A streaming service lets you control when and how you watch TV. But when you compare options, it can be difficult to determine the best streaming service for you. From Amazon Prime to Netflix to channel-specific apps like HBO, the options are endless when it comes to streaming your own personal entertainment.
Plus, what’s right for one person may not be right for another. Two of the biggest streaming competitors available are Netflix and Hulu – but your streaming preference could be very different from that of friends, family and others whom you ask for advice.
Ultimately, you have to do your own research, compare options and pick a service that meets your unique needs. Luckily, we’re here to make that decision just a little easier. Answer the following questions and you’ll have a clearer picture of which service you should commit to.
- What do you like to watch?
Seriously consider what you like to watch. Identifying your TV preference helps you determine whether Netflix or Hulu is right for you.
Hulu has a massive selection of newer shows, including current seasons. In most cases, these shows are available for viewing within a day of a show’s network air date. Hulu also has a library of movies, although newer movies do take longer to be added to their library. Bottom line: If you primarily watch the newest seasons of shows, Hulu is perfect.
Netflix is another option, but this streaming service is a better fit if you have an affinity for movies or documentaries. It offers a library of shows as well, including original series, but you won’t find the current seasons of some of your favorite shows. You can, however, find episodes of older seasons, as well as episodes of classic shows. This is perfect when you’re in the mood to binge watch full seasons over a weekend.
- Are you okay with ads?
Some people don’t care about ads while using a streaming service, especially since ads are usually shorter than the average commercial break. But if you don’t want to deal with ads at all, the good news is that Netflix doesn’t have ads, which means you can get through a show uninterrupted. Hulu Plus, which starts at $7.99 a month, does include ad breaks. If you upgrade to Hulu’s $11.99 a month plan, you can watch as much as you like ad-free.
- How much do you want to pay?
The best feature of a streaming service is that it doesn’t cost a lot of money on a monthly basis. Hulu has a free basic service that you can access on your computer, but it’s not available on a smartphone or tablet. For mobile viewing on devices, you have to upgrade to Hulu Plus for $7.99 a month.
Netflix also offers different pricing structures. For $8 a month, you can access the service on one device at a time, or upgrade to a family plan for $9-$12 a month and access Netflix on 2-4 devices at once.
- Are you looking for original content?
As Netflix and Hulu have grown in popularity, both services have expanded and now offer original content that you can’t view on other networks. Netflix, however, has a wider selection and more popular original shows, including Orange is the New Black and House of Cards. As a bonus, Netflix has also revived a few shows, including Fuller House, Arrested Development and Gilmore Girls.
- Where do you live?
Your location can also determine whether Hulu or Netflix is the right choice for you. If you live in the United States, both are available as long as you’re connected to the internet. Hulu, however, is only available in the U.S and on U.S military bases. Netflix allows access in more locations, which is perfect if you travel often or live outside of the U.S. You can access Netflix in 41 countries, including Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, South America and England.
Deciding which service is right for you can be a pain, but just think – online streaming has only been around for a few years. Technology has made it easier than ever to carry entertainment around in the palm of our hands. Don’t take it for granted, pick your service today and start enjoying hundreds of shows in no time.