Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Cheaper Alternative to Cable: Netflix V.

Amanda Gerakos, Marketing Intern

As college students, our extremely busy schedules make it hard to eat at the same time everyday, much less watch our favorite show at the same time every week. All I can say is, thank goodness for DVR. However, cable is already expensive, and adding on that neat DVR machine only racks up your bill more. But what are you going to do? Recently, more and more people are ditching their monthly cable package and subscribing to Internet streaming websites like Netflix and Hulu. These websites might be able to provide a cable-like experience for you and be cheaper on your budget. Netflix and Hulu are very similar, but have some key differences. In order to choose which one is right for you, check out these comparisons and descriptions!

  • $7.99 per month
  • No advertisements
  • No commercials
  • Movies and Television shows available
  • Netflix Original Shows
  • Available on PS3, Wii, Xbox, PC, Mac, Mobile Phone, Mobile Tablet and some Blu-Ray players
  •  Functions include: Pause, rewind, fast forward
  •  Offers a one-month free trial
  • Some movies and shows are offered in other languages

Netflix debuted as an Internet-based movie rental service that sent movies straight to your home mailbox. The mail service is still available for an additional $7.99 per month; (15.98/ month for both) however, Netflix has expanded to offer movies and television shows that can be streamed directly to your computer or any Netflix-capable device with Internet service. Once you subscribe to Netflix, you will be able to access their extensive database of television shows and movies. Netflix currently offers over 100,000 streaming options, and is quickly growing. Originally, Netflix only had limited shows and movies, but now is offering more updated shows and movies everyday. Netflix is known for having both recent movies and classic movies. They also offer television shows by the season, either after the series is over or after a season has been completed. Netflix has also started creating Netflix Original Series, only viewable through Netflix. An example of a Netflix Original is the series Orange is the New Black, which has had amazing reviews! Once you have subscribed to Netflix, you are able to enjoy a completely ad free experience along with being able to pause, rewind, and fast forward whatever you are watching. There is no limit to how many times you can watch any content, or how long you can watch. Once you subscribe, you can fully access the world of Netflix wherever and however you want (as long as you have an Internet connection). Netflix also allows users to create multiple profiles in case you share the account with your family. This is a nice feature since Netflix suggests movies and TV shows based on what you have previously watched. If you would like to learn more about Netflix, or experience what it has to offer, try the one-month free trial!

Hulu Plus
  •  $7.99 per month
  • Limited advertisements
  • Movies and Television shows available
  • Hulu Original Shows
  • Available on PS3, Wii, Xbox, PC, Mac, Mobile Phone, Mobile Tablet and some Blu-Ray players
  • Pause, rewind, fast forward
  • Offers a one-week free trial
  • Some movies and shows are offered in other languages is a slightly lesser known provider in the world of online streaming of television shows and movies. is a free option for users who want to watch TV shows on their personal computers. launched Hulu Plus, their monthly subscription service, to offers subscribers an expanded content library in the form of full seasons and more episodes of shows already available through the free portions of Hulu. Hulu Plus, like Netflix, is full of current season episodes from many major networks like Fox, ABC, Comedy Central, BBC America, USA, and CW. Hulu Plus also has Hulu Original Shows, like Spy, a highly rated show, that they sponsor or make and only show on Hulu Plus. Hulu Plus is also known for having the most up to date episodes of your favorite television shows. Hulu Plus allows streaming of most episodes the morning after they air on television, and provide the entire season that has already aired to view at your convenience. However, the type of contract that Hulu Plus has with a certain network is the ultimate decision maker on the number of episodes they will have of any given show, and when they will become available. This is a great advantage to some people who like to stay caught up with their current shows. Or even if you adopt a new favorite show, you are able to go back and view all of the older episodes and get caught up.

However, it is important to note that even with a Hulu Plus subscription, there are still limited advertisements during shows and movies. Hulu’s website explains that this is in order to keep the cost of Hulu Plus relatively low while being able to provide the most current episodes. Like Netflix, once you subscribe to Hulu Plus you are able to pause, rewind, and fast-forward the television show while you are watching, although you cannot use these functions during the commercials. You are also able to view any content on the website at any time that is convenient for you. If you would like to know more about Hulu Plus you can take advantage of their one-week free trial.

If you are holding back because you prefer to watch your shows on the big screen, there is always the option of buying an HDMI cord ($5-$25.) The cord connects to your computer and an HDMI capable TV and streams the content that is on your computer directly to your TV. This creates an experience just like cable that you can control from your computer, so it is still full-screen and you can pause, rewind, and fast-forward. It’s the best of both worlds! For more information on HDMI cords, click here. Or if you already have a Smart TV or Blu-Ray player you can already easily stream directly to your television.

Both of these Internet streaming websites have a lot to offer. Choosing is just a matter of preferences. Who knows, maybe these services will entice you enough that you’ll ditch the cable package and save some money in the end! I know I personally pay around $45/ month for my cable package, and that only offers 22 channels. Each of these websites offers much more than any basic cable package for half the cost.  Another option is to always check out your favorite show’s website. Many cable networks will upload the most recent episodes of a show to their websites. Just know that they often only keep a maximum of five episodes at a time! Just remember, if your cable bill is becoming too expensive, there are always alternatives!

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