Company Better Than Netflix?
Netflix is great but this company is AMAZING!
Netflix got started in 1997 as a DVD-by-mail service with no late fees. That idea pretty much put movie rental places out of business. In 2007, it started offering streaming content, which has quickly become its core business (and a major source of internet traffic).
As of April 2018, Netflix has 125 million members worldwide, more than 56.71 million of which are in the US (about 3.167 million still got DVDs as of March 31). While movies were once the main reason to watch Netflix, these days it’s known for original programming that has inspired many a binge watch. It literally spends billions on original shows and movies.
Hulu started as a similar beast, though centered more on network TV than movies. It launched in 2008, mainly as a syndication engine for its owners, like NBC Universal, and quickly became the go-to service for finding programs from most of the major television networks (minus CBS and The CW) shortly after they aired. It’s the second most watched streaming service in the US, according to comScore—behind Netflix.
Hulu is only available in the US (with a knock-off service in Japan; you can’t even get it in Canada) and currently boasts 20 million subscribers. That’s only one-third of Netflix’s US numbers, but good growth since it said it had 12 million subscribers as of 2016.
Hulu’s biggest change was the May 2017 jump into live TV, which is actually a completely separate service on par with Sling TV and DirecTV Now, so we’re not really considering it here. But if you need a Live TV service without paying for basic cable, Hulu with Live TV is our Editors’ Choice.
If you’re the type of person who will only subscribe to one streaming video service, how do you pick? We’ll look at each service and pick a winner in several categories to determine which service is best.
Hulu used to have a free tier with limited shows and advertising, but killed it in 2016. Now, the price is a flat $7.99 per month for its base content. (Hulu used to call this tier “Hulu Plus,” but now it’s just Hulu.)
The biggest problem with that base tier is it still shows commercials. If you’re okay with that, then enjoy. But for an extra $4 per month, go commercial free. (You can thank Twitter for that one.) That’s $11.99 per month for a lot of content sans commercials (with a few exceptions that, due to streaming rights, must show commercials before and after a show.) For that $11.99 per month, you can view Hulu on only one device at a time officially, but typically it’ll run on two or three at a time. You can create up to six different profiles per account, and put a Hulu account on hold for up to 12 weeks if you’re going to be traveling. (Hulu With Live TV will set you back $39.99 per month.)
Netflix pricing is a little more complicated. With Netflix, you pay to see it on one screen in standard definition (SD) for $7.99 per month, or two screens simultaneously in high definition (HD) for $10.99 a month—there was a $1 price increase in October 2017. That HD part is key—two screens are fine and all, but HD is a necessity on most TVs and computers. SD just doesn’t cut it, quality-wise.
You can go to four screens at a time for $13.99 a month (also increased in October, up from $11.99)—and with that Premium plan you also get support for Ultra HD. That’s necessary for a 4K TV…as is a pretty rock-solid 25 Megabit per second (Mbps) or higher internet download connection and some specific hardware.