Cable companies are running scared. They’re trying to lure those who have cut the cord back into the world of channels like ESPN, TNT, and CNN. But more and more viewers just aren’t buying what the cable giants like Comcast and Cox are selling. Satellite companies like DirecTV aren’t faring much better. Cable companies have a much-deserved reputation for providing terrible customer service, and they’re also expensive and require you to sign contracts that last at least a year, if not longer. It’s a lot of hassle, and it’s no wonder that more and more people are beginning to rely exclusively on streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. If you’re about to cut the cord, you’ll want to know which streaming services are the best investment. That depends a lot on what you’re looking for.
Original content versus old favorites
Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime are generally considered to be the three major streaming services in America right now. Networks like CBS are trying to get their own streaming services off the ground, but it’s unclear if enough people will ever pay a monthly fee to gain access to just one network’s offerings. When Netflix first began all the way back in 1997, it offered DVD-by-mail to customers around the country. Nowadays, the world has changed, and Netflix is known almost entirely for its streaming options. A few years ago, Netflix was the place to go to watch shows you had already seen, shows like Friends and 30 Rock. In 2013, they decided to venture into original programming by developing House of Cards, followed soon after by Orange is the New Black, followed soon after by a seemingly endless amount of original TV shows and even movies. One movie, Mudbound, received four Academy Award nominations this year, which is a huge deal for Netflix. However, there are people who believe that Netflix is letting too many shows go to other services. 30 Rock left Netflix and moved to Hulu, as did shows like Bob’s Burgers and Lost.
The commercial conundrum
So what do you do if you’re a big fan of a show that is now available only on Hulu? For many people, the answer is to purchase a Hulu subscription. There are still plenty of Netflix shows to binge watch, but Hulu has made a habit of acquiring the programs that Netflix decides to let go. Hulu is a newer service, so it’s probably trying to act as the aggressor and really go hard at Netflix in an attempt to throw Netflix off its perch as the top streaming service. It’s like Netflix is Coke and Hulu is Pepsi. But Hulu still has one big problem: the commercials. Netflix doesn’t have ads, while Amazon has short ads for in-house programming that air before your show starts. Hulu, however, has a lot of ads. If you don’t want ads, you can pay more to avoid them, but guess what you’re still going to get? Ads, albeit fewer of them. Shows like Grey’s Anatomy will still make you watch an ad before and after your program. It’s an understandable source of frustration, and it’s why Netflix will probably hold onto its status as the streaming king for at the least near future.