Our definition of television has changed on the years. It was once that one could only watch TV in your TV. If you wanted to view a video back in those primitive days you actually had to operate a vehicle all the way to the store to buy or rent a DVD. Because of top speed internet we are now able to stream movies and TV from the cloud to a variety of devices from phones to computers (and yes, even in your TV). Since video streaming has shown to be insanely popular, lots of online streaming services came onto the scene, all competing for the attention and your money. That raises the question: which is better?
Describing all the streaming services available will be difficult, but listed here is my top-5 list of the most popular services out there.
iTunes: For the Apple Enthusiast
Like the majority of of Apple’s products, you either love iTunes or you hate it. If you already have apple products, using iTunes is a great method to sync all of your videos, music, and books on all of your devices. And if you pause a video coke and popcorn alternatives, you can keep watching from where you left off, even on a different device. The downside to the service is that it’s only available for Mac products or PC. It is also slower on updating rentals than other providers. Overall, iTunes is a good selection for Mac users, but it’s still worth it to explore other options.
Devices Supported: iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, PC/Mac
Price: $0.99 for TV show rentals, movie rentals start at $2.99
Selection: iTunes features a good selection for purchase; rentals are updated slower than several other providers
Vudu: For the Videophile
Vudu began its life back in 2008 as a package offering HD movies delivered via the internet. Now they got rid of their hardware and license their service to other devices. If you prefer only the best quality content, here is the service for you. As well as offering 3D content, Vudu also offers the best quality videos of any streaming service. There is also some new movies available prior to other streaming services. The catch is that this service will get expensive.
Devices Supported: 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 (featuring 1080p HD) and usually last for 24 hours
Selection: They have several thousand selections, and most titles are available the exact same day the DVD happens in stores
Amazon Instant Video: The Nice Afterthought
Amazon started selling digital media employing a download service. They have since switched to Amazon Instant Video and have gone far from downloaded content in favor of streaming. To get access to Amazon Instant Video you can register for Amazon Prime, which lets you access some content free of charge, after the yearly subscription. Other content may be purchased.
While Amazon’s video catalog is rapidly growing, it’s level of content remains to not the exact same level as Netflix or Hulu. However, Amazon does possess some unique features which are unique to the platform: free two-day shipping and reduced overnight shipping on all amazon prime products and even free monthly book rentals from Amazon Prime Lending Library.
Devices Supported: Kindle Fire, iPad, Nook, Roku, HDTV/Blu-ray, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, WiiU, PC/Mac, and more
Price: $79 yearly subscription for Amazon prime, TV shows start at $1.39 to rent and $1.99 to possess, new movies start at $3.99 to rent and $14.99 to possess
Selection: They have a reasonable amount of older shows and movies, there is also a good collection of BBC programs. While they have some new movies open to Amazon Prime members, most of them require you to pay for them
Hulu Plus: For the TV Show Junkie
Hulu Plus began as a TV series streaming site and, while they do offer some movies, the reason to sign up to Hulu Plus is to view TV shows. The platform offers more TV series than any other service, especially current episodes, and most of this content can be seen commercial-free. Hulu also provides a free service for streaming new episodes of hit TV shows, but it’s only available in your computer.
Devices Supported: 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 collection of TV shows of any provider. Hulu Plus is a particularly good choice for anyone wanting the most current episodes of hit TV series
Netflix: Get a Little Bit of Everything
Netflix came onto the scene over 10 years ago and completely revolutionized video rentals. They have among the largest streaming content libraries and have an incredible number of subscribers, making Netflix among the biggest video streaming services out there. HD quality isn’t as high as some providers, but the cheap subscription and availability on just about any device makes Netflix a must-have for almost any movie or TV lover.
Devices Supported: Android, iPhone, iPad, Nook, Roku, HDTV/Blu-ray, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, WiiU, PC/Mac, and more (really pretty much anything)