Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu Plus – the Throwdown
This article has been updated!
This week, Amazon mentioned they may be raising the yearly fee by up to $40. This would make the Amazon Prime service $120 a year, or about $10 a month. Netflix and Hulu Plus have their service for $8 a month. While Amazon offers more to their Prime service, is it worth keeping with the price increase. Better yet, if you only had $10 / month to spend on a service, which one would you buy?
The Good and Bad of Netflix
Netflix has a streaming service and a DVD rental service. They used to be one entity, but were split into two, with hopes to sell the DVD rental side. Once Qwikster fell apart, the company focused on the streaming — especially TV shows.
Netflix is great for TV enthusiasts and kids. There are a ton of shows they can watch over and over again. I have a nephew that does nothing but watch Netflix kids shows. Over the holiday, he got an Android tablet, which gave him a new avenue to watch his favorite show — Thomas the tank Engine.
Netflix also has original series. House of Cards was the smash hit, and season 2 is coming up in the next couple months. Jenji kohan’s Orange is the New Black also did well for the streaming media service.
Their bad points include the simple fact if it’s not on Netflix, its not there. They don’t really have a promotion between the streaming and the DVD rentals. I think they would do better if people had an option to buy or get a DVD of the movie or TV show.
I also find that Netflix gets stale. You get a couple good movies, then watch for months as nothing gets put on the service. I actually dumped Netflix a few times for not having new content.
The Good and Bad of Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime almost matches the Netflix library. Jennifer and I were excited to see “Hansel and Gretel” come on Netflix, but then quickly realized it was also in the Prime queue.
Like I said before, Amazon is thinking of updating their prices to basically $10 a month ($120 a year). This yearly fee is really nice because I can easily budget for that, rather than see $10 a month go out of my account.
Along with streaming movies, Amazon Prime gives you books through the Kindle store to check out and 2 day shipping on orders. Along with the streaming movies, this makes for a great deal — if you order items online.
If not, Amazon can also make sure you are watching a movie every Saturday night. If the movie or TV show is not on Prime, you can rent or buy it. I have purchased movies or rented non-prime titles for $4 (which is no different than a movie store rental or On-Demand show).
Amazon also has Original series like Alpha House. They just released a group of 5 shows, and want you to watch and vote on which ones make it into a series.
The only downfall to Prime is their desktop experience is not that great. If you are using a tablet, set top box, or smartphone, you will be able to browse through shows better.
You also cannot use Prime on Chromecast just yet. But with the open Chrome SDK, I have a feeling that will change soon.
The Good and Bad of Hulu Plus
The biggest advantage of Hulu Plus is TV shows will be available within the next 24 hours from NBC, ABC and Fox. In some cases, you don’t need to even be a paid subscriber to watch the content. All you need is a laptop or desktop computer.
Original shows like the Awesomes, the Morning After, Booth at the End, and more give you some choices of what to watch. They even have titles from other countries so if English is your second language, you can still catch up on Naruto or Tiger Bunny.
Hulu’s biggest downfall is the commercials. Even with paid subscriptions, you have to endure these breaks. And there is no flipping of channels during these times.
Another noticeable thing of Hulu is they edit content. Mostly for time or copyright issue. You can’t watch the full 90 minute version of Saturday Night Live, for example.
There are others out there trying to vie for your $10 a month. Redbox Instant, Vudu, Crackle and more — even HBO Go has come into play (right now you need a cable subscription to use, but that could change in the future). Each have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Bottom line is you have a service that fits you well. It’s up to you to choose which one it is.