It’s the timeless philosophical question: if you were stranded on a desert island and you could only bring one streaming service, which one would you choose? Netflix? Hulu? Amazon Prime?
This question has haunted college students for eons- well, at least the better part of a decade. Melodrama aside, often times college students are faced with the difficult task of choosing which streaming service to commit their scarce cash to every month. We’re here to help. We’ll take a brief look at the pros and cons of each.
For a time, Netflix was the only streaming player on the stage. Netflix changed the college dynamic by taking procrastination to new heights. Entire seasons of obscure television shows and scores of B-movies were now available at the click of a button. Netflix is the reason why “binge-watching” is part of our collective vernacular.
Netflix has come along way since it’s inception. Original shows like Orange is the New Black, House of Cards and the recent Narcos (a personal favorite) are the brand’s selling points. Along with recyclced network TV series, Netflix original series are worth the entry-level $7.99/mo. subscription fee.
Netflix, in this reporter’s humble opinion, leaves a lot to be desired in the feature film department. Aside from a few classics and some well-done original movies like Beasts of No Nation, Netflix hosts a myriad of pretty mediocre straight-to-DVD releases. I often feel like I spend more time trying to find something worthwhile to watch than I actually spend watching anything. However, Netflix has the clear advantage in a special category: I bet you’ve never heard anyone planning a “Hulu and chill” session.
Admittedly, I do not subscribe to Hulu Plus, but I’ve heard nothing besides good things from friends and acquaintances who do. For the same monthly fee as Netflix, Hulu Plus offers the most recent episodes of major current TV shows. Hulu Plus, like Netflix, is also available across multiple platforms, whereas the free version of the service is only available on your computer. Hulu Plus subscribers have access to all past seasons of a series, where the free versions of Hulu only offers a series’ five most recent episodes.
I currently use the free version to get my weekly Southpark fix, but I might be switching allegiances from Netflix to Hulu Plus as I rapidly exhaust my supply of new material on Netflix.
If you’re part of the cultural movement that is Downton Abbey, Amazon Prime is your go to streamer. Offering other big-name series and even boasting some HBO content, Amazon Prime should be seriously considered. Don’t get sticker shock when you see the $99 yearly fee, with the help of some basic arithmetic that comes to a manageable $8.25/mo. I can understand possible apprehensions if you’re like me and have commitment issues (I’m lucky if I can maintain a relationship for longer than two months), but Amazon Prime also offers its customers free priority shipping on mostly everything you can buy from Amazon. For a college student, this could potentially pay for itself if you purchase your textbooks online.
Where the streaming service stands out from its competitors, in my opinion, is its extensive range of new(er) released movies. Featuring the latest Hunger Games and The Wolf of Wall Street, Amazon Prime might edge out its competitors in the movie category. In a bid to rival Netflix, Amazon Prime is also pushing out some promising original content in the forms of the gritty Western drama Edge and the Nazis-win-the-war dystopian alternate reality thriller The Man in the High Castle.