To stream or not to stream?



Remember when you made sure you were home at a certain time to catch something on TV? If you missed it, it was gone forever or you had to wait until the network re-aired it. Then came the video recorder. Fast forward to today, and there are dozens of ways to either record or watch something you missed on television at your leisure. Online streaming sites like Netflix, Crackle and Hulu began as a destination point for watching established films and television shows. However, in recent years, original series have become the hook to bringing in new audiences to these streaming sites, making them potential new outlets for up-and-coming filmmakers. “I like how Netflix is producing new content and putting it on the Internet,” film major Erik Hernandez said. “It paves the way for more possibilities or distribution of original content and removes limitations put on filmmakers.”

Crackle and Hulu are free to stream but Netflix has been a subscription site since its launch in 1997. Hulu Plus started its subscription service in November 2010.

The numbers for paying subscribers that allow content to stream on portable devices are also on the rise. Hulu Plus gained momentum by ending 2013 with over 5 million paying members. Its advantage in the game is that it offers current season television shows that many of the other streaming sites don’t have yet. Hulu’s new CEO Mike Hopkins announced last year that there were already plans to double the number of original shows in the next few years, adding on to current shows “East Los High,” “The Awesomes,” “Behind the Mask” and “Quick Draw.”

With more than 30 million subscriptions, Netflix is steadily holding on to its members; however, it took a bit of a stumble in 2011 when Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced the creation of Qwikster, a service that would split its DVD rental business into a separate company. The service was shut down before it even launched in 2011.

“In a creative business like this, you have to take risks, and sometimes you’re wrong,” Hastings said in an interview with GQ Magazine. “You have to move on. I work a lot on that.”

With Qwikster behind them, Netflix has strived to provide customers with original content that can compete with pretty much anything that’s aired on television, which also means getting a chance to take an Emmy home.

Netflix earned 14 nominations at the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards last year.

Netflix’s library of original shows carries its share of star power. The newly Emmy award-winning political drama “House of Cards,”starring Kevin Spacey, was renewed for its third season 10 days before the premiere of its second one.

If committing to a paying site still isn’t appealing, Crackle offers its own batch of shows like Jerry Seinfeld’s Emmy-nominated web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”

So why not grab your own cup of Joe and join Seinfeld as he chats up comedic legends while cruising in classic cars?