There are several digital streaming service providers that have risen to prominence over the last few years. As more and more consumers turn to downloading and streaming digital media instead of physical media for video content these types of services will become more popular; not only will more people use them, but more companies will try to cash-in on the idea.
In Part 1 here I will talk about three digital streaming services many people are already familiar with, Crackle, Netflix, and Hulu / Hulu Plus. I will include Amazon with the Rentals even though they also offer a subscription. There will be four parts total, the first three will be details about the individual streaming services, some you know and some you may not know; the fourth will be my thoughts on how these streaming services will “play out”.
My Description: Sweet! Crackle is a free service that has TV shows, movies, and original content. Crackle is ad supported. So every 5-15 minutes you get a commercial (same placement as you would see on a TV network) that is 10-30 seconds long. Crackle does have a Google TV optimized web app. For more info you can check out my blog post dedicated to Crackle on Google TV.
Their Description: Crackle is the place to experience pure entertainment: full-length movies, TV shows, and original series from genres that embody cool — all uncut, uncensored, and unbelievably free. We’ve had enough of “disposable entertainment” that is as relevant as a laughing/dancing baby — we are here to watch and talk about the videos that really matter.
Crackle is one of the fastest growing entertainment destinations today, featuring only the genres you love — comedy, action, drama, sci-fi, horror — anywhere you are. We know the Internet is a big place, so Crackle’s vast distribution network ensures that you have access to Crackle everywhere: on your favorite video site, your television and your mobile device. Learn more about where you can find Crackle on the distribution page.
Crackle was created in the summer of 2007, basing our operations out of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s studio lot in Los Angeles, CA.
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My Description: Netflix is probably the most popular of the digital streaming services, if not by customer base they’ve still got the name recognition. They’ve got a ton of stuff. We use Netflix all the time. Sometimes it takes a while for them to get seasons from current shows (often a new season has started by the time they get the previous season), but it is great for many completed series and of course movies. I definitely like the Netflix for Google TV app interface better than the Wii one.
Price: $7.99/month, $95.88/year
Their Description: With more than 25 million streaming members in the United States, Canada, Latin America, the United Kingdom and Ireland, Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) is the world’s leading internet subscription service for enjoying movies and TV programs. For about US$7.99 a month, Netflix members can instantly watch movies and TV programs streamed over the internet to PCs, Macs and TVs. Among the large and expanding base of devices streaming from Netflix are the Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and Sony PS3 consoles; an array of Blu-ray disc players, internet-connected TVs, home theatre systems, digital video recorders and internet video players; Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, as well as Apple TV and Google TV. In all, more than 800 devices that stream from Netflix are available. For additional information, visit www.netflix.com. Follow Netflix on Facebook and Twitter.
Hulu / Hulu Plus
My Description: I use this one the most. They really need to get a Google TV app out, but I use Plex as a work-around. I also watch shows on my computer. I like that they have a free version and paid version. The best three things about Hulu’s content are the current shows, original content, and foreign shows. While I don’t speak other languages fluently (so I miss out on all the great Asian and Latin content) I do love the British and Australian comedies. And many of their “Hulu Exclusives” are based in England. “Spy” is definitely my favorite Hulu Exclusive. Hulu does not have a Google TV app (not even a Hulu Plus one), but by using Plex or some other work-around you can still watch Hulu content on Google TV.
Price: Free / $7.99/month
Their Description: Hulu is an online video service that offers a selection of hit shows, clips, movies and more at Hulu.com, numerous destination sites online, and through our ad-supported subscription service, Hulu Plus. Hulu’s selection of premium programming is provided by more than 350 content companies. For more details on Hulu’s service, check out the Hulu product tour and the Hulu Plus Guided Tour.
Hulu brings together a large selection of videos from over 350 content companies, including FOX, NBCUniversal, ABC, The CW, Univision, Criterion, A&E Networks, Lionsgate, Endemol, MGM, MTV Networks, Comedy Central, National Geographic, Digital Rights Group, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., TED and more. Users can choose from current primetime TV hits such as The Simpsons, Modern Family, Glee, The Office, Jersey Shore, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report; classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The A-Team and Alfred Hitchcock Presents; full episodes and clips from Saturday Night Live; and Hulu original video productions like A Day in the Life and The Morning After. Hulu also offers a wide array of acclaimed movies and documentaries, including hundreds of titles from Miramax and the renowned Criterion Collection.