It may be the Golden Age of Streaming, but we still have many choices to make.
We’re living in the Golden Age of Streaming.
Thanks to continued technological advances over the past few years, thousands of television shows, concerts and movies are now just a click (or tap) away.
As The New York Times reported last week, “Netflix video streams make up one-quarter of all Internet data transmitted in North America.”
With all the choices available, how do budget-conscious college students decide between Netflix, the Amazon Prime combo deal, Hulu Plus – and others seemingly popping up every month? Here are three main areas to help you decide when to spend those precious cash… if only they accepted your university dollars as payment!
Though the majority of television shows and movies on services like Netflix and Amazon Prime are a bit older the selection is continuing to expand.
For example, Netflix has classics like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Office Space, and Ghost. But it has also been able to add semi-recent flicks to their inventory: A recent search turned up The Lincoln Lawyer, Thor, and Captain America. The company has recently made a deal to include DreamWorks to the growing selection next year.
However, it seems as though Netflix has begun to focus on the television industry with multiple seasons and popular shows offered including staples like How I Met Your Mother, Breaking Bad, Say Yes to The Dress and Sons of Anarchy.
As any Netflix user knows, the service seriously lacks in any updated or recent releases. In addition, Netflix has continued to allow partnerships with other companies — like Starz — to expire, limiting the selection even further.
Though Netflix has a wider variety, Amazon and Hulu Plus have extensive collaborations with major television networks including CBS, NBC, AMC, MTV, Comedy Central, and ABC. As a result, their TV offerings are more up to date. Hulu Plus is the only service that has been able to score a deal to offer streaming HBO shows like True Blood.
Yet, Hulu Plus seems to have a deficiency in its film catalog.
Amazon Prime, on the other hand, has included the best of both worlds. The Times reports that it has about 20,000 television shows and 5,189 streaming films on offer. Yet, the majority seems to be older or forgotten films.
Most college students search for the deal that offers the most bang for their buck. Along with many others, students may be tempted to cancel their cable altogether in favor of streaming video.
Though Netflix allows viewers to pay a monthly fixed fee of $7.99 — offering college students with tight budgets a bit of freedom — viewers have to pay extra for DVD rentals of more popular shows or movies, which could total to more than $80 a year.
Amazon, on the other hand, charges a flat fee of $79 a year which includes free two day shipping for any online purchases, Kindle services and streaming movies. That’s about $6.58 a month, but the package would make buying and ordering books or other goodies easier and cheaper for students.
Hulu Plus also charges $7.99 a month. Though the company may have less of a film selection, the profit from fees allow them to continue exclusive deals with award winning television shows including Modern Family, Glee, and Parks and Recreation, streaming them online the day after airing on the broadcast network.
Especially with the schedule of a college student, the more accessible a product is, the better. Each of the leading service providers offer portable access.
Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus are available on cable boxes, Blu-ray players, game consoles, tablets and Apple TV. However, Amazon Prime has yet to offer coverage on the Wii or iPhones. Hulu also puts more of an emphasis on their services provided on consoles, phones and tablets.
Yet, if you still can’t make a decision, each service does have a free trial offer. In the Golden Age of Streaming, you should be able to take a service for a test drive before coughing up some cash.
Are you a streaming video subscriber? Which service gets your money?