Many consumers are now turning to streaming media, and that is why there are so many streaming services to select from. But you might be wondering, is there a service that is better than all the others? Also, is it reasonable to subscribe to two or more services at a time?
This write-up will do a comparison of six of the top streaming services in order to find out what each of them can offer consumers and which one is the best of the pack.
Factors to be considered
Each service will be evaluated with reference to its price, hardware compatibility, and content availability. The service that can easily be used on a wide range of devices, provides a good collection and is reasonably priced will be adjudged the best.
This comparison of top streaming services is made from the point of view of consumers who reside in theUS. It will not be easy to carry out an international comparison due to the large variation in pricing and availability. However, hardware compatibility and content will be the same in several locations.
Amazon Instant Video
This is Amazon’s pay-per content shop. Clients rent and/or purchase digital episodes and films, then use a compatible device or computer to view them.
Prices are not fixed, but each episode of television shows that are very popular costs $1.99 in standard definition, while in HD it goes for $2.99 per episode. iTunes charges just about the same thing.
Amazon Instant Video can be viewed using a computer but you can also use some other appliances such as Roku and a number of other TV/Blu-Ray devices that have inbuilt internet connectivity.
Judgment: Go for Amazon Instant Video if you wish to view a particular show that you cannot get via other streaming services, however its per-content pricing can quickly add up and it has poor hardware support.
Prime Instant Video from Amazon
This is Amazon’s subscription service. It provides users with unlimited access to more than 13,000 films plus shows.
To use this service, you have to pay $6.58 per month which adds up to $79 per year. Apart from the streaming video you will get, you will also be given a free 2-day shipping on every Amazon order. Its hardware compatibility is similar to that of Amazon Instant Video. Only one or two dedicated media centers provide access, and there is no mobile app.
Judgment: Amazon Prime provides great value, however it may not work with your hardware. If this service is made more widely available, it can compete favorably with Netflix for top streaming services spots.
The first service that comes to people’s minds when Netflix’s competitors are mentioned is Hulu. It costs $7.99 each month, but it comes with adverts and you have to view the ads. Long time Netflix customers will be shocked a little by this and this sort of puts Hulu in a bad position.
Its content selection is fine. Although Hulu functions much like Netflix, it focuses more on current television shows. It provides new episodes of television shows within a week following the airing of the show; also some shows can be gotten same day the show is aired on TV or the following day.
All the main game consoles, your PC, Roku plus iOS can be used to access Hulu Plus. You can even use your Nintendo 3DS to watch, though there is really no reason for you to do that.
Judgment: Hulu Plus can be gotten on most devices and it is reasonably priced. Individuals who wish to view recent shows can use it as it is cheaper than using pay per content, but some might be irritated by the adverts. It is one of the best streaming services.
Even though Netflix has received a lot of criticisms in recent times, it continues to provide the best options when it comes to streaming services. With $7.99 a month, you can get unrestricted access to content without adverts. The only service that provides better value is Amazon Prime.
Netflix has a large collection of movies. Because the company is firmly rooted in the film business, its selection leans towards full-length movies instead of TV shows. It has many movies and shows that are 20 or 30 years old. Some people like this; however there is no doubt that some users would prefer a better collection of contemporary content.
Netflix’s hardware support is superb. It works well with all the major consoles, most mobile devices that run iOS or Android, and most streaming media appliances.
Judgment: On the whole, Netflix remains the finest subscription service. It provides users with ad-free, unrestricted content, and its services are not expensive. Its only weakness is the absence of recent shows and films.
The pay per contents available on Apple store functions like that of Amazon’s. Each individual show or movie you are interested in watching can be paid for. It will cost you $1.99 for individual television episodes for standard definition, while for HD, you will pay $2.99. Films can be somewhat costly. Usually, new releases available in high definition go for $19.99.
It has very good content selection. You can get practically all movies and TV shows that were released recently.
The main drawback is hardware compatibility. iTunes store functions well on iOS, Mac and PC, but the major consoles are not supported. You have to purchase an Apple television if you wish to access iTunes using your television, and that will mean parting with additional $99.
Judgment: iTunes is your best bet if you wish to view the newest available content, and you are not limited by funds. Several users will find it difficult accepting the high cost of films and it has poor hardware compatibility.
Vudu is a store that offers pay per content. It was recently acquired by Walmart. Its charges are essentially the same as that of its competitors. What this means is that if you decide to use this service, you will pay $19.99 to purchase high-definition content in digital format.
Its hardware compatibility is remarkable. There is support for iOS, Mac and the PC, as well as all other main consoles plus several HDTVs that are Internet enabled. The only issue is that it does not support HD content on iOS or PC/Mac.
Judgment: There is not much difference between iTunes and Vudu. Its selection is superb but it can get really costly. You can get it in some locations where iTunes is not available, however many will not like the service due to the absence of HD on Mac and on the PC.
Your viewing habits will determine whether you should subscribe to only one service or more than 1 service. If you are not interested in viewing the newest films, you are better off with Netflix.
One fine way to replace the usual satellite services or traditional cable is a combination of Hulu Plus+Netflix or Hulu Plus+Prime. Subscribing to both Prime and Netflix is not a good idea for the reason that the two have a lot of similarity in their content.
The finest selection can be found in the services that offer pay per content; however you might not find it easy using them as your sole entertainment source because of the high cost at which they are offered. You can use them to get the newest shows and films, but if you attempt to use only these options, your monthly bill will rise dramatically.