Netflix, Disney +, Amazon Prime Video, OCS, Apple TV + or even Canal + Ciné Series are complete video streaming platforms. Among all these players, which one has the best offer? Answer in our full comparison.
Since arriving in France, Netflix has changed the audiovisual landscape. The service of video streaming American, despite a timid start, ended up winning over users. Since then, the habits of the French have changed. In front of a completely timeless television offer and poor quality programs, some would say, users have found in video streaming a way of breathe new life into their TV. In France, Netflix represents 30% of the VOD market share.
While Netflix has definitely democratized video streaming, it is not the only player in the market. Before him, there was already Canal Play in France, a service which has now given way to Canal + Series. Little by little, faced with the success of this new way of consuming films and series, others were born. Orange bet on OCS Go and Amazon launched Amazon Prime Video in France a few years ago now. For its part, launched in November 2019, Apple TV + may not yet have found its audience, at least not in France. Netflix remains number 1 for the moment. But another juggernaut is completely changing the situation: Disney +, which has very strong arguments to make.
With different catalogs, features, and prices, each service has its strengths and disadvantages. So we looked into the topic to find out which video streaming service was the best. Here are our conclusions.
Read also: Netflix vs Disney +, what is the best service for movies and series?
With over 200 million users worldwide, Netflix is unquestionably the most popular video streaming service by users. In France, after a mixed start, the service ended up meeting its audience. It must be said that the American giant offers a very complete catalog of films and series.
After a complicated start, the number of movies and series offered by Netflix has grown considerably over time. On the cinema side, as with other services, the media chronology does not allow you to enjoy the latest films released in theaters for a long time. It takes 36 months between theatrical release and availability on a SVOD service.
For series, on the other hand, the Netflix catalog is arguably the best currently. Not only has the American giant obtained the rights to numerous series, but it also produces its own content, often praised for its high quality. In the top of the best Netflix series, we think for example of series like Orange is The New Black, Sense 8, 13 Reasons Why, Daredevil, The Umbrella Academy, Stranger Things or La Casa De Papel.
In order to continue this great advance, Netflix has embarked on film production, again with works hailed by critics. We think for example of Okja which won a lot of praise and caused controversy at the Cannes Film Festival where it was presented. Excluded from the Festival, Netflix decided to boycott the event in 2018. This did not prevent the platform from persevering by producing films like Marriage Story or The Irishman, the latter having been nominated 10 times for the Oscars in 2020. These Netflix exclusives, both for series and for films, are the great strength of the platform.
In terms of functionality, Netflix differs from some of its competitors by the possibility of view content in ultra high definition 4K. Of course, this requires a compatible TV and a good internet connection. Content is streamed in Full HD or HD if the connection is not great – thanks to an adaptive AV1 video codec.
On the audio side, Netflix is also aiming for “studio quality” including on Android mobile devices. Note that depending on the chosen formula, it is possible to view the content simultaneously on several devices (PC, TV, smartphone or tablet). With the Standard plan it is possible to share the subscription with two people, while with the Premium plan it is with four friends or relatives that you can do it. A real advantage.
Whether for the mobile application, that for Windows 10, ISP TV boxes, game consoles or Android TV devices, the environment of Netflix is rich, very rich even. It is possible to do absolutely everything: add programs to your favorites, get suggested films and series based on what has already been viewed, create up to 5 user profiles at the same time, save your reading preferences , etc.
Android and iOS applications are also full of features, such as the one that allows you to lock the screen of the smartphone while playing a series or a movie (this is just one example, there are dozens of them. ‘others like that). Finally, for a few years now, Netflix has offered to watch certain content in offline mode. The download is available both on mobile, but also on PC via the Windows 10 application.
The goal is to be able to watch your favorite films and series in places where you do not have internet access, such as in the metro or on the plane, for example.
Netflix offers several subscriptions different as needed. The basic formula is certainly financially interesting, but the image quality is not necessarily there. To be reserved for the “small” screens of our smartphones and tablets, therefore. On the other hand, if the service tends to review its prices from time to time upwards, the price of the Essential formula does not change.
The number of supports and the quality of the image will be the criteria differentiating one formula from another. Thus, Netflix offers the following formulas:
- Essential at € 7.99 / month for a single screen in SD quality
- Standard (HD) at € 11.99 / month for two screens in HD quality
- Premium (Ultra HD) at € 15.99 / month for four Ultra HD screens
- A very extensive catalog
- The environment
- High quality original series and films
- Offline mode
- Ultra HD quality
We like less
- A catalog of films to improve (media chronology)
>> Discover the Netflix offers <<
A new player in the video on demand market, Disney + was introduced in April 2019.
With the contents of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star wars, National Geographic and 21st Century Fox, the Disney + catalog is its main strength. It is suitable for young and old, thanks to the many animated feature films that made the success of the American group. Disney + offers blockbusters from the Marvel universe, but not only!
The platform also offers series like The Simpsons, a film like James Cameron’s Avatar, or the X-Men and Deadpool saga thanks to the recent takeover of 21st Century Fox. 7,500 series episodes and 500 films should be available, but maybe not all at the same time. And in addition to all this, we are also entitled to exclusives. The Mandalorian by director Jon Favreau (Iron man, The jungle Book) takes place in the Star Wars universe and will be available when the platform is released.
At the same time, around ten original feature films are in preparation or are already available, such as the live-action of The Lady and the Tramp.
Side options, it doesn’t seem to be missing much. Disney + uses the same ingredients that made Netflix so successful. You can stop a program to resume it later on another device, customize the subtitles, etc. Like Netflix, we find a profile system per account, with the presence of parental controls for children. Finally, all content can be downloaded for viewing in offline mode.
One of the great strengths of Disney + is to offer a unique formula at an ultimately very low price. At least you can’t go wrong. In addition, this offer allows you to watch Disney + on 4 screens simultaneously and in 4K (provided the program is available in this definition). The service also offers you to create up to 7 user profiles: enough to satisfy all family members, even friends. Here are the rates charged by Disney +, per month or year:
- € 6.99 / month or € 69.99 / year (4 screens)
- Cult franchises (Star Wars, The Simpsons, X-Men)
- Disney and Pixar animated productions
- 4K HDR compatible
We like less
- Super heroes, cartoons … more adult content can be found on Hulu
The video streaming service ofOrange succeeded in carving out a place in the SVoD market, thanks in particular to a catalog rich in high quality series and produced by HBO.
Originally, OCS was the pay channel package offered by Orange. But faced with the success of streaming services Orange has also launched its in-house platform called OCS Go (inspired by his American model HBO which launched HBO Go).
OCS is available on the boxes of the different operators, but also in a completely free subscription plan like Netflix. OCS can also be found on Xbox One or PS4 as well as on Android TV boxes.
Unlike Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or Disney +, OCS is not subject to the same media timeline rules. So we find there recent films, even very recent (6 to 8 months after their theatrical release, just like Canal +).
The other great strength of OCS is its partnership with HBO, the big American studio which has the best series of the moment. Among them, Game Of Thrones of course, but also Black sails or the masterful Westworld. As a bonus, OCS won the broadcasting rights for The Walking Dead.
An additional advantage: the partnership with the various studios allows OCS to broadcast these series almost simultaneously in the United States. It’s the the famous US + 24. 24 hours after the broadcast in the United States, the program is available on OCS in VO or VOST. In the case of an iconic series like Game of Thrones, the broadcast was even immediate : no delay, OCS broadcast the last and final season 8 at the same time as the United States.
Over time, these advantages will weigh more and more on the competition. Orange has indeed succeeded in negotiating an exclusive partnership on all HBO programs. To watch Game Of Thrones or Westworld for example the only legal platform to distribute them will be OCS. Nice shot. It remains to be seen whether HBO and OCS will succeed in the long term in adapting to the success of their programs.
The first episode of season 7 Game Of Thrones had for example had chaotic beginnings on OCS and HBO, the two platforms not being prepared for a record attendance.
As explained above, OCS Go is available on smartphone, tablet, PC or directly on internet boxes, Android TV, Xbox One or PS4. Be careful, however: for some platforms, it is only possible to access the service by paying the most expensive plan.
No 4K in the OCS program, but the possibility of viewing on several screens at the same time is there. Up to three screens in addition to the TV. Another advantage: OCS Go allows access to an offline mode not only on mobile, but also on computer. You download the videos to your machine to watch them later.
For the rest, we point out that if the OCS interface is neat, the service is not always very stable. We have often had to contact customer service with bugs preventing us from accessing our programs. Too bad, even if the customer service is fast and efficient. Finally, on the audio side, OCS Go does not support 5.1.
The only solution if you do not want to be satisfied with broadcasting in stereo: use a subscription to Prime Video, which indeed offers to broadcast OCS content in 5.1. It’s a bit tricky, but it works.
Orange offers different formulas to access OCS. What differentiates the offers is the availability of the service directly on TV via Cast, or even directly from an operator’s box. Here are the OCS formulas:
- Standard at 9.99 / month (first month free) for access on mobile, tablet and computer. 2 screens simultaneously.
- Premium at € 11.99 / month (€ 4.99 / month for 4 months, first month free) for access on mobile, tablet, PC, TV via Cast. 3 screens simultaneously.
- via the operator’s box at € 13.99 / month (Orange), € 12 / month (Bouygues), € 11.99 / month (Free), € 12.99 / month (SFR)
- The quality of films and series
- Regular renewal of the catalog
- The partnership with HBO
- US + 24 broadcast
- Offline mode also available on PC
- Available on all media (TV, mobile, tablet, consoles, Android TV)
We like less
- A catalog less extensive than that of Netflix
- The interface could be more intuitive
>> Discover the OCS offers <<
Canal + Series
Canalplay is dead, the new flagship SVOD platform of the French group is now Canal + Séries, which was made official in mid-March 2018. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have done extremely badly for Canalplay, which was no match for its competitors and saw its number of subscribers collapse. Let us now judge its successor, which is supposed to meet the needs of users more effectively.
As its name suggests, this service is focused on series, which was precisely one of Canalplay’s weak points. The strategy here is not to try to compete with Netflix, Canal can’t afford it anyway. But rather to offer itself as a complement, with a clever mix between many original productions and (often dated) American series.
In terms of original Canal content, we find Gears, In short, Versailles, Mafiosa, Plane tree, Hippocrates and Vernon Subutex. European series are also in the spotlight. We can cite Gomorra, Killing Eve and Miguel.
Then, for the nostalgic or if you’ve missed them so far, some US TV classics: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dexter, 24 Hours Chrono, Californication, How I Met Your Mother, Twin peaks. With Deadly Class, Canal + Séries manages to add a little recent US content, but there is still a lack at this level.
Canal + Séries is quite comparable to Netflix in its interface. It is accessible on computer, mobile and tablet, but also on TV. Like Netflix or OCS, it is possible to stream content via AirPlay or Chromecast (you send the image from the smartphone or PC to the TV).
Like the other two services, Canal + Séries offers an offline mode. But it is definitely the best offline mode of all the services. In fact, Canal + Séries makes it possible to take advantage of the functionality on any terminal, including computer. On Netflix, this is only possible on mobile for example. This is one of the big pluses that sets it apart from the competition.
Canal + Séries offers three formulas formulas, directly inspired by what Netflix offers. In short, we offer the same options here as the American SVOD service, but each time 1 or 2 euros cheaper. But the difference is in the number of screens only, with 4K-UHD quality included for all plans. Here are the three offers available:
- 6.99 euros per month for 1 user
- 9.99 euros per month for 2 simultaneous users
- 11.99 euros per month for 4 simultaneous users
- Original French productions
- The very good offline mode
We like less
- The dated and not very sexy US series catalog
- The absence of films
>> Discover the Canal Séries offers <<
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is one of the latest arrivals in France. The SVOD platform was launched in France at the end of 2016 with the utmost discretion. However, the service offered by the American online sales giant has its advantages.
Amazon Prime Video was first launched in the United States, then in Europe in December 2016. If the difference between the American catalog and the French catalog was enormous at its inception, the platform has caught up and now offers a set of films and fairly large series.
One of the main interests of Amazon Prime Video is to provide access to movies and series produced by Amazon. Because the American giant has adopted the same strategy as Netflix. Create your own programs and offer them exclusively on your service. Like Netflix, Amazon focuses on quality. And for the moment, it works.
The series Mozart in the Jungle or Transparent have been praised by critics and the public. Amazon films and series are regularly nominated in the various ceremonies (Emmy, Oscar etc.). Note some pearls, such as The Man In The High Castle, Hunters or American gods.
Also, what’s interesting is that Amazon Prime Video is available free of charge to all who have subscribed to the Amazon Prime offer on the online store. This subscription of 49 euros per year, or 3.99 € / month, offers very interesting advantages for those who order regularly on Amazon. And suddenly access to the video streaming service.
Like the other services, Amazon Prime Video is available on a computer, but also via an Android or iOS application. Offline mode is also part of the game here. Unfortunately, we can’t find anything for Android TV or Apple TV, too bad.
Note, however, that it is possible to cast via Apple TV or a Chromecast: Amazon has finally reached an agreement with Google to integrate this function, even if it sells a Chromecast competitor, the Fire TV. To put it simply, in most cases, you will need to use the good old HDMI cable to be able to watch Amazon Prime Video on TV.
If the environment remained in English for a long time, even after the official launch in France, Amazon ended up adapting to the French market. In addition, its interface and user preferences have improved greatly over time.
We remember, for example, that in its early days, it was necessary to systematically readjust the language of the subtitles each time we restarted the service. All this is only a distant memory: the environment of Amazon Prime has nothing to envy against the red and black competition (Netflix!).
The environment is clear, you have the possibility to define your reading preferences, to define a list of favorites, and even, recently, to create several user profiles (6 in total). This feature is being rolled out and should soon arrive in France.
As explained above, Amazon Prime Video is available to all Amazon Premium members. To access it, you have to pay 49 euros per year, which entitles you to shorter delivery times and better sales conditions. By subscribing to Amazon Prime, the streaming video service is available for free. If we had to do a monthly ratio, Amazon Prime Video would be the cheapest service on the market.
- His price
- The quality of original Amazon content
- Offline mode
- Content available in Ultra HD
We like less
- Few compatibilities for watching on a TV
- Catalog still a little tight, but it gets richer over the months
Apple TV +
Apple TV + is now available with a whole series of new services integrated into the ecosystem of the Cupertino company.
During the launch keynote, the Cupertino company very much insisted on many original productions available on his platform Apple TV +. Oprah Winfrey signed a multi-year contract for a talk show and a series. Big names in film and television are associated with the service, such as Sofia Coppola, Jennifer Aniston Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams.
Funny when you remember that Steven Spielberg felt that Netflix films did not deserve an Oscar. Will he change his mind now that he’s working with an SVOD service? In total, $ 2 billion would have been invested for the original content that will be offered at launch and shortly thereafter.
Apple does not offer programs that it did not create itself, which quickly limits the choice of users. At first glance, the volume of content seems a little light compared to the competition, it remains to be seen what it is worth in terms of quality.
Apple TV + will also allow subscription to Epix, HBO, Showtime and Starz channels in the United States. To see what will be offered in France. Finding partners will not necessarily be easy, but you will probably have to go through this to try to titillate Netflix, especially since Disney + is on the lookout.
In terms of functionality, we are currently limited to the ecosystem of Apple products, with the exception of certain TVs compatible with the Apple TV application (Samsung Smart TV, LG Smart TV, etc.). It is of course possible to watch Apple TV + programs on iPhone, iPad, Mac, but also on Pc and on Android, provided you go through the browser.
In terms of image quality, Apple offers the ultimate: 4K, HDR10 +. All the content benefits from dubbing in a large number of languages (those of the 100 countries in which the service is available) – and this is also the case for subtitles. ICloud Family Sharing is also available.
Apple TV + is available for $ 4.99 per month. A 7-day trial period is available at launch. If you purchased an Apple product after September 10, 2019, you get 12 months free subscription.
- Original productions
We like less
- No Android app
- A catalog limited to Apple productions
HBO Max has just been announced by its US owner AT&T – it is expected to offer the huge HBO and Warner Media catalog from May 2020 for the most expensive subscription so far offered at $ 14.99 per month .
HBO Max is on paper one of the most complete offers is premium since it should find more than 10,000 hours of programming at launch. We should find the entire HBO offering, including Friends, Big Bang Theory, South Park, The Sopranos, Succession, but also Warner Bros. movies like The Joker.
A few days ago we also learned that the animated series Rick and Morty would also be in the game. There will also soon be a Game of Thrones (House of Dragon) spin-off, among other new features.
The main advantage of this offer is the quality of the HBO and Warner catalogs. However, this offer has just been announced and many questions remain unanswered for the moment.
First, when it is released in May 2020 in the United States, the subscription will be offered at $ 14.99 per month. Later, a cheaper offer will be offered, partly financed by advertising. It is not yet known if or when the service will be launched in France.
There is a good chance that this is the case, since sooner or later we benefit from the same platforms in France – note however the exception, for the moment, of Hulu which has still not landed here. .
What is the best video streaming service?
To make this comparison, we used all the services offered for several weeks. It is clearly felt that to this day, if one had to choose only one service, Netflix would undoubtedly be the most complete.
Its catalog is the most extensive, its films and original series are of high quality (not always given to you) and the service evolves regularly. In addition, Netflix is available everywhere, on all media.
However, Orange has managed to do well by signing a partnership with HBO. Thus OCS has an excellent catalog of series with cult programs like Game of Thrones or Westworld. Attractive, but not enough to only subscribe to OCS.
Finally, for those who have the means, for fans of cinema and series, going for Netflix and OCS is the perfect combo. We reach a maximum of 22 euros per month. It’s a cost, but again for enthusiasts, it’s not huge. The price of a book per month for unlimited access to quality cultural content.
Canal + Series and Amazon Prime Video are clearly behind their competitors at the catalog level. However, keep an eye on the evolution of Amazon Prime Video which could in the next few years become a must. We are expecting a very big budget Lord of the Rings series.
The goal of the American giant is to offer an alternative to Netflix. And seeing the high quality of the first original content, we can expect some nice surprises. Finally, we can’t wait to see what will give Disney + and Apple TV +.
The first should position itself as a direct competitor to Netflix with a rich catalog and the same features, for a price a little more moderate. The second looks more like a complementary offer, the volume of content seems low, but these are only exclusive original productions. The quality of these and the price of the subscription should condition its success.