Streaming services are getting popular these days. A streaming service provider is hosting a ton of audio and videos which you can access through a paid subscription. Today, you can access streaming services online anytime and anywhere. You will just need a suitable gadget that has a fast and reliable internet connection. Without further more ado, here’s an extended study of the top streaming service providers.
Netflix is a famous multimedia hub where you can find the widest selected of television shows and movies. Some TV series are exclusively found in Netflix – these shows are paid by Netflix for the authorized viewing rights. Some good examples include: Hemlock Grove, Arrested Development and House of Cards. You can find a lot of old movies and TV shows on Netflix, and every once in a while they are also releasing additional funds for a blockbuster movie. For instance, a movie like The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was first released on Netflix, unlike other of its competing streaming providers.
The Netflix pricing
Netflix has 3 plans. The cheapest one is $7.99/mo, but unfortunately doesn’t support HD or Ultra HD. The $9.99/mo (Standard) is perfect for most users, and allows 2 split screens. Families and small gangs of friends should however opt for the Premium plan, which costs $11.99/mo, but also allows a 4 screens split and streams Ultra HD.
Netflix offers cross platform compatibility because they have a special application which you can download on any compatible mobile device. The application works on Windows, Android, iOS, Nook and Kindle Fire. They are also available on gaming consoles such as Xbox, PS3, PS4, Wii and Wii U. Netflix also dominates on set-top boxes like Tivo, Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV and a lot more. You can also watch your favorite shows on your favorite browser on a PC or Mac.
User interface experience
Netflix’s home screen is a standard user interface that is quite comparable on other major platforms. You will need to have an account to access their services. For every account, you will be allowed to have multiple users for a personalized well defined content. Users can save their favorite movies or TV shows so they can access them easily in the future. They can also recommend a show or movie to a family or friend.
Netflix also has a child friendly home screen where you can access child friendly shows easily. Usually, the TV shows and movies that can be found on Netflix are Super HD 1080p video quality, and they can be rendered on 5.1 Dolby surround sound systems.
The good news for subscribers with 4K TVs is that Netflix will soon start to implement its 4K video streaming service. But because of the small number of subscribers that are 4K ready, the service is limited to several UHD capable units like LG, Sony and Samsung. For you to enjoy a 4K streamed video, you should have at least 15 Mbps broadband connection for a buffer free streaming.
If you prefer watching movies recently released in theaters, on Blu-ray discs, or some of the paid TV shows, you might need to look for other streaming provider. There are just a few fresh movies on Netflix, most of the titles are from two to three years ago. And once the contract expires, the production team will remove contents without prior notice.
Netflix will be great for subscribers that are planning to have a TV-spree viewing. The widest selection of TV shows and movies that had been a blockbuster hit or won an Emmy award is one of their edge among the rest. Having an award winning content will definitely assure entertainment, thus if you prefer watching blockbuster hit movies and award winning TV shows, Netflix is the best choice for you.
Amazon Prime Instant Video
One of Amazon Prime‘s benefits is access to Amazon Prime Instant Video. It’s a bit like Netflix, as this streaming provider offers unlimited video streaming on their rich content of movies and TV shows and many other original programs.
The Amazon Prime Instant Video pricing
The subscription fee for Amazon Prime membership is $99 a year. The subscriber will have access to all content, whether movies or TV shows. There’s also a free trial service for 30 days, but during the trial period you won’t have access to any of its latest content. However, it is not mandatory for you to subscribe to their services, you can simply purchase or rent a particular movie title or TV show for you to be able to watch it. Each individual TV series episode will cost you about $2, and a whole season is roughly $20 to $30.
You can instantly stream tons of movies and TV shows on a Kindle Fire, HDX, Blu-Ray players, PlayStation 3 and 4, Amazon Fire TV, Wii, Xbox 360, iOS, Wii U, Roku, and so on. Unfortunately, there’s no specialized app for android users. You can also download their content for you to view on your mobile device.
Amazon claimed that their streaming service is far better than Netflix’s because they offer 150,000 stream able videos. 40,000 of these videos are available for instant access and unlimited streaming to their prime subscribers. They also sell content and they allow movies and TV shows rentals. Above all, their widest array of movies and TV shows collection is their edge among the rest.
The standard quality of the video streaming service is 1080p HD video. They also support Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound for you to enjoy clearer video and sound quality. Amazon Instant Video also announced that they will support 4k Videos that were produced by 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros, Discovery, Lionsgate and other content that is 4k compatible.
Amazon Instant Video’s subscription is expensive compared to its competitors (of course, not considering the free shipping benefits). Most of the award winning shows or movies are not present on their streaming servers. They don’t support multiple profiles for every subscription, which is a feature often used by families with multiple members. However, if you get a great bundle, check out the 2-day shipping deal which contains a free kindle book and preloaded with Amazon Prime streaming.
Amazon Instant Video is the best streaming service out there when you want to get Amazon TV shows. And of course, it goes very well with the Amazon Fire TV. Amazon also offers limited content like Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and a lot more which is not covered by Hulu or Netflix.
Hulu immediately gained recognition because of its fresh content. Their streaming servers contain up to date seasons of many popular TV shows. A day after the airing of a TV show, they will immediately add that episode onto their servers. These TV shows include: I Love Lucy, Glee, Grey’s Anatomy, Family Guy, The Colbert Report, Modern Family, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and a lot more. They also offer old hit TV series like: The Cosby Show, Lost, The office and many other.
The Hulu Pricing
Hulu comes with 2 plans, one with commercials at $7.99/month and one commercial-free, at $11.99/mo. If you are not familiar or unsure with their services, you can get a 1-week free trial.
You can access Hulu on your iOS devices, PlayStation 4, Google Chromecast, Xbox One, Android, Windows, Amazon Kindle Fire, Apple TV, PS Vita, Nook, any smart TV, Nintendo 3DS, Roku, Nook and many other compatible devices. You can watch all of their content on your mobile device, smart television and desktop computer.
Hulu’s content is mainly focused on TV shows. Movies are quite few compared to their other competitors. With some occasions, they offer a complete series such as the James Bond movies. You’ll need to wait for at least 24 hours for you to watch the latest episode of your favorite show. Another rather negative aspect is that the standard quality of their videos is 720p (but this might change depending on the setting of your device).
If you are a TV person and you have a lot of TV shows to watch, then Hulu is a great deal for you. It’s not that expensive and it offers a wide selection of TV shows for you to enjoy.
iTunes is Apple’s well-known store for their digital content. They had been in the industry since iOS products rule the market. They are selling movies and TV shows on SD and HD quality. They also offer rental services which you can play on any PC, laptop or other Apple product. You can also get a streaming service from iTunes using an Apple TV.
The iTunes Pricing
Their rental fee for a new movie is $4.99 for SD and $5.99 for HD quality. If you want to purchase a movie, it will cost you $14.99 for SD and 19.99 for HD quality. Old movies are renting from $2.99 up to $3.99, and you can buy them for $9.99 and $14.99 respectively.
You can buy a TV show episode for $1.99-$2.99. The price might change depending on the age of the TV series. The price of a whole series may also vary depending on the number of episodes. Rented videos will be available for 30 days from the date of purchase. A 48 hours viewing time will be allotted once you started viewing the rented video. All purchased video will be kept on your iTunes account; the purchased video can be downloaded and streamed online.
iTunes is compatible with Windows or IOS. You can access all of your videos on any Apple product like iPod, iPhone, Apple TV and iPod touch. Their application is very easy to use and the good part here is they are integrated to every device that can access iTunes. All of their videos that are in HD support 1080p quality, and the sound is also Dolby 5.1 surround sound able.
They do not offer a blanket subscription, you will be obliged to pay more if you are getting used with their service. Every TV show or movie will be paid for every screening. All purchased content is locked in their cloud storage called iCloud. If you want to access it, you will be required to use Apple hardware or iTunes application if you are using a Windows-based PC.
iTunes’ services cost far much than any other service provider out there. iTunes has a superb collection of videos with a 5 star quality, but the price is prohibitive.
Netflix remains the number 1 on the market, but some of the other providers and quickly catching up. Any thoughts on streaming services which were or not mentioned here?