There used to be this thing called cable television. The bourgeoisie would brag about having hundreds of channels with nothing to watch. It’s hard to explain this to a young generation. But many of us recall that you needed to rush home to catch the shows and movies you wanted or they would start without you. Now there are several ways to stream the content you want, when you want it and on all your digital devices. Each offers unique content and licensing to pre-existing programs and movies varies from site to site and month to month. The average is just below $10 a month per subscription. With about a dozen sites to chose from, how do you decide which ones are right for you. You don’t want to spend a $100 a month on video access you might barely watch. Well, this outline should help.
For full video addicts:
The king of online subscriptions offers the most talked about shows and tons of movies, all commercial free. Since partnering with Disney, the exclusive rights to all the classic cartoons have been made accessible. The basic plan starts at the original price of $8. For those who want to have multiple log-ins, watch on portable devices, or enjoy higher resolution the price advances up to $14. The content varies as licensing rights expire so it is less a library and more a temporary content provider. Their original content, as well as a somewhat variety of films and shows, is a standard among viewers. Television programs will not air until the entire season ends. Sometimes they take even longer. Another drawback is Netflix only works in the country you sign up with. So international travel will completely restrict viewing. Plus, you can not subscribe to say Netflix UK unless you have a credit card and address issued to that respective country. However, Netflix recently provided a download option. This way you can select to download particular programs to watch offline when preparing for a flight or being without wifi.
Hulu basic is free but extremely limited in its content. The Plus subscription is available at a competitive price to Netflix at $8 and there is a commercial free option at $14 a month. If you enjoy watching network television shows the day after they air then Hulu Plus is really the only option for Streaming viewers. Hulu Plus has the same international conflict as Netflix so it is moot for international users. There is original content on Hulu but it is not the same talked about phenomenon as a lot of the Netflix shows.
With more movies to chose from than both Netflix and Hulu. As well as some well favored original shows and films, Amazon Prime has really broken into the streaming realm. 2016’s Manchester by the Sea was the first streaming film to receive an Oscar nomination. For international travelers, Amazon Prime offers a limited number of shows and movies for viewing at no additional charge. Out of the thousands of titles, the domestic version offers only a few dozen make it to the international viewing selection. Amazon Prime has odd bonuses. It comes with a reduced rate in package deliveries and a food delivery service. Obtaining a subscription to Amazon Prime may actually save you money if you order a lot home or office deliveries. Plus, you get a streaming subscription thrown in on the side.
Some recent alternatives making news:
YouTube has become a leader in music streaming with its vast library. If you want to avoid hearing commercials in between each song then YouTube is definitely the way to go. There is original programming as well but as for now, not much to discuss. YouTube Red works internationally as does the regular site. There are many titles you can rent for individual fees. They average $3 per movie. But the Red price is $10 a month. Unless you want to avoid the commercials is not a must for many viewers. Still, a great advantage to music listeners over a Pandora subscription. If you run a bar and want a full music library to play, I recommend this completely.
HBO Go and Showtime Anywhere
NEV loves reviewing HBO shows. Regardless, in the smartest move, these companies ever made they decided to offer subscriptions to their content online without having a cable package. This made it possible for modern people who tossed out their idiot boxes years ago to legally enjoy the most talked about shows. At $8 a month, they are competing price wise with Netflix and Hulu but the content is far less. For those who need to see the shows as they air it is the best solution as a side package to another premium subscription. Internal viewing is still not available but baby steps with these dinosaur companies.
For the once in awhile streamers:
Google Play and Itunes
For those who do not binge watch but want something specific to watch, you may want to consider canceling your subscriptions. Instead, try a pay as you watch application like Google Play or iTunes. Nowadays both PC and Mac users can stream or download from either service. Once downloaded for purchase, you can view the content offline and should be available to download internationally. Whether these companies will open their doors to streaming subscription possibilities is a topic they should be considering. For sports fans, iTunes offers NFL packages so viewers can watch the games live.
Something that bugs me personally is searching for a specific film and having to open each domain individually. Once you open the site and log in, you can search for the film you want but you have to do that for each possible site. Why is there not a site that searches all of them for the desired program is a question that seems too dumb to ask. If there any web developers out there, here is a golden idea.
For the Video Extremists
For true cinephiles, these sites are still too commercial to carry all the resources we require. And if they are not available legally we must turn to some other options. I strongly discourage illegal downloads like torrents. The public is very much aware of them. But for those students in film school who need to find the obscure or silent films that are just not available I suggest Cinemageddon which is a site for such resources. One can not merely login to cinemageddon. You need an invitation. But keep trying. America is the country that invented the public library system. This was an effort to expose even the poorest of people to the riches of intellectual thought. While artists and studios do need to make money, there is a time when certain films are more than entertainment. They become educational tools that all should be able to view.
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