Streaming services are slowly but surely starting to replace cable television, but each streaming platform has different shows and movies that it offers. Where not everyone wants to spend the money to get every streaming service that exists, knowing the pros and cons of different streaming platforms helps people watch the shows and movies they want to without breaking the bank.
I’ve compiled a pros and cons list for Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, and have ranked each of them according to my personal preferences. I include the price, mobile app, and some of the shows and movies available as part of my ranking.
- Great original content
- Large selection of both movies and shows
- Good mobile app
- Ability to download shows
- Binge-friendly format
- Have to wait for new seasons to come out
- Often remove old shows/movies
Netflix is one of the most popular streaming services, and for good reason. The biggest benefit to Netflix in my opinion are all of their original shows and movies, such as Stranger Things, Derry Girls, Mulan (one of my all-time favorite movies), and many more. Also, they have one of the better mobile apps, with an intuitive design and the ability to download certain videos.
However, there are some problems with Netflix, the biggest of which for me is the price. Not only is Netflix pretty expensive, but they have also been raising their prices recently. The lowest plan starts at $9 dollars a month but has limitations such as no HD videos and viewing on only one screen at a time, while the most expensive plan costs $16 a month. The other biggest drawback for me is that you have to wait a long time for newer seasons and episodes to come out on Netflix.
- Episodes come out on Hulu as they come out on TV
- Options for add-ons like live TV, HBO, and Spotify plans
- Large selection of TV shows
- Cheaper option
- Not as many movies as Netflix
- Mobile app isn’t great
- Glitches occasionally on the website and mobile app
Hulu is an amazing option if you’re looking for a large selection of TV shows, especially current shows. One of the biggest benefits of Hulu over Netflix is the fact that episodes are often released on Hulu as they come out on TV, whereas Netflix makes you wait a long time. While this does make shows less binge-friendly, it’s great if you don’t have cable but still want to watch cable shows as they come out. Some of my favorite shows on Hulu are The Good Place and Veronica Mars. I haven’t seen too many Hulu original shows (season 1 of Runaways was pretty good), but I have heard good things about most of them.
I also really like how customizable the plans are, with various price points and add-ons to suit different needs. They also offer student discounts, making it a great option for people in college. However, I will say that the mobile app isn’t the best, and I often receive error messages when I try to watch something online (this could be an isolated problem though). Also, I would recommend Netflix over Hulu if you watch movies but not TV shows, as I think Netflix’s movie selection is better.
- Comes with Amazon Prime
- Great original content
- Ability to rent straight from the site if a show or movie is not available
- Not too expensive, and student pricing available
- Not always clear whether or not something is actually free or if you have to pay extra
- Streaming online is not compatible with certain plug-ins
- The app is good, but has some issues
Prime video is such a great option, if only because you get the other benefits of Amazon Prime as well. I mean, free 2-day shipping, special deals, and access to their entire library of shows and movies for $13 dollars a month or $119 a year is kind of an insane deal. They have a great selection, including shows like Psych and The Tick, but I will say I think the show selection is better than the movie selection. However, you can rent shows or movies straight from the site if it’s not available for free.
My biggest complaint with Prime Video is that it, for some reason, makes my comuter overheat when I try to watch videos. Now, I’ve talked to other people who don’t share this problem, so it’s probably not too big of a problem, but it does mean that you may need to download a different plug-in or the Prime Video app to watch something. The app is fine but not the most intuitive, and it starts the next video way too quickly. And finally, I don’t like that shows and movies not included with the actual prime membership often show up in searches, as it makes it confusing as to which videos you can actually watch.
All of the streaming platforms listed above are great options for streaming shows and movies for different reasons. Netflix is best for people who watch a lot of shows and movies, and who can afford to pay a little extra. Hulu is best for students and people who may want to stop paying for cable. And finally, Prime Video is best for people who use Amazon regularly and would benefit from the additional benefits of Prime.
Overall, my top pick out of these three would be Prime Video. It is just such a good deal with the other benefits of Prime, not to mention they have a huge selection of videos (with some pretty great original ones as well). My second choice would be Hulu because of it’s relatively low cost and the ability to add on extra services like Showtime and Live TV. Finally, while I love Netflix and its absolutely huge library of shows, movies, and original content, the high (and rising) cost does limit its appeal for me.
At the end of the day, you really can’t go wrong with either Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video. Each of them has their drawbacks, but ultimately the benefits outweigh those problems. What streaming platforms do you like to use, or which ones do you hate? Let me know in the comments below! And make to subscribe to be notified of my newest blog posts!