In the past few years, a lot of people have given up on cable television and gone to the internet for their entertainment needs. Which makes sense, of course, since we are all connected all the time. The internet has given us streaming on-demand, where we can watch whatever we want, anywhere, anytime. But it can be hard to spot the differences between all the streaming platforms. Let’s take a look into two of the most popular ones and the highly-anticipated Disney+.
Netflix: straight out of the ’90s
Netflix started back in the ’90s as a rental company that delivered DVDs by mail. Yes, snail mail. It has since become widely popular as one of the most beloved streaming services around. As of right now, it has over 150 million users between trial and paid subscriptions.
Netflix also offers the largest amount of movies of any streaming platform. And although TV shows are not their forte, it is the only place where you can currently watch Friends online. A lot of other shows are available weekly or after the season airs on TV. Netflix also makes a lot of original content, which includes series, movies, specials and more. Some of them, like Stranger Things and Orange Is the New Black, are audience favorites and have gotten praise from the critics.
Netflix is great at making content accessible for non-English speakers. Besides being available worldwide, the platform offers subtitles in a variety of languages.
Netflix plans range from an $8.99 basic subscription to a $15.99 premium subscription. The only differences between them are the video quality you get and the number of people who can stream at the same time.
Hulu: streaming and live TV
Hulu is another very popular streaming platform. It started in 2007, owned by giant media network companies. At first, Hulu served as a way of watching the most recent episodes from its parent companies’ shows online. Soon it started offering subscriptions for Hulu Plus, which had all that plus full seasons of several TV shows. Today, Hulu also offers movies and live programming.
A lot of what is on TV right now is available on Hulu either live or soon after it airs, which is why it stands out. It may not have as much original content as Netflix, but Hulu offers us fantastic original shows, like The Handmaid’s Tale, and every season of long-time favorites, like Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and ER. And even if their movie selection is smaller, there is a good mix of classic, modern and everything in between.
Hulu is like a very well-balanced combination of cable and video on demand. The subscription plans go from very cheap to somewhat pricey. For $5.99, you can get their on-demand catalog, but you also get ads in the middle of whatever you’re watching (and, hey, you can get rid of those for only $6 more, which is still pretty cheap). The most expensive plan will get you the entire catalog, live TV programming and on-demand TV channels.
Here comes Disney+
Disney+ will launch on November 12, 2019. The platform will offer the majority of movies and TV shows Disney has put out over the years. Which is saying a lot, because Disney is one of the biggest media corporations in the world. It owns, of course, all the Disney movies and also Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox. Needless to say, people’s expectations are high.
In August, the media giant announced several new series and movies coming exclusively to Disney+ along with favorites from each of their owned companies. So, you’ll be able to watch Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, then quickly go on to every season of The Simpsons, to a Star Wars marathon and new stuff from The Avengers. Both the quality and quantity of titles in the catalog are unbelievable. However, the company is keeping the content family-friendly, which means a lot of titles (mostly from Fox) will be out of the picture.
But, because it’s launching a service of its own, Disney is pulling all their content from other video streaming platforms. Except for Hulu, because, well, Disney owns most of that too. This could (and probably will) mean big changes lie ahead for the other players in this industry.
Disney+ will be available for $6.99 per month or $69.99 for an annual subscription. They will also offer a bundle option with Hulu (with ads) and ESPN+ for $12.99.
Which one should you get?
Well, it depends on what you’re looking for. They are all available on most streaming devices and their prices are not really that different. If you are a TV maniac, you may want to go one way, but if you are a movie buff, you may want something else. If there is more than one person watching at a time, if you still have cable, if you are looking for a particular channel… Those are all things to consider. The bottom line is that, because they are all somewhat similar, what suits you best will depend on what your habits are.