With many people choosing to cut the cord to cable and satellite television, more and more viewers are turning to streaming services
Streaming services offer viewing of various movies, television shows, and other miscellaneous content using media including game consoles, media players, mobile devices, computer, apps, channels, and set boxes. Initially viewed as additional viewing options to cable and satellite, many services have arrived on the media scene with comprehensive offerings for viewers. Currently the main three streaming media services are Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime.
Netflix has no advertising and has decent balance of television and film plus five profiles, separate kids section, and a great subtitle option.
Cost: $95.88 annually or $7.99 monthly (with unlimited physical DVD rentals (one-at-a-time) it’s $191.76 annually)
Hulu Plus is ad-supported, but has an impressive television library especially British TV shows. Viewers also get brand new episodes of shows that are currently on the air plus great miscellaneous content like movie previews and video game previews/content.
Cost: $95.88 annually
Amazon’s Prime has no ads and initially began as a two-day shipping service and has recently expanded into free music content privileges.
Cost: $99 annually or $7.99 monthly (up from $79)
Good content can always connect with audiences. These well varied services also offer rentals, specialized/exclusive content and early release of movies, which is a growing trend.
On the downside, audiences can only get the streaming choices offered (unless they permanently purchase them). So certain movies only have a limited run on a stream service then they disappear.
Differences and comparisons are often time-consuming tasks for viewers, so many viewers are left to their own decision-making and research.
The new search experiences are improving the experience so you can find your desired content, discover hidden gems, and compare a little (Amazon Prime has a tool for finding content that’s not on Netflix.
Netflix recently got some big notoriety with multiple nominations from multiple shows (like House of Cards) at the Primetime Emmy Awards. Streaming services have even starting their own award shows (like Hulu’s Viewer’s Choice Awards at hulu.com/viewerschoiceawards.)
Other streaming services include Popcornflix, Vudu, BBC iPlayer and Crackle. Redbox offered a streaming service that combined streaming with DVDs from their physical kiosks, but announced that would be shutting down on October 7.
Streaming services often use geo-blocking to restrict services (using your Internet/web address, a.k.a. IP address) in specific worldwide locations. International streaming services include the new Getflix that allows users from Australia, New Zealand and other worldwide areas to easily access Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer and many other streaming services.
Sports fans still have no total sports streaming option, but streaming services like DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket (w/ Red Zone and Fantasy Zone channels) help fans stay in the game by individual sports.
As streaming services make huge deals with content producing companies like Disney, Marvel Studios and DreamWorks Studios, audience can always look to the future for even more viewing opportunities as companies square off in fierce competition that make the streaming scene a buyer’s market.
Even if you don’t see your favorite show; hang in there…your patience will likely pay off as mine did when the television shows The Simpsons and Top Chef eventually made it to Hulu Plus. (NOTE: I subscribe to all of the “big” three streaming services). All streaming options require a solid Internet/web connection, so make sure everything is working smoothly before you log in and start watching.