Two of the best options available today for streaming movies and TV shows are Hulu and Netflix. The question is – what’s the difference? Well, the content library for one.
Netflix vs Hulu
Netflix gives you the most choice in terms of movies and lots of older version TV shows. Hulu Plus gives you a bigger collection of current TV shows with less of a choice for movies. Your selection is definitely a matter of personal choice, as both of them run you $7.99 a month. They both feature apps that will play on a broad range of devices like Xbox or Smart TVs.
What Do They Offer?
The following chart is a break-down of many ways these two differ. We’ll use HP for Hulu Plus and NET for Netflix.
HP – Mainly current season TV shows and Video on Demand.
NET – Blu-ray disc and DVD rentals, Mainly older TV shows and Movies, Video on Demand.
HP – Nearly 2,500 movies and about 1,650 TV shows.
NET – Nearly 100,000 TV shows and movies.
HP – $7.99 a month for basic service, which doesn’t include all shows.
NET – $8 for streaming in standard definition, $9 to stream 2 simultaneously in HD, and $12 for streaming on 4 at a time. DVD by mail costs $8 a month, and an additional $2 for the Blue-ray discs.
HP – Nearly 3 million as of 2012. The amount of free content viewers is not known.
NET – Around 30 million as of 2013, with 7.75 million international subscribers.
HP – Yes.
NET – NO
HP – 288p/360p/480p. Now and then there is 720p HD.
NET – Tier 1 DVD Quality. Tier 2 Above DVD Quality. Tier 3 720p. Tier 4 1080p.
When TV Shows Become Available:
HP – Within 24 hours of airing on TV.
NET – Only after a season has ended and a new season begins.
HP – Stereo
NET – Dolby Digital 5.1
HP – 2007
NET – 1997
HP – $695 million as of 2012.
NET – $3.6 Billion as of 2012.
Difference in the Content Library:
Hulu does have a decent movie choice but is mainly known for having TV shows along with trailers, interviews, and related clips. The reason this works so well is because it enables them to release episodes in a hurry, usually within 24 hours of it airing. It delivers shows from many different networks like such as ABC, NBC, USA Network, Syfy, E!, ION Television, Brave, Oxygen, Fox, A&E, and more. Hulu has also created more than a dozen of their own original series, like ‘A Day in the Life’, ‘Up to Speed’, ‘Spoilers’, and more.
It is here in the Content Library that Netflix really shines. It has a lot more depth to its library, with more available TV shows and movies than HP. The drawback to their TV shows as opposed to HP is not broadcasting one until a year or so after the season ends, whereas HP can do this in about a day. Netflix had to find a way to offset this shortcoming, so they came up with some original programming of their own by reviving shows like ‘House of Cards’, ‘Orange is the New Black’, and ‘Arrested Development’.
While these ball park figures may not be exact, it is believed that Hulu Plus has a library that features over 2,500 movies and 43,000 TV episodes (1650 shows). Netflix, on the other hand, features more than 100,000 titles. That’s a much larger library than their competition.
When it comes to the International audience, Hulu usually carries a few International shows, usually from Canada or the UK. It features Korean dramas as well.
Netflix overs a much broader variety of foreign TV series and movies, like ‘Downton Abbey’, ‘Being Human’, or ‘Lilyhammer’.
Compatibility with Today’s Devices
If you want to browse the Hulu website and are using Apple products (like ipads), you are out of luck. The reason is their use of Flash. Hulu members still get a nice variety of platforms on which to watch their shows, like TiVo, Apple TV, Wii, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo 3DS, and Blu-ray players. Hulu does have an app for iTunes that enables Apple users to bypass the Flash being used on the website, that uses HTML5 video instead, and is compatible.
Since June of 2014 HP has recorded around 8.5 million subscribers, while NET has more than 50 million globally. It has also been confirmed as of November of 2014 that Netflix is going to be available in both New Zealand and Australia by March of 2015.
Most Common Considerations
The way most people are going to look at these two competitors is by pricing, ads, and movie and TV show availability (content library). Hulu has a FREE service, but it’s supported by ads. HP will run you $7.99 a month and gives you more options for viewing content on apps designed for tablets and smartphones. A big drawback here is that even their premium service gets supported by ads. Their TV shows are interrupted by ads but their movies are not. Only one screen can be streamed at one time.
Netflix runs you $7.99 a month as well, but it gives you unlimited streaming with the basic plan, but only one screen in standard definition at at time. With the $8.99 monthly plan you can stream 2 screens at once and get upgrades to High Definition. If you want to stream up to 4 screens at a time, you have to upgrade to the $11.99 monthly plan.
That should be plenty of information for making a decision about which movie streaming giant will work best for you. There are pros and cons to each side, so again, it boils down you personal preference.