It’s that time of the semester again when we’re all getting back into what college is really about: watching TV shows and movies for hours on end while neglecting all other education-related obligations. So instead of stressing over your upcoming midterms or how you’re pretty sure that your TA hates you, kick back and watch some of your favorite shows or movies. Before you can do that though, you have to answer the obvious question (no, not “How do I tell my parents that I didn’t have time to study for that test I bombed, yet had time to finish three season of Scandal?”): Hulu Plus, Netflix or Amazon Prime?
Now, I acknowledge that merely suggesting an alternative to Netflix will make many of you college students want to start a White House petition to deport me à la Justin Bieber. To most people, Netflix isn’t just a noun anymore; it’s a verb.
I think it’s safe to say that the majority of college students that use streaming services use Netflix. Not because it’s necessarily better, but because they don’t know any better. Well climb right under my wing, little chickadees, because I’m about to take you on an adventure; an adventure of enlightenment.
Unless your parents pay for your online TV/movie-watching subscriptions, I’m sure price is one of your main concerns (and if they do, then try and stay onboard that train as long as you can. Also, would your parents be willing to pay for mine as well?) Netflix and Hulu Plus are both $7.99 per month for unlimited streaming, which comes out to just over $95 per year. Amazon prime is $39 per year if you sign up with your FSU email, and you also get free two-day shipping on Amazon orders, release-date delivery options, and free Kindle books. (Let me just say that I’m not in any way sponsored by Amazon, though I would be 100% be open to the idea if they approached me with a free little somethin’ somethin’. You hear that, Amazon? Help me help you to help me!)
Winner: Amazon Prime
All three services do offer movies, but the types that they offer vary. Netflix, as you all probably know by now, has a wide variety of new releases and old favorites, as well as children movies (don’t pretend that you don’t crave an old Disney classic every once in a while), and documentaries. Amazon Prime has a pretty large movie collection, but they definitely don’t get movies in as fast as Netflix does. Amazon Prime’s good for the “oldies but goodies,” like A Walk to Remember or Miss Congeniality, but it’s probably not for those of you that want newer releases. Hulu Plus’s selection…is just plain sad. I feel dirty just putting it under the movie section because their selection is utter crap, at best. If I rummaged around my great grandmother’s abandoned, condemned house, I would probably find movies that are more recent than the ones they offer on Hulu Plus. And please don’t get me started on their children’s movie section, AKA the blatant rip-offs of some of my favorite childhood films.
3. TV Shows
All three services offer most of the popular TV shows, but the difference is how many episodes or seasons are available, and how early you can access them after they’re debuted on TV. When Netflix makes shows available, they release the entire season at once, and it’s usually a few months after the season has ended on TV. If you’re looking to watch past seasons of shows that have been off-air a while, such as Gossip Girl (this show is vile, and I’m judging you a little bit for wanting to watch it) or The Office, Netflix has got your back. Netflix also has their popular original series, like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards (which the lady that was helping me at the bank urged me to watch with such fervor that I’m afraid if I don’t watch it, she’ll find out and freeze my account.) Hulu Plus is for all my fellow cable-less friends out there. Hulu comes out with many of the popular networks’ (Fox, Comedy Central, ABC, NBC) shows the day after they air on TV. It’s practically like I have cable. What makes it even more like real TV is that there are commercials! Horrible, terrible, annoying commercials!
Amazon Prime has a lot of great shows, but be warned: they typically offer you one or two seasons of a show for free, but then require that you buy the newer episodes and seasons. They give you just enough for you to get a taste for it, and then they RIP it away from you. You could definitely say that I have a newfound understanding of heroine addicts after my Amazon Plus ordeal. (Just kidding, y’all. Don’t do drugs.)
Winner: Hulu Plus
And those are the facts, my friends. As you can see, Netflix and Hulu Plus are almost tied for first, though I would have to pick Hulu over Netflix simply it allows me to watch shows the day after they’ve aired. Amazon Prime comes in at fourth place, trailing behind “Sitting in the Laundry Room and Watching the Dryers Spin Around.” (But everybody buys Amazon Prime for the free two-day shipping, not the movies and shows. Those are just added bonuses that you’ll never utilize.)
Honestly, your best bet is to just get them all. I have Hulu Plus, my roommate has Netflix, and we both have Amazon Prime, and let me tell ya, we are livin’ the DREAM. In fact, I’m going to give my roommate and my setup five out of five donuts. A++ situation, would recommend.
If you have any comments or suggestions for what you’d like me to consider next time, you can tweet me (@sydschaefer)! Stay classy, Tallahassee.