Streaming is the future of television! It’s no wonder why Amazon, Google and Apple getting in on the streaming game. However, it is Netflix (the originator of subscription-based streaming service) and Hulu Plus that have arguably emerged at the forefront of the industry. This is no real surprise if you really look at the content on both channels new and old in comparison to other subscription-based services. The only problem is, with so much talk about comparing the top two streaming services, the fact that they are virtually complete opposite service providers is often lost on. These are the aspects of both services that helped me reach that conclusion.
Although both subscription based services now have their own original content to boast of, depending on what your gauge of quality is, Netflix or Hulu Plus could be the service provider for you. For instance, Hulu has some interesting original cartoons like The Awesomes and Fugget About It as well as drama series including the Emmy nominated Behind the Mask. Hulu also has some ridiculousness like The Real Hotwives of Orlando and Quickdraw to round out their original programming; if you’re looking for a laugh. Netflix, on the other hand, has received both critical acclaim and Emmy nominations for its dramatic original programming House of Cards, horror-thriller programming Hemlock Grove as well as the comedic series Orange is the New Black; however, Netflix also has its share of ridiculousness, in the likes of BoJack Horseman. All things considered, they both offer some noteworthy content and some not so much, it all just depends on what your particular tastes are.
For me, both my Netflix and Hulu Plus subscriptions cost the same price: $7.99/month. However, this won’t last forever. Netflix announced plans to raise prices for its subscription-based service for all new customers that began back in January 2014, but the kicker is that existing customers like myself, will get to enjoy the same price for what the CEO Reed Hastings referred to as “a generous time period,” at the end of which we (old subscribers) too will have to pay the price increase for the same service. What exactly does “a generous time period mean,” who knows, but what I do know is that many Netflix subscribers have already announced (on the Internet) that they will discontinue their subscription if the service goes up to two dollars; my feelings aren’t so dire on the matter. As long as it doesn’t go up by $10, then I won’t have a problem. Hulu Plus, on the other hand, which is essentially a pet project for NBC Universal, 20th Century Fox and the Walt Disney Company, has yet to announce a price increase, but then again it is co-owned by three conglomerates that are big enough to take on the cable and satellite companies to keep their prices low; if they wanted to.
Since Netflix first appeared on the scene in 1997 and then added it subscription-based service in 1999, it has nearly dominated the streaming market. Look no further than the ongoing battle with HBO, for example, for proof that Netflix is a serious threat to cable service; unlike its much younger competitor Hulu Plus who has yet to have a public showdown with cable, which is probably due to its unique and powerful ownership. For years, HBO (the cable and satellite television network owned by Time Warner) has been fighting to not only prohibit Netflix from gaining access to its original content but the conglomerate has also waged an all out war against the subscription-based service, in an effort to drive up the price so that subscribers would have no choice but to abandon Netflix and go back to cable service. I don’t know where you stand on the whole streaming versus cable battle, but you have to admit, if Netflix weren’t a serious contender, HBO wouldn’t even bother wasting money on legal fees trying to demolish the streaming giant. In my opinion, if Netflix has been able to fight the good fight this long, especially after losing subscribers after the announcement of the separation of their mail-in rental services back in 2011, then they certainly won’t go down without a fight. With Hulu Plus, who knows what will happen in the future, especially if an internal tug-of-war breaks out among the owners over who owns the content.
The battle between the subscription-based streaming services and cable is one that will definitely keep us all entertained for years to come, but make no mistake, that is where the battle begins and ends. There is no competition between streamers like Netflix and Hulu Plus because they are running two different races. However, I will say that if you’re just looking to get in on the streaming action for the first time and original content and potential staying power is top priority, you may want to seriously consider Netflix. But, if you’re more concerned about price stability in the short term, and you’re a little flexible on the programming and just looking to catch up on your favorite broadcast television shows after they have aired the night before, then I would definitely advise you towards picking Hulu Plus. Either way, really you can’t lose.