature Silicon Valley polish — not to mention heaps of money — to its impressive roster, which includes big names like Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Jennifer Aniston, and Oprah.
What it costs: $4.99/month (seven-day free trial; 12-month free trial with purchase of a new iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV)
What to watch: Mythic Quest, Ted Lasso, See, Servant
Subscribe here: Apple
The largest streaming service for licensed anime, Crunchyroll has also branched out into original programming. Some content is available for free, but a premium membership gets rid of ads, and includes access to simulcasted shows as soon as an hour after they air in Japan.
What it costs: $7.99/month; $9.99/month bundled with VRV
What to watch: Polar Bear Café, Mob Psycho 100, Yuri!!! On Ice, Laid-back Camp
Subscribe here: Crunchyroll | VRV Premium
If you’re looking for a one-stop shop for boxing and MMA, DAZN is your streaming service. The European counterpart for DAZN offers every sport under the sun, but as the company inches its way into the Americas, fans will have to settle for just people hittin’ other people for now.
What it costs: $19.99/month; $99.99/year
What to watch: Punching, kicking, other fighting
Subscribe here: DAZN
Disney Plus offers original programming like the Star Wars spinoff The Mandalorian and High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, but its biggest draw is Disney’s back catalog. More than anything, Disney Plus is proof that Disney owns a mind-numbing collection of IP — and with more on the way. This fall promises the direct-to-streaming release of Pixar’s Soul and the new Marvel series WandaVision.
What it costs: $6.99/month; $69.99/year
What to watch: The Mandalorian, classic Disney animation, the upcoming WandaVision
Subscribe here: Disney
All of ESPN’s live offerings and library of sports content can be streamed through the PS5. Anyone who thinks they need this and Disney Plus can bundle the two with Hulu for a discount.
What it costs: $5.99/month; $49.99/year
What to watch: Sports! Plus movies like the 30 for 30 documentaries.
Subscribe here: ESPN+
Much like the company’s web experience, the Funimation app offers both free viewing and a Premium tier for all your ad-free anime-viewing needs. And there are plenty of simulcasts to keep track of each month.
What it costs: $7.99/month for Funimation Premium (with a 14-day free trial)
What to watch: My Hero Academia, One Piece, Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon, Fire Force
Subscribe here: Funimation
Of the major streaming services, Hulu is the best option for cord-cutters who want to keep up with current TV shows. NBC, Fox, and some cable networks drop episodes onto the platform the day after they air, which means you don’t have to wait for an entire season to be released on Amazon or Netflix before catching up with your favorite series. That’s in addition to plenty of original programming, licensed content, premium cable add-ons, and a live TV plan.
What it costs: $5.99/month ad-supported; $11.99/month ad-free (30-day free trial)
What to watch: Solar Opposites, Shrill, PEN15, tons of ABC, NBC, and Fox TV shows
Subscribe here: Hulu
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix
The Xerox of streaming services, Netflix has been able to stay top dog (or at least one of a small litter of top dogs) through a combination of churning out original content and buying up the rights to hugely popular licensed properties like Friends and The Office. Now that much of that third-party IP is leaving the platform for various streaming services, Netflix will likely double down on its originals, as well as continue to look abroad for licensing opportunities — foreign reality shows like The Great British Baking Show and Terrace House seem to be a rich vein.
What it costs: $8.99/month for Basic; $13.99/month for Standard; $17.99/month for Premium (30-day free trial)
What to watch: The Witcher, Umbrella Academy, Castlevania, Great British Baking Show
Subscribe here: Netflix
NFL Sunday Ticket
Image: Electronic Arts
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL? Hoo-rah. Football time. The ultimate game day app is on PS5 waiting for all the hut hut huts and the hikes. And while it appears to be locked behind DirectTV, there’s still a way to subscribe for people who don’t have cable, depending on where you live. NFLST.TV To Go airs every live out-of-market game on Sunday afternoons during the season. NFLST.TV Max, NFL Red Zone and DirectTV Fantasy Zone.
What it costs: NFLST.TV To Go starts at $73.49/month for 4 months, or $293.96 for the season; NFLST.TV Max costs $99./month or $395.99 for the season
What to watch: Football, duh
Subscribe here: NFL Sunday Ticket
Photo: Steve Schofield/Peacock
NBC’s second foray into the streaming wars (RIP Seeso) will include next-day access to current broadcast shows, a collection of classic series, and plenty of original programming. Though let’s face it, it will always and forever be known as the streaming service that took The Office away from Netflix.
What it costs: free ad-supported (with only “select episodes” of Peacock originals); $4.99/month ad-supported (free for Comcast and Cox subscribers); $9.99/month ad-free
What to watch: Brave New World, the SNL archives, Shrek, the Saved By the Bell reboot
Subscribe here: Peacock
An app for both watching live TV and storing your own digital files, which can include ripped versions of movies and shows you no longer want to own on physical media, Plex touts itself as the go-to app for just about everything. Plex Pass, the service’s premium model, ramps up the features, quality, and sharing capabilities.
What it costs: Free; Plex Pass starts at $4.99/month, $39.99/year, or $149.99 for a lifetime subscription
What to watch: Sports, movies, and home videos
Subscribe here: Plex
For cord cutters who miss the experience of channel surfing, Pluto TV offers a neat solution. In addition to a library of free on-demand titles, Pluto TV offers hundreds of channels that broadcast 24/7. There are channels dedicated to sports, news, stand-up comedy, cult films, MTV dating shows, and even channels that marathon specific shows including classic Doctor Who, The Walking Dead in Spanish, and Criss Angel: Mindfreak.
What it costs: Free
What to watch: Either 24-7 James Bond or 24-7 American Gladiators
Tons of songs, tons of playlists, tons of everything for whenever you need some background music. The Spotify Duo and Family accounts also include features that use AI to generate combined playlists based on you and your loved ones’ interests.
What it costs: $9.99/month, $12.99/month for Duo account, $14.99/month for Family
Tubi, recently acquired by Fox TV in March, claims the title of “world’s largest completely free ad-supported streaming service,” with over 20,000 titles on the ad-supported platform. The only drawback is that Tubi caps the streaming resolution of all the films at 720p, meaning you won’t get the 4K experience offered by Netflix’s premium plans or physical media.
What it costs: Free, with ads
What to watch: Spy Kids, Chicago, Merlin, The Big Short, Thelma and Louise, The Bachelor
The haven for game streaming, talk show antics, and anything else that can possibly be beamed live into the brains of viewers is available on PS5. An ad-free premium version of the service, tied to Amazon accounts, is available for those who log on every night.
What it costs: Free; Twitch Premium costs $12.99/month with an Amazon account and $8.99/month with a Prime account.
What to watch: Gamers!
Vudu, the Walmart-owned competitor to Apple, Microsoft’s rental store, and apps like FandangoNow, is mainly known as a platform to buy and rent digital movies. But it also has a selection of free, ad-supported titles available to watch. Check in on the titles as they’re constantly shuffling.
What it costs: Free, if you don’t rent anything
What to watch: Train to Busan, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Royal Tenenbaums
WWE is a go-to on-demand hub for all things professional wrestling. Launched in 2014, the platform has only grown to be more Netflix-like, promising thousands of hours of on-demand programming, and new content added every week. That includes Raw and Friday Night SmackDown, but also new documentaries and interviews produced specifically for the service.
What it costs: $9.99/month
What to watch: Every WWE, WCW and ECW pay-per-view in history (plus live access to every other PPV event, including Wrestlemania).
Subscribe here: WWE Network
Have you heard of YouTube? Besides tons of creator content, the YT app also has plenty of ways to watch TV and movies. You can rent and buy movies directly from YouTube, or even sign up for its live TV service. But YouTube also has plenty of free content — and not just user-submitted videos. The YouTube Movies free-to-watch playlist includes 400 films that you can watch with ads.
What it costs: Free, or upgrade to ad-free YouTube premium for $11.99/month
What to watch: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Usual Suspects, The Brothers Bloom
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