Cord Cutting Guides, News, and Reviews
Shopping for things can be tough. Reviews are helpful, but they have their limitations. How can you decide between two streaming services, two internet service providers, two VPNs, or two streaming devices? We’ve got some ideas. Helping people find the best service or device for them is our speciality, and one of our favorite ways to narrow things down is also one of the simplest: We compare! We compare streaming services to other streaming services, ISPs to other ISPs, and VPNs to other VPNs — all to find out which ones are right for you. Here’s how we do it.
When it comes to making a decision, comparing a product or service to its competitors is the best bet. This is especially true for the streaming service world, streaming devices, and ISPs and VPNs.
When we compare services and products, we focus on concrete differences between services. While subjective opinions have their place, we provide solid data and figures to support our analyses wherever possible. We do so in order to address a variety of questions like: Which product has the best specs? Which streaming service has the most movies, and which VPN has the most servers?
Of course, we care about subjective things, too. Crafting a useful comparison is all about taking both hard data and subjective experience into account — and then distilling our findings into simple, actionable advice.
In the last few years, new streaming services have been popping up with increasing frequency. For people who are new to streaming services, this can all feel overwhelming. How are you supposed to tell the difference between Hulu and Netflix, or between HBO Max and Disney Plus? Our streaming service methodology is here to help you find the best streaming services for your needs.
When we evaluate a streaming service — whether it’s for a review or for a comparison — we start with testing. That means using the service on every major streaming platform, checking out every advertised feature, measuring ad time, and more. We do our due diligence to inform you when a streaming service works like it’s intended, or when it doesn’t.
Now that we’ve discussed the process of comparing streaming services, let’s take a look at the kinds of features we focus on when we’re testing things out. Here are some key streaming service features.
It’s important to note that, in some categories, streaming services tend to be pretty similar. For example, streaming quality on live TV streaming services tends to top out at 720p. That’s important for our comparisons because it means that we should look elsewhere if we want to find big differences. It also means that, in the rare case when a live TV streaming service does offer a higher quality of stream, it’s a big deal.
This sort of knowledge is crucial to a good comparison, because some streaming services like to brag about features that are actually industry standard! With our comparisons, the idea is to find where the real differences are.
What’s a streaming device? It’s the equipment you use to watch your favorite streaming services. Think of it as the radio and streaming services as the radio stations. There’s a streaming device for every need and price point, so let’s talk a bit about how we compare them.
Once we open the box and see what’s inside, we check things like whether it includes just the device, or if it comes with accessories like a remote. Once we’ve gotten a feel for the hardware, we move on to other factors.
Not every streaming device is designed to look attractive. In many cases, the best streaming devices are about function over form. But what do we mean by function? Here are some key streaming device features we look for.
First things first: Not everyone has a choice of which Internet service provider (ISP) to use. You may live in an area where one ISP has a monopoly. If you don’t, you may only be able to pick between two or three ISPs. It’s rare for the list of available ISPs to be very long. That makes choosing the best ISP even more critical.
When you use the internet at home, you probably don’t use it for just an hour every day and then quit. You use it at different times of the day, and for different purposes. For instance, you might use it for work during the daylight hours, then switch to using it for streaming Netflix at night. So, we kept that in mind when we compared ISPs. Here’s some of what we looked for when searching for the absolute best ISPs.
As far as features go, we know things like download speed are absolutely critical to ensuring a good ISP experience. That tops our list of key ISP features, but it’s far from the only thing on it, as we’re also focused on things like customer service.
Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, have become more mainstream lately. When done right, a VPN is a great way to add an extra layer of both privacy and security to your internet experience. But when you compare VPNs, you’re looking at slightly different factors than someone who is, for instance, comparing streaming services.
Obviously, security is a big issue when it comes to VPNs. Sure, you want to look like you’re logging into an ISP from a different location, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your personal information to do so. Here’s how we compare VPNs to ensure that you get the best possible VPN for your needs.
Using a VPN can feel more technical than using Hulu or Netflix, so you may have more questions about the process. Our comparison process is designed to answer all of those and then some.
Why does it matter where your VPN is based? Because some countries may be required to hand over user data to their respective governments in certain circumstances. That’s understandably a dealbreaker for a lot of VPN fans. Most people will want a VPN based in a country without laws like that.
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