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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Hulu Plus versus Netflix

Internet television seems the way to go these days. No longer do I turn on my rabbit ears or feel a need to buy cable/satellite to watch my favorite shows. The internet supplies my television needs...for the most part. The top two choices seem to be between Netflix and Hulu. There are others like Amazon Prime, Blockbuster, and Crackle and then there's other alternatives like illegal downloading, but Netflix and Hulu are what the masses choose. Luckily for others, I have both to do a fairly decent comparison between the two.

I've been a Netflix subscriber for a few years now and have had a love-hate relationship with them. Mostly, my beef with them has to do with the fact that they do not update their shows enough for me. I love watching  shows like Sons of Anarchy and Breaking Bad but waiting for Netflix has been my biggest disappointment. While my friends are just starting the newest season, I'm just starting the last season and it sucks that I can't keep up.

This is where Hulu comes in. Hulu has shows updated daily and some shows are even updated the day before they arrive on tv!

We can try and make a pros and cons list or describe each in detail, but it's very difficult to pinpoint every difference between the two and many of the differences lie purely in personal opinion.

The bottom line is this: Netflix is best for movies and Hulu is best for television shows. I am subscribed to both services because one provides something that the other doesn't. Netflix has most of my favorite Adult Swim shows but Hulu has my shows I watch weekly, those being The Following and Revolution.

Not to sound negative, but while I cannot really specify what I like about each one, I can tell you what I absolutely hate about them in list form.

-shows aren't updated when they are released; typically new seasons will arrive day after newer season has aired on television
-even though Netflix is available on nearly all devices, Netflix doesn't provide enough options for all devices
-on some devices, Netflix chooses to display HD playback and sometimes I don't have a fast connection so I'll be waiting long periods of time or having to wait as the video buffers

-has commercials
-doesn't seem to be a support team, so if you run into a problem, you'll need help from a third party or Hulu's FAQ page
-even though Hulu seems to care if ads are relevant to you or not by giving you an option of "this ad is not relevant to me", clicking that button doesn't seem to make the ads go away or swap them with ads that you'd be more inclined to like
-Hulu is not available on all devices as we found out tonight when we bought a new GoogleTV box
-lots of bugs in playback on multiple devices: computer displays annoying "Press ESC to exit full screen" indefinitely sometimes; ads won't display; ads will buffer and stay on for minutes at a time without ever hurrying and going to your programming, etc.
-the commercials seem to decrease the playback and buffer of television shows. At both places where I use Hulu, I don't have fast speeds so I like to wait to allow the video time to buffer. But Hulu doesn't allow long times for buffering because the ads are brought in when you get there and aren't pre-loaded
-this one is a bit personal, but I don't like the shows that Hulu promotes just because most of them flat out suck in my opinion. I stay for those two shows I mentioned.
-some of the shows go missing without notice like Hannibal. This is due to the networks, NBC in this case, rather than Hulu, but it still affects how viewers see Hulu

It seems that I have a lot of problems with Hulu more than I do with Netflix. Out of the two, I would definitely choose Netflix. However, I choose Hulu because of its content but other than that, it is pure garbage as far as I'm concerned. Netflix's biggest disappointment to me has to be that it just doesn't have the shows I want at the time I want them. Netflix's recent deal with Cartoon Network has me very happy to be a subscriber. Most of the time that I've been with them, I've seen more titles leave than arrive and Cartoon Network's lineup finally coming is a breath of fresh air.

Still, neither is perfect. The bottom line remains that Hulu is best for television shows and Netflix is best for movies. If you want to try either, I would highly recommend trying the trial and sticking to leaving if it is not to your liking and not getting pulled in.

For me, I can never go back to traditional television. I like having the freedom to choose what I can watch, when I watch, and having pause and play buttons. It is also nice to not have to sit through old episode that I've seen before which is what happens most of the time that I watch television. Netflix and Hulu are great and affordable. If they were priced any higher, I would need to see changes like in Hulu's case, no ads and in Netflix's case, seasons being updated more frequently.

I apologize for the seeming negative post, but I'm dealing with "Do I want to eat poop, vomit, or starve?" In this case, I've chosen not to starve but to choose poop or vomit. Hulu and Netflix have some terrible flaws that you can't get around. Finding good in each area is for those who are new to the service.

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