Most of the Millennials are ditching regular cable to opt for internet streaming services. Not only do the online video streaming services offer flexibility in terms of device and location, they also provide the choice of viewing any and every TV show at any time, convenient to the user. All you need is an internet-enabled TV, computer, Xbox or any other device that can be hooked on to the TV and can be used to access the internet. There are many service providers in the internet content space, and each come with its own benefits and pitfalls. Here is a comparison between the two biggest content sourcing services, Netflix and Hulu. The comparisons have been drawn to understand the nuances of each service and to analyze the cost to benefit ratio of each, so that we can reach an unbiased verdict.
Hulu Plus is the advanced or the upgraded subscription from the free service, Hulu. The going rate of the subscription is $7.99 per month and there are no other packages, offers or anything. Netflix also has a monthly subscription of $7.99. This places both the services at the same pedestal as far as the price point is concerned.
TV Shows on Offer
The Hulu Plus members get to watch a huge database of television shows that are updated within a day or two of their cable broadcast. So, Hulu Plus offers fresh content and a whole variety of it. On the other hand, Netflix does not have a great storehouse of TV shows like Hulu. The TV content is limited, but most of the popular shows are available. However, the factor that plays in favor of Netflix is that it offers a lot of premium shows that air on HBO, Showtime, and so on. So, if users want to watch old seasons of TV shows and not necessarily fret over brand new episodes being updated, then Netflix may work. On the other hand, users who are looking to replace cable to watch TV shows online, Hulu Plus should be the service they pick.
The movie collection on Netflix is better than Hulu Plus. They have more recent and more movies to show viewers. Hulu Plus offers a decent collection of movies. While it may not be as hefty as its TV show database, it has some good quality films and documentaries. So, those who are looking for a streaming service solely for the purpose of watching movies, will be better off with Netflix.
Apart from the regular video settings, the Hulu player allows the users to select the resolution of the content, they wish to watch. All of the shows can be watched in high definition, high, medium or low resolution. Users can also select the ‘Auto’ option, to let the player choose the resolution that works best with the device being used, for optimal experience. There are also options to adjust the light settings for a better viewing experience. Netflix comes with all the regular settings as far as the player is concerned. A major difference being the user cannot select the resolution of the video and it is adjusted automatically
depending on the hard drive of the device being used. The additional feature here is the list of upcoming episodes, which is not present in the Hulu Plus player.
Hulu can be accessed from any device and the user interface is highly user friendly. Users can also set a watchlist of their favorite shows. Similarly, Netflix also has a nice and welcoming page on which users can view all the shows and log in to their account. It also suggests videos based on the user’s previous searches, tastes and preferences. The Netflix website is faster, much easier to scan, and offers a more fluid experience. For any online portal, providing a seamless user interface has to be a priority and Netflix definitely takes the cake here.
Though compatibility is not an issue with Netflix, Hulu Plus has been found to be incompatible with some of the operating systems out there, which could be a major concern for some. As far as platforms are concerned, Hulu and Netflix both are offered on many devices – Phone, TV, tablet, laptops, Xbox, Playstation, and so on. These devices can be used to stream content through both the service providers.
In addition to the internet streaming, Netflix also offers a DVD delivery service. The users can rent the DVDs that can be received by mail. They can be used as long as the users have an active Netflix subscription. This was the business model that Netflix actually started with. Hulu Plus, however, does not offer any such service.
Free Membership Trial
Both Netflix and Hulu Plus offer free membership trials. Netflix offers this for a month, while Hulu Plus offers free trial for a week. The Hulu Plus trial also has a limit of 5 videos per month. Also, Hulu is the free version of the site and can be accessed from anywhere anytime. The content, of course is limited.
Hulu Plus probably has more features when it comes to watching videos, since adjustments can be made to the light settings, and quality of the video, among other things. Alternatively, Netflix is faster and better in terms of surfing. Its site works efficiently on any device. Other than that, while Hulu Plus has better television content, Netflix offers more movies. For someone who is looking to solely use either of the services, Hulu Plus seems to be a better option with all the television shows updated regularly. However, if a user wants to supplement cable, Netflix is the obvious choice because of its awesome movie collection.
There is also a trend to subscribe to both the services, in lieu of cable. The reason being simple. A cable connection would cost anywhere in the range of $70 to $80 per month. However, even subscribing to both the services together, would only cost a measly $16 for a month. Both Netflix and Hulu Plus provide quality content and users should make use of the free trial to get a drift of whether or not the service offers what they are looking for.
You might also want to check into VIDGO – the new online television service.