No matter how hard I try, it is difficult to remember a time before streaming services. With the advent of services like Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu, more people are giving up traditional cable TV services.
After all, you only need to cut the cord with a solid internet connection like Spectrum internet offers. With easy access to cheap internet, more and more people are joining the cord-cutter movement. Netflix and Hulu are the two biggest contenders for the best streaming services. This blog takes a closer look at the two giants in comparison.
Netflix Vs Hulu
Netflix was one of the earliest pioneers of online movie and TV streaming. Established in 1997, the company initially started out as a mail-order DVD service with no late fees. Right from the start, Netflix disrupted the video distribution scene. It practically put giants like Blockbuster out of business. The company began offering streaming services in 2007. This has since become Netflix’s core business. The service had over 137 million subscribers worldwide by the end of 2018.
Hulu started business in 2008, around the same period Netflix popularized streaming services. However, unlike Netflix, Hulu primarily focuses on TV network programming than movies. It currently ranks as the second-largest streaming service in the United States, just behind Netflix. Unlike Netflix, Hulu only works inside the U.S. and has around 25 million members. In 2017, Hulu started offering live TV streaming services similar to SlingTV.
So that was a brief introduction to both streaming giants. Netflix and Hulu have been in direct competition for years. Each tries to offer a better service standard than the other. This blog compares the two streaming services in the following areas:
- Content Selection
- Exclusive and Original Content
- Price Points
Let’s look at each of these areas in turn.
When picking a streaming service, most people think about the content they can watch. Netflix originally placed more focus on movies. Several titles come and go as Netflix updates its library. Netflix has dropped around 2,000 titles from its movie library since 2010. But that’s because Netflix has moved towards TV programming in addition to movies. The giant churn out entire seasons of original content that encourages binge-watching. Some critically acclaimed Netflix shows include Stranger Things, Orange is The New Black, Lost in Space, and Black Mirror.
Hulu has a more confusing lineup, mainly because 3 main networks own the streaming service. Sometimes, these networks do not own the individual shows Hulu carries. It no longer has rights to carry The CW shows, which now appear on Netflix after the season ends. Hulu also frequently drops back seasons of shows. But it also carries complete seasons of popular favorites like South Park and Family Guy. Hulu airs current shows one day after they air, so unlike Netflix, you don’t have to wait for the season to end.
Both services restrict content according to region, so UK shows don’t work in the US and vice versa.
Exclusive and Original Content
Netflix is a powerhouse of original TV shows and movies. The service spent over $8 billion to create original content for its viewers. Netflix rolls out show after show, dropping full seasons each time. The high-quality content finds dedicated viewers among its subscriber base. It also throws in an original movie from time to time. Some excellent Netflix originals include Bright, Ozark, The Umbrella Academy, and The Crown. Netflix also has some exclusive content it paid dearly to carry, including Friends and Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Hulu carries some exclusive programming that is part of American pop culture. Notable content includes Fargo, South Park, Rick and Morty, and Seinfeld. Compared to Netflix, Hulu’s collection of original content is quite modest. However, it does have some award-winning original shows like The Handmaid’s Tale which make it worth your while.
Finally, we come to the most important comparison of all, the comparative price of the services. Hulu originally had a free tier that carried a limited library and came with commercials. However, this tier has no longer been part of the service since 2016. Instead, Hulu offers a base tier (formerly known as Hulu Plus) at a flat $7.99 per month. In 2019 this dropped even more to $5.99 per month. In terms of price, this is a great deal. The base tier still has commercials but you can get rid of them if you subscribe to a higher tier for $11.99 per month. Hulu supports up to 6 profiles with this tier and runs up to 2-3 devices simultaneously.
Netflix’s base subscription is Standard Definition (SD) for $8.99 for a single stream at a time. For two simultaneous screens, you need the HD tier at $12.99 a month. The standard definition is not very good on larger screens so the HD packages tend to be a best seller. The premium plan supports up to 4 screens at a time. It also supports UHD or Ultra High Definition. If you own a 4K TV, this is essential.
Of course, you’ll need a reliable high-speed fiber internet service of at least 25Mbps to stream in UHD. However, even with a higher cost than Hulu, Netflix still gives Spectrum TV packages a run for their money. With more than 137 million subscribers for Netflix and 25 million for Hulu, one thing is clear. Streaming services are here to stay. It will be interesting to see how they evolve in the years to come.