This week, a new movie opened in theaters and on streaming TV – at the same time.
This may not be the first time it’s happened, but it certainly won’t be the last. Not when Disney, Apple, Warner Media and NBC are waiting in the wings, set to debut their new, ultra high-profile streaming services.
“El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie” is the film that stars Aaron Paul, reprising his role as Jesse Pinkman from “Breaking Bad,” the series that originally ran on cable’s AMC with low ratings until viewers began discovering reruns on Netflix.
And now Bad is on the big screen, thanks again to Netflix, which dominates streaming in such a big way that Hollywood players want to take it on.
On Nov. 1, Apple joins the fray with its Apple TV+ service, followed on Nov. 12 with Disney+, and in spring 2020 with HBO Max and NBC’s The Peacock.
All those subscription services will force subscribers to start making tough choices. How many to keep, or get rid of? For your weekend pleasure, our guide to the top services, their fare and terms.
Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) is on the run and seeking redemption in “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” a movie sequel to the hit AMC drama. (Photo: Ben Rothstein / Netflix)
Programming: The company started it all in 1997 as a mail-order DVD service and is now the most-watched streamer, with over 150 million subscribers. It offers a mix of originals, some movies and older TV fare and is best known for short-form series like “Stranger Things” and “Unbelievable.” Two of its most popular reruns, “Friends” and “The Office,” are leaving to go to rival new streaming services HBO Max and The Peacock. On the other hand, Netflix recently shelled out big bucks for streaming rerun rights to “Seinfeld” beginning in 2021.
Pricing: $9 for watching on one screen, no HD, $13 with HD and 2 screens, $16, HD and 4 screens.
Availability: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, most smart TVs and gaming systems.
Amazon Prime Video
Programming: Amazon Prime is not just about shipping. Just ask the producers of “Fleabag” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” For two years in a row, Amazon Prime has won Emmy awards for best comedy series. Amazon has a wider library than Netflix, with recent films like “Late Night” with Mindy Kaling, older films like “To Catch a Thief” with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly and classic TV (“The Red Skelton Hour” and “Naked City”) as part of your subscription. If a movie or TV show isn’t available, unlike Netflix, Amazon might sell it to you for viewing on video-on-demand. Golden oldies like “Back to the Future” or “Bye Bye Birdie,” for instance, can be rented for $1.99. And speaking of “Breaking Bad,” the entire fourth season is available for $9.99. (However, all seasons of “Bad” are included with your Netflix subscription at no extra charge. So be sure to shop around)
Pricing: $119 for expedited shipping and entertainment, or $8.99 monthly just for Prime Video. Amazon lets you stream to two devices at one time.
Availability: On Amazon Fire TV streaming devices, Apple TV, Roku and game consoles like PlayStation 4 and Xbox.
Programming: Hulu is best known for having most of the prime-time lineups for NBC, Fox and ABC available the next day for viewers who may have missed the shows the first time around. It, too, offers original fare like “The Handmade’s Tale” and “Casuals.”
Pricing: $5.99 for streaming with commercials, or $11.99 ad-free. Hulu also offers a cable TV alternative, Hulu with Live TV, $44.99 with ads, or $50 without them. Hulu allows viewing on one device at a time.
CBS All Access
Programming: The sequel to the Good Wife, the Good Fight, multiple Star Trek series, the comedy Women Who Kill, plus the entire CBS prime-time lineup, 24-hour news and oldies from the library like Perry Mason and I Love Lucy.
Pricing: $5.99 monthly with ads, or $9.99 without. CBS lets you have two streams going at once on devices.
Availability: Apple, Roku, Amazon, Chromecast and smart TVs from Samsung and Vizio.
Programming: Prestige programming from the likes of Oprah Winfrey (the return of the Book Club) Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon (“The Morning Show”) and a documentary about elephants highlights the initial launch, which unlike Netflix and other competitors, will have very few shows available to watch. Only nine shows have been announced for viewing on Nov. 1, which may explain why it’s the lowest priced of the streamers.
Pricing: $4.99 monthly, for up to six family members, in HDR and Dolby Atmos. Free for up to a year with purchase of Apple products: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac computer or Apple TV streaming box.
Availability: Apple devices. Period. And coming soon, says the company, to select Samsung smart TVs. Missing are Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick and Google Chromecast.
Programming: Five pillars, from Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars to National Geographic. Disney promises the animated classics, plus new takes on everything from The Lady and the Tramp to Lizzie McGuire. Plus Disney is throwing in bonuses from the 20th Century Fox library, which it now owns, including every episode of the Simpsons and Malcolm in the Middle.
Pricing: $5.99 monthly, for up to 4 screens, in HDR and Dolby. Bundle price offering Disney owned Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99
Availability: Roku, Chromecast, PlayStation 4, Xbox and Apple TV and devices. Missing: Amazon Fire TV.
HBO Max, a new service from Warner Media, and the Peacock from NBC, both are to launch in the spring.
Apple’s macOS Catalina software (Photo: Apple)
In other tech news this week
Apple’s macOS Catalina operating system debuted, eliminating iTunes after all these years, and splitting it into three different programs: Music, TV and Podcasts. Predictably, many plug-ins didn’t work with the new OS, most notably Adobe’s Photoshop and Lightroom. It’s always best to wait a few weeks to download the new OS after the kinks have been ironed out.
Navigation app Waze celebrated its first anniversary of its stand-alone carpool app, and says some 1 million riders will have used the service by the end of the year.
Facebook Messenger adds new stickers, filter to “destigmatize” chatter about mental health.
This week’s Talking Tech podcasts
More from the island, for macOS Catalina
The dark side of AI
How tech has changed restaurants
Gmail or Whatsapp? Which is more secure?
Your boss is probably snooping on you.
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