Be Kind. Rewind! is a phrase so archaic and foreign in today’s world of Blu-rays, Video on Demand, and online streaming that for most of this generation it is meaningless. Let’s think about how well known that phrase used to be if you were around to experience the clunky, rectangle that is a VHS tape. Your entertainment was based on drives to the local Blockbuster Video to check out the newest releases or old favorites. I, myself, remember how much I used to grate on my younger brother’s nerves because I “wasted” my one rental on Child’s Play for the 10th time. What can I say? I loved the crap scared out of me as a child. So as the years progressed, we moved on from physically checking out movies to the pay-per-view of VOD from the comfort of our home, to what is now the most common entertainment source, instant online streaming and instant downloads.
To be able to stream movies and television shows instantly from your couch is what has made online streaming a successful business. Besides it being convenient, you can virtually watch any movie or TV show you want within minutes. Think about when you used to show up to a video store and the movie you wanted to rent was already checked out. Either they didn’t have enough copies or it was a new release and everyone wanted to watch it. Online streaming eliminates this problem. Now what you’re faced with is the decision on which service works best for your needs.
Let’s start with Netflix. This popular online streaming service is subscription based with three plan options: Basic, Standard, and Premium. All options offer unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows at the price of $8 to $12 a month with the additional option to add on DVD rentals. Watching Netflix is easy when you can access it on the go via smartphone and tablet, or at home through your laptop or video game console, such as the Xbox One. Netflix has thousands of movie and TV show options and regularly adds new movies to offer subscribers more of what they want. With the popularity of this service Netflix has even branched out and produced their own TV shows known as Netflix Originals, such as the hit Daredevil, which premiered this past April.
Another top option is Amazon Prime Instant Video. This option is a benefit of being an Amazon Prime member. An Amazon Prime subscription is $100 per year, $8.25 per month, which ends up being a great value especially if you shop on Amazon often. They carry almost exactly the same movies as Netflix and also have their own produced shows called Amazon Studio Exclusives. The viewing options are similar as well with Amazon Prime Instant Video being accessible though other devices as well as Amazon’s Fire TV. One advantage over Netflix is the option of renting movies that are not free through Prime as well as being able to buy movies that download instantly to your account. This gives you a better selection in areas where Netflix might be lacking.
If Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video are on top of the movie streaming game, then Hulu Plus dominates when it comes to streaming television shows. At $7.99 per month, Hulu Plus has a better TV show catalogue than the previous two streaming services and still offers a few full length movies. This subscription service is for those people who like to watch older shows as well as those that are currently airing in real time. Hulu Plus posts new episodes of currently playing shows days or sometimes hours after it has just aired on TV. It gives you the convenience of watching your shows later, or lets you catch up when you get behind. Hulu Plus is a good supplemental subscription to add to the previous two subscriptions to give you more diversity in your TV show selections.
Depending on whether you have an iPhone or run an android system could also open up a few options for downloading content. They might not be the most popular options, or the cheapest, but they do carry a sizeable selection for around the same price. iTunes and the Google Play stores both offer newly released and older material and is pay-per-content, rent or buy. YouTube has also stepped into the field of renting or buying movies.
For myself, and I’m sure many others, online streaming and instant downloading has transformed the way I get the content I want. No more leaving a video store or Redbox kiosk empty handed, or leaving my house period. It’s all at my fingertips. Who’s to say that in the future I can’t stream movies instantly in a car that drives itself? It would sure make those long commutes much more bearable.