Now that streaming movies and television shows has become the norm, choosing a media service provider to fit your budget and your programming needs has become complicated. Here is a comparison of some of the top media provider services available.
Netflix introduced its services to the public in1997 by delivering DVD’s to subscribers’ mailboxes. Netflix then adapted its business to offer streaming content. Netflix’s library offers thousands of movies and TV shows, arguably the largest content library of all the streaming services. Netflix has branched out even more by creating original productions, Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards. Potential Netflix subscribers can try out Netflix at no cost for 30 days. Once the 30 day trial is over, a subscription costs $7.99 a month. Netflix is highly compatible with all kinds of hardware: internet-enabled televisions, desktops, laptops, gaming consoles, streaming boxes, and smartphones. Two more bonuses about Netflix are that every mainstream app store offers the Netflix app, and Netflix content is commercial free.
Hulu started in 2007 as a joint venture between NBC Universal, Fox Broadcasting, and Disney-ABC. Initially, Hulu was free. However, after it had gained a substantial following, subscription based Hulu Plus was added. Hulu Plus offers more up to date movies and television shows. Hulu and Hulu Plus offer a modest cache of movies, but their library of television shows is massive. Netflix and Amazon offer TV shows after their seasons end, or after they have been cancelled. However, Hulu offers older shows and episodes of shows currently playing. Hulu has a wealth of free content, but if you want access to current shows, a Hulu Plus subscription will cost you $7.99 per month, which is considerably cheaper than cable, but it airs shows a day or two behind the original broadcast. As with Netflix, Hulu is compatible with all kinds of hardware: tablets, computers, internet-enabled televisions, gaming consoles, etc.
YouTube was founded in February of 2005–Valentine’s Day to be exact–and Google bought the site a year later for $1.6 billion. YouTube is an extremely popular video on-demand service among content watchers. YouTube is primarily a video hosting service that posts anything and everything, short of pornography, that people capture on video. YouTube also offers a library of free and paid for TV shows and movies. YouTube rental costs range between $0.99 to $3.99 for each show or movie you rent. Users who purchase content from YouTube have access to that content as long as YouTube exists, with pricing ranging between $9.99 and $19.99. YouTube is accessible on every Internet compatible device.
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Amazon started out by selling books online, and now they sell almost everything. A few years ago, Amazon became a contender in the media streaming market with Amazon Instant Video. At first, Amazon only offered Amazon Instant Video as a pay-per-content service, but the company soon expanded its services to include on-demand video streaming, Amazon Prime. Amazon subscribers can browse through a modest library of movies and TV shows for $79 per year or $7.99 per month. Amazon’s content library is small in comparison to that of Netflix and Hulu. To compete with both on-demand powerhouses, Amazon has partnered with Epix and Warner Bros, allowing them to expand the content library. Amazon Prime Instant Video and Amazon Prime come as a bundle package, offering free two day shipping on Amazon orders. Since Amazon is new to the media steaming business, it is available for most Internet compatible devices.
Apple was one of the first companies to create a digital music store with the inception of iTunes. Slowly, Apple has built a substantial video library of movies and TV shows. iTunes offers new and older releases on a pay-per-content model, which means content users pay more to rent or buy movies and TV shows than they would pay for a subscription based service. If the pay-per- content method is becoming costly for iTunes TV content users, they can buy a MultiPass. A MultiPass allows users access to 16 episode of their favorite show at a fixed rate. The iTunes app is downloadable on most devices, but the video app is only offered on the Apple TV streaming box.
In a quick glimpse comparison, Netflix adds content to its media library on a weekly basis, and its ads free viewing is a plus. Amazon rivals Netflix with its instant streaming content: pay-per- view movies, TV shows, or digital media you can own or rent. Apple iTunes offers excellent content selection, but it is not available on every device like Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, and Hulu. Also, iTunes pay-per-content method becomes expensive if you are an avid movie and TV show watcher. Hulu/Hulu Plus offers a diverse and large media library, but the ads detract from the viewing experience. Lastly, YouTube is great because it offers movies, TV shows and random videos; however, users may want to avoid reading the comments section because the comments often contain offensive language.