Streaming Service Showdown

BY KRISTOPHER CARRASCO

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We’re finally making the transition away from controlled cable programming and into the world of the future, where we get to choose what we want to watch, and when we want to watch it.

Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and HBO Go are here for all of our programming needs in the form of apps and even come pre-installed in many smart devices.

The problem is that there are several different services streaming an immense library of content making that it may be hard to decide which one to invest your hard earned money into.

Luckily, we’ll decide for you with this streaming service showdown.

Before we start with all the details, let’s just go ahead and crown Netflix as the best streaming service based on its price, content and convenience.

Price

Netflix: $8 a month at the lowest.

Hulu: $8 a month. For $12 you can watch completely ad-free.

HBO Go: $15 a month.

Amazon Prime: $99 a year ($7.99 a month). The biggest problem with Amazon Prime’s price is that the subscription isn’t available on a monthly basis, so you would need to put up the $99 down all at once for the entire year (talk about commitment).


Convenience

Netflix: This service has the best interface with mobile app and availability through web browsers and the TV app. Some remotes even come with Netflix buttons, and can’t get any more convenient than that. Netflix also offers multiple profiles and kids section features, which make it much easier to navigate and teach your kid so that they don’t have to bug you every time they want to watch cartoons. A minor inconvenience is that Netflix contracts work on a monthly basis, which means programs come and go within months.

Hulu: This service has a somewhat cluttered interface with an inconsistency in selections from older seasons of certain shows. Hulu is available a lot on apps too, but not completely though web browsers. Because it’s owned by Fox, ABC and NBC you can watch shows the day after they air on their live networks. Hulu has a huge inconvenience that other streaming services lack – commercials. You would think that in the year 2017, we wouldn’t need to deal with unwanted interruptions within our programming, but Hulu is not afraid to build some suspense within your show with some appropriately placed ads.  

HBO Go: The TV app and mobile app work with desktop browsers the way Netflix does. The interface isn’t bad at all, but it's not very kid-friendly. HBO Go also rotates shows monthly, but seems to add more than it removes.

Amazon Prime: The interface is awkward because you have to go through Amazon’s ad-filled website. It's convenient with the mobile app, but not as easily  available on TVs. You can also find movies to rent or buy movies or shows a la carte that other services may not carry, which is pretty convenient if you don’t mind spending the extra dime.

Content Library

Netflix: Here, you'll find the widest variety of content with good original programming, but it cycles monthly, so it can be awkward. There's not much new TV programming, but new movies sometimes come up within a few years of theater release. With Netflix you get access to shows like Orange Is the New Black, Stranger Things and both Marvel’s superhero live action shows.

Hulu: This is the biggest service for TV content in general and features currently airing programs. You can keep up shows from many different networks and never miss another episode, but it can take some days to appear on the service. Hulu also features a huge variety of anime.

HBO Go: Where else are you supposed to watch Game of Thrones? Along with this top tier series, HBO Go offers some of the best original programming, like The Wire, Oz, and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. HBO Go also features a selection of movies and documentaries just like Netflix and Hulu.

Amazon Prime: Prime has deals with networks as well, which allows the streaming of some pretty awesome shows, along with original programming. While their programming isn’t on the same quality as HBO’s or Netflix's, some content has been lauded by critics. Music also is included in the content library.