Netflix is in some hot water with subscribers, to say the least. The whole dang internet is buzzing about the company’s plans to kill password sharing, and while it’s not clear how far they’ll really go to enforce it, its newly minted, official policy is thus: If you want to stream Netflix, you need to pay for it yourself, or live with someone who does.
This attitude is leaving a lot of users with a sour, anti-capitalist taste in their mouths, with some threatening to cancel over the move. Thankfully, there are plenty of streaming services that aren’t quite so draconian about password sharing, and will happily take your Netflix money. This isn’t to say these streaming services want you to share your password, and in fact it is in their best interests that you do not. However, they still make the list because they won’t stop you from logging into someone else’s account from your house, and that’s functionally what matters, isn’t it?
While HBO Max might be making headlines lately for its many, many abrupt cancellations, the service a remains a bastion for those of us looking to share accounts. The subscriber could live in Ohio, you in New York, and another user in Alaska, and the app will continue to work like a charm. HBO Max doesn’t confirm how many streams you can have at once on its help page, but Decider reports it is up to three.
What it costs: HBO Max has plans with ads for $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year, and ad-free plans for $15.99 a month or $149.99 a year.
Hulu works just fine when streaming from different locations, but its consecutive streams policy is pretty limiting: The service only allows for two streams at once, so the more people have access to the account, the better the chance someone’s not getting to watch The Handmaid’s Tale on demand.
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There is a caveat: Hulu + Live TV acts a lot like Netflix’s new rules. You’ll need to check in with the “Home network” every 30 days in order to avoid any issues with that more cable-esque service tier.
What it costs: Hulu starts at $7.99 a month with ads, or $14.99 for Hulu (No Ads). There are also a variety of bundles if you’re interested in combining with services like Disney+ or EPSN+.
Back in 2019, during Disney+’s launch, Michael Paull, president of Disney Streaming Services, gave an interview with The Verge in which he spoke about the streamer’s approach to password sharing. “We have created some technology that’s in the backend that we will use to understand behavior … and when we see behavior that doesn’t make sense, we have mechanisms that we’ve put in place that will deal with it.”
Three years later, that’s backend tech seems to be pretty far in the back, because it’s pretty easy to stream Disney+ from different locations. According to Business Insider, Disney+ lets you stream on up to four devices at once, which is pretty darn generous considering it’s also one of the cheapest servies. It also supports seven user profiles, so you can have a lot of individual accounts without worrying about watch history crossover.
What it costs: Disney+ starts at $7.99 for its ad-supported tier (though you can currently sign up for $6.99 for three months), $10.99 for ad-free, or $12.99 for a Hulu and ESPN+ bundle.
Amazon Prime Video
According to Amazon, in order to share access to Prime Video with others, you need to add them to your “Amazon Household,” which shares other Prime benefits in addition to streaming, but that requires you to link your accounts and merge your payment information, and only two adults (and up to four teens and four children) can share Household benefits.
Straightforward password sharing, however, is entirely possible, provided the person who has the password is willing to offer others complete access to their Amazon account, including their order history and access to their payment into. (They will probably also have to field requests for two-factor authentication login codes in someone winds up getting signed out.)
But if you have someone’s password and do manage to get logged in, it will certainly work. Amazon Household allows you to log in without having to mix your Amazon history with other members, but Prime Video has a profile system too, so you can share a password without messing with anyone else’s viewing history.
The only limitation is the number of streams: Amazon allows three concurrent streams within the same Amazon account, and two simultaneous streams of the same content. So, if I want to watch Mad Men, someone else wants to watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and someone else wanted to watch The Boys, it’s all good. But only two of us can watch Fleabag at the same time.
What it costs: Prime Video comes free with an Amazon Prime account, which runs for $14.99 a month or $139 per year. Prime has a 30-day free trial.
Peacock recently dropped its free tier for new users, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bum a password off a paying user if you need your fix of The Office or want to see what Poker Face is all about. Peacock lets three people watch at once, so there’s some flexibility here, too.
What it costs: Peacock starts at $4.99 a month for Premium ($49.99 a year), or $9.99 a month for Premium Plus ($99.99 a year), but they also often offer discounts—you can currently prepay for a year for $29.99.
Paramount+ combines shows from CBS, BET, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTA, and Smithsonian Channel, and offers a number of original series, at least some of which have nothing to do with Star Trek or Taylor Sheridan. It also doesn’t mind if you lend out your password to other people. You can stream up to three devices at once, so go ham.
What it costs: Plans start at $4.99 a month (Essential) or $9.99 a month (Premium) with a one-week free trial. You can also bundle Paramount+ with SHOWTIME. Speaking of which …
SHOWTIME (soon to be Paramount+ With Showtime)
Later in 2023, SHOWTIME will be bunbled with Paramount+ and known as Paramount+ With Showtime. For now, though, it’s still SHOWTIME, and it’s still $10.99 a month if you want to subscribe to it and it alone. In terms of sharing logins, SHOWTIME is a little different: You can register up to five devices at a time, and stream on three consecutively. To my knowledge, it’s the only service on this list with a registry limit.
Dropout is an independent streaming service from the minds behind CollegeHumor. They produce fun originals like Dimension 20, Game Changer and Um, Actually, and host over 1,500 CollegeHumor shorts from back in the day. They’re also on this list because of their pitch-perfect response to Netflix’s new password sharing rules: