Of the countless streaming services on demand, three stand out: Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Netflix. Unfortunately, choosing what is worthy of your credit card information is not an easy task, and with a combined subscription fee of more than $ 40, subscribing to all three is not an option for most.
Even if you are cutting the cable, the trio merged with a specific channel service like CBS All Access or HBO Now and a live TV platform, such as Sling TV, could even add to your cable or satellite bill traditional when calculated over the course of a month Too much for those cable cut savings, huh?
That is why it is important to understand what you need from an on-demand transmission service. If you are looking for an SUV with live TV in good measure, look no further than Hulu. To make money, it's Amazon Prime Video. That leaves Netflix as the resource for the best content selection.
However, there is a little more than that. The speed at which new material is added, how extensive is the list of devices on which it can be seen, how simple it is to use the service and how much it costs is so important. So, to help you find the best transmission service for you, we have prepared this comparison guide.
Amazon offers two major versions of its Prime subscription, either $ 119 per year or $ 13 per month (or $ 59 annually when registering with a valid email address from student). Both versions provide you with the same benefits, including two-day shipping, or free one-day shipping in some cases, discounted prices on selected items, cloud storage and, most importantly for our purposes, video on demand ( and music) transmission. The best part is that 4K Ultra HD with HDR content comes standard at no additional cost. In addition, you can share accounts with friends and family, so that everyone can access the offers.
After a price increase in January 2019, Netflix's various subscription levels currently range between $ 9 and $ 16 depending on the desired video quality – SD resolution costs only $ 9 per month, but can only transmit on one device at a time. Switching to HD will cost you $ 13 per month for two transmissions, while switching to 4K Ultra HD will now cost you $ 16 per month for four transmissions at once. Prices will also rise if you opt for the DVD / Blu-ray rental service.
Hulu made its own price changes only a few days after Netflix, currently starting at just $ 6 for the ad-based service (below $ 8) or $ 12 for the non-advertising option (which we still recommend, even at double the cost). Hulu's options don't stop there, as it also offers a live TV broadcast package called Hulu + Live TV, which is similar to Sling TV and PlayStation Vue. After the price drop for its level on demand with advertising, Hulu increased the prices of its live TV broadcast service to $ 45 per month (from the previous price of $ 40). The subscription includes more than 50 channels at the top of the library at regular service request, and there are also additional features for an additional fee.
Especially for those who wish to transmit 4K at the lowest possible price, Amazon is the cheapest bet and has stated that the company will not increase prices for 4K transmission. The large number of additional features and benefits included in Amazon Prime also give it an edge over its competitors. Add the discount for Amazon students and it's an easy victory.
When it comes to large volume, it is without contest: Amazon has the largest catalog of content by a wide margin. But quantity and quality are two very different things. Currently spending up to $ 13 billion in content per year, Netflix opens the doors to competition here, with the most popular movies and shows outside the world of HBO cable. It also has a large number of acclaimed international films (although its collection of films, in general, has declined in recent years). You can find a list of our favorites here.
Another point to consider is how each service handles content outside its own original programs and movies that are currently broadcast. Hulu, with its links to the main stations, offers current television episodes from other networks often within 24 hours of its original broadcast time. Amazon offers the same selection, but generally charges a fee for each episode or movie. Netflix, on the other hand, is always a season behind what is currently available on other networks, but you have access to many popular programs a year after their original broadcast dates.
As such, what you want to see will largely determine which service or combination of services is best for you. However, we are approving Netflix here; It only has a more diverse and higher quality library. It may not be the best to keep up with the latest television programs from other networks, but that is not what the service was designed for in the first place, and no matter how hard you try, you will never run out of shows to watch.
All three services are available in a long list of devices: too much time to list here, in fact.
Netflix is basically everywhere. Many devices even have the Netflix logo directly on their remote control. Hulu is also practically everywhere, often also in the native user interface. And now that Amazon and Google have let the past go by, Amazon Prime Video is also virtually everywhere, appearing on Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra in July 2019.
Given the almost ubiquitousness of Netflix, Hulu and now Amazon Prime Video, It's close, but Netflix still beats its rivals here, even in many cable boxes. If you are not sure, it is worth investigating a bit before committing. Full lists of compatible devices for each service are available here: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime.
Interface and ease of use
Netflix has great functionality, and it is relatively easy to find what you want, as you select Movies and TV shows suggested through a personalized category of "main selections" on the home screen and offers an elegant design with intuitive carousels. That said, over the years, the company has changed its algorithm, lowering the 5-star ratings for an approval system, and in the process, it seems to find a way to boost its own content above all others. On the other hand, we love the fact that its interface is universal regardless of the device or brand, including high definition televisions, game consoles, Rokus and Blu-ray players, so you won't have to learn to use a new interface .  Hulu has been updating its interface, and it is actually much easier to use today on most platforms than before, with categories such as Keep Watching, TV, Movies and Children that make it quite simple to navigate . You can also add premium channels like HBO, and the programs and movies on those channels will appear on their main interface, although it can be a bit difficult to access the applications themselves. Because of its fast interface and its ability to incorporate premium channels, we will designate Hulu (for the first time) as the winner here. Congratulations, Hulu.
Amazon ranks last, with a more scattered interface, but like its rivals, it is constantly improving. One point in its favor is that you can browse Prime Video directly on the Amazon website and its various applications, and it also works very well with Amazon Fire TV streaming devices. However, these interfaces tend to differ from each other and, frankly, some are not as intuitive as others.
Audio and video quality
In addition to offering 1080p broadcasts, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu ( as of July 2019) and Netflix offer 4K Ultra HD resolution and HDR streaming support. Netflix charges extra for the privilege, raising the monthly subscription fee to a whopping $ 16, while Amazon and Hulu provide 4K for free.
In terms of audio quality, Amazon offers surround sound content, including Dolby Atmos, although support for both services will vary by device (Amazon Fire TV devices are your best choice for that service). Netflix offers selected titles in Dolby Atmos, in addition to 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound encoding in selected content.
A recent update of the platform resulted in an update for all users with a compatible 5.1 configuration, even if it is only their TV. Netflix states that this momentum is equivalent to "studio quality" sound, but it is not that simple. Nor does it change the fact that Netflix charges extra for access to Atmos content. Still, this momentum puts serious pressure on Amazon. Unfortunately, Hulu is limited to stereo sound despite many network television programs and virtually all movies that offer 5.1 surround sound or higher. Both services offer titles in HDR10 and Dolby Vision, but for now, only Amazon supports HDR10 +, the only real competitor of Dolby Vision. Since Amazon offers 4K, HDR and Dolby Atmos support at no additional charge, Bezos and company. I took the victory here, but it seems that Netflix is approaching.
Release date for new content
If you should watch the latest episode of your favorite network show right after it is aired , needs Hulu. The new episodes generally appear on the service the day after the broadcast (as long as Hulu takes the show first), and almost all of that content is available without commercials on Hulu's most expensive plan.
If you're not willing to move to the premium level ($ 12 per month compared to the standard $ 6 rate), commercials can really interfere with the greatness of Hulu. Users who do not move up will have to watch a sequence of ads, whose number has only become more frequent as the service has expanded. To compound the problem, many of the ads are linked to a single series, which means that compulsive observers will see the same commercials over and over again.
As mentioned earlier, Hulu has live TV available at $ 40 per month, which includes live sports and news if you're willing to pay, while Amazon has "Channels", which allows you to add selected channels with more content new. Of course, if you don't pay for channels on Amazon (which are expensive to add), you can buy the latest episodes, but you'll end up paying a massive premium that makes it almost prohibitive ($ 2 to $ 3 per episode for SD, $ 3 to $ 4 for HD, or $ 40 or more for a "season pass").
On the other hand, Netflix's totally free advertising service does not add the last season of a program until after the new season begins. That period of time varies from three months to a full year according to the agreement between Netflix and the creators of the program. For serious cable cutters who want to broadcast the latest series, Hulu is the only way to go.
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As mentioned earlier, Netflix made serious movements (and spent crazy money) to take away Easily win here. Once House of Cards began to win Emmys, Netflix accelerated, and the study of the network / streaming service / cinema has not looked back. From an incipient creator of some small series, Netflix has accumulated thousands of hours of original content from multiple countries, including dozens of shows of all flavors, as well as original films (including an Oscar nominee 2019 in Rome ).
Amazon and Hulu have updated with Netflix in regards to quality. In fact, one of the best-rated current television series, The Handmaid’s Tale, is a Hulu original and exclusive to the service. As for Amazon, notable original TV shows include highly revised series such as BBC / Amazon comedy co-production Good Omens The Man in the High Castle, Jack Ryan, and The Wonderful Mrs. Maisel, all of which is worth discovering.
These are just a few examples of the constantly expanding libraries of each service, which even include resurrected shows canceled from other networks. However, when it comes to streaming services that create original content, Netflix is the clear winner.
If you have a license for television and movie content, current television shows and original series are not enough to keep your attention, consider Allocate a portion of your monthly entertainment budget to rent new releases in Vudu. While you can rent the same movies from the Amazon premium side of Prime Video, Vudu offers a wide selection of 4K, HDR and Dolby Atmos compatible movies in new releases. Vudu even gives users 30 days to watch a movie before it expires and also allows you to save titles in the Disney Movies Anywhere vault, as well as services such as iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and FandangoNow.
Of course (like almost all media companies these days) Disney also has its own streaming service, Disney +, which is expected to offer a series of television shows and movies of its Marvel, Star Wars properties and Pixar, among many other options under the mega-mouse umbrella.
In addition, HBO and Showtime offer independent applications (without a cable or satellite subscription) for $ 15 and $ 12 per month respectively, and can even be added to services such as Amazon and Hulu for a reduced price. Other services such as CBS All Access, Crackle, Vevo and, of course, YouTube, have a large amount of impressive long and short format content to keep you entertained at various prices. Services such as Sling TV and Playstation Vue, DirecTV Now, YouTube TV and, of course, Hulu + Live TV offer live TV streaming, although they will cost you between $ 25 and $ 75 per month or more.
If that wasn't enough, 2019 is expected to bring many other new options, including the new AT&T WarnerMedia streaming service with content from Warner Bros. and HBO, Apple's new service, a new NBCUniversal service and more . We will monitor these new services and update our list as they go online and compete for your money.
Other features to consider
- Do you need subtitles ? Go with Netflix. In 2014, the company finished an agreement to subtitle all its content.
- Will the children be watching? If you need parental controls, Netflix is the way to go. In addition to having an option to limit Motion Picture Association of America / TV ratings on content as a universal configuration, Netflix offers an option for children for individual profiles, ensuring that your child only sees PG content and below. Hulu recently launched a blocking feature in its mobile application that allows parents to block adult content before delivering a smartphone or tablet to their children.
- Live TV ? Hulu is the best. Sure, you'll pay a little more for the addition of live TV broadcast to complement your content on demand, but the $ 40 monthly subscription is a fraction of what you would pay for a normal cable bill.  Conclusion
If we are going to make a single recommendation, Netflix remains the king of the streaming world. That said, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video offer unique benefits. And, of course, as mentioned earlier, there will soon be a lot of other services to choose from. Ideally, we recommend combining multiple services that provide access to a wide variety of programming, although at some point we will all have to make some serious decisions about how many we can really afford. If your resources are limited, these three remain your best option, for now.