With the number of streaming services out there right now — and how competitive the market is—it can be hard to decide on which is the best. This is especially true for those on a budget who don’t want to spend a ton of money each month just for TV entertainment. Some services are better for some people and their personal needs and preferences than others are.
Watching TV is among the top three most popular hobbies in America, alongside reading books and working out. Television is a vital part of many peoples’ days. More and more people are ditching cable for streaming services.
If you’re just now deciding on a streaming service to choose, it can be an important decision. It helps you relax, stay entertained, and keep you in the know with pop culture.
Netflix and Apple TV are two of the top contenders when it comes to streaming services. It seems like new shows are getting added and replaced throughout streaming services every single day. Let’s look at some of the main differences between Apple TV and Netflix.
Apple TV VS. Netflix at a Glance
Apple TV Pros:
- Range of plans
- Free trial available
Apple TV Cons:
- Slightly more difficult sign-up for non-users of Apple
- Not as wide range of content
- Huge range of content
- Many great original movies and series
- No free trial
- Prices increased recently
The verdict? The editor’s choice is Netflix. With affordable plans, an easy-to-use interface, and a huge range of third-party and original content, it is easy to see why Netflix is still the king of streaming services.
What are the differences between them?
With so many different options to stream nowadays, streaming platforms offer different price ranges for individual needs. Whether they are a bang for your buck is for you to decide.
Netflix has three plans starting at $9.99 and ending at $19.99. Of course, users can decide which of the three they are most willing to pay.
The basic plan doesn’t have the best video quality (480p). This is fine for small devices like phones or tablets but may get annoying on a big TV. While you can make multiple profiles for one account, it only allows one device to stream at a time. Netflix’s basic plan is good for when only one person is going to use the account.
The standard plan for Netflix is $15.49 per month and is the most popular plan amongst Netflix users. With the standard plan, you can watch movies and shows in HD (720 to 1080p resolution). HD is standard nowadays so the quality will be up to par. With this plan, two devices can stream at one time, so it’s suitable for roommates or small families.
If cost isn’t much of an issue, Netflix’s premium plan is your best bet, especially if you’re planning on having more than a couple of people sharing one account. It is $19.99 per month and lets you stream in 4K simply by typing “4K” after searching for your show. Up to four screens can stream at one time with the premium plan.
Unlike some other streaming services, the programs available don’t change depending on how much you pay. So, price is the main factor for Netflix depending on how many people you’re sharing with and how important quality is to you.
Apple TV has many different pricing options. The cheapest one is $4.99 per month, after a week-long free trial. It’s also ad-free, which is pleasantly surprising. This price is comparable to the ad-supported versions of Hulu, Peacock, and Paramount Plus. They also offer an annual subscription of $49.99. These fees will get you only Apple originals, and subscriptions to other Apple TV channels must be paid separately.
It’s worth noting that this flat rate can hold up to six members on one account and offers content in HD, unlike how Netflix’s cheapest option offers low-definition viewing capabilities.
Apple also offers a bundle package called Apple One. This allows consumers to pack up to five Apple services together (Apple Music, Apple News Plus, Apple Fitness Plus) and its cheapest option is $14.95 per month. The family plan for Apple One is $19.95 per month and the premier plan is $29.95 per month. With Apple TV’s family plan, up to six people can be on one account.
So, which plan to pick and if Apple TV is worth it can depend heavily on your usage of Apple’s other services. For example, if you have Apple Music, bundling it with Apple TV can get you a great deal. But the most basic plan of Apple TV is a great rate and cheaper than most other streaming services.
Obviously, when choosing between streaming services, the content that will be available to you is likely the main deciding factor. Apple TV and Netflix both offer different shows and movies.
Netflix has over 2,200 TV shows and nearly 4,000 movies available on the platform. Clearly, the approach Netflix takes is buying as much content as they can and seeing what sticks. And this method has worked, up until recently, due to the influx of newer streaming services.
Since Netflix began making originals in 2013, they have produced over 1,500 original titles. In the US, Netflix originals make up 40% of the entire Netflix library. Because Netflix has such a massive audience, their originals aren’t seen as exclusive and are talked about casually.
Despite Netflix’s huge number of original films, they have only won 24 Oscars. Netflix spent $1 billion on marketing in 2021 and $17 billion on content.
As of April 2022, Apple TV has a total of 120 films, including documentaries and TV series. This service only came out in 2019, though. While their number of shows is measly compared to the thousands that Netflix offers, Netflix has been on the market since 2013 and Apple TV appears to still be on the rise.
Although their number of original series is much smaller than Netflix’s, Apple TV has won 22 Oscars, only two less than Netflix. These numbers show that Apple’s approach to existing as a television streaming service is working, and Apple is only going to continue adding more unique content.
Apple TV uniquely releases three episodes of a show initially, to get viewers hooked and predict how big of a success the shows will be.
Apple TV spends about half of what Netflix does for marketing and content, which makes sense as they are still a seemingly up-and-coming streaming service. The numbers show that Apple TV is likely to continue succeeding. This is surely partly because of their free trial offered to new subscribers.
Netflix has around 220 million subscribers. This is roughly a 200,000 decline from the previous year, and the first subscriber loss Netflix has suffered in over a decade. It’s likely because of the newfound surplus of streaming services. This subscriber decline could also be because they increased their subscription prices in January 2023, over a dollar per plan.
As of March 2022, an estimated 25 million people had paid subscriptions to Apple TV. Apple does also offer a promotional subscription, where one can access the service for free for a year with the purchase of a new Apple device. Around 50 million people used this year-long free subscription.
Subscribing to a streaming service these days is not by any means difficult, but some may still be easier than others. It’s not much of an inconvenience but it is surely worth noting the marketing strategies at play.
Signing up for Netflix is just about as easy as signing up for anything. Create an account with your email address, select a plan, input a payment method, and you’re good to go. You would think it can’t get any easier than that…right?
It is hauntingly easy to subscribe to Apple TV. Between their bundle options, the free trial, and the fact that if you already have an Apple ID, your card is probably already linked. Apple will remind you of what a great deal you’re getting when you sign up and are awarded the free trial, but with the Apple One plan especially, there is almost no barrier to entry.
This may make subscribing more enticing to people. It is great marketing, truly. Billions of people have already been sold on many Apple products and services. It’s a great segway into making more money and gaining even more consumer loyalty.
While Apple TV is surely on the rise, if the only service you’re interested in is streaming shows and movies, Netflix seems to be the best option as of now. They have a substantially higher number of content available and offer multiple types of payment for families or frugal individuals.
Apple TV only has Apple originals, and Netflix has a combination of original titles and classics that have been aired for ages. While this is subject to change, you’re less likely to get bored with a Netflix subscription than you are with an Apple TV one.
When it comes to the value of the content, Netflix is the best contender here with over 4x the amount of content and its basic plan is only double the price of Apple TV. However, Apple One’s bundle offer is quite enticing if you already use multiple services from them. So, based on the numbers and what you consider value, it’s your choice to make.