As the internet has become more accessible, services have become more customer-focused than ever before. Streaming services have also built their business by offering ultimate convenience to their customers. Now, you don’t need to set your schedule according to the timing of your show. Instead, set the time to watch the show as per your convenience. You don’t have to worry about losing your favorite match or episode because you are getting late for office. Just watch it whenever you feel like.
There are a number of options available in the market for internet streaming. Each service has its pros and cons. You need to pick a service wisely to suit to your requirements. You must understand what content is being offered on various platforms, and at what price. In addition to selecting the content and the add-on features, you must also focus on the help and support services provided by the service. Here is a breakdown of the best of the best.
It is a household name in internet streaming and provides access to a wide selection of movies and television shows. Some content like The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey appeared on Netflix much before they appeared with other services. Original shows like Orange is The New Black, House of Cards, and Marvel’s Daredevil are showcased only on Netflix.
Price: $7.99 per month plan for one standard stream and $9.99 for two HD streams. With $11.99 plan, you can watch up to four simultaneous streams with the support for 4K content.
Devices: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Nook, Kindle Fire, gaming consoles and set-top boxes.
For: Netflix is available at a reasonable price. Multiple people can set up different profiles for one account. It also offers a kid’s section on the home screen, where you can get programming for children. Cons: No offline viewing. There are not many options for latest movies. Also, Netflix removes quite a lot of content without any prior warning.
It provides access to 20+ TV channels for LIVE access. You can watch live TV, just like cable, on a variety of devices, without any contract or commitment. It also offers a large library of on-demand content. Price: Starting at $20 per month, Sling TV comes with a seven day free trial. You can also add a sports package for an extra $5, and you can get more premium content by paying extra.
Devices: It can be downloaded on iOS and Android devices. It is also compatible with Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google Nexus player, gaming consoles, and smart Samsung and LG televisions among a lot of other devices.
For: It has been around for some time and so it is time tested. If you are a big sports fan, then you should go for this service because it is the first streaming service to offer ESPN and ESPN 2 live. It also provides a consistent user interface across a range of devices and it is easy for consumers to navigate the service.
Against: Content can be streamed on only one device at a time when you are using Sling TV.
Amazon Prime Instant Video
The breadth of content available on Amazon Prime Instant Video is very similar to Netflix. Thanks to its partnership with networks like Viacom, it has been able to expand its content library by leaps and bounds in a relatively short time. With this subscription, you get access to the Kindle lending library, unlimited photo storage, music streaming, and free two-day shipping.
Price: You can get an Amazon prime annual membership at $99 or for $10.99 per month.
Devices: Movies and shows can be streamed on Amazon Fire TV, Kindle Fire HDX, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, Wii U, iOS devices, Roku, set-top boxes and web.
For: Content can be downloaded in advance, for viewing it later offline. Compared to its competitors, Amazon has a lot of new content on offer. It provides around 50,000 videos, out of which 40,000 are available for instant and unlimited streaming with a Prime subscription. Amazon also offers its subscribers à la carte rentals and purchasing of its content.
Against: It does offer some original programming, but there is a lack of critically acclaimed and Emmy award winning original series.
Vue is Sony’s way of entering into streaming market. It provides access to 50+ LIVE channels. It allows you to watch LIVE TV on different devices, and as compared to its competitors like Sling TV, it provides more options for TV channels. You can choose among a range of packages according to your requirement.
Price: Different packages with different channels are available. You can get access to 55 channels with $50 per month plan, or to 100+ channels with more expensive monthly plans.
Devices: Vue is available on devices like Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. It is also available on Sony gaming consoles and iOS devices.
For: It offers cloud-based DVR services which means one can store the shows online and watch them later. It also offers simultaneous streaming on 5 devices at a time.
Against: This is a new service and hasn’t been checked for its consistency. It is prone to technical difficulties and it needs to be seen if it can survive the test of big LIVE programs. Also, it is much costlier than other streaming services, and is only available across a limited number of devices.
Hulu is backed by big studios, which means that you have access to content almost immediately after they are aired on TV. It has access to a wide variety of global television shows and movies as well.
Price: It is available at $7.99 per month and $95.88 per year. In addition, you can also avail a free 1 week trial, if you wish to test the service before signing up for a full subscription.
For: Most of the episodes of the shows are available immediately after they are aired on television. The extensive library of Hulu is a good enough and cheaper replacement for TV, if you are a TV buff.
Against: The major disadvantage with Hulu is its advertisements. Also, Hulu does not offer a bulk of the content that is available on cable television. In addition to all these, Hulu is more about television shows and less about movies. There aren’t many movies on offer, but occasionally there are some classics that are sure worth your time.
Hulu is available on iOS, Android, and Windows phones. It can also be accessed on, PS4, Chromecast, Roku, Apple and Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Kindle Fire, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, smart televisions, and many more other devices.