How much TV do you watch on your laptop or phone rather than on your TV? TV corporations are now realizing that broadcasts are unprofitable, so if you can’t beat the streaming services, why not join them?
Here’s a handy guide to see which one are worth subscribing to and which ones will probably bite the dust.
Netflix was the king. Any show or movie you wanted, Netflix offered it for just $9 a month in HD. Netflix was arguably the biggest culprit for the death of modern television, and you’d be crazy not to have a Netflix subscription. It was a jack of all trades service that was impossible not to be satisfied with. Keyword: was.
Now Netflix’s best shows are migrating to other platforms and being replaced with their abysmal and cringe-worthy originals. The price for HD is $13 a month, even though HD is essentially the standard resolution now. There is a basic plan for $8 a month, but the only resolution is SD, which is the same as TV resolution from over a decade again. According to an article by Vulture, the combination of these problems has caused their membership to decline this year Also, the shows they recommend are all awful, which should be statistically impossible, but for whatever reason their algorithm pushes their awful originals or some other random show. Compare it to YouTube’s recommendation system, which can keep you watching videos for hours and ruin your productivity for the day. On Netflix, after you finish a show, you’re left in a state of emptiness from not having a show to suck your productivity away because this streaming service does not automatically pull you into another series to binge on.
Netflix is still a good streaming platform. They still have some phenomenal shows like Better Call Saul and they’re still the first place one should go to to find their favorite show online. It’s just that it used to be great. Instead of expanding on their greatness, they kept on finding ways to deteriorate their billion-dollar product. I don’t know if they felt that their titanic status made them feel that they were infallible, or if they were too cheap to keep renewing licenses for their best movies, but now I believe that Netflix is heading in the same direction as its old competitor, Blockbuster.
Final Verdict: Worth it (For now)
Amazon Prime Video
The only reason why Amazon Prime Video got any traction was the fact that it came with an Amazon Prime subscription. For $13 a month, or $119 a year, it’s arguably the best value considering the benefits from Amazon and their other platforms, like Amazon Music.
Prime Video suffers from many of the same problems that Netflix has: a lackluster recommendation system, awful originals and exclusives (though some of them are so laughably abysmal they’re actually amazing to watch), and it also has an exclusive problem of not staying in 1080p like any decent video player.
Despite the fact that Prime Video seems like an amateur version of Netflix, it actually has exclusive rights to some of the best shows of all time, such as Spongebob, The Sopranos and The Wire. It also boasts a library of movies with comedies like The Big Sick, classic dramas like Chinatown, and action movies such as Mission Impossible. Also, their high budget originals are critically acclaimed, have diverse genres, and are actually commissioned by Amazon rather than being some random dumps from film studios.
Final Verdict: Worth it (If Prime Video isn’t worth it for you, at least you have other benefits)
Hulu was the Pepsi to Netflix’s Coca-Cola. It was the butt of jokes as being an inferior product and having ads. Wasn’t the whole point of watching TV online getting rid off ads?
Now, I’ll make the bold claim that Hulu is the best service of all, until Disney+ potentially gets rid off some of their best shows.
If you can’t find it on Netflix, you can probably find it on Hulu. If you’re a big of cartoons and anime, Hulu is the service for you. Hulu has some anime essentials like Akira, Cowboy Bebop, and the most talked about cartoons like South Park and Rick and Morty. Hulu even has a starting fee of $6, much cheaper than many alternatives. Sure, it has ads, but at least it’s in HD. Also, the ads for a half hour show don’t total more than 3 minutes, which is the equivalent of one commercial break on broad TV.
My recommendations for Hulu’s live action shows are Malcolm in the Middle, Scrubs, Seinfeld, and Fargo, though most of these may be gone after other platforms take off, especially Disney+. Hulu also lacks a great movie collection, but there are still some iconic ones like Rocky.
Final Verdict: Worth it, arguably the most diverse and cheapest one too
DC Universe Online
Now it’s time to look at the dregs. DC Universe Online has a starting fee of $12 a month, but it’s also the most limited of all the services too. It has one genre: superhero action, but it’s even more limited as it only has DC related content. After watching movies like Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman and seeing the decline of the CW DC Universe, do you really want to watch anything DC related?
This hurts to say as I’m actually quite the DC fan myself. I watched a few of their cartoons and animated movies, and they’re all quite enjoyable. But it’s not something anyone is willing to spend a minimum of $144 a year on.
Final Verdict: Why does this even exist? It’ll either be discontinued within 2 years or greatly expand to include other Warner Bros. properties.
CBS All Access
CBS is offering a starting price of $6 to watch Star Trek: Discovery and a few of it’s spin-offs. The Twilight Zone from Jordan Peele sees pretty promising, but overall, it’s too early to judge. They do have bona fide classics like Twin Peaks (one of my favorite shows by the way) and Cheers, but they’re available on other platforms for now and aren’t really worth the $6. Do you know anyone who seriously craves a CBS show though? Is anyone desperate to watch The Big Bang Theory or The Brady Bunch as much as they are to watch The Office?
Final Verdict: It’ll either bite the dust within 5 years or just exist in limbo like Bing.
Netflix at its worst is a $13 monthly way to watch The Office. Now Peacock is going to take that away from them.
A fee hasn’t been announced, but reports state that it may actually be free with ads. This may actually be a genius move since nobody’s willing to spend more than $5 just to watch office-based sitcoms.
Final Verdict: Inconclusive (If free: it’ll exist forever, if not: it’ll bite the dust but may have a greater longevity than its competitors like CBS)
DId you know that Disney owns both ABC and Fox? Pretty much all multi-billion dollar movie and TV show franchises are owned by Disney, except for Harry Potter.
Since the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars are pretty much the two most dominant forces in our modern pop culture, Disney+ is essential to not be behind. Due to Disney’s massive scope, their streaming platform offers a considerable variety. It has animated classics like Futurama and The Simpsons, horror and sci-fi masterpieces such as Alien, sitcoms like Malcolm in the Middle(my favorite family sitcom by the way), and originals like The Mandalorian. It’s a pretty good deal too, being only $7 a month to get some of the greatest and most iconic pieces of media of all time.
I know some people are avoiding Disney+ like the plague to boycott the colossal corporation. They don’t like how Disney often plays it safe with their movies to appeal to the lowest common denominator, as well as their support of China against Hong Kong. However, the existence of Disney+ will destroy a big chunk of the libraries of their competitors, making a subscription infinitely more appealing. After all, people will always be more enamored to lightsaber duels and explosions than the ethics of business.
Final Verdict: Good luck trying to avoid your new corporate overlords
What made Netflix special was its convenience. You had a single concentrated place to binge on your favorite shows and movies in a relatively cheap way. Now, they’re dispersed through a confusing number of platforms, each with their own arbitrary subscription fee. Will the oversaturation of media platforms destroy the market and boost piracy? Will Disney consume all of their competitors like a black hole? Will we all conform and buy all these subscriptions while ignoring our cable fees? How much will Hulu, Netflix, and Prime lose in their libraries? A hot new show might be on CBS Access, but instead of switching the channel to CBS, they would have to buy a subscription to Access. Would anyone bother to buy a subscription and just ignore the show or watch it illegally? It’s hard to tell, but it seems like everybody’s hurt with these new platforms. One thing is certain: you can always just steal your friends’ passwords.