Over the years, our Television definition has shifted. It used to be you can only watch TV on your television. If in those primitive days you decided to watch a movie back then you literally had to drive all the way to the store to buy or rent a DVD. We can now download movies and Television from the cloud on all types of devices from phones on computers (and yes, even on your Television), thanks to the high speed internet. Now that video streaming has proven to be foolishly popular, hundreds of online streaming services have entered the scene, vying for your attention and money. Which raises the issue: which one is best?
Describing all of the streaming services available would be next to impossible, but here is my top-5 list of the most popular services out there.
iTunes: For the Apple Enthusiast
As other items from Apple you either love iTunes or hate it. If you have apple products already, using iTunes is a perfect way to synchronize all your videos, music and books on all your apps. So if you pause a video, even on a different screen, you can start watching from where you left off. The downside is that this service is only available for Mac items or PCs. It’s even slower on rent notifications than other providers. Overall, iTunes is a decent choice for Mac users but finding other choices is always worthwhile.
Devices Supported: iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, PC / Mac
Price: $ 0.99 for TV show rentals, movie rentals start at $ 2.99
Selection: iTunes has a good selection for purchase; rentals are updated slower than some other providers
Vudu: For the Videophile
Back in 2008 Vudu started his life as a box offering internet delivered HD movies. Now they’ve got rid of their hardware and have their service available to other users. If you just want material of the highest quality this is the service for you. Besides offering 3D content, Vudu also holds the highest quality videos of any streaming service. They also have some new movies earlier than other streaming services. The catch is this service can get expensive.
Devices Supported: Android, iPad, Roku, HDTV / Blu-ray, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC / Mac
Price: $ 2 for 2 days on select titles, other titles start at $ 4.99 for HD and $ 5.99 for HDX (featuring 1080p HD) and usually last for 24 hours
Selection: They have several thousand selections, and most titles are available the same day the DVD comes out in stores
Amazon Instant Video: The Nice Afterthought
Amazon has begun using a subscription program to distribute digital media. They have since moved to Amazon Instant Video and have departed for streaming from downloaded content. You should sign up for Amazon Prime to get access to Amazon Instant Video after the yearly fee, which enables you to watch some content for free. Certain material is available to purchase.
While Amazon’s video collection is increasing increasingly, its quality level is still not at the same level as Netflix or Hulu. Yet Amazon has other special features that are exclusive to this platform: Free two-day delivery and discounted overnight delivery on all premium amazon items and even free monthly book rentals from amazon’s prime lending library
Devices Supported: Kindle Fire, iPad, Nook, Roku, HDTV / Blu-ray, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, WiiU, PC / Mac, and more
Price: $ 79 yearly subscription for Amazon prime, TV shows start at $ 1.39 to rent and $ 1.99 to own, new movies start at $ 3.99 to rent and $ 14.99 to own
Selection: They have a decent number of older shows and videos, with a strong variety of BBC programs as well. Although some new films are available to Amazon Prime members, most allow you to pay for them
Hulu Plus: For the TV Show Junkie
Hulu Plus began as a streaming TV series platform and although offering some movies, the reason for subscribing to Hulu Plus is to watch television shows. The platform offers more TV shows, particularly current episodes, than any other service, and most of this content can be viewed commercial-free. Hulu also provides a free service to download new episodes of hit TV shows, but this option is available only on your computer.
Devices Supported: Android, iPhone, iPad, Roku, Apple TV, HDTV / Blu-ray, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, WiiU, PC / Mac
Price: $ 7.99 monthly subscription
Selection: Any network has the highest range of TV shows. Hulu Plus is a especially good alternative for those who want the new episodes of a hit TV show
Netflix: Get a Little Bit of Everything
About 10 years ago Netflix came onto the scene and totally revolutionized video rentals. They have one of the biggest streaming libraries of content, and have millions of users, making Netflix one of the best entertainment services out there. HD quality is not as high as other services, but Netflix is a must-have for any movie or TV lover because of the cheap subscription and availability on almost any laptop.
Devices Supported: Android, iPhone, iPad, Nook, Roku, HDTV / Blu-ray, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, WiiU, PC / Mac, and more (really pretty much anything)
Price: $ 7.99 monthly subscription
Selection: With a large selection of TV shows and a positively gargantuan selection of movies, Netflix has the best overall video selection out there.
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