While there are many contenders hoping to become the next big online streaming service, only two truly dominate the market. These two services are Netflix andHulu Hulu, and they each have their own benefits and disadvantages. While either will give you enough content per month to ensure you’ll never lack for something to watch, the content varies greatly, and it is an important choice you have to make (luckily you can always switch at any time).
Here are some of the ways to compare the two services:
When it comes down to it, the major deciding factor when you pick a service is going to be the content that it provides. Netflix and Hulu will have overlapping content, but there are also TV shows and movies that will be exclusive to a single service. Since both services are large cultural institutions at this point, you can easily find news articles by searching “What is new on Netflix/Hulu Plus this month?” and looking at the offerings. Try to use the results as a general guide to your decision.
The other major component, which is only going to get larger, is the original content each service provides. These shows or movies almost never removed from the rotation of what is available for streaming and aren’t restricted to the time constraints and structure of other TV shows. Based on awards and popular opinion, Netflix seems to have more success with creating original content. Your tastes may differ, however, so you will want to take a look at a list of original content for both Hulu Plus and Netflix before you settle on either
One last thing to consider is that if you enjoy watching TV shows in their current seasons, Hulu Plus often allows you to stream content the day after it airs, so if you want to catch the latest episode of Family Guy the next day you will want to get Hulu Plus (or a DVR, which can be much more expensive). If you are able to wait, Netflix will update their service and add a whole new season of a show a few months after it is done, but otherwise Hulu Plus will be the service to lean towards. With either option you will have a lot of different classic shows to catch up on when not watching your current favorites.
This is an easy win for Netflix. Hulu (even Hulu Plus) has ads and Netflix does not. Hulu says they utilize advertising to avoid raising costs, largely because Netflix has a larger base to draw money from, but that isn’t your problem now is it? Streaming and DVR has gotten most people used to television without any ads, and seeing ads on Hulu only reminds us of not-so-fond times of sitting through commercials because there was no other choice. If you consider the cost of your time and add up the minutes you spend watching ads, you would likely save yourself the entire cost of your subscription if you watched Netflix instead. This is a category in which Hulu clearly loses; although thankfully, Hulu does have movies available without ads.
Hulu is technically free, but only if you use the normal version of Hulu, which to be perfectly honest isn’t very satisfying. Once you watch an episode or two of something recent and start digging through your options, you find many things you could be watching if only you had Hulu Plus, which, in my opinion, is the only realistic option to take.
So, with that in consideration, the difference in cost between the two base streaming services is completely negligible. The prices might fluctuate a little here and there (or depending on how many computers you want to access it from), but the cost difference is never more than a two or three dollars per month. Don’t let a few bucks be the factor that sways you either way.
If you are going to be travelling a lot and enjoy killing time watching streaming services while you travel, at a base level you may be out of luck with either service, as regional restrictions can block you from watching the service you paid for.
That being said, there are tools to help you get around this. Netflix is the more widely-used option and the one with more support, so you should know that more options are generally available for Netflix. If you want Netflix and you want to watch it overseas, you can check out a handy guide at SecureThoughts.com on how to do just that.
It comes down to using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which is a service that will connect your computer to an offsite, secure server using an encrypted connection. This means that not only will you be safe on any network, which is the main purpose of the service, but you will be able to appear as if you are using the internet from any country you like, including the one you subscribed in. This means that those problematic regional restrictions will be a thing of the past and you can continue watching your favorites shows and movies no matter where you are.
Hopefully this article has helped you decide which streaming service is right for you. Then again, maybe you’ll just get both. Either way, your biggest entertainment related problem in the future will most likely be choosing just one thing to watch from the millions of options at your fingertips.