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by Andrew Moore-Crispin
In a few short years, Netflix
online streaming has
gone from being a small
supplement to a booming U.S.
DVD-by-mail rental business
to, not to be too hyperbolic, a
streaming video juggernaut.
Everything that Netflix has to offer is accessible with a $7.99
monthly subscription. You can get a one-month free trial to
try it out. There are no tiers or bundles to navigate, as there
are with traditional TV.
Netflix negotiates for broadcast rights for everything from
older films to more recent blockbuster hits. Also present and
accounted for are popular TV shows, such as TheWalking
Dead and Mad Men, to name a couple. TV shows on Netflix
generally run at least one full season behind what’s currently
airing in prime time.
You won’t find the absolute latest blockbuster movies, but
the selection is diverse and, in some cases, eclectic. Netflix’s
library of classics is unparalleled.
Hulu and Hulu Plus
$7.99/mo. for Hulu Plus
Hulu focuses more on
what’s new and, at its
basic level, is free and
ad-supported. You’ll find
episodes of popular soap
operas and currently airing
prime-time shows on the
network, all available to
stream for free (with ads) to your computer. You must have a
U.S. IP address to use Hulu.
Hulu Plus is a premium offering from Hulu and, like Netflix,
costs $7.99/mo. It lets you move from streaming only on the
computer, connecting to the service on your smartphone or
tablet. You can also, with a set-top box, get streaming video
on your HDTV.
On Hulu, you’ll find shows from Fox, National Geographic,
NBC Universal, A&E, AMC and the Food Network, among
others. There’s a selection of classics (such as The Partridge
Family), but the focus is more on what’s airing now.
Taking your TV with you
Whether you’re looking to cut the cord that ties you to your satellite dish or cable box, or
whether you’re just looking to get access to some great movies and TV shows whenever
and wherever, streaming video over the Internet may be the answer.
To get the latest TV and movie streaming, you’ll need to
choose an on-demand video offering such as Amazon Video
or Apple’s iTunes.
The upside: No waiting. The latest episode of that prime-
time TV show is available at…or very near…the same time
as which it airs on cable or satellite.
The downside: You pay by the piece. TV episodes range from
$0.99 to $2.99 per, and movies from $0.99 up to $8.99 for
the latest Hollywood blockbuster, streaming in full high-
definition. It’s pure à la carte pricing, as contrasted with “all
you can eat” subscription services such as Netflix and Hulu.
Live Sports
The major sporting leagues and organizations offer live
streamed games with fewer blackouts. The subscriptions
range in price and can be as high as $200 for a season’s pass
that lets you watch any (or every) game. Compare that with
the monthly cable bill, though, and it might make fiscal
NHL GameCenter LIVE, NFL Sunday Ticket, NBA League Pass, Premium; these services let you stream live games,
watch previous games and highlights, check box scores and
much more.