Streaming Media

Choosing The Right Video Service – Netflix vs Hulu vs Amazon Prime

If you are tired of paying high prices for your cable TV, you are not alone. Basic packages of most cable TV providers exclude the most popular channels that people really want to watch. For those channels, you have to upgrade by paying extra. Eventually, you will find yourself paying close to $100 a month. A video streaming service like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime is a much better and cheaper alternative.

Read: Hulu Plus vs Netflix

Video streaming services provide good quality and affordable entertainment as long as you have the right broadband connection. To watch the shows on TV, you will also need a video streaming device like Chromecast or Roku that can work with your video service. The first thing to do is to select the right service. Let’s compare three popular options – Netflix vs Hulu vs Amazon Prime.

Netflix

If you love watching movies and old television shows, Netflix will be a good choice. It has a large library that includes a large collection of movies and videos, including foreign films, completed TV shows and a special section for kids. Netflix allows you to create multiple accounts in the same login so the entire family can use it. For best results, you will need a 500 kbps internet connection. Netflix comes with one month free trial. After that, you have three subscription options with costs ranging from $7.99 to $11.99 a month.

Advantages:
1. You get a wide choice thanks to a vast library of old and new movies, including foreign films.
2. Complete episodes of popular TV series, which allows you to see an entire show without waiting for episodes.
3. Special kids section containing a large selection of kid’s movies and TV shows.
4. Original content like The House of Cards and The New Black.
5. Ad-free entertainment.
6. Premium account option, which allows four people to watch shows independently.
7. One month free trial.

Disadvantages:
1. Game of Thrones is not available.
2. Latest episodes of current TV shows are not available immediately.

Hulu Plus

If the current prime time TV shows are your main interest, Hulu Plus is a good choice for you. Hulu usually adds TV episodes into their library a day after they are aired on TV. The episodes are available only for a limited period of time. There is no worry of missing your favorite show as long as you have time to catch up on them before the deadline. Hulu has a basic free version that you can access without subscribing, but for most practical purposes, you will need a subscription. There is a one week free trial followed by a subscription fee of $7.99 a month. SHOWTIME will cost you another $8.99/month. You will need a 1.5 Mbps internet connection for SD (Standard Definition) and 3 Mbps for HD (High Definition).

Advantages:
1. Best for watching the latest shows as episodes are added soon after they air.
2. Good replacement for cable as you have a wide selection of latest content.
3. Excellent for catching up on shows that you have missed.
4. Good if you like old movies.

Disadvantages:
1. Shows are interrupted by ads.
2. Does not have The Walking Dead.

Amazon Prime

If you love reading and shopping in addition to viewing TV shows, Amazon Prime is perfect for you. Besides popular TV shows, it gives you access to over half a million free ebooks and hit films. In addition, you get free 2-day Prime shipping on select items on Amazon.com. You get all these additional benefits for the same price that you would pay for any other video streaming service. You can rent and watch newly released blockbusters for a much lower price at home rather than going to the theater. Other than films, Amazon Prime also includes their own TV series like the widely acclaimed “Transparent”, which won the Golden Globe award.

You will need a 900 kbps internet connection for SD and 3.5 Mbps for watching HD content. There is a free trial for 30 days. Students can try the service free for 6 months. Annual subscription costs $99.

Advantages:
1. Over 40,000 videos including films and TV shows.
2. Can be viewed on many devices like game consoles, Amazon Fire TV, Fire HD tablet and smartphones.
3. Popular and award winning original TV series.
4. Unlimited space for storing your photos and music.
5. Gives you free access to a huge collection of ebooks and music besides video.
6. Free 2-day shipping on select items on the Amazon store.
7. Free trial.

Disadvantages:
1. Service is available only within the US.
2. You may be tempted to shop more on Amazon.

Final Thoughts

A video streaming service provides good value and is a better option than paying huge amounts for cable TV subscriptions. The choice of Netflix vs Hulu vs Amazon Prime is mostly a matter of personal choice and preferences. All of them provide great content, but each service has its own advantages.

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