Contrary to the intuitive reasoning, the supposedly free services are not always free, nor are they cheap. The streaming services are good examples of this. The streaming services that do not come with a subscription charge, such as Google Play, iTunes, VUDU, and so on, end up costing you way higher in the end. The reason is that these services charge per video basis, and even at the nominal $1.99 to $2.99 fees per video, the total expense per month stacks up well into hundreds of dollars. So, they are not the suitable substitute for cable television that you were probably looking for. Here are the services that will help you save some money, as well as provide you some excellent quality content to enjoy.
This is one of the only free streaming services that is actually free, i.e. you can watch the content available on Hulu at absolutely no cost, as long as you have an internet connection and a compatible device. But, the content library available with Hulu is largely limited, and you will not find any quality content worth watching on the service. Further, the limited content is also replete with ads.
Hulu Plus is the premium version of Hulu. It costs $7.99 a month, but comes with a whole list of features. Most importantly, the premium version offers the complete access to all the content available on the platform. There is no additional charge for any videos, but there are a lot of ads, which can make the experience a lot like cable television. However, there is even an additional package, which costs $11.99 per month, wherein the users will have to suffer very few ads. These are only limited to pre-roll and post- roll ads, and that too for very popular shows.
Hulu Plus has one of the most extensive libraries of TV shows. While you usually have to wait months or even a year for a show to make it to Amazon or Netflix after it has been aired, the same is not true for Hulu Plus. The shows are updated on the service almost immediately after they have been aired on cable television. Hulu Plus is compatible with a wide variety of devices, and its interface is effortless to use. The only complaint is that its movie library is not one of its strongest points. On the other hand, if you want full seasons of shows, chances are that you will find it on Hulu Plus. However, the service is well worth the price that it offers, and at less than $12 for the highest package, it is pure gold.
Netflix is one of the most well-known and most affordable streaming services around. Netflix does not have any device stream restrictions, so there is no extra expenditure to purchase the hardware.
Netflix costs only $9.99 per month, and is available on a variety of platforms, including Android, App Store, Amazon, web app, and so on. In fact, it has been even cheaper for the earlier users. The prices have been recently increased by a dollar, but the old users can enjoy the old prices for a while still.
Netflix offers an awesome platform for users, with great variety of content and a highly optimized platform for the users to navigate easily. There are so many movie titles to choose from and a dizzying array of television shows. There is an awesome recommendation system in place that helps you access some really good content according to your preferences.
Though the service is on the cheaper end of streaming services, it is still one of the best available options.
Amazon Prime Instant Video
Amazon Prime Instant Video is one of the most extensive streaming services in the market. Amazon had time to observe the industry’s best players, and decided to incorporate the best bits about the top performing streaming services. And it has certainly paid off. Amazon Prime Instant Video charges $99 per year, or $10.99 per month. At that price, it offers a huge collection of content. Apart from the subscription fee, the service does not charge any additional fee for a lot of content. Typically, these are the previous episodes of a show, which you can watch. Once you reach the current episodes, you will be charged for them at a rate of $1.99 per episode, which increases to $2.99 per episode for HD content. You can watch a lot of old shows for no additional charges.
Amazon also partners with a number of TV networks to offer content that is difficult to downright impossible to find on other services. Then, as part of its partnership with TV networks, you can sign up for additional streaming services such as Showtime and Starz for a good discount. It is also compatible with a host of devices, which makes it easy to use as well. If you do not like to pay additional charges, the Amazon Prime Instant Video library is huge enough to offer you enough content in the free section (under Prime) to keep you entertained all the time, without compromising the quality.
For starters, Sling TV’s $20 per month package does sound like a high price compared to these other services. But, when you compare that to cable TV, it is a steal. And the comparison is right because Sling TV offers the true cable-like experience. It comes with all the bells and whistles like live cable television, sports channels, multi-device access, and so on, which make it an amazing service. However, the multi- device access is only available with higher packages.
The service allows you to customize your entertainment significantly. You can add sports packages, if you want more than ESPN and ESPN, which are already available with the basic package. Add to it the on- demand content, and you have an unbeatable combination there. Although relatively pricier, it does offer the best of both worlds, and is actually cheaper than cable TV.