On July 12, Showtime launched a new streaming service. This comes on the heels of its competitor HBO launching HBO Now, its own streaming service. This is in addition to the already popular Netflix and Hulu. With all these streaming services available it might be hard to pick which one to purchase (maybe all of them come winter…) and to figure out all of their similarities and/or differences, so I’m here to help you out.
Netflix has a plethora of movies and shows to watch but not many new releases. If you want to get caught up on the previous seasons of a show, then Netflix is the one for you. But, if you missed last night’s episode Hulu might be your best choice. They do offer a wide variety of original content, like “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” that is exclusive to Netflix subscribers. The streaming king is available on a number of devices through apps you can easily download. Netflix starts at $7.99 a month, this is SD-quality and only one screen at a time, and depending on the type of plan you want, the prices vary drastically. If you want HD-quality, content available on multiple devices, and/or you want DVDs shipped to your house, expect to fork out a bit more.
Hulu is the only streaming service that offers current content. If you missed your favorite show, it’ll likely show up on Hulu 24 hours later. Hulu streams shows from a number of networks, such as ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, Comedy Central, MTV and many more. Shows such as “Family Guy,” “Empire,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Scandal” and “The Voice” are just a few that they currently stream. They even offer some full seasons of shows like “American Horror Story,” “Sons of Anarchy” and “The Good Wife” but for the most part, they don’t offer much when it comes to watching full seasons. Hulu, much like Netflix, is $7.99 a month and is available on a number of devices. Unlike Netflix, Hulu will require you to watch a few ads, unfortunately.
For $14.99 a month you can get HBO Now, not to be confused with HBO Go. The only difference between the two is that HBO Now is independent from a cable subscription. You would be able to live stream big premieres as they air, and even have access to all HBO programming, such as their series, movies, documentaries, sports and specials. To subscribe, you need to purchase it through the app on any supported device, of which there are many. You have unlimited streaming, so go ahead and share your password. As an added bonus, all the content is ad free, so you can catch up on “Game of Thrones” hassle free.
Showtime is a bit cheaper than HBO Now, at only $11 a month, but is more limiting in other areas. Similar to HBO Now and HBO Go, the difference between Showtime Anytime and Showtime Streaming is that Showtime Anytime comes with a subscription through a cable provider. You will have access to all of Showtimes’ movies and original programming and thankfully all the content is ad free. Showtime is almost exclusive to Apple users with apps available on Apple TV, iPhone and iPad. You can also get a subscription through Roku streaming services as an add-on to your Hulu subscription (at an additional $9 a month), or through Sony’s PlayStation Vue app and you can only get a subscription through these supporting devices/apps. If you add it on to your Hulu account, all the content will be ad free and all the Showtime content will also be available through the Hulu app, which broadens the amount of supporting devices. However, according to TechHive, subscribing through the PlayStation does not grant access to Showtime’s Apple apps, Roku channel or website. Aside from PlayStation consoles, the only other way to watch is through the PlayStation Vue iPad app. Similar to HBO Now, you can live-stream big premieres as they air, unless you’re using the Hulu app, however Showtime is a little more strict about password sharing. You can activate up to five devices at a time, and they can stream from up to three devices at once.
If you still aren’t sure which one is right for you, they all offer 30-day free trials before you take the final plunge. So, between Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now and Showtime you have plenty of shows and movies to binge watch this weekend. Is it cuffing season yet?