For years, customers put up with regular terrestrial TV services, never really knowing what technology would eventually offer. Now though, technology has moved on considerably and dedicated streaming services are spreading like wildfire. It seems like practically every major outlet now has its own streaming service allowing you to catch up with entertainment on demand.
But with so much choice in the market, which should you choose? Here’s a rundown of some of the top streaming services out there, what’s good about them, and what’s not so good.
Amazon video is probably the biggest competitor to Netflix. Up until recently, you had to buy the service with Amazon Prime, a shipping service from the company designed to make online ordering more convenient. But now Amazon has dropped this requirement, allowing customers to buy Amazon video as a standalone service.
Amazon, as you might expect, has been working hard to expand the range of services it offers and it now allows offline downloads, allowing you to watch your favorite programs without having to have a connection to the internet. You can’t use Amazon Video through Chromecast, but it does work with Amazon’s own Fire products as well as smart TVs – as you might expect.
When it comes to streaming services, Netflix is the clear market leader. One of the biggest strengths of the service is how many originals it now has all funded by the sheer number of subscriptions to the service.
If you want standard definition, it costs $7.99, and for HD it’s more expensive at $9.99 for two concurrent users. There’s also an option to get support for 4K content, although the amount of 4K content is still rather limited.
There are some issues, however. Securethoughts recently listed all the ways in which Netflix has cracked down on VPN services. This might be an issue for some people, and so it’s worth checking out.
Hulu was once a free streaming platform, but that all changed earlier last year. Now the service only offers premium content, meaning that users will have to shell out $7.99 a month to gain access to the service.
The advantage of Hulu is the fact that it usually gets TV shows as they’re released, unlike Amazon and Netflix which must wait one or two years before adding content to their libraries. There is, of course, a price to be paid for this: on Hulu, even when you pay a monthly subscription, you still get annoying ads popping up. If you want to get rid of the ads, you’ll have to pay $11.99 a month for the ad-free tier, which is significantly more money.
HBO is an old hand in the broadcasting business, but it’s decided that enough is enough and it’s time to enter the online streaming market. The great thing about HBO is that there are no restrictions on the number of people who can use a particular account. This means that all you need to do to use the service is find somebody who has it and ask for access.