There are several options for watching movies and TV shows online. The top three media streaming platforms that are popular are: the ever-reliable Netflix, the growing options of Amazon Instant Video, and up-to-date Hulu Plus.
Everyone knows about Netflix.Many of you have probably tried it at some point or know someone who uses it. Since its founding in 1997, Netflix has grown to become a company with 23 million subscribers. Netflix’s popularity is its business model which allows its customers to rent DVDs from the comfort of their home or watch them instantly on their computers, phones, tablets, and video game consoles. I’ve been using Netflix since 2008 and enjoy the wide selection of movies and TV shows available. The quality varies occasionally, but that’s only due to the local Internet connection. Most of the time I’m enjoying my videos in HD with little to no interruption.
One downside to Netflix is their ever-changing list of companies who supply them with titles for their “Watch Instantly Service.” Recently, they lost STARZ, which offered hundreds of movies, but they will gain DreamWorks in 2013. I highly recommend Netflix for their instant service alone, which costs $10 a month.
Amazon Instant Video
Well known to Internet shopping enthusiasts, Amazon.com offers the eager consumer just about anything imaginable. From food to books to clothes and now instant video; recently Amazon started offering a service known as Amazon Instant Video.
This service allows customers to buy or rent titles from their online library and watch them instantly though their computer. Unlike other Amazon services, there is no “hard cover” product, rather once you buy or rent a TV show or movie it will appear in your virtual library where you may watch it until your rental ends or whenever you wish to own the title.
Amazon Instant Video’ selection is quite varied and titles are updated constantly. For those with an Amazon Prime membership, they can obtain instant access to several movies and TV shows. However, one must still pay for the more recent titles. The costs will add up if you rent several movies since there isn’t a flat fee. Instead you pay per view unless you buy to own. The costs are affordable for one or two movies a month, but beyond that it gets pricy fast with most recent films costing $4 and older ones costing $2.
I loved Hulu before it became Hulu Plus. After my free trial ended I stopped going to Hulu.com. That said, Hulu Plus might be the best option for college students with busy schedules that regularly conflict with TV schedules. The content provided by Hulu is quite extensive and up to date. Its $8 a month price tag is also rather affordable. In many ways Hulu Plus is perfect for college students, or anyone with a busy schedule, but I miss when it was just normal Hulu which was free to everyone.
The best part of Hulu is its content; it offers next day showings of several TV shows. However, without Hulu Plus your limited the normally the first five episodes in a season and they are riddled with up to ten minutes of pestering commercials begging you to join Hulu Plus.
The content streams directly to your computer if you don’t have a Hulu Plus membership, but if you do, then you’re given the option to stream your content to your video game consoles, tablets or phones.