Gone are the days when you needed a television to watch your favorite TV show or needed to buy a DVD to watch the latest movie release. Now is the time of streaming services. People are the cutting the cable cord and switching to streaming services to experience unmatched flexibility at great prices. The market is flooded with different options. You just need to make up your mind on what you need, and there will be a streaming service to match your preferences.
From free services to paid ones, you have ample options. You can watch LIVE sports, news, movies, television series, music videos, LIVE programs and many more from across the globe. You can view all these on any device and in fact there are options where you can watch two different shows on two different devices at the same time with the same subscription. How great is that! So, what is the status of these services in the market? Let’s take a quick look and then decide which one is the best for you.
This is probably the best streaming service around. It is the king of the internet streaming business and has been successful in tests regarding content and consistency. There is a huge selection of content on Netflix and the older titles are replaced by the newer ones monthly. Netflix is the only place where you can get your favorite shows like Orange is the New Black, Marvel’s Daredevil and House Of Cards. According to Sandvine, Netflix uses 37% of USA’s internet bandwidth at peak times. That is huge! Netflix has around 65 million subscribers in around 60 countries. You can avail the standard Netflix pack for $9.99 per month and can also cancel it any time.
Netflix has a huge content library, which is especially great for movies. But, you need a really good connection with internet. There is no option for offline viewing and the content can be removed without any prior notice.
Amazon Prime Instant Video
Amazon Prime Instant Video is a good streaming service for classic TV series, movies on demand and content for kids. It also offers original and exclusive content like “Mozart in The Jungle”, “Tosh.0” and “Downtown Abbey” among others. Amazon offers around 40,000 streaming titles, but only a fraction of these are available on Instant Video. Interestingly enough, Amazon offers offline viewing, which means you can watch your favorite shows later on, without an active internet connection. You can also add networks like Starz and Showtime to your Amazon account by just paying some extra dollars.
Amazon offers a lot of freebies with the subscription to its streaming service. There is a free 2-day shipping service, access to Kindle library, Amazon Music, and so on. Amazon has music offerings too. But unlike Spotify and Apple music which have over 20 million songs in their kitty, Amazon has merely 1 million songs. The Kindle comprises of around 800, 000 books by mostly unknown authors in the public domain which adds to the agony of voracious readers.
Amazon is available on almost all kinds of streaming devices.
It is one of the leading services in video streaming and offers a wide range of movies and television shows. There is an expanded content library which contains a lot of television shows. Hulu provides one week free trial. It is available on all major internet connecting devices. The most interesting part about Hulu is that it offers most of the episodes just one day after they are aired on television. Like Netflix and Amazon, Hulu also offers movie titles as well, though they are pretty limited. Also, the content provided on Hulu Plus is 720HD which depends on your hardware and internet connection.
It is the digital movie and TV show streaming service from Microsoft. It works on Microsoft’s hardware and software like Xbox game consoles, Windows smart phones and Windows 8.1 on PC and through various browsers. This service does not run on subscriptions, but provides movies and shows for rentals and purchases. You can rent SD versions of old films for $4.99 and HD versions for $5.99. If you want to purchase the titles, then you need to pay $15.99 for SD and $19.99 for HD versions. The renting options are not always present and the prices may go up or down depending on the popularity of the movie. Once you have rented the movie, you have 48 hours to watch it.
As compared to other apps on Xbox 360 and Xbox One, Xbox Video is more contained and integrated into existing user interfaces. Most of the content showed on Xbox Video is 1080p with 5.1 surround sound. However, the number of devices able to run Xbox Video content is a limiting factor.
It is a place where you can rent, buy or pre-order popular movies and television shows. The most exciting feature of Vudu is that you can get Game of Thrones here, which is otherwise exclusive to HBO. For $2.99 you can get individual episodes of the series in SD version. The price for TV shows and movies varies on Vudu and you need to browse around and check for the individual title’s price. Vudu is available as a mobile app on both iOS and Android. It can also be availed on Roku, Chromecast, Xbox One, Blu-ray Players, gaming consoles, smart TVs and set-top boxes. It offers 3D movies and TV shows on 3D-enabled sets. There are movies available for renting and buying from Disney and Marvel and DreamWorks. Vudu also supports UltraViolet, which allows you to stream over the internet and download your content for viewing offline.
The content of Vudu is limiting as it offers only over 20,000 movies and over 7,000 TV shows. Even its rental selection is very small and so your choices gets limited. You will end up spending a lot as you would be a renting a lot instead of buying.
These are some of the popular streaming services, there are many more available. The most important thing to take note of is not the popularity of a platform, but whether or not it is offering the content you are looking for. One you have found the services that offer what you want, you can check the reviews. So, make a wise choice!