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- iHaveNet.com: Technology
by Jeremy Cleland
Many folks are cutting the cord and canceling their cable TV service, relying instead on the plethora of online streaming services that allow you to watch what you want, when you want.
In order to cut that cable cord, some people decide to make a one-time hardware purchase that helps create the traditional TV experience. For example, devices like Roku or Apply TV allow you to route your streaming content — and offer other content channels — to your TV or a flat-screen monitor. You can use some game consoles like Xbox or PlayStation in the same capacity. Other heavy Internet users have simply taken to watching all their favorite shows and movies on their tablet — or smartphone.
“I use Roku to stream and pay for Hulu and Netflix,” says Ruthe Farmer of Denver, who’s also a frequent business traveler and has tried almost all of the major services. “I get HBO Go included with my Internet service. I could probably pay for just Hulu and not miss a thing, since I mostly watch TV shows versus movies. There are many free channels on Roku that I use, like PBS and SyFy.”
But subscribing to multiple streaming services in order to access your favorite and/or popular shows can start to add up.
Here’s a look at five different entertainment-lover profiles to help you determine what service might be best for you depending on your needs:
No. 1: You love network TV and Showtime dramas
Ideal service: Hulu
What you’ll love:
Hulu offers current season content from five of the six largest U.S. broadcast networks, making it the perfect place to get your TV fix. That said, Hulu is ramping up its original content, offering new programs this year. And some of the content is free (if you can wait patiently for episodes to be uploaded and don’t mind watching more ads). Meanwhile, for an extra $8.99 per month, you can watch any of the shows from Showtime’s lineup (e.g. “Homeland” or “Dexter”). The downfall: its movie library is not as robust as some of the other streaming services.
No. 2: You love movies and binge-watching trendy new shows
Ideal service: Netflix
What you’ll love
Netflix still offers a large movie selection online and DVDs through the mail, but it has also become known for its award-winning original series, like “Orange Is the New Black” or “House of Cards,” and tends to upload entire seasons of episodes all at once for some serious binge-watching. Netflix also offers a wide-array of kids’ programs, and you can create a “Kids Only” channel with a profile picture for each of your children based on age.
No. 3: You want to watch new-release movies and fan-worthy TV shows
Ideal service: Amazon Instant Video
What you’ll love
Amazon’s licensing team has put together one of the most comprehensive libraries of on-demand TV shows and movies. For example, this is the place where “Mad Men” loyalists and “Downton Abbey” fans flocked to get newly released episodes each week. There are two categories of instant video: there is a pay per episode, or season pass catalog, which contains the newest releases, and then there is Amazon Prime, which is $99 for an annual membership and gains you access to a library of shows for that flat price (it includes other perks like free shipping of Amazon products).
No. 4: You’re not into regular TV, but can’t get enough of HBO shows
Ideal service: HBO Max
What you’ll love
It was painful to hear people talking about “Game of Thrones” (or back in the day, “The Sopranos”), but not have any way to access HBO without an expensive cable TV package. Well, that’s all changed. The network now offers its roster through a subscription service, allowing you to get its premium content via Kindle Fire, Android phones and tablets, Apple TV or iOS devices, and, yes, a desktop computer or laptop. But, you may be able to hold off on HBO NOW, as the network’s archive content is available to you for free if you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber.
No. 5: You can’t miss sports — and maybe one or two other channels
Ideal service: Roku
What you’ll love
Roku is a close update to your traditional cable service except the packages aren’t pre-selected — you pick the channels you want to pay for each month or year. You can also use it to access the popular streaming services mentioned above, and you can watch free content via YouTube or PBS. For example, for $20 per month you can subscribe to Sling TV featuring ESPN. Or you can get MLB.tv to gain all-access to baseball for $49.99 per year.
Jeremy Cleland has been a spokesperson for several Silicon Valley startups, like Tesla Motors, and spearheaded global stories about technology featured in media like Vice, Time magazine, Forbes and Wired.com. He’s also the dad to a 5-year-old who is already more tech-savvy than him.
Article: Copyright © Studio One.