Streaming services are changing the way families view television. In the past, families were stuck with whatever the cable providers threw at them. But thanks to streaming services, it’s now possible to stream family friendly and children’s content over the internet, on multiple devices, at an affordable monthly price.
A streaming platform is a platform that lets you stream TV using the internet. Streaming services are competitors to the cable and satellite companies that have traditionally had a monopoly over TV content. On this page, we provide all the information you need to find a streaming service with awesome family content.
The great thing about streaming is you can do it on any device that lets you watch video. To stream content to your phone, tablet, or laptop, just sign up to your favorite streaming service and start watching through the provider’s app or a web browser. To stream through your television, you either need a smart TV or a streaming device that connects your internet to your TV.
All you need to stream family and kids shows through your TV is one of these devices:
- Smart TV, e.g. Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung TV
- Smartphone/tablet, e.g. iOS, Android
- Games console, e.g. PS4, Xbox
- Streaming stick, e.g. Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku Streaming Stick
One of the reasons streaming platforms are so great for families is they let you watch on multiple screens. With a streaming service, you’ll never again have to hear your kids fight over who gets to watch their favorite show. Just give each family member a login and their own device (such as a smartphone or tablet) and let everyone stream what they want, when they want. Of course, when there’s something the entire family wants to watch together, that can be done with a streaming service too!
The minimum internet speed needed to stream TV can vary from platform to platform. Some services recommend internet download speeds of 5 Megabits per second (Mbps). This is a suitable speed for standard, on-demand HD streaming. However, households where multiple family members view content simultaneously need faster speeds. For ultra HD streaming on multiple devices, aim for download speeds of at least 25-30 Mbps.
A video on demand streaming service is a service that provides content without the constraints of a broadcasting schedule. When you subscribe to a VOD service, what you are actually purchasing is the right to view content from your service provider’s video library.
Examples of family-friendly VOD services include:
- Disney+: The only official place to stream Disney content on demand. The Disney+ library includes new releases, classics, and exclusive Disney originals from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic.
- Amazon Prime Video: Has a video library of 40,000+ films and TV shows, including thousands of family and kids shows.
A live TV streaming service is a service that lets you stream live TV channels through the internet. In this respect, it does the same thing as your cable or satellite TV provider – but without having all those cords poking out the back of your television. Live TV streaming providers like Hulu, YouTube TV, FuboTV, and Sling TV all offer kids and family TV channels. However, the channels vary from provider to provider, so make sure to do a comparison before purchasing.
Here are some of the family-friendly channels offered for live streaming:
- Disney Channel (and Disney Junior, Disney XD)
- Nickelodeon (and Nick Jr, Nicktoons)
- Animal Planet
- Baby TV
- Cartoon Network
- Food Network
- PBS Kids
- Smithsonian Channel
- Travel Channel
After the kids go to bed, you may feel the urge to watch other content such as films, documentaries, or the news. Apart from Disney+ - which is strictly family content – all the other top streaming providers carry non-family content alongside family content. If you choose to subscribe to a VOD streaming service like Amazon Prime, then you can watch family and non-family content as you like. If you subscribe to a live TV streaming service like Hulu and Fubo TV, then you’ll get non-family channels alongside the family and children’s channels.
In terms of billing, streaming services charge a monthly subscription fee for using their service. Some services offer customers the option of paying their annual subscription fee up front for a discounted rate. Paying yearly can save you money, but paying monthly offers more flexibility because you can cancel before the next monthly billing date. Some streaming companies let you trial their platform for 7 or 30 days before committing.
Once you’ve chosen your preferred family-friendly streaming service, all that’s left to do is subscribe. Start by checking out the streaming services offering free trials. Get to know the different streaming channels and shows before committing to a paid subscription. If it’s video on demand you’re looking for, then Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ have everything your family needs. If you’re looking for live TV with a mix of family and non-family content, then check out our other recommended services above.