If you are tired of inflating cable bills and unnecessary channels in your list, then it’s time you switch to one of the many available streaming services. You can pick anyone from the likes of Netflix, Amazon and Hulu that have been in business for many years to services like CloudLoad that are trying to carve a niche for themselves. Here is a comparison of some of the most popular services available.
It is a name you can bank upon. They have been in the industry for a long time now, and offer a wide range of television shows and movies. You can get a monthly standard subscription with $9.99 for new members. It has a great movie library, with new titles being posted regularly. Since the service has been there for a long time and is wildly popular, most manufacturers include the Netflix app in their factory settings. Therefore, you can avail Netflix services on mobiles (Android, iOS, Windows), gaming consoles (Wii, Wii U, Xbox), set-top boxes (Amazon Fire, Apple TV etc.), on a PC or Mac through a web browser and so on. With Netflix, it is also possible to include parental control, which is a big plus.
However, there are some shortcomings. Though Netflix has a lot of television shows, it does not have the recent episodes or even some of the latest shows in the mix. Netflix also removes titles regularly without any previous warning, which can spoil your plans to watch a particular movie or show at a later time.
Amazon Prime Instant Video
Amazon is known for being a customer-centric organization that strives towards customer satisfaction. Amazon Prime Instant Video marks the company’s venture into the world of streaming services. You can avail the facilities of Amazon Prime with an annual membership price of $99 or a monthly fee of $10.99. While one can opt for long term benefits by subscribing to an annual package, the monthly plan offers more flexibility to the users. Subscribers also get to opt for the pay per view plan with $1.99 for SD and $2.99 for HD.
Amazon also features parental control to restrict the kid’s viewing. After deals with big content creators like Viacom, Amazon has been able to build a library large enough to compete with Netflix. In addition to this, Amazon also has its original programs like Humans, Boardwalk Vampires, and Our Democracy Has Been Hacked among others.
Though there are a lot of movies to choose from, Amazon is not very regular in adding brand new shows or even new episodes on its portal.
It was previously known as XBMC and is a completely free streaming service providing an access to a huge amount of content. Netflix and Amazon Prime do not even come close, so you can imagine the massive amount of content available on Kodi.
Though it has a big database, accessing the content is not as easy. Once you have installed Kodi on a device, you can access hundreds of add-ons. But, installing these add-ons is quite technical. So, you have to scratch your head over that. Then, there is the dicey legal standing of the content. The source websites from which the content is being sourced do not always look legit. However, you never download anything, you are only streaming it.
The drawbacks with Kodi are unreliable streaming, subtitle offset and other buffering problems. Also, the next episode won’t run automatically. So, it is not exactly user-friendly. But, if you get the hang of technicalities, you will save a lot of money, without really compromising on the quantity or even the quality of the content.
This is quite similar to a cable subscription without actually getting one. It starts at $20 and you can also get a week-long free trial.Sling TV does not require a contract, credit check or any hardware installation.
It can be downloaded on both iOS and Android devices. With the $20 core package, you can enjoy channels like AMC, ESPN, ESPN2, Food Network, TNT, TBS, Adult Swim, Travel, Cartoon Network, CNN, BBC America and many others. However, Sling TV can be streamed only on one device at a time.
It offers a huge selection of movies and television shows in various formats like 3D, SD, HD and 4K. You do not have to go for a monthly subscription, but instead pay per view. You can rent new releases in SD for $2.99 and HD for $3.99. If you want to purchase a movie, then you can buy it for $12.99 in SD and $14.99 in HD. 3D movies are a bit costlier to buy at $29.99.
PlayStation Video is available on Sony Internet TV, Sony Blu-ray players, Sony Netbox, Sony Xperia phones and tablets and Bravia televisions. There are high quality trailers and descriptions for each show and movie. You don’t need to wait for a long time to download the large movies; instead Sony lets you stream your purchase while the rest of the movies are downloaded.
Playstation Video is available only for Xperia phones. It does not offer as much content as iTunes or Google Play and also there is no subscription charge.
iTunes is a well-established name in the arena of streaming services, and offers a wide range of SD and HD movies and television shows. You can buy or rent a lot of content and then watch them on Apple devices, including Apple TV.
You can rent a new release on iTunes for $4.99 in SD and $5.99 in HD. Rented movies are available for 30 days from the date of purchase. Once you start watching the movie, you have 48 hours to finish it. All the purchased content remains on iTunes account and can be viewed in the future by either downloading or streaming online.
Subscription is pay per view, which means you may eventually end up paying more than other streaming services. So, if you are a binge-watcher, do not go for this service. The content brought and stored in iTunes remains locked. You cannot move an item stored on Apple to an Android device.
It is a free service provided by Sony and offers streaming of both television series and movies. It also offers original programming and has an original full feature film. It is available on iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry phones. It is also available on Kindle Fire, and also supports many smart televisions, gaming consoles and streaming devices. You can subscribe for updates while registering with Crackle to be informed about new uploads.
Though it is good for a free service, the users of Crackle will have to sit through a lot of advertisements, very frequent rotation of videos and some really cheesy content.