Streaming Video Service: Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Amazon Instant Video?

Which video streaming service is right for you? Tech Talker compares the top contenders: Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant Video.

Eric Escobar
4-minute read
Episode #146

Normally with a paid subscription to a streaming service, commercials are a thing of the past (in fact, that's usually one of the major pluses of using a paid service). But with Hulu Plus, paying the monthly subscription means you only have access to the content, commercials and all!

Personally, I don't think this is so bad. I mean, when you pay for cable TV, you still get ads right? I think the absolute worst thing about Hulu Plus is that it is the same ad every single time - even when I watch multiple episodes from the same series. It's exasperating. At one point I turned off my computer because I was sick of seeing the same ad over and over and over.

Hulu Plus is really only an option if you want to stay current on TV shows. Even then, if you’re really set on watching a specific show, oftentimes networks will offer their most popular shows streaming for free and with much better (or rather, more tolerable) ads.

Hulu Plus Cost: $8 per month (or $96 per year)

Amazon Prime Instant Video

Up until recently, I hadn’t really heard anything good or bad about Amazon Prime Instant Video. Somehow, it wasn't on my radar.

However, after checking out their selection, I will say it’s pretty impressive. Yes, the cost of $99 per year is higher than Netflix's (but only by $3 when you multiply $8 per month by 12 months). However, that $99 is the full price of your Amazon Prime account, which comes with free two-day shipping on thousands of items, access to ad-free Amazon Music, tons of movies and TV shows, and 1 free Kindle book loan per month! The video selection isn’t as good as on Hulu and Netflix, but it comes with the whole ecosystem of Amazon devices, such as the Amazon Fire Phone and the Kindle Fire.

With Amazon Prime, you’re not paying for a standalone streaming video service, such as Hulu Plus or Netflix. You're actually getting a full package of services. So I don’t feel like it’s actually a fair comparison (especially when membership includes free two-day shipping on almost anything you could want)!

Amazon Prime Instant Video Cost: $99 per year

Here are your 3 quick and dirty tips for picking the perfect streaming video service:

  1. Netflix is the main player in the streaming video market, with a huge selection of older movies and TV shows.
  2. Amazon Instant Video is a great option if you order a lot of merchandise online because it comes with a full Amazon Prime membership.
  3. Hulu Plus is great if your goal is to keep up to date with TV shows without waiting for a full season to air. (Be warned: A paid subscription still comes with a lot of ads!)

So which of these services do you use? Do you use more than one? Do you have a favorite? If so I’d love to hear about it. Email me at techtalker@quickanddirtytips.com or post a comment on my Facebook page Facebook.com/QDTtechtalker

Well, that’s it for today! Be sure to check out all my earlier episodes at quickanddirtytips.com/tech-talker. And if you have further questions about this podcast or want to make a suggestion for a future episode, send them my way.

Until next time, I’m the Tech Talker, keeping technology simple!

Netflix and Hulu logos courtesy of Shutterstock.



About the Author

Eric Escobar

Tech Talker demystifies technology and cutting edge devices so that even the most tech illiterate can understand what's going on with their computer or gadget — and what to do when something goes wrong.