Streaming services have slowly grown in popularity and stature. What started as a supplement to the all- encompassing television entertainment, has today replaced television for most people. These cord cutters use streaming services as their exclusive mode of entertainment now. This has been made possible, in large part, because of the breadth of content available with these services, their affordability, and more importantly, the flexibility they offer their customers. Here is a comparison of some of the popular streaming services and what they have to offer.
You probably have heard of this and if you are thinking of cutting the cable, you would have certainly come across Netflix. Netflix is the Godfather of streaming services. It offers a lot of programming from movies to popular television shows. The service is a goldmine for movie buffs. There are new titles updated regularly, and some of the latest releases are up for grabs. As far as the television shows are concerned, Netflix hosts a good collection of those too. However, you should know that the television shows are not updated frequently, and you may find many popular shows missing from the lineup.
After the recent revision of rates, a new Netflix subscription will cost you $9.99. This is not a bad deal still, considering the vast library of content you will have access to. A point worth noting here is that since Netflix has been around for many years now, almost all devices that can stream content can access Netflix. So, you do not have to worry about hardware incompatibility at all. Also, the experience of so many years has helped Netflix build an exceptional recommendation system. This means that even if you do not know what to watch Netflix can tell you, based on your previous choices, and you can be introduced to some really good movies.
Amazon Prime Instant Video
Amazon Prime Instant Video is another major streaming service in the market that has been very well- received by the customers. The reason is actually two-pronged. One is, of course, the content. In a short period of time, Amazon Prime Instant Video is quite close to catching up with the huge content library of Netflix. Amazon has entered a lot of partnerships with companies like Viacom to make sure that it has a constant flow of high quality content at its disposal, and this move has borne fruit. Secondly, Amazon has offered a lot of freebies to the subscribers of the service. On subscription, users get access to free two- day Amazon shipping, one free eBook from the Kindle library, access to Amazon Music, and more.
Amazon Prime Instant Video offers a lot of content in terms of both movies and television shows. But, other than that, it also offers offline viewing, which is something Netflix does not do. So, if you are going to travel, you can download content when you have an internet connection, and watch it later, when you do not have online access.
The subscription fee for Amazon Prime Instant Video costs $99 a year, and if you want more flexibility, you can always go for the newly introduced monthly package of $10.99.
Yes, this is the streaming service from the well-known channel, HBO. In fact, HBO was one of the first major channels that came out with its own service, HBO GO. But, HBO GO could only be accessed if you had a TV login. The good part was that you could run multiple streams at the same time. With HBO Now, the channel could be accessed directly online.
Given the high quality content, it is only obvious that the charges will be on the expensive side too. They are indeed. Users have to pay as much as $14.99 for one subscription. There is a trial version available too, in all major online stores, including Google Play, the App Store, and so on. It runs on any device that can stream videos and is connected to a high speed internet connection. There is only a lag of an hour or sometimes, even minutes, between the HBO shows broadcasted live on cable and those being streamed online.
Price is one of the biggest factors that may deter the users from using the services. While other streaming services offer a lot of content for a much less price, HBO Now will only offer HBO content. However, for the fans of HBO and especially for the love of shows like Game of Thrones, this purchase may be justified. But, still there are better deals in the market if you are not that big a fan.
Most of the pay-as-you-go services do not have a sizeable content library to go with them. But, VUDU is one service that actually boasts of a good content library. VUDU actually began as a set-top box manufacturer, before Walmart bought it. Now, it has transformed VUDU into a powerful movie and TV show rental service that is growing at a rapid pace. In fact, among all the pay-as-you-go streaming services, this is actually the one that has gained the highest traction and enjoys the higher users. The service offers different apps, because of which it is available on a variety of platforms, and devices.
The best thing about VUDU is that it updates TV shows as they are aired. Most of them are aired within a day or two, and you can catch up with entire seasons if you want. VUDU’s movie library is extensive, and you will find everything from the latest movies to the classic old films. Its TV show library, although not as big, is sizeable. You pay a standard price of $1.99 per movie or TV show episode. Further, HD content costs $2.99. However, other types of content, such as sneak previews and extras might cost significantly higher. So, don’t be surprised.
There is one more thing you should know about VUDU. It is a growing service, and it does need a lot of improvements. For instance, closed captioning is not available on all platforms with VUDU. Neither do you get content suggestions based on your previous rentals. However, it appears that it will grow to become a sizeable player in the streaming market in 2016.