Video Streaming Services: So Many Choices

Watching TV and movies used to be one of my very favorite things to do.  Then about 6 years ago I decided I watched too much TV instead if living life and it was just costing me too much.

I got rid of cable and didn’t look back.  Once in a while I felt left out when everyone was talking about the hottest show or something funny.  I still had my internet of course, so I looked up free TV options.  There were plenty!,,, etc… almost every TV channel offered some shows for free online.  I had to sit through commercials, but I was mostly listening while I worked and barely watched anything.

Then came the new wave of TV, Roku, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Blockbuster (are they still around?), and now Redbox.  I am now trying to figure out which ones I like and which are worth the money.  I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions.  Here is my opinion.

Roku: $49-$95 one time purchase

I had never even heard of Roku before I got roommates.  My roommate loved his and suggested I buy one. I happened to have an amazon gift certificate from Christmas so I bought the Roku 3, which is the newest one as of writing this.  It’s a box that plugs into your TV and for the one time purchase you can get free TV channels through your WiFi.   I’m very pleased with it.

You can also use the Roku to stream your Amazon Prime, your Netflicks, Redbox, Hulu Plus, etc.  There are even hidden free porn channels… shhhhhh.

Amazon Prime: $79 a year

Amazon Prime is more than just TV.  You pay a yearly membership fee at and you get to watch movies, TV shows, free 2 day shipping on any orders, as well as one free Kindle book a month, and more benefits you can read about on the site.  It’s $79.00 a year, making that $6.58 a month.  Which is cheaper than any other subscription with much more value. You can watch your prime online, or stream it through your Roku or smart TV.

They also offer movie purchases and rentals at an addition cost.

The only downfall is that you cannot pay monthly like the other companies, but this is the best overall option and my personal choice.  My parents feel they have a better selection of mainstream movies than the others as well.

Netflix: $7.99 a month

Certainly the most popular of the Video streaming companies right now.  It streams well with no buffering (In my experiences), and a simple easy to use webpage.  However many of the titles are B rated and straight to video selections as are Redbox, and Hulu Plus.  Netflix does offer some original content you can only get from their membership such as Season 4 of Arrested Development and Orange is the new Black.

You can get DVD’s in the mail for an addition cost, but its slow and costly.

Except for the limited original content Netlix has pretty much the same shows as the other video streaming companies.   I happily used them (a friend let me share his account.  Each account can stream on 2 devices at a time) for the last year, although I got bored with the same selections over and over.

Redbox Instant: $8 a month

Redbox has been putting video rental stores to shame for a while now, easy, cheap and a decent selection.  Now Redbox has moved into the video streaming business with partner Verizon.  It works almost exactly the same way as Netflix except you get 4 DVD credits every month with your subscription and the option to rent more recent videos online at an additional cost.

I was offered a 30 day free trial and of course I jumped on it to see if it was better than Netflix.  So far it seems to have mainly the same selection.  It’s a little difficult to browse their selections while streaming through Roku, PS3, or smart TV, but online was easier to browse.  The webpage is still lacking.  Their selection as far as I can tell is almost identical to the other streaming providers.  If I weren’t a fan of Prime I would choose this over Netflix for the simple fact that you get more features and the 4 DVD’s a month.

Hulu Plus: $7.99 a month

This is the one site I have not personally used.  I have frequented, but I have not used Hulu Plus monthly service yet.  Hulu seems to have a larger selection of current TV shows.

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