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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Replacing Netflix's Streaming Media

Due to Netflix price increases, two in less than a year, there has been quite a bit of talk about tens of thousands of Netflix subscribers leaving but the real question is where will they/you go? There are a few options but which if any are best for you?

I have had Netflix for years and have been streaming to my PS3 for quite a while but I have to admit my loyalty to Netflix was gone after the second price increase. My first reaction was to cancel all together, with the first price increase I lowered the number of DVDs I received at a time, now with the second price increase I have already dropped all DVDs and moved that over to Blockbuster.

To the real point of this, Streaming media providers. - This is probably the worst choice you could make. There is no monthly fee, woo, what this really means is you have to pay for every single movie or show you watch individually. While some shows are just 99 cents I can only imagine the charges I would rack up after my family was done watching for a day. I don't know that anyone would really care at this point but they do seem to have a fair to good selection but why pay so much for it? - They are better price wise, well in a way. You pay $60, $80 or $100 for a unit and then you can stream some shows for free, the some is the biggest catch. They let you watch some crappy "channels" for free but if you want to stream the more popular good channels (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, NHL, etc) you have to pay a monthly fee to those companies. So pretty much if you have a PS3 Roku is worthless, if you don't spend some extra money and get a PS3 not a Roku.

Amazon Prime - The biggest plus of Amazon Prime is that it gives you free 2 day shipping on items you buy on Amazon. So if you buy a lot of items on Amazon it could be a win win. Amazon has less free movies and shows than Hulu or Netflix so I probably wouldn't choose them at least right now unless you make a lot of Amazon purchases. You should also be aware that not every streaming show or movie is free. I also have not tried to stream it through the PS3.

Blockbuster - As far as streaming goes they suck, they are just about the same as Vudu, pay for each view. They do however compete well with Netflix on the DVD plan, 30 day trial, 1 DVD, Game or Blu-ray at a time for $10 a month. Or 2 DVDs, Games, Blu-rays at a time for $15 a month. Blu-rays and Games can be rented by mail for no extra charge. With games the only catch is that you will not get newly released games for several months. - Probably the most competitive with Netflix's streaming. Hulu has a good tv show selection but a poor movie selection. Hulu has much newer shows than Netflix and it has a good amount of NHL but Netflix still has more older tv shows and definitely more movies. So if you don't have old shows to catch up on and you want to lower your cable or satellite bill, Hulu or for your PS3 Hulu + could be a good choice. Hulu plus does have a nice layout on the PS3 and I am pretty torn between Hulu plus and Netflix. Hulu plus does offer a few more shows than Hulu but Hulu offers many of their shows for free but the biggest annoyance of Hulu or Hulu plus is the ads. Another down side is that you can not stream to Windows 7 phones at this time.

Netflix - Netflix still has the most shows and movies all around but they don't really stream anything really new. You will be lucky if you see it with in a year for tv shows. The layout is pretty good, I actually prefer Hulu plus over Netflix for layout. There are no ads but streaming quality varies sometimes by the day or hour. I have been watching a show come back the next day and had it appear very pixelated and I have yet to see that with Hulu.

So it seems that for the time Netflix and Hulu are probably the closest but probably not close enough for most.

Dedicate a PC to your TV - This is the last option I have found, I actually did this years ago with a graphics card and a standard definition tv. Now though you can dedicate a laptop to a HDTV and stream hundreds of shows to your tv for free some in HD but free. Just add a wireless keyboard and mouse and you can surf pretty easily from the couch.
Streaming Sites:
Xfinity TV

This is not possible with the PS3 browser I have tried. I have even tried proxy programs and a proxy page with no luck.
You can actually stream free with your PS3 from
The WB

If you  know of any other good streaming services or sites please let me know in a comment and I will look into them.

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