On demand TV may be the defining cultural movement of this decade, like Harry Potter was in the 2000s or Pokémon was in the 90s. It has revolutionized the way we all watch TV and movies and that’s not hyperbolic – there has been a revolution. But they all cost and no one wants to be paying for all the different services, so let me give you a brief overview of the big players and what’s currently being shown of interest there.
We’ll start with the Godfather of streaming services (coincidentally you can also watch The Godfather on Netflix at the moment). Netflix has hot movies and even hotter TV shows. Yes, you can get classic films like The Godfather and classic TV shows like the brilliant classic British sitcom Absolutely Fabulous, but where Netflix really stands out from the crowd is its original programming.
Mega-hits like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, as well as smaller, but still astoundingly brilliant shows like the Emmy nominated Grace and Frankie can only be found on Netflix. I would say, if you can only afford one or two, make Netflix one of them.
Amazon Prime Instant Video
Amazon Prime Instant Video is a Netflix copycat in many ways. It hosts a wide variety of TV shows and films as well as creating its own massive hits like Transparent. But where Prime stands out is in the fact that you also get access to Prime Music (a Spotify clone) and Prime free next day delivery on Amazon products. I would say if you’re stuck between the two, Netflix is the better option, purely on the quality of the original programs – however with the bonuses offered by Amazon (like the new Top Gear style show from Clarkson et al), surely there’s room in your budget for both.
Catch-up and TV On Demand
Pretty much all the major TV production companies will offer catch-up and on demand services from Sky (with Sky Go) to the BBC and Comedy Central. This way you can stream all the latest shows straight from the producers without having to wait months for them to hit Netflix or Amazon. A lot of the time you do still have to be a cable customer already, but give the Sky support number a ring and find out if you’re eligible (as it’s still the best place to get Game of Thrones).
Hulu is the one to watch and is making the most waves amongst the new players to hit the saturated market. Hulu functions in a very similar way to all three mentioned above. Whilst it has classic shows like Seinfeld and South Park, it holds exclusive rights to programs like 11.22.63, the recent Stephen King adaptation featuring James Franco. However, most important, is the function to stream shows the day after they air, which means that you can keep up to date with all the latest shows as well as classic films and TV shows from the past. It’s a combination of all three.
I would suggest getting Netflix (unless you can’t live without a certain Amazon exclusive) and either Hulu or Sky (or a mix of the various on demand services). What’s also great about the ones I’ve mentioned is that they can all be downloaded as apps on your tablets or even gaming devices like the Xbox One. So crack out the free trials and see which one is best suited to you.
Now if you’ll excuse me – the new series of Grace and Frankie comes out in less than a month and I have to go and give it a third re-watch (who says my life has no meaning!).