Television entertainment is not limited to television anymore. You can watch your favorite shows, movies, short films, and whatever else you want on a variety of electronic devices. People do not have to own a television to be entertained. A smartphone is more than enough. Online streaming services have put this kind of power in the hands of the consumers and they are certainly loving it. So, which are those services that have led from the front in 2016, and what it is that they have to offer? Here we go.
Let’s start with a name that everyone with an internet connection easily recognizes. YouTube, another of Google’s many acquisitions, is the one stop for all kinds of videos. You want to watch a lecture, you can do it here. You want to see a makeup tutorial, you can do it here. There is a video for almost everything. The content is posted by content creators on their respective channels and the subscribers are free to subscribe to any of these channels. There is no price for watching anything on the basic YouTube website. However, this is not the best place for people looking for television shows.
The basic version really does not have any distinct section for movies, but you can always search a few. However, if you are looking for an alternative for cable, this is not it. That being said, you can subscribe to a premium version where you can get paid content. But, that is limited too. The website is really easy to navigate and this has what made YouTube such a popular and consequently, such a rich video streaming platform. Moreover, if you can connect to the internet on a device, then you can almost certainly access YouTube on it.
This is the place where all the television shows have found home. If you are a television fanatic looking for a place to binge watch your favorite shows, then your search ends here. But, the basic version of Hulu offers only limited programming.
For a small price of $7.99, you can upgrade to the premium version, which will give you access to the most recently updated shows as well. The content library on Hulu Plus, the premium version, is updated some hours or days after the show is aired on cable. This is something not all streaming services do. The movie collection at Hulu is completely uninspiring. So, do keep that in mind.
Netflix is the Godfather of all streaming services. Netflix was one of the first and at present, one of the finest streaming services available online. The Netflix library is a matter of envy to its competitors. There is so much to choose from that you will never be bored. The movie collection is breathtaking with everything from the classics to the recent releases available for the users.
The Netflix interface is really easy to navigate, which is one of the main reasons why Netflix is so popular. Picking your next watch is made easy by the wonderful recommendation system. Since Netflix has been one of the firsts in the business, it has optimized its interface over time to make it extremely user-friendly. Also, almost all devices are compatible with Netflix, a benefit of being one of the first services in the market.
There are a variety of television shows on offer as well. But, it is not the best place to look for them. However, the original series aired by Netflix are indeed worth watching. At a price of $9 per month, Netflix ranks pretty high on value for money.
4. Amazon Prime Instant Video
This has pretty much all the features and benefits that Netflix offers. It gives Netflix a really good fight for the top slot of streaming services in 2016. Amazon Prime Instant Video is not as old as its contender, but it does carry the brand power of Amazon. This has helped it grow at an unprecedented rate over the last few years. The content available with Amazon Prime has multiplied manifold, thanks to the deals and partnerships that Amazon has forged with content creators to ensure a firm footing in the business.
Amazon Prime started out with a yearly package of $99. But, it recently introduced a monthly package too, with $10.99 per month fee. Though a little pricier, the monthly package offers the users more flexibility. Amazon does not stop here. It has also bundled a number of other benefits like free 2-day deliveries on online purchases at its website.
5. Sony Playstation Vue
With Vue, Sony has officially entered the booming market of streaming services. A major USP of Vue is the kind of content it offers. You can think of Vue as a cable service, without all the hassles of a cable connection. Users get a lot of options in terms of programming. Almost 90 channels are broadcasted live on Vue, and these include the elusive sports channels, apart from news, local channels, and what not.
However, Vue has not gained mass popularity as quickly as other services. There are two main reasons for this. One is the asking price of the service. $50 per month for a streaming service (basic package) is not going to go down well with most of the consumers. Moreover, Vue is not available across the nation yet. Only a few major cities are being offered the service, and only after testing these waters, will Sony take its service on the national stage. Also, PS Vue is only compatible with very few devices as of now. These include Smart TVs from the manufactures, its consoles, and iPads.
If you want to enjoy live television, but do not want to enter into a cable contract or shell out as much as $50 for a streaming service, then Sling TV is here to save the day. This service offers a wide selection of content and many live channels to its subscribers. It also has ESPN for sports lovers. Actually, it is the only streaming service that offers both ESPN and ESPN 2. All of this is offered to you at an unbelievable subscription fee of only $20. Also, subscribers can only access it on one device at a time. The price is a little more than what other popular streaming services are charging. But, given its live programming, it is worth it.