Netflix is undoubtedly the king of the streaming realm with its killer mix of TV, movies and original content. However, that does not mean it is the best choice for everyone. Some people have a taste for different, want to take advantage of a free plan or access the service on a specific device. In any event, the market is teeming with worthy competition.
Deemed to be the biggest contender of Netflix, Hulu has current episodes of TV shows on the air, usually a day after the premiere. What they lack in terms of the size of the movie database, they make up with selections from the Criterion Collection. Hulu has also started beefing up its original content, although it is still not on par with Netflix. Much of the content is available for free on PC, but you will need to come up with $7.99 in order to stream to other devices.
Outside of the Apple ecosystem, this service has nothing to offer. On the other hand, if you are a proud owner of an appropriate device, you are in for captivating entertainment. The video management system is top-notch as it lets users pick TV shows and movies for offline consumption. Another option is to stream via Wi-Fi network with AirPlay option. The only drawback is that there is no all-you-can-watch system in place.
Some people steer away from mainstream currents. Crunchyroll.com is for those who are into manga, anime, and all things Asian. The free version features SD and is not available on all devices. But, for $7, you get HD quality and an ad-free access to popular Japanese shows. If that does not satisfy your cravings, you can invest more to gain exclusive content and free shipping of figurines, costumes, and other items.
Another champion of the omnipresent Google, this platform has embraced a similar model as iTunes. It delivers fresh TV shows and movies, and it has a respectable backlog, as well as special offers and promotions. Users choose between renting and buying the content for streaming. Much like YouTube, Google Play mounts the wireless streaming and remote control. Just do not expect to be able to run it on an iOS device.
Many people are not aware that this platform is not just a booming hub for amateurs. It also hosts a big selection of legal movies and TV shows. This is due to the fact that many companies decided to partner up with YouTube, and offer their content for renting and purchasing. This involves top movie studios, like Sony, Universal Pictures and Warner Brothers. One of the strong points is certainly ease of use, since YouTube is available on any device.
British TV lovers will find Acorn.tv to be a true blessing. They can watch Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry and Helen Mirren in their favorite shows for just $5 a month. This might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Acorn enjoys a very high level of consumer satisfaction. If you own Amazon Prime, that is all the more reason to opt for Acorn because of the streaming partnership program. You can run it on the Roku, some Samsung Smart TV, and Apple TV boxes.
This service focuses on bringing performing arts to your home in full HD quality. You no longer need to buy expensive tickets to witness the splendor of documentaries, opera, and theater. The access is unlimited and one of the things I liked the most was extra, spicy content in the form of exclusive interviews, sneak peeks, and behind-the-scenes stuff. So, browse the world’s greatest performances and get your daily dosage of fine art.
Amazon Prime Instant Videos has the library which is a mix of paid and free content. The former encompasses an immense selection with free two-day shipping. One can, for example, watch past seasons of HBO shows, something which is not possible via other streaming platforms. At last, commissioning the Top Gear hosts has enabled Amazon to make headways into the area of original content.
For classic and cult film aficionados, Mubi.com is a dream comes true. It started as a Netflix-like, all-you-can-watch service, but it has transformed into a unique streaming site. There are a few dozens of titles to cherry-pick from, and the monthly price is only $5. When movie experts select a new movie, it is available for 30 days before it gets replaced. Mubi is compatible with Apple and Android devices, as well as PCs, albeit only in the US.
Netflix is facing a wide range of niche-specific alternatives and Shudder is certainly one of them. It is a go-to place for horror lovers. Scary movies are well-organized according to genres and tropes. Sometimes they get really particular, such as a category with movies that involve split personalities. The service is spreading to countries like the UK and attracting many new subscribers who want to feel the chills crawling down their spine.
The Internet has profoundly changed the TV landscape, introducing a plethora of convenient and affordable services. Netflix still looms large over the competition, but beyond it, there is a multitude of viable options that are worth your time and money. They satisfy your non-mainstream appetites, offer more bang for your buck, or simply cater to your personal consumer needs.