This is such a silly post topic. It’s not analytical or original or anything, it’s just useful. BORING!
I’m going to list out all the streaming services that matter for Indian film with whether you should be on them or not and why. And then you all can add information in the comments if you want.
Netflix: The best. Everything has subtitles, everything plays on every device, and they have a growing library of Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, and Malayalam. They even have some Pakistani stuff! The only downside is selection, they are missing certain major classics of Indian film (like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, for instance). And while their southern selection is growing, it is still only a handful of films. Definitely get a subscription and start here, but be prepared to discover the exact thing you want isn’t available. https://www.netflix.com/browse
Amazon Prime: The Worst. Amazon Prime has two categories of films available, the ones that went directly to Prime without stopping anywhere else first and the ones that are part of the Eros Now channel. Eros Now was the first international streaming service, but they haven’t really updated since then. The subtitles work or don’t work at seeming random. It’s hard to figure out which movies are available, which are Prime, which are available but you have to pay extra, the search feature lists them all and you can’t tell until you click on them. The only upside is, most of the Prime movies (especially the Yash Raj Films, the most important ones) are available both on Prime and for cheap one time rentals on youtube and googleplay. Most important tip with Prime, watch on a laptop or desktop computer if possible. For some reason the subtitles are more likely to play there than on a phone, a tablet, or a smart TV. If you have Prime anyway for the shipping advantages and the non-Indian content (which I do, Murder She Wrote!!!), you can always try to get the Indian stuff to play, but be prepared to have to pay for it elsewhere. If you have Prime only for the Indian content, cancel your subscription. https://www.amazon.com/Amazon-Video/b/ref=sv_atv_logo?node=2858778011&ie=UTF8
Hotstar: The one to get if you are serious about Indian film. Hotstar is the streaming channel of Star TV. Star TV is one of the major TV companies in India. They have separate channels for each language in India, multiple separate channels, and are starved for content. Over the years, to fill up those channels, they purchased the rights to thousands and thousands of films. And then neatly transferred those satellite rights into streaming rights. They have over 800 Malayalam films. 400 Hindi. Tamil and Telugu are weaker (I’ll get into that in a moment), but growing. Not everything has subtitles, it is true, but most things do. And you can see in the description whether they do or not (unlike Prime where you just have to press play and cross your fingers). Most importantly, Hotstar buys exclusive rights. And they know the market. Every hot film from the Malayalam industry, or sleeper hit from Hindi, or crossover hit from Tamil or Telugu, they snap it up while Prime and Netflix are still wandering around going “wait, are you telling me that Badhai Ho was a big hit? Maybe we should find out who has the rights to that?” Hotstar had some issues with their apps and functionality right after they launched in the US, but it’s much much better now. I never get buffering delays, I can play on any device, and I can search by actor and director as well as title. The only downside is that they still try to sell you on their own content. You have to dig through tons and tons of soap operas before you can find the movies you want. It’s not great for browsing. But if all you watch is Indian stuff and all you care about is Indian stuff, cancel everything else and get Hotstar. If you like Indian stuff but still like seeing Hollywood sometimes, Hotstar and Netflix. https://us.hotstar.com/
Einthusan.com: The illegal one. Here’s the thing with Einthusan, they are streaming DVDs that are illegally file shared. But a lot of those DVDs are out of print or just plain unavailable internationally. So there’s no other way to watch these films. And no one really cares. The producers of the movie don’t care, they are just happy people are seeing their films. The rights holders don’t care, they don’t have the money to make DVDs and no one wants to buy their streaming rights so it’s not like this is digging into their profits in anyway. Even the DVD store owners don’t care, I’ve had them hand me a piece of paper with “einthusan” written on it and advise to go there instead of trying to find a DVD. The only one who cares is Hotstar (unfortunately). So you may find a fair number of movies that are available on Hotstar are not available anywhere else, even einthusan. The other downside is that the buffering takes forever, and it is very hard to stop play in the middle and pick it up again. And the ads make it even worse. I recommend paying the $25 to get an account so you don’t have to deal with the ads. And then downloading the film and watching it that way instead of live streaming so you don’t have to worry about buffering. https://einthusan.tv/intro/
Zee5: Zee is the other major satellite TV company, like Hotstar they have lots of rights to lots of films exclusively. They are planning to launch in America soon, which means right now the American market has the worst of all worlds. In preparation, Zee has pulled all their content from other services, and even started badgering einthusan. But they still haven’t launched, which means those films aren’t available at all anywhere right now in the US. Also, I have heard from the DCIBers who are in countries where Zee5 is already launched, that it isn’t that great. They don’t have subtitles for most content and they don’t seem interested in getting subtitles. I’m on the list to be notified as soon as they are available in America, I encourage you all to get on that list too and then set up a trial account, but be ready for it to be horrible. https://comingsoon.zee5.com/comingsoon/index.php
Tentkotta/SunNXT: This is where all the Tamil/Telugu movies live. And it’s not great. Very hard to search, most of them don’t have subtitles, very hard to cancel your subscription. I wouldn’t recommend it. But it does answer the question of “why are there so few Tamil/Telugu films on Hotstar compared to Malayalam?” It’s because they already sold their streaming rights here. https://www.tentkotta.com/
Spuul: Don’t even bother. At some point in the past, this was a decent streaming option. And as you search the internet for “good Indian film streaming services”, you will run into a bunch of old comments suggesting it. I never bothered with it myself, because at the time it was useful DVDs were still easy to find for sale or rent. And by the time DVDs were no longer readily available, Amazon and Googleplay and all the others were getting bigger and better. And einthusan of course is the same thing, but better. https://spuul.com/
Hoopla: Hoopla hoopla! They are great. It’s the streaming service that libraries use, you probably have access to it through your library. They have a weird random collection of Indian films, but definitely worth checking out. https://www.hoopladigital.com/
Youtube/GooglePlay: In case you haven’t noticed, these are the same thing. Different platforms, but exact same content. And they are really great. Good subtitles, easy to search, accurate descriptions, platforms that work on any device, I love them!!!! The most expensive rental option is $3.99, which isn’t bad, and the cheapest is 99 cents. Most of the stuff that is also on Prime is 99 cents, and I would far rather pay a dollar and just watch the thing than struggle with Prime. If it’s on googleplay/youtube, and it’s less than $2, I usually just buy it there rather than bothering to find it on Hotstar or Prime or even Netflix, because the platform and subtitles and everything are just better. https://play.google.com/store/movies?hl=en_US