Friday, July 22, 2011

Trading One Service For Another

Like pretty much every Netflix subscriber out there, the husband and I received an email last week informing us that, "to better serve their customers," Netflix had decided to hike their prices again. Well, really they broke out their pricing to be to different plans, one for streaming movies and one for the DVD/Blu-Ray rental-by-mail service.

Bottom line: they want an additional $5 a month from us.

It's an interesting move, because Netflix's streaming plan is now $7.99 a month. Alone, that's not a bad price point for hundreds of movies and TV shows to instantly stream to your laptop, iPhone, gaming console or other internet-connected device. But since it used to be included in the price of our Blu-Ray by-mail rentals, being charge anything extra for it feels a bit insulting.

So we've decided to give Hulu Plus a shot. Hulu by itself is a fantastic service. I've been using it since it's beta days a few years back and my husband and I have been using it heavily for the past couple years to catch up on the shows we never get to watch when they air live. But Hulu Plus gives us the ability to stream those same shows to our laptop, iPhones, gaming console or other internet-connected device (sound familiar?). It also gives us access to full seasons of shows and quite a bit of other content that free Hulu users do not get.

Hulu Plus also has movies, but that selection is a bit limited. I haven't perused the movie selection in a hot minute, but last time I looked it included all the best of late 80's and early 90's cinema… thrilling.  Like Netflix, content on Hulu is served up at the studio's whim: when they decide that they tire of allowing people to enjoy their decade-old show they simply tell Hulu to remove the show and that's that.

Plain old Hulu includes ads in the shows you watch, just like watching TV except that there's only one ad, maybe 2, during each commercial break and it's almost always the same tired ads over and over again. Hulu plus also allows you the opportunity to view these ads, which is a bit annoying. If I'm paying to use your otherwise free streaming service, I should not be required to watch the ads. That gripe aside, the streaming quality is almost always nice and the player works well.

I'm not sure what to think though. Hulu Plus also costs $7.99 a month. And you can't always stream all their content on your various devices. We're basically trading a large selection of streaming movies and a smaller collection of streaming TV shows for a large collection of TV shows with a smaller collection of movies. For the same price. And adding ads to the mix. And we're doing this because Netflix decided to hike the price on us, but we'll still be spending the same amount of money in the end either way.

I'm not sold on the idea yet, but I'm definitely up for giving it a try. As it is, we watch way more TV shows than movies (of which I watch virtually none while my husband watches lots of anything that involves explosions and cheesy acting), and we do use Hulu on a daily basis whereas we use Netflix streaming occasionally to rarely. I'm just not sure whether paying for Hulu will be worth it for us either, but I suppose we won't know until we give it a shot.

1 comment:

  1. well that is a dilema let me know how that works for you