Which Online Streaming Video Services Are Worth It?

Compare the various video streaming services

Online streaming video services such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu+, Google Play and iTunes allow users to access large libraries of video content, including popular television shows and movies. Typically, these service providers collect a monthly fee, and in return, you can watch as much content as you like. But which of these services offer the biggest bang for your buck?

A Comparison of Online Streaming Video Service Providers

Here's a run-down of what each of these service providers offers:

  • Netflix. One of the first major players in the online video streaming market, Netflix is known primarily for its large library of movies. However, the company has expanded its offerings to include popular television shows, and it also generates its own original content. If you're primarily looking to enjoy movies, including new releases as well as popular classics, Netflix likely has the most to offer you.
  • Amazon Instant Video. Formerly known as Amazon Video on Demand, Amazon Instant Video offers titles for purchase, as well as online streaming of popular movies and television shows. You can also send content directly to your TiVo DVR if you have one, which is one of the biggest advantages of using this service.
  • Hulu+. Hulu allows you to watch TV shows online for free, but there are commercial interruptions and limited options. If you upgrade to a Hulu+ paid membership, you'll enjoy access to one of the Internet's biggest libraries of television shows. If you're more into TV than movies, Hulu+ is likely a better bet than Netflix.
  • Google Play. The biggest advantage of Google Play is that it offers an extremely broad range of digital content, including not only movies and TV shows, but also books, apps, music, games and magazines. While its TV and movie libraries are relatively limited compared to the market leaders, the Google Play service is worth it if you want access to a diverse range of media and content properties.
  • iTunes. From a relative standpoint, iTunes has a fairly small library. While iTunes is a great source of music, it lags behind its competitors for movies and TV shows.

Many of these service providers offer free trial memberships, so you can get a temporary subscription and check things out on your own before deciding whether or not to purchase a full subscription.

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