With so many streaming services on the market today, and Apple joining the mix, it can quickly become overwhelming to decide which is the right one for you.
Certain content is exclusive to some streaming services while other shows are available just about everywhere – and, they all have different pricing strategies.
Netflix announced in January that, this year, they’d raise their monthly fees ranging from $9 to $16. A small increase, but an increase nonetheless.
Apple has yet to announce the price of their upcoming Apple TV+ streaming service, but one can assume it will either be the same price as Netflix, or even more.
The good news is, there are plenty of great options if you’re looking to become a cable cutter (for less than the monthly cost of Netflix). Some of them cost just about as much as a good cup of coffee.
Let’s take a look at what options are out there and how they stack up against the big guys.
Hulu is one of the major players in the video streaming world. What sets Hulu apart is the service’s affordable options. Starting at $5.99 you can get access to all of Hulu’s original content, and a huge library of content from popular cable channels. Hulu isn’t known for their movie library, but they do have great options there as well.
With their basic package, you’ll be subjected to a few commercial breaks – they’re placed throughout the show, just like regular cable TV and last just about as long. You can upgrade to a “No Ads” package for only $11.99 per month. Hulu even has a fantastic live TV option for $44.99. Each package comes with a free trial for new users, as well as other add-ons including HBO, Starz, Cinemax and more.
For only $119 a year, less than the cost of the Netflix Standard package, Amazon Prime offers many great services and their video service is one of the most notable ones. Also included in the price of a Prime membership is free two-day shipping on any Amazon Prime items, Prime Music, savings at Whole Foods Market and much, much more. Amazon video creates their own original content as well provides content from many major TV and movie providers. Amazon also offers the ability to add on other premium channels for an additional monthly fee.
A different type of streaming choice is Vudu. You may recall purchasing a DVD or Blu-Ray movie with a piece of paper inside that allowed you download a “digital-copy” of the movie you bought. That service was most likely provided by Vudu. Over time, their business model has changed and now they have a library of over 18,000 movies and 5,000 TV shows. Vudu itself does not require a monthly subscription and many movies can be streamed for free, with ads placed throughout. You can even rent or purchase movies similar to how iTunes works. In 2010 Vudu was purchased by Walmart and since then, you can even buy physical copies of many new movies right from their site.
Pluto TV is a gem amongst the competitors. Launched in 2013, Pluto TV has been growing and growing each year. They offer a wide variety of on demand content. From past blockbuster movies to full seasons of TV shows, all of their content is free. No monthly fees and no rental fees. But it doesn’t stop there! Pluto TV also offers over 100 channels of live TV. Many of the channels are made up of content that they curated. However, they also have major network channels such as CBSN, NBCNews, and even Fox Sports! They have an easy-to-use interface and is available on almost all platforms.