As the Hulu Vs Netflix debate rages on, here are a few factors you should consider before choosing either
What is streaming?
Streaming refers to a technology that is often used to deliver content to computers, Smart TVs, Gaming consoles, mobile and hand held devices via a good working and a stable internet connection.
As opposed to the native and older ‘cable TV’ technology and programming, streaming involves transmission of data consisting of video and audio allowing the intended audience to watch and listen to whatever they want and wherever they are.
Also, unlike traditional progressive downloads where the recipient has to download the entire content before accessing it, streaming allows the recipient to start using and accessing the content even before the entire file is downloaded.
With streaming the options are endless whether you are fan Lives Sports, Audio Podcasts, High Octane speed racing shows, Animations, Thrillers or just a ‘Breaking news’ kind of a person. With millions of people joining this bandwagon that is streaming and with a great appetite for internet globally, it is important to have some knowledge and some in depth analysis on what content to go for depending your taste, budget and content quality among other factors.
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Streaming Services or Platforms
A streaming service is your online store and a source of content. It is specifically an ‘on demand’’ online source of your favorite TV shows, thrillers, latest series or where just catch a live football match. Streaming platforms readily provide a better if not the best alternative to cable and Satellite TV at a fee charged either as a subscription depending on variety of content that you want, or pay per view mode where you only pay for what you want to watch or listen to.
Streaming platforms also rely heavily on cloud based computing and for this reason some of the services may not be available in some certain regions and if the particular content is availed, one may be forced to pay higher fees.
As competition continues amongst service providers, it is worth noting that some platforms support a myriad of hardware devices including gaming consoles such as Xbox, Smart TVs while others are tailored for mobile devices such as Nintendo.
Other platforms will have ads running in between shows at lower fee to the user while other platforms run on an ads free model.
Amongst popular entertainment service providers, Netflix has been around for quite some. However as competition continues to increase and many other similar content providers demanding a share of the pie, Hulu has also threatened to take up a major share of online content consumers.
Netflix and Hulu are the two dominant service and content providers delivering entertainment content to its audience or users, and have thousands if not hundreds of movies and shows available to stream. However, each of the platforms has its pros and cons.
Which Platform suits me?
Netflix subscriptions remain a challenge for most users meaning affordability is an issue. On the other hand Hulu service subscription is the way to go if you want a pocket friendly option, however one has to contend with numerous ads. However, you won’t have access to Hulu’s services if you are not in the U.S.
So how does one get the right combination of reasons to make the rightful decision on which platform to seek content from? These are the major factors that are most likely to influence your decision.
No one would want a service that is geo-limited and Hulu is only available in the U.S. Netflix on the other hand, streams and is readily available to more than 190 countries, including the U.S.
Experience, content quality, and features
Netflix streams and delivers its contents in 4K and supports high quality HDR video. This feature sets a whole new level as far as entertainment is concerned, the videos and the sound quality is not compromised at all. This is completely opposite of Hulu as it does not offer anything close to Netflix.
For those on the move probably travelling or on a daily bus commute, Netflix offers a fantastic feature such that it allows you to download content and watch later.
Hulu fans will however be disappointed as this is not available on its platform and there is no ETA on exactly when this feature will be available.
On a brighter side Hulu provides Live TV broadcast. In this arrangement, the user is granted access to on-demand content as well as a number of Live TV broadcast networks. This feature is not available on Netflix.
This is a major factor and an important element especially when you consider service providers are fond of hiking and inflating subscription fees every now and then. To have as much consumers as possible, Hulu and Netflix have different pricing regimes for different subscription needs.
Netflix has a three tiers when it comes to pricing:
- At slightly over $8 per month of basic plan streaming for one user.
- Standard plan around $12.99 per month of HD streaming for two simultaneous users.
- Premium Plan where you have access to 4K content and up to four simultaneous users, however this will set you back $15.99 per month.
A point worth noting is that Netflix is an Ads free entertainment environment.
Hulu on the other hand seems to be the cheaper option. Its most basic streaming option starts from as low as $5 per month. This is cheaper than Netflix by a far margin.
The only drawback to this affordable option is whether you will keep up with the numerous ads that come bundled on this offer especially as you catch up on your favorite series.
There is an option for a “No commercials” plan but you will have to part with slightly over $11.99 and you will still get a few ads because of rights and legal issues, though not as annoying as the ads on the standard tier. Both plans however allow for a single user access at any given time.
Upgrade features to Hulu plus and bundle option include a number of Live TV broadcasts and content from another service such as HBO and Disney Plus and ESPN for $12.99 per month.
To spice things up you can add $10 on top of what you pay for Live TV for an additional stream and unlimited access for devices in your house.
One can also have a package where you got Hulu with Live TV and substitute it with the old native cable TV for around $44.99 per month without losing the traditional channel setups you were used to.
In terms of what to offer and the variety of what is on offer, Hulu and Netflix are somehow intertwined. However on closer examination of the variety in content, these two platforms are so different as much as they appear to be offering the same shows.
Hulu uses a different approach “comfort television” that seeks to avail those particular shows that are considered ‘Off air’ but have a massive audience who want to watch them all over again.
Using this concept Hulu has managed some sort of arrangement with some biggest studios like the Warner Bros. What happens in this scenario is that Hulu licenses some of this networks’ shows and series like the ‘ER’ and distributes this content to its consumer’s base.
This concept is also known as Licensed Programming and is one of Hulu’s way of making consumers can always revisit classic older shows.
Netflix on the other hand will also offer licensed shows but focused on shows that have Netflix’s original programming.
The Bottom Line
With industry giants such as AT&T, Disney, and Comcast looking into building their subscription services, streaming is bound to get more segmented. In the meantime, Netflix and Hulu remain at the core of streaming as we know it today.
Although it’s easy to bundle them together, they are quite different. Netflix will help you keep up with the latest and trending TV shows, movies, and series while Hulu is all about comfort binging. Your choice depends on what type of content matters to you.