Streaming video services seem to be everywhere these days. If you’re like me, you wonder which one (or two) you should be using.
The streaming video service is the cable cord cutter’s best friend. Local channels received over the air are great, but when you have kids who want to watch cartoons, it helps to have a service like Netflix or Hulu Plus to fire up.
So of the services available, which ones should you consider?
• NETFLIX: The granddaddy of streaming video, Netflix ($8 a month) is a solid choice for movie fans and those who like past seasons of TV shows.
Netflix has a huge library of movies and TV shows, though not many shows from the current season and not as many as Hulu Plus.
Netflix is starting to offer original programming, including shows such as House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, which are getting good buzz. It also offers a “Netflix for Kids” area, which is a safe place for your kids to browse.
• HULU PLUS: Hulu Plus ($8 a month) started out as a collaboration between NBC, Fox and ABC/Disney, so it’s not surprising it is very TV show-oriented.
If you missed a show on any of those networks, chances are you can catch it the next day on Hulu Plus.
Hulu Plus also offers a growing selection of movies, but not nearly as many as Netflix. It also offers original programming; Hulu Plus debuted 10 new series last year that are available free on the Web, not just to Hulu Plus subscribers.
While there is programming for kids, Hulu Plus is more focused on prime-time shows.
• AMAZON PRIME: Amazon Prime is an $80-a-year premium service that offers free shipping on many Amazon items. A bonus of Prime is a subscription to Amazon Prime Instant Video, which is a nice selection of movies and TV shows, but nothing current.
• REDBOX INSTANT: The newbie in this review is Redbox Instant ($6 a month), which could be a contender if it beefs up its content offerings. The latest figures I could find showed that Redbox has about one-third as many titles as Netflix. The Redbox library is almost all movies. An interesting feature is the addition of four Redbox DVD rentals per month for an extra $2 a month.