There are several streaming services available on the market, but Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, NOW TV and HBO Now might be the biggest. Which of these services are the best?
Should any of them be allowed to call themselves the best streaming services on planet earth as of 2017? We have used all these services for a long time, and this article is based on the actual usage of the different services.
Before we conclude, let us introduce the different services. We will here emphasize on the positives and the negatives of the services, and then, in the end, we will do our best to give you a conclusion.
Netflix is the biggest and most famous of all the streaming services available. Their strength is not only its fame but also in its size. Netflix is available to people in almost all the nations of the world, and thus it is easy to become their customer. The price for a subscription is around 10 USD, with small variations based on where you are located, and what kind of subscription you have.
You can sign up and watch Netflix almost wherever you are. It is a major strength, but it can also be a challenge. The content available on Netflix differ a lot from nation to nation. There are several TV series available on Netflix in the USA, which you will not be able to watch in any other Netflix region. This can make Netflix messy, but it is also a part of its beauty. If you learn how to change your Netflix region, you will quickly get access to even more content, making, even more, videos and TV shows available online.
Netflix is creating more and more original material. They publish this content on Netflix right away, and nowadays they even create movies that go straight to Netflix (without hitting cinemas worldwide). As a Netflix member, you get to enjoy this original material. It should also be mentioned that the Netflix original content cannot be streamed on any other streaming portal beside Netflix.
You can watch Netflix all across the world, but in newer nations, you will find no support for the local language. Consequently, you will not be able to enjoy Netflix unless you have good English knowledge. This might inspire youngsters to learn English, while it for sure keeps older people stay far away from Netflix.
Amazon Prime / Amazon Video
Amazon Prime is a very limited service, available to people only in a few nations of the world. Late in 2016 Amazon introduced a service named Amazon Video. For a small fee, individuals in all countries of the world (almost) could sign up for Amazon Video. The users of this platform get access to all Amazon original content and quite a lot of other TV series and movies. The Amazon Video service is not at all as good as Amazon Prime, and the amount of content is much smaller. It is, however, cheaper, and the price for an Amazon Video subscription is around 6 USD per month.
Original Amazon content cannot be seen on other streaming services. As a consequence, the only place to watch Transparent, Catastrophe, Mozart in the Jungle, Bosch and other original Amazon series is to have an Amazon Video/Amazon Prime subscription.
Amazon Video is useful for those in love with Amazon original content, but it is not worth the money for those looking for additional content. Amazon Prime is different because Amazon Prime is much more than just Amazon Video. With all the other services coming in addition to the movies and TV series, Amazon Prime is, however, a product worth considering if you live in the United States, Germany or in the UK.
Hulu is the leading portal for streaming TV series. Here you do not have to wait for a year before episodes are released, but usually, you can stream brand new episodes the day after their original airing in the USA. The service is only available in the USA, which comes as a big negative.
In the recent time, Hulu has grown in many ways. You can now stream your favorite TV series without commercials. If you stream a lot of content, that is a magnificent service. Also, they have add-ons, which will give you access to even more content. Their most recent updates now even include a chance to watch live TV in the USA. With the live television offer a subscriber can watch CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC, USA Network, Fox Sports channels and in total more than 50 channels live, and also on demand. Even newer is the fact that Hulu now lets you add HBO as an add-on to their service.
If you add all the add-ons and service to your Hulu subscription, it will for sure become an incredible streaming service. But, let us first concentrate on the basic Hulu subscription.
The standard subscription will cost you either 8 USD or 12 USD per month (with or without commercials). For this price, you will get access to most popular TV series in the USA, except content from CBS. Also, you will get access to quite a lot of movies, and the movie catalog is quite similar to the one you get with Amazon Prime in the USA. In the recent years, Hulu produces more and more original content, and Chance, Casual, The Mindy Project and The Handmaid’s Tale are examples of such series. These are best sellers and very popular, but you will not get access to them on any other streaming platform in the USA. Hulu original content is getting better and better, and making Hulu an even more important platform.
Even though Hulu gives you access to lots of movies, you do not sign up for Hulu because of the movies. They simply come as a bonus. With the recent HBO add-on, you can, however, get access to brand new movies and all original HBO content. The price for this add-on is 15 USD, the same you would pay for an HBO Now subscription.
This is a streaming service in the UK, created by SKY. If you look at their prices, you will find them to be more expensive overall than similar products in the USA. The main reason is the fact that Sky has the rights to broadcast the Premier League in the UK. These rights come very expensively, and if you want to watch Premier League online, NOW TV is the method to use in the UK.
At NOW TV you will find three sorts of subscription; NOW TV Entertainment, NOW TV Movies and NOW TV Sports. The Sports package is the most expensive, while the Entertainment package and the Movies package come at reasonable prices. If you purchase a monthly subscription for the Movies and Entertainment package, you will get something similar to a mixture of Hulu (when it comes to TV series) and HBO Now (when it comes to movies) in the USA. You will not get access to the HBO original content, but you will get access to brand new movies (as you do on HBO Now). In the same way, you get access to new TV series, but you should take it into consideration that it often takes a few weeks for new episodes and TV series to be shown in the UK (compared to the USA).
NOW TV (Sky TV) has no original content, meaning that this is a platform where you watch material produced by others. As a result, you can watch all the same content on other platforms worldwide.
HBO is known for their successful series like Game of Thrones, Westworld, Veep, Ballers and Big Secret Lies. People all across the world watch HBO series on their local HBO channels, but to watch it online without an actual HBO subscription, HBO Now is the solution.
HBO Now costs 15 USD per month and is available in the USA only. At the platform, you will get access to original HBO content (movies and TV series). Besides the original content, you will also get access to 3-4 blockbuster premieres every month and a little library of more movies. HBO Now has for a long time been the platform to use if you love the original HBO content, and if you want to watch popular movies before they get to similar platforms like Netflix, Amazon Video or Hulu. Recently we have however noticed that the movies added to HBO Now, often are made available on for example Canadian Netflix at the same time. You can, therefore, using an easy method to get access to Canadian Netflix, and the result is you streaming the same content on Netflix as you would on HBO Now.
The primary motivation, therefore, is to stream original HBO content. The price for a monthly subscription is 15 USD. We think that price is too high, considering what you get. It is, however, a fact, that Game of Thrones and Westworld lovers will gladly pay 15 USD a month to get immediate access to the new episodes, once they are released.
Let us try to sum it up – Which streaming platform to choose
Before you decide which platform to subscribe to, let us ask you a question?
- Is there any TV show or original content that you have to see?
If you go crazy just thinking about Orange is the New Black, there is nothing to debate. You need a Netflix subscription! Does your heart beat faster whenever you think of A Handmaid’s Tale? You need a Hulu subscription! Do you feel the smell of popcorn and a cold drink when you think of Transparent? Sign up for Amazon Video.
A lot will depend on your preferences before you sign up. Your desire to watch original content is such a preference. Another important question is: What do you want to stream? Are you a movie lover, or would you rather watch TV series? Do you want a sweet mixture of both?
Here we will describe different personalities, and then our suggestions for what you should sign up for.
Which is the right streaming service for you?
I want to watch the most popular US TV series
If all you want is to stream popular US TV series, and you want to watch continually throughout the year, then Hulu is by far the best service. While Netflix often gives you access to an entire season at once, life is very different at Hulu. In the same way, you get to see one new episode a week at TV; you get one new episode a week. This is by far the best way if you want to stream TV series. With the extra add-ons, this might, in fact, be the only subscription you need, unless you want to watch original TV series from either Netflix, HBO Now or Amazon.
I just want access to lots of TV series and movies.
Do you want to get as much as possible with one single subscription? The solution might be Netflix, at least if you combine it with a good VPN subscription. If you use a VPN that will give you access to even more Netflix regions, there is excessively much content suddenly waiting for you. If you switch to Canadian Netflix, you get access to the brand new movies (just as good for that purpose as HBO). If you use US Netflix, you get access to lots of TV series quickly and the list could go on.
What is the conclusion?
We have had running subscriptions to all the mentioned services for a long time. Based on which services we use on an average day, we must admit that Netflix and Hulu are by far the favorites. We almost never use NOW TV, HBO Now or Amazon Prime, except in a few situations.
The most important question for you to ask yourself is, what do I want to watch? If you are not emotionally attached to any Netflix, Hulu, Amazon or HBO original content, we would by far recommend either Hulu or Netflix. The choice is yours. What will you pick?