Our definition of television has changed over the years. It used to be that you could only watch television on your television. If you wanted to see a movie in those early days, you actually had to drive to the store to buy or rent a DVD. Thanks to high-speed internet, we can now stream movies and TV from the cloud to all kinds of devices, from phones to computers (and yes, even on your TV). Now that video streaming has proven incredibly popular, dozens of online streaming services have appeared on the scene, all vying for your attention and money. That begs the question: which is better?
Describing all the streaming services available would be next to impossible, but here is my list of the 5 most popular services out there.
iTunes: for Apple enthusiasts
Like most Apple products, you either love iTunes or you hate it. If you already have Apple products, using iTunes is a great way to sync all of your videos, music, and books across all of your devices. And every time you pause a video, you can continue to watch it from where you left off, even on a different device. The downside to this service is that it is only available for Mac or PC products. It is also slower at updating rentals than other providers. Overall, iTunes is a good option for Mac users, but other options are still worth exploring.
Compatible Devices: iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, PC / Mac
Price: $ 0.99 for TV show rentals, movie rentals starting at $ 2.99
Selection: iTunes has a good selection to buy; rents update slower than other providers
Voodoo: for the videophile
Vudu started life in 2008 as a box offering HD movies delivered over the internet. Now they got rid of their hardware and licensed their service to other devices. If you only want the highest quality content, this is the service for you. In addition to offering 3D content, Vudu also has the highest quality videos of any streaming service. They also have some new movies available before other streaming services. The problem is that this service can be expensive.
Compatible Devices: Android, iPad, Roku, HDTV / Blu-ray, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC / Mac
Price:$ 2 for 2 days on select titles, other titles start at $ 4.99 for HD and $ 5.99 for HDX (with 1080p HD) and generally last 24 hours
Selection: They have several thousand selections, and most of the titles are available the same day the DVD goes on sale.
Amazon Instant Video: the good afterthought idea
Amazon began selling digital media through a download service. They have since switched to Amazon Instant Video and moved away from downloaded content in favor of streaming. To get access to Amazon Instant Video, you can sign up for Amazon Prime, which allows you to access some content for free, after annual subscription. Other content can be purchased.
While Amazon’s video catalog is growing rapidly, its content level is not yet at the same level as Netflix or Hulu. However, Amazon has some unique features that are unique to this platform: free two-day shipping and reduced overnight shipping on all Amazon Prime products, and even free monthly book rentals from the Amazon Prime lending library.
Compatible Devices: Kindle Fire, iPad, Nook, Roku, HDTV / Blu-ray, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, WiiU, PC / Mac and more
Price: $ 79 annual subscription for Amazon Prime, TV shows start at $ 1.39 to rent and $ 1.99 to buy, new movies start at $ 3.99 to rent and $ 14.99 to buy
Selection: They have a good number of older shows and movies, there is also a good selection of BBC programs. While they do have some new movies available to Amazon Prime members, most of them require you to pay for them.
Hulu Plus: for the TV show addict
Hulu Plus started out as a TV series streaming site and while they do offer some movies, the reason for subscribing to Hulu Plus is to watch TV shows. The platform offers more TV series than any other service, especially current episodes, and most of this content is commercial-free. Hulu also offers a free service to stream new episodes of hit TV shows, but it’s only available on your computer.
Compatible Devices: Android, iPhone, iPad, Roku, Apple TV, HDTV / Blu-ray, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, WiiU, PC / Mac
Price: $ 7.99 monthly subscription
Selection: The best selection of TV shows from any provider. Hulu Plus is an especially good option for those looking for the latest episodes of blockbuster television series.
Netflix: get a little of everything
Netflix came on the scene more than 10 years ago and completely revolutionized video rental. They have one of the largest streaming content libraries and millions of subscribers, making Netflix one of the largest video streaming services out there. The HD quality isn’t as high as some providers, but the cheap subscription and availability on almost any device make Netflix a must-have for any movie or TV lover.
Compatible Devices: Android, iPhone, iPad, Nook, Roku, HDTV / Blu-ray, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, WiiU, PC / Mac, and more (pretty much anything)
Price: $ 7.99 monthly subscription
Selection: With a huge selection of TV shows and a hugely gigantic movie selection, Netflix has the best overall video selection out there.