Binge-Watch to Your Heart's Content
The era of cable and satellite TV is coming to an end as more and more people are choosing to pay for streaming services. Live TV is not only more expensive than streaming services, but it no longer offers what people want.
According to the numbers, most viewers of live television are older individuals. A study done by the Pew Research Center showed that 61% of people aged 18-29 get their TV fix primarily from streaming. Something else to keep in mind, is young people keep their eyes glued to their smart devices, such as smartphones and tablets; both devices where streaming services thrive. The future waits for no one, and live TV simply can’t keep up with the times.
The once impressive HDTVs of the last generation have been pushed aside by the rise of 4K TVs/Smart TVs that offer streaming functionality. It’s only a matter a time before live TV is completely dead, and there’s no reason for anyone to jump aboard a sinking ship.
That being said, it’s high time for you to pick a streaming service to use, isn’t it? There are a lot of streaming services to choose from, for better or worse.
We’ve narrowed it down to three competitors: Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. We'll also be talking about a few high-potential streaming services that will be launching toward the end of 2019. Let's get started on helping you find the best TV streaming service so you can easily watch TV online.
- Basic: $8.99/month
- Standard: $12.99/month
- Premium: $15.99/month
Netflix has been a dominant force in the streaming service market for years. They were ranked as the fastest growing brand in 2018-2019, doubling their value in a year. Back in January, Netflix claimed to have 10% of all TV time in the United States.
Netflix is also extremely popular among young people, who are the primary demographic for streaming services. Britain’s BBC has openly admitted that more young people watch Netflix than BBC. What is it about Netflix that has people so hooked?
Advantages of Netflix
Netflix is all about original content. Over the last couple years, Netflix has been cutting back on third-party content and focusing on exclusives. In 2018, 85% of their budget went to their original content. Their plan is to have at least 50% of their content be original. And they certainly have a pretty stellar original content lineup.
With widely successful shows such as Orange Is the New Black, Stranger Things, 13 Reasons Why, House of Cards and the Netflix MCU shows, Netflix offers up high-quality shows that you won’t be able to watch on any other streaming services.
While the vast majority of Netflix’s focus and budget has gone to original programming, the streaming service juggernaut has also been spending a ton of money on stand-up comedy specials.
It started back in 2012 when Netflix gave comedian Bill Burr his own string of stand-up specials. Since then, Netflix has made big comedy acquisitions, nabbing deals with legendary comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Ricky Gervais and Dave Chappelle. Rock, Gervais and Chappelle have each been paid $20 million per stand-up special, and Seinfeld has been paid a whopping $100 million for several stand-up specials as well as rights to stream his popular web show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
Netflix has a ton of stand-up specials on their service now, and continues adding specials practically every week. Netflix pretty much outperforms the combined efforts of HBO, Showtime and Comedy Central when it comes to comedy.
If laughing is your thing, there’s no better streaming service to get than Netflix.
You know it, you love it. And if you don’t, you should watch it and then love it like the rest of us and sing along to the theme song.
I’m talking about Friends — one of the most beloved sitcoms and, genre notwithstanding, TV shows of all time. Fans who watched the show when it first aired are more than happy to watch it again, and the show has gained a lot of new fans among young people as well.
In fact, according to an annual survey on media habits in the UK, Friends is the most popular show to watch among UK youths. In TV Time’s Binge Report annual rankings, Friends was the most binged-watched show of 2018.
So it makes complete sense that Netflix paid $80 million for the rights to continue streaming Friends on their platform in 2019. It’s that popular.
One thing to keep in mind however, is that the Friends train on Netflix is likely to end this year.
Entire Seasons Released at Once
Arguably one of Netflix’s greatest decisions is releasing every episode of their original shows all at once. Do you hate having to wait a week for the next episode to show up? I know I do. How about TV shows that take mid-season breaks and are gone for months? Talk about a drag. For Netflix’s original shows, every episode of the newest season is released day one. And this is an absolute godsend.
There are few things more enjoyable on a snowy day than binge-watching the latest season of your favorite Netflix Original.
Streaming on Four Screens at Once
Netflix’s premium plan is the most expensive option on this list, but it also provides the most streaming benefits. Netflix subscribers with the premium plan are able to stream on up to four devices at once.
Amazon Prime lets you stream to two devices, and Hulu’s streaming-only plans only let you stream from one device.
Accessibility and Convenience
Another great thing about Netflix is how accessible and convenient it is. Netflix subscribers can use the service on a number of devices. Remember how I said Friends was the most-watched show among UK youths? 80% of those youths watched the show on their phone.
Along with being able to watch Netflix via smart devices such as tablets and smartphones, users can also enjoy the streaming service via Smart TVs, Blu-ray Players, and even video game consoles. Netflix also allows for offline viewing, which is great when you're traveling somewhere with shoddy or non-existent WiFi.
Netflix also has a pretty clean user interface that makes it easy to navigate, set up preferences, and weed out content/genres that you are uninterested in. You should have no trouble using Netflix's service, even if you’re not the most technologically savvy person.
Disadvantages of Netflix
Less Content Than Amazon Prime
While Netflix does have more content than Hulu (Hulu has an estimated 4,000 titles for you to choose from), it has much less content than Amazon Prime. Netflix currently has around 5,500 TV shows and movies to enjoy, where Amazon Prime has around 20,000.
The amount of content on Netflix has been sliced in half since 2012 when the company had around 11,000 TV shows and movies. Given the fact that Netflix is focusing more and more on original content, it seems likely that the number of TV shows and movies that Netflix has will continue to decline.
Netflix Will Suffer Major Third-Party Content Casualties in the Upcoming Streaming Wars
Many media giants are jumping into the streaming industry, and Netflix’s third-party content is going to be taking some major hits because of this.
Disney announced they would be starting up their own streaming service back in 2017, and immediately after, began removing Marvel and Star Wars content from Netflix. The popular animated Star Wars shows, The Clone Wars, was just removed from Netflix this month. Ant-Man and the Wasp, and Solo: A Star Wars Story are the last Marvel and Star Wars movies that will ever be on Netflix, and are slated for removal in July 2020.
All Netflix’s widely popular Marvel shows, Daredevil, The Punisher, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, have been canceled. There are many rumors swirling around that the shows will be revived, but if they are, it won’t be on Netflix.
When it’s all said and done, all Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars content will be purged from Netflix for good and will be moved over to Disney+ which is slated for launch in late 2019.
Those aren’t the only major hits Netflix will be taking. Remember when I said 2019 would be the last hurrah for Friends on Netflix? That’s because Warner Media, which owns the rights to the show, is starting up its own streaming service in late 2019 as well. So enjoy it while it lasts.
As more media giants enter the streaming war, expect more of your favorites to disappear from Netflix’s catalog.
Netflix Is Extremely Slow Adding More Episodes/Seasons of Third-Party Shows
One of the biggest complaints about Netflix is how long the streaming service takes to add seasons of third-party shows to their platform.
Netflix may do a huge service to their customer base by releasing every episode in the season for their original programming shows all at once, but when it comes to third-party shows, Netflix is honestly terrible. It’s not uncommon to have to wait up to six months for another season of the show you’re watching to show up on Netflix. Even when said shows are years old and have long since gone off the air, Netflix won’t have every season in the series.
If You Want to Keep up with the New Shows on Traditional Television, Netflix Isn’t for You
Do you want to ditch traditional TV but still want to watch some of the new TV shows found on traditional TV channels? Then you may want to rethink subscribing to Netflix.
Hulu uploads episodes of the newest TV shows the day after they air. Amazon Prime TV allows you to buy episodes or seasons of new TV shows right after they air as well.
You can expect to wait months before any of these shows arrive on Netflix. Your friends will be talking about Season 2, and you'll still be on Season 1: Episode 4.