Key Difference: Roku Stick and Amazon Fire Stick and two different video streaming devices. As the name suggest Amazon Fire Stick is designed and marketed by Amazon, whereas the Roku Stick is designed and marketed by Roku. Both are fairly similar, yet there are bound to be some differences between the two.
Roku Stick Roku Stick and Amazon Fire Stick and two different video streaming devices that are available on the market. As the name suggest Amazon Fire Stick is designed and marketed by Amazon, whereas the Roku Stick is designed and marketed by Roku. While Amazon is a brand name everyone has heard off, some people may have not heard of Roku. The video streaming services may currently be at the height right now, however, Roku is the company who just may have started the fad for video streaming devices.
The video streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, Google Play Music and Movies have been around for a number of years. However, it got to a point that it became very cumbersome to watch shows and movies on their phone, yet the only alternative was to get a smart TV, which would be able to play the videos on the big screen. All this changed, when the video streaming devices were launched. These devices allows one to stream content from those services directly onto a regular TV, as long as they have an HDMI port, which most TVs today do.
Roku launched one of the first video streaming devices in the market, and really made video streaming devices popular. Hence, it is generally well respected in the market, and is trusted to know what they are doing. Amazon, on the other hand, entered the market fairly recently. Still, among their many streaming products, two comparative products are the Roku Stick and Amazon Fire Stick.
Both are fairly similar, yet there are bound to be some differences between the two. One difference is that the Amazon Fire Stick comes with more memory and storage than the Roku Stick, that’s 1GB RAM and 8GB storage to be exact. The Roku Stick, on the other hand, has 512 MB RAM, and 256 MB of storage. Regardless of that, the Roku stick holds its own against the Fire Stick; in fact its interface has been touted as almost being as fast and instinctive as the Amazon Fire Stick. Still, the better processing power does mean that Amazon Fire Stick beats out the Roku stick in terms of raw power. Also, the more storage means that more apps can be downloaded and stored on the Fire Stick.
Amazon Fire Stick Roku also supports video, audio and image streaming apps with some simple games. The Fire TV Stick can run more than just media apps and it offers far better gaming thanks to the great Fire Game Controller. However, the Game Controller is available in all markets. Still both do some with a remote control that helps one search for and control content.
Both have similar selection of apps and services, with both supporting most if not all of the popular streaming services. Still, Roku also tends to support more of the smaller streaming services that Amazon might miss out on. However, this may differ from region to region, as there are places where Roku stick has not launched but Amazon Fire Stick has.
Another difference is that Roku Stick supports HBO Go as well as Google Play Movies, or Google Music, both of which are not supported by Amazon Fire Stick. This could be a downside for many users.
Joe Supan Staff Writer February 07, 2019
|Movie Score||TV Score|
The average cable bill in the U.S. costs $107 per month, so it’s not surprising that consumers are looking for ways to watch TV and movies online for free. We spent a month researching the best free (and legal) streaming sites out there, and ranked them from best to worst, with two picks specifically for free TV streaming at the very end. We’d recommend downloading as many of these as you can onto your streaming device or TV of choice. That way, when you search for a specific movie or show, you can see if it’s available anywhere for free before you pay to rent it.
We’ll be honest: A lot of the movies on these sites are duds that companies like Netflix and Hulu deemed unworthy of paying for. Be prepared to see plenty of names you recognize in titles you don’t. (Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman’s “Trespass,” for example, pops up on just about every one.) That said, we were shocked at how good some of these services are — particularly the ones at the top of the list. If you’re looking to cut out cable or paid streaming services, these are worthy replacements.
The best of the best
The best free streaming sites have libraries with thousands of shows and movies that rival paid services like Netflix and Hulu. These are our favorites.
Hoopla brings your library’s vast collection of movies and TV shows straight to your TV. It’s owned by Midwest Tape, a distributor of DVDs, CDs, and audiobooks that works exclusively with libraries in North America. Because libraries pay for the service, its catalogue is better than just about any other service out there — even rivalling paid services like Netflix and Hulu — and you can watch movies ad-free.
What it’s best for: Just about everything. Hoopla received top marks in our evaluation for documentaries, classics, drama, and horror, but its enormous collection means its solid across the board. And lest you forget this is a library service, it also has tons of great self-improvement videos for things like exercising, cooking, and learning to play instruments.
What it’s missing: There are no glaring weak spots in Hoopla’s library, but it didn’t have quite as many new releases as Kanopy. If you’re looking to catch up on Oscar contenders, we’d try that first.
Available on: Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast
2. Tubi TV
Tubi has an absolutely massive selection of movies, with more of an emphasis on blockbusters compared to Hoopla’s critically acclaimed titles. Despite its huge number of movies, it’s not overwhelming to search through, as you can sort by 54 categories like “Highly Rated on Rotten Tomatoes” and “Not on Netflix” to help cut down aimless browsing.
What it’s best for: No matter what you’re in the mood for, you’ll probably be able to find it on Tubi. It especially stood out in the Family category, with popular titles like “Paddington,” “Hugo,” and “All Dogs Go to Heaven.” It also has an incredible number of 2000s reality TV shows if you’re in the mood for some nostalgia.
What it’s missing: Like Hoopla, we didn’t have many quibbles with Tubi’s selection, but we did score it behind Kanopy when it came to new releases.
Available on: Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Like Hoopla, you’ll need a library card to access Kanopy. And like Hoopla, that gives it one of the most impressive collections of free movies you’ll find. But Kanopy skews more towards serious fare rather than blockbusters. It’s the college library to Hoopla’s local branch — more international, more arthouse, and more film history. It also has thousands of educational videos on topics like business, communications, and global studies.
What it’s best for: If the words “Criterion Collection” mean anything to you, we recommend Kanopy. It has a broad range of quality movies, but it specializes in arthouse, foreign, and classic films. It also received our top score for new releases, with recent Oscar nominees like “First Reformed,” “Moonlight,” and “Lady Bird.”
What it’s missing: Kanopy isn’t your best option if you’re looking for comedy or family movies, and it’s also pretty bare bones when it comes to TV shows.
Available on: Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast
Vudu is mostly known as a video rental service, but it also has more than 3,000 movies and 250 TV shows available to stream for free with ads. Where most free streaming sites inflate their numbers with B-movie filler, Vudu’s free titles are surprisingly well-known.
What it’s best for: Browsing through Vudu is like walking into the video store from your childhood. It seems to exist entirely in the 1985-2005 range, with all the action, horror, and comedies to tickle your nostalgia bone. And if you’re watching with the kids, Vudu also has one of the largest selections of family movies we came across.
What it’s missing: Don’t look to Vudu for new — or especially serious — movies.
Available on: Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Hit or miss
5. IMDb Freedive
In early January 2019, Amazon launched IMDb Freedive, a free TV streaming service to supplement Prime Video. While it’s library is pretty small — a little over 200 movies by our count — it synchronizes nicely with IMDb’s platform. If you use IMDb to look up a movie, for example, there’s a distinct banner saying it’s available on Freedive.
What it’s best for: Freedive has a great selection of dramas, comedies, and action movies. Even though it doesn’t have as many titles overall as some free streaming sites, it’s refreshingly free of fluff, so you won’t have to waste too much time searching.
What it’s missing: There are virtually no classics, foreign films, and indies on Freedive, and it’s also pretty light on documentaries and horror. You won’t find any movies released within the past few years, either.
Available on: Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
6. Sony Crackle
The founding father of free TV streaming, Crackle was bought by Sony in 2007, and primarily streams Sony’s (and by extension Columbia’s) back catalog of movies. There’s generally a lot of overlap in free streaming libraries — most services have similar movies because they’re cheap or free to license — but because of its exclusive rights to Sony movies, Sony Crackle’s 200 movies usually aren’t on other free sites.
What it’s best for: While its library is modest, Sony Crackle has a surprising amount of classic comedies. Both Ace Ventura movies, “Superbad,” and “Sleepless in Seattle” are all available.
What it’s missing: Skip Sony Crackle if you’re looking for serious movies — you won’t find many Oscar winners or documentaries here.
Available on: Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
7. Roku Channel
The Roku Channel is a free add-on to all Roku devices, and has a smattering of TV shows and movies if you’re in a pinch. It’s unique in that it also has 19 live TV channels. You probably haven’t heard of them, but they show up a lot in live streaming services you have to pay for, so it’s nice that Roku includes them for free.
What it’s best for: The Roku Channel has a decent number of dramas, particularly when it comes to past Oscar winners: “Capote,” “Monster,” and “Gahndi” are all up as of this writing. You can also find some solid horror movies, although they get pretty low-budget after the top 10 or so (withholding judgment on “Shark Attack 3” while we catch up on the first two).
What it’s missing: Family movies and new releases are non-existent on the Roku Channel, and the comedy section is pretty bleak, too.
Available on: Roku
Popcornflix the place to go if you’re looking for your favorite star’s most obscure movies (Channing Tatum in “Battle in Seattle,” anyone?). It’s a pretty weird service to navigate, with categories like “bro movies” and “old school cool.” We were also a little dubious of the “Popcornflix Originals” stamp — the streaming service somehow claims the 2003 Oscar winner Monster as its own.
What it’s best for: Popcornflix has a deep roster of horror movies, including parts three through eight of the Friday the 13th series, a handful from icons like Hitchcock and John Carpenter, and newer horror classics like “Zodiac.” It also has a ton of family movies, but a lot of them seem to be knockoffs of beloved Disney movies.
What it’s missing: Popcornflix has almost nothing released this decade, and most of its movies never saw a theater to begin with.
Available on: Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Xbox One
They’re a little difficult to find, but YouTube does have a little over 100 movies to stream legally and for free.
What it’s best for: YouTube has a decent amount of documentaries streaming for free, with an emphasis on bios of celebrities like Taylor Swift, Beyonce, and Kanye West.
What it’s missing: Pretty much everything else. You might be able to find a random title that piques your interest, but most of those are also available on the free streaming sites listed above.
Available on: Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
The best sites for free TV shows
10. Pluto TV
Pluto TV is unique among free streaming sites in that it offers live TV channels. Granted, they’re not what you’d find in most cable subscriptions, but they could provide a reasonable stand-in if you want the experience of channel surfing.
What it’s best for: Most people want live TV for two things: news and sports. On that front, Pluto succeeds pretty well. It has 15 sports channels, including ones like Fox Sports and Stadium that are staples of many live streaming services. We were also impressed by the quality of its 13 news channels, with well-known networks like CBS News, CNBC, and NBC News. It’s also the only free service we saw with on-demand shows from popular channels like Discovery, TLC, and Animal Planet.
What it’s missing: While Pluto has a small-but-mighty movie collection, it’s pretty bare when it comes to action, comedy, and drama.
Available on: Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast
11. Yahoo! View
Yahoo! View is the only streaming service we found that lets you watch new TV series online for free. The five most recent episodes from shows on ABC, NBC, and Fox go up eight days after they originally air on TV and stay up until they’re replaced by newer episodes. Unfortunately, if you want to watch through a streaming device, Yahoo! View is only currently available on Roku.
What it’s best for: Yahoo! View is by far the best way to keep up with network shows without paying for cable or Hulu. Some of the most popular shows on TV — including “This is Us,” “The Good Doctor,” and “Blue Bloods” — are all available on the free streaming service.
What it’s missing: Yahoo! View has a little more than 50 movies, and most of them are pretty obscure. It’s clear that the service prioritizes television over film.
Available on: Roku
The Bottom Line
You might not find everything you’re looking for on these free streaming sites, but they can still be a great way to supplement (or replace) paid options like Netflix and Hulu. We recommend downloading all of them to your streaming device or TV if you can. That way, their libraries will be included every time you search for a movie, so you won’t pay for anything that’s out there for free.
Guide to Free Streaming
|Good for||Not for||Library card required?||Ads||Fire TV||Roku||Apple TV||Chromecast||Xbox One||PlayStation 4|
|Yahoo View||Shows from ABC, NBC, and Fox||Movies||✔||✔|
|Pluto TV||Live TV channels, Horror, Documentaries||Comedy, Drama, Action||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|YouTube Movies||Documentaries||Everything else||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Popcornflix||Horror, Family||Classics, Drama, Comedy||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Roku Channel||Horror, Drama||Classics, Comedy, Family||✔||✔|
|Sony Crackle||Comedy, TV Shows||Classics, Documentaries, Family||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|IMDb Freedive||Drama, Comedy, Action||Classics, Documentaries, Horror||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Vudu||Family, Horror, Action||Classics, TV Shows||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Kanopy||Classics, Documentaries, Drama, New Releases||Comedy, Family, TV Shows||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Tubi TV||Documentaries, Classics, Drama, Family||–||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Hoopla||Documentaries, Classics, Drama, Horror||–||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
- Free streaming services are just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to see what else is available, you can check out our review of on-demand streaming services — these services offer you access to a mix of new shows, older shows, and movies, and most cost less than $10 per month for a basic subscription.
- If you’re looking for a little more access, there are also live streaming services, which allow you to watch and record live TV through your internet connection. Most live streaming services are in the $45-$50 range, although there are cheaper options if you’re willing to sacrifice DVR service and simultaneous streams.
- And for the sports fans out there, we’ve looked at how the major streaming services stack up when it comes to streaming sports. Our favorites are also in the $50 range.
You probably mainly know this network as the home to Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, butCrackle is actually a great source for film and TV beyond that. As with Hulu, you’ll run into some ads, but the upside is that the service has a big catalogue of wide-ranging, free movies to choose from. Its TV options are more limited (although Seinfeld fans have their fair share to pick from), but Crackle does offer its rapidly growing original content — like the Dennis Quaid series, Art of More — for free.
This free ad-supported service offers legal streaming of feature-length movies. Most of the movie options fall into either the indie fare or cult entertainment category, but there are some pretty solid guilty pleasures to choose from if you dig around a little. There’s also a limited catalog TV episodes to stream, but don’t expect to find any prestige dramas or critically acclaimed comedies. Most of Popcornflix’s small screen options consist of National Geographic, bad reality TV, and kid-friend animation. In any case, it’s worth checking out if you want to watch a movie for free. You can access Popcornflix on a computer or the app is also available on Roku, Xbox360, Samsung, Google Play, Amazon, and Apple.
Source: Tubi TV
Partially funded by Lionsgate, MGM, and Paramount Pictures, this ad-supported streaming service offers around 40,000 free TV shows and movies options to watch. The majority of the option are at least a couple years, but there’s a wide variety, from Oscar-nominated flicks to action thrillers to film festivals. The site, which can be accessed either online or on streaming media players like Amazon Fire TV, Roku, an Xbox, etc., also offers a wide range of TV series from cult favorites (Freaks and Geeks!) to early seasons of current acclaimed series, like Showtime’s Shameless. The site even has a “Not on Netflix” category to explore. Bonus: If you don’t want to register, you can just sign in with your Facebook account.
The good news is that YouTube has a surprisingly sizable list of movies that you can legally stream for free. The bad news? Most of them are B-movies that you probably have never heard of and pretty much all are several years old. Still if you take the time to browse, chances are you’ll find something that’ll keep you entertained, even if for a little while. There are also plenty of illegally uploaded movies that you can stream (that is, if YouTube hasn’t blocked them yet), but those tend to be of pretty iffy viewing quality. Still, YouTube is easy to access, so this is a good source if you’re in a pinch and need something to watch. Also worth noting: YouTube recently launched another paid Netflix alternative called YouTube Red on February 10. It offers ad-free music and video streaming and its own original programming. It costs $9.99 a month, but is currently offering a month-long free trial.
The Best Major Streaming Services
Mar 13, 2019 1:38:58 AM
So, now that you’ve picked your streaming device, it’s time to pick a streaming service (or services). Below are some of the biggest.
AMAZON PRIME VIDEO
The most significant competitor to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video has a bunch of originals along with enough movies and TV to match Netflix. You can buy Amazon Prime Video as a stand-alone service or as part of a larger Amazon Prime package, which includes a bunch of perks like next-day delivery of Amazon packages, music streaming, and more.
Coming in late 2019, Disney+ will be Disney’s entry into the streaming wars. With films and TV from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and more, expect a lot of blockbusters and exclusive content. For example, Captain Marvel will only be available on Disney+ after it’s done in theatres. They’re planning on having 7,000 episodes of television shows and 500 movies at launch, and they will be creating some content just for the service. Example, The Mandalorian will be a live-action Star Wars television show. The overall theme will be family-friendly.
Home to a lot of HBO content in Canada, CraveTV also has plenty of documentaries, kids shows, and new-ish movies. Although their best offering is clearly Canadian classic Letterkenny. Figure it out, bud.
ROGERS NHL LIVE / TSN DIRECT / SPORTSNET NOW / MLB.TV
Sports can be one of the biggest points of friction for would-be cord cutters. However, there are lots of sports streaming services to choose from, many offering much more content than you’d get on your regular network TV sports channel. There’s Rogers NHL Live, TSN Direct, Sportsnet Now, and MLB.TV, along with smaller services for other leagues. Protip: an NHL package makes for a great Father’s Day gift if you have a fussy grandfather who always says he doesn’t want anything.
CBC Gem is the CBC’s in-house streaming service. Anything you can get on the CBC’s 14 channels, you can get on Gem. Kids shows, original TV series, sketch comedy, documentaries, news—it’s all here. The basic package is free and pretty substantial and the premium, ad-free service is just five bucks a month.
Hulu is the third most popular streaming service in the world, behind Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. But Canadians have been missing out. Now that Disney has bought Fox, they’re planning on bringing Hulu north of the border sometime in late 2019 or early 2020. They have a number of original series like The Handmaid’s Tale, kids programming like Teen Titans Go!, and some live sports content.
CBS ALL ACCESS CANADA
If you’re a big fan of CBS shows and don’t care for commercials, then CBS All Access Canada is for you. NCIS, Elementary, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and 60 Minutesare all here, along with some of their own original series. Although not Star Trek: Discovery, for some reason.
Everyone knows about Netflix, but we’d be remiss not to list them in this post. Biggest streaming site in the world, huge content library, plenty of original movies and series (and some of them are a bit underrated).
THE BOTTOM LINE
Nearly a third of Canadian households don’t have a traditional cable package anymore. With cord cutting becoming more and more popular, maybe it’s time to pick one or two streaming services and ditch cable forever. If you’d like to know more about how to cut the cord in Canada, check out our definitive guide.
We cut the cord on cable four years ago. We were paying $105 per month to keep DirecTV around and knew it was far too expensive. When we canceled DirecTV, we looked at Netflix vs Hulu to determine which service to use to replace our content needs. Four years later, we’re saving over $80 per month and get all the shows we want – thanks in large part to these streaming services. You may think it’s impossible to cut the cord. I used to believe the same thing. I would lose football, my wife would miss HGTV, and we’d be without the shows we like to watch, or so I thought.
Thanks to streaming providers, we miss very little of our favorite content and save loads of cash in the process. If we can do it, you can too. If you want to cut the cord on cable or satellite and think you’ll miss all your shows, this guide on Hulu vs Netflix shows which is better to replace your content needs.
NETFLIX VS HULU: WHICH IS BETTER?
Many people know about both streaming providers, but may not be able to answer the question “What is the difference between Netflix and Hulu?” Both platforms have been around for years, and both have millions of customers. Each service also has its own original content along with a full library of movies to watch. While Netflix and Hulu share a lot of similarities, they are also quite different. This side-by-side comparison of Netflix vs Hulu details their differences so you can determine which service is best for your needs.
For an overview of where we’re going in the post, here’s a Hulu vs Neflix chart that breaks down the areas we will cover in the post:
|Hulu vs Netflix||Overall Winner||Hulu||Netflix|
|Plans and Pricing||Hulu||$5.99/month – few commercials||$8.99/month – Basic|
|—||—||$11.99/month – no commercials||$12.99/month – Standard|
|—||—||$44.99/month – Hulu with Live TV||$15.99/month – Premium|
|Original Content||Netflix||More current TV shows||More original content|
|Interface||Hulu||Better guide; easier to navigate||Busy home screen; harder to navigate|
|Movie Selection||Netflix||Far fewer movies to choose from||Massive movie selection, but losing Disney in 2019|
|Device Support||TIE||Compatible with many platforms, browsers and devices||Compatible with many platforms, browsers and devices|
As you can see, each service has multiple plans and pricing options and shines in different areas.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HULU AND NETFLIX
This guide will help you determine the differences between Netflix and Hulu by covering five different areas:
- Plans and pricing
- Original content
- Device support
- Movie selection
These areas cover a wide range of what to consider when comparing Hulu vs Netflix for your cable replacement needs.
Hulu Basic offers two plans, one with limited commercials and one with no commercials. To be fair, the no commercials plan is a bit of a misnomer as a small handful of shows contain limited commercials. This is limited to six to ten shows, all of which are relatively popular.
The pricing for the legacy Hulu plans is below:
- $5.99 per month for the limited commercials plan
- $11.99 per month for the no commercial plan
The $5.99 plan is a new offering by Hulu. It was previously $7.99 per month, and the new price is a great value.
The only difference between the two legacy Hulu plans are the commercials. Both provide access to Hulu’s original content like The Handmaid’s Tale and Casual, movies, and most TV shows – 24 hours after they run on air.
Hulu with Live TV
The second major plan offered by Hulu is Hulu with Live TV, formerly known as Hulu Plus. Hulu Live gives you all the content listed as a part of Hulu Basic, but it also works as a cable replacement.
Below are just a few of the benefits of signing up for Hulu with Live TV:
- 60+ cable channels for $44.99 per month
- DVR, with 50 hours of storage – you can upgrade to 200 hours for an additional $14.99 per month
- Access to local channels in most markets – here’s how to watch local TV without cable if you choose another provider
- Streaming on two devices at once
If you want to cut the cord on cable, Hulu with Live TV is one of the best cable TV alternatives. Below are just a handful of the channels Hulu Live offers:
- ESPN family of networks
- Fox News
Regardless of the plan you choose, you can stream on two devices simultaneously. You can check out our Hulu with Live TV review to see the full channel lineup.
Much of their content is available in either HD or Ultra HD, though some of their on demand offerings are available only in SD.
Hulu also allows you to add the below paid channels:
- Cinemax – $9.99 per month, same as the standalone service
- HBO – $14.99 per month, same as the standalone service but offers the first six months for only $4.99
- Showtime – $8.99 per month, $2 cheaper per month than the standalone service
Although Hulu has fewer subscribers compared to Netflix (20 million vs. 50 million) it has a lot to offer for the price.
Netflix first began as a DVD by mail service. They have all but killed that offering today, but they do have three main service plans you can choose from for your entertainment needs.
Netflix Basic is as advertised. It’s the bargain basement plan, priced at $8.99 per month. This gets you access to all of its original content like Stranger Things and Orange is the New Black, its full library of movies, and unlimited access to all of the shows on Netflix.
Some things to keep in mind with the basic Netflix plan are that it’s not available in HD and you can only stream on one device at a time. If you want a bare bones plan, this is the plan for you.
The Standard plan builds on the Basic plan, with a price of $12.99 per month. This provides access to the same network of shows, as you get the same library of content regardless of the plan you choose.
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The benefit of the Standard plan is that it’s available in HD and you can stream on two devices at once. This is perfect for a small family looking for flexibility in their viewing needs.
Netflix’s Premium plan is a step up from standard and costs $15.99 per month. What does the Premium plan offer that the Standard doesn’t? Two key benefits:
- Ultra HD is available
- You can stream on up to four devices at once
The Premium plan is perfect for a larger family that wants to stream on a variety of devices at once and wants the best available quality.
Winner: The winner of Netflix vs Hulu price and plan goes to Hulu. Two things make them stand out – a $5.99 per month option and live content.
Netflix offers a great price, but Hulu beats them on price and plan. Hulu with Live TV only sweetens the deal.
Original content is the name of the game for many streaming providers. Some platforms specialize in solely live programming, while others specialize in airing content from other producers.
Original content, on the other hand, is where some providers separate themselves. Hulu has significantly stepped up its original content game, in both shows and movies. Reports indicate Hulu spent $3 billion in 2018 on original programming alone.
**Related: not certain which option you should choose? Read our Hulu vs. Hulu Plus guide to see which choice fits your needs.**
While Netflix spends considerably more on its original content, Hulu is no slouch when it comes to critically acclaimed original content. Below are some of the most popular Hulu original shows:
The Handmaid’s Tale
- Castle Rock
- The Mindy Project
- The Path
We’ve really enjoyed the original content we’ve watched on Hulu thus far and think it’s only going to improve with time.
Aside from the DVD service they started with, Netflix is widely known for its original content. They pump out dozens of original series or movies each month, with reports indicating up to 700 shows in 2018 alone.
Netflix is the granddaddy of the binge watch culture. They typically drop most original shows in their entire 10- or 13-episode format, ready to watch in their entirety. That format changed television the way Amazon changed shopping.
While each original show isn’t gold, Netflix does have many critically acclaimed original shows. Below is just a handful of their top original content:
- Orange is the New Black
- The Crown
- Stranger Things
- House of Cards
- Arrested Development
Regardless of your preferred genre, you’re almost certain to find quality original content on Netflix.
Winner: The winner on original content between Hulu and Netflix goes to Netflix. Aside from shows like The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu original content vs Netflix just doesn’t compare.
That’s not to imply that the original content on Hulu is bad, because it’s not. They’re investing more in original content, but it’s the focus of Netflix making it the clear winner.
Rather than covering both platforms individually with regards to device support, we’ll cover them as one section. Both Netflix and Hulu operate on a ridiculous amount of platforms.
Below are just a few of the devices you can use to watch Hulu and Netflix:
- Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick
- Roku family of devices
- Apple TV
- Android smartphones
- Selected LG, Samsung, Sony, and Vizio TVs
- iOS platforms
- PlayStation and Xbox devices
You would be hard pressed to find a device that won’t allow you to watch either one or both platforms.
Winner: Device support is a tie between the two providers. You can access either through a wide array of products, making both available to almost anyone.
It can be difficult to compare interface between two platforms, especially when there are a number of differences. Hulu differentiates itself by having a bit of a different interface on their desktop version vs. what’s found while watching on a TV. Both are relatively simple to navigate, with options being a bit easier to use on the desktop version.
The interface of the Hulu platform is relatively clean and simple to navigate. They have less content than Netflix, so this does make it easier for them to accomplish. Hulu divides shows and movies simply by category so you can quickly find what you want to watch.
They also do a good job at advertising their new shows, or ones you’ve recently watched.
One feature of the Hulu interface we really like is that they advertise new episodes of shows you like right on the home page. You don’t have to go search for it; you just click on it when it’s ready to watch.
The one complaint we have about the Hulu interface is the awkwardness of learning how to navigate it after upgrading to Hulu Live. If you’ve gotten used to Hulu legacy, it can take a few tries to figure out how to access the live TV and DVR options.
The login is the same, as is the home screen, but there are a few extra clicks required to find the live TV guide and DVR settings. We ended up inadvertently recording dozens of hours of local news without realizing it.
That aside, we quickly acclimated and have found the Hulu interface relatively simple to use.
Carrying forward from the section on original content, Netflix has a lot of it. While it would make sense for Netflix to put its original content front and center in its interface, that’s not really the case.
Regardless of whether you access Netflix from a desktop or a TV, they tend to overwhelm you with a lot of content. This is an understandable downfall of having so much original content, but the interface is simply too busy to easily navigate.
Netflix recently updated their interface, which is good, but it still does not take away from the busy features of it. Worse yet, they don’t put all their new content on the home page of the interface. This means you need to search for it manually to find it.
The one bright spot of the Netflix interface is that they play trailers when you leave your TV idle on a particular show.
Winner: It’s hard to say, but the interface for Hulu wins vs Netflix. Overall, the Hulu interface is cleaner and simpler to use. Netflix needs to take some of the money they’re using for original content and invest it in a cleaner, easier to use interface.
Hulu was a bit late to the game for movies. Being owned by many of the major networks, it’s understandable that they would focus on television shows.
However, Hulu has stepped up their game significantly with movie titles putting them on par with Netflix. Not only have they produced their own original movies, such as Joshy and The Beatles: Eight Days A Week, they also have plenty of non-original movies available.
Non-original movies on Hulu range from older classics, like Carrie and Taxi Driver, to newer popular movies like Fences and Arrival.
Netflix began as a DVD by mail service for movies; a virtual Blockbuster back when that chain ruled the home entertainment market. Today, Netflix’s DVD by mail service is more of a fringe offering, but they still maintain a healthy selection of movies.
*Related: Want a free option for cable? Check out our Pluto TV review to learn how to watch free cable shows.*
Netflix has produced its share of original movies, at just over 100 films. Many of the films have received little fanfare, with most of them considered no better than a straight to DVD movie.
Netflix does have a larger film library than Hulu, but many of them are more niche in nature. A common complaint with Netflix is that they cycle out a lot of popular movies each month.
You might be able to watch a movie you want this month, but it’s possible you wouldn’t the following month.
Netflix does boast a large cache of Disney and Pixar movies. Unfortunately, Netflix will be losing first-run Disney and Pixar movies starting with those released in 2019.
Disney is launching their own streaming platform so they will be keeping new films for their own library.
Winner: This is likely the closest of the five categories of the Hulu vs Netflix battle, but Netflix wins by a close margin. However, once Netflix loses the rights to first-run Disney films in 2019 it will be a tie at best, or a slight nod to Hulu.
HULU VS NETFLIX: WHICH IS BETTER?
Comparing the differences between Netflix and Hulu, it’s clear where they differ. Hulu is focusing on three main areas:
- Live content through Hulu Live
- Original content
- Streaming shows 24 hours after they appear on air
Netflix is focusing on two main areas:
- Original content
Comparing Hulu Plus vs Netflix, the winner by a slight margin is Hulu. Technically, out of the five categories, each service won twice, along with a tie.
However, one of the Netflix wins will soon be switching to Hulu when Netflix loses first-run Disney movies. In fact, the new Disney+ platform will be an upgrade option at Hulu in November 2019. This further strengthens the slight victory over Netflix.
Netflix offers a great price, with their lowest plan being $8.99 per month. Hulu beats that with their $5.99 per month plan. That gets you access to all their original content plus many current TV shows 24 hours after they run on air.
If you want a live option, check out our Hulu Live TV channels list guide to see what live channels you receive on the platform.
Regardless of which streaming service you choose, you will have great value, plus great savings vs. traditional cable.
For our money, Hulu is the winner.
OTHER TOP ALTERNATIVES TO CABLE
A side-by-side comparison of Hulu vs Netflix would be incomplete without briefly discussing the other best TV streaming services. Below are a few additional alternatives to cable to consider.
Sling TV is one of the older streaming service providers. The Sling platform is run by Dish Network and comes in at a reasonable $25 per month.
Sling TV offers two base plans – Sling Orange and Sling Blue, both coming in at $25 per month. Each plan offers a bit of a different of a package of channels but you can expect to find some of the below channels in at least one of the plans:
- Fox Sports
- History Channel
- Fox News
Sling TV also offers add-on packages that let you customize your experience even more. Most of these packages cost an additional $5 per month.
Check out our Sling TV review for a more in-depth review of the service.
Philo is a newer player in the streaming space and specializes in lower cost packages. The Philo TV service first started out on college campuses but is now available across the country.
Philo is one of the cheaper cable TV alternatives, with their two packages costing $16 and $20 per month. The two packages offer 40 and 49 channels, respectively.
The 49-channel plan offers the same channels as does the lower tier package, with nine extra thrown in. Channels on Philo include:
- History Channel
- Comedy Central
As you’ll notice, there are no sports channels on Philo. That is how they keep their costs down. If you want primarily lifestyle channels, Philo is a good option.
Check out our Philo review for a more in-depth review of the platform.
FuboTV first got its start as a streaming service exclusively for soccer fans. The FuboTV platform has significantly expanded its offering since launching in 2015. You can expect to find the following channels on FuboTV:
- History Channel
- Fox News
- Hallmark Channel
- Fox Sports 1 & 2
- NFL Channel
FuboTV costs $54.99 per month for 100+ channels. While a bit on the pricy side, it’s still less than half the cost of traditional cable.
Check out our FuboTV review for a more in-depth review of the service.
AMAZON PRIME VIDEO
Finally, we want to take a look at Hulu vs Netflix vs Amazon Prime. Hulu and Netflix are the major players in the original content space, with Amazon becoming more competitive.
Amazon Prime Video offers two subscription plans:
- $8.99 per month
- $12.99 per month
The first plan is their basic plan that gets you access to most of their content, movies, and television shows.
The more expensive plan gets you full access to Amazon Prime, plus free two-day shipping on purchases along with unlimited reading and music streaming.
If you’re considering the more expensive plan, keep in mind that you save money by going with the annual rate of $119 per year – or $59 if you’re a student. You can try a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime if the price tag is too steep to try without testing the service.
Amazon Prime Video does offer original content, albeit not quite yet at the level of Netflix or Hulu. Among the critically acclaimed original shows you can view are:
- Sneaky Pete
- The Man in the High Castle
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Amazon is more hit and miss with its movie selections, but if you’re thinking about becoming an Amazon Prime member anyways, this is a streaming service worthy of consideration.
You can use the Fire TV Stick to access all Amazon content. Check out the list of Amazon Fire TV Stick channels to see the other content you can get through the platform.
HULU OR NETFLIX: BOTTOM LINE
Many people look at Netflix vs Hulu when they want to cut the cord. Both provide solid options for the cord cutter looking to save money and get good content.
Hulu wins a head to head competition, but you can’t go wrong with either service – it all depends on your needs.
What streaming service do you use for your content needs? What do you look for in a streaming provider? How much do you spend per month on cable or streaming providers?
Unknown writer, but it makes sense.
IPTV is not Comcast nor a billion-dollar company. Please remember that the next time u pays pennies on the dollar for a month of service.
Let’s understand what IPTV programming is, and what it is not.
Many people are under the impression that IPTV is a TRUE replacement for traditional TV services. Let’s set the record straight; IPTV is not a replacement for traditional cable services. IPTV is a great alternative to traditional cable but at a more affordable cost. For the casual viewer this is certainly the case, and it’s a great solution. Unfortunately for the die-hard TV users, the disabled person sitting at home channel surfing, and the children being “baby-sat” by a TV, it can be a very frustrating experience. Issues with buffering, channels not being available, Electronic Programming Guides not matching, the list can go on and on.
Those that choose to use this service must understand that they can never, truly expect the same results as traditional providers. Traditional cable companies are huge corporations with billion-dollar infrastructures and thousands of employees. IPTV is offering a great low-cost alternative. But understand that every single IPTV provider will have hardware downtime, issues with channels and occasional total blackouts. Again, for the casual TV viewer, this is not a problem. They most likely have a backup option such as binge watching on Cinema etc., or they can just simply change the channel. But for those folks that veg out everyday in front of the tv, this can be frustrating. But it’s the nature of the business.
All IPTV providers will go through periods of working great for a few months, then start having issues. This is simply the nature of the service as well. It’s a game of cat and mouse where the networks, ISPs, and motion picture associations are constantly trying to harm IPTV providers by seizing their domains, blocking or throttling customer access to the provider, or even initiating a DDOS attack against said provider. When any of this occurs that’s when you see them kicking it into overdrive to bring the service back up thru any and all other means.
And then there is the issue of understanding your own hardware, which unfortunately many of you do not. We were all new to something at some point, there is NO SHAME in that at all. But by delving into IPTV while you are still learning, some of you may have bit off more than you can chew. The user base is LARGE and because of that, not to mention the hundreds of devices out on the market, providers cannot teach you ALL how to use your own devices. You are going to have to learn to troubleshoot your own device.
Next up is buffering. Buffering can be caused by dozens of different factors. When your streams are buffering there’s really no reason to tell your provider. There’s nothing they can do unless it’s an actual channel issue from the source which is rare. Buffering is usually, 9 out of 10 times, due to something on your end or the ISPs. People give good or bad IPTV reviews based on buffering, but that’s really not fair. It shows that the user has a lack of understanding of the technology. The key to learning is asking questions with the intention of learning. You can ask your group, or you can open a Ticket with your questions and get answers. Why is an Ethernet connection better than Wi-Fi? Why does your service buffer certain times of the day? Is your ISP throttling your connection? Why does it work better when I use a VPN? or What causes buffering. IPTV is not perfect so be prepared to do a little leg work. Providers can’t go to your home and fix this for you. You will need to understand some of the basics. When they tell you that it’s a connection issue, they have usually done their due diligence to make sure it’s nothing on their side. Keep in mind a connection issue doesn’t necessarily mean the internet in your house, it could be a problem along the route that your ISP is taking to our servers. For most of you, your connection is traveling thousands of miles to reach one of their servers so any issue along the route could cause buffering or other issues.
Get to know the setup you have and what will best work for you. Don’t expect IPTV to be a true replacement for satellite and cable. If you do, you will be disappointed and very frustrated. IPTV is not a replacement; it is an alternative. Understand what IPTV is and what it is Not.
For the majority of users that have bothered to educate themselves with this new technology, IPTV is a blessing. No more paying the ridiculous prices of the big traditional providers.
For those that think that IPTV should provide you the same service as the big boys…. Think again. It’s not going to happen. So, save yourself some heartache, and do some research on what you are getting into.
If you go in knowing what it is, and what it is not, you will be happy with some extra money in your wallet every month and included content that the big companies do not include with your subscription.
The Fire TV Cube sports Alexa voice control and supports 4K UHD content at up to 60fps By Jonathan Lamont@Jon_LamontSEP 4, 20192:30 PM EDT0 COMMENTS Amazon is finally bringing its Fire TV Cube to Canada.
The American e-commerce giant announced that it would launch the Fire TV Cube in Canada alongside the announcement of a new Fire TV Edition soundbar. The Fire TV Cube is a hands-free Alexa-enabled Fire TV experience. Amazon boasts that it’s the fastest and most-powerful Fire TV ever. The Cube supports Dolby Vision and 4K Ultra HD (UHD) content up to 60fps. It also supports HDR and HDR 10+. Further, its hexa-core processor powers apps like Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video and Crave, along with websites like Facebook and Reddit (accessible through built-in Firefox and Amazon’s Silk browser). On top of all this, the Fire TV Cube features far-field voice control that lets you control your TV through Alexa. Users can navigate the Cube interface using voice commands, or simply ask Alexa to play a show and it’ll pick up where you left off. Far-field voice recognition relies on eight microphones with advanced beamforming technology, which combines signals from each microphone to suppress noise, reverberation, currently-playing content and other things that may compete with your voice. Of course, the Fire TV Cube also supports popular Alexa features like Multi-Room Music, Alexa Communication, Follow-up Mode and more. Along with the Fire TV Cube, Amazon also unveiled the first Fire TV Edition soundbar. Similar to Fire TV Edition smart TVs, the soundbars include Fire TV and provide a smart TV experience, even on not-so-smart TVs. Anker partnered with Amazon to launch the first Fire TV Edition soundbar: the Nebula Soundbar — Fire TV Edition. The soundbar will turn any TV into a smart TV with Alexa voice control and the Fire TV interface. Nebula also supports 4K UHD and Dolby Vision. The Fire TV Cube is now available for pre-order in Canada for $149.99. The Cube will ship beginning October 10th and comes with an IR extender cable and an Ethernet adapter. Fire TV Cube is also available in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Japan. You can learn more about the Cube here.
HBO declares war on Game of Thrones pirates, but it may be a losing battle
More than 90 million fans pirated the season’s first episode, says one source
Sophia Harris · CBC News · Posted: Jul 30, 2017 5:00 AM ET | Last Updated: July 30, 2017
Season seven of Game of Thrones has only just begun, and already HBO is cracking down on people illegally downloading the wildly popular TV series.
But it’s questionable how successful the TV network’s attack will be, especially when many pirates are turning to streaming — a form of piracy that’s hard to track but easy to do, even for Luddites.
“It’s just a lower technical bar,” says Dan Deeth of Sandvine, a broadband equipment company that tracks home internet usage.
According to TorrentFreak, a news site that covers piracy issues, HBO is targeting people suspected of illegally downloading Game of Thrones by sending notices to their internet provider.
The letter asks the provider to immediately inform the customer that they’ve behaved badly and need to stop.
The notice also encourages the provider “to inform the subscriber that HBO programming can easily be watched and streamed on many devices legally by adding HBO to the subscriber’s television package.”
Last year, HBO sent a similar message to pirates and raised the ire of many Canadian Thronesfans. That’s because new episodes of the show are only available to Canadians with a pricey, top-tier TV subscription.
“It’s just not viable for me to spend 150 bucks for HBO,” says Josh Randell, who lives in Corner Brook, N.L. He received two warning letters last year telling him to stop downloading Game of Thrones and informing him it’s never been easier to legally watch the series.
“It’s never been easier, then why can’t I get it easy?” says Randell. He says he would happily pay $14.99 US a month for HBO Now, a streaming service only available in the U.S. that offers full access to Game of Thrones shows.
Streaming is king
Despite the warning letters, Randell continues to pirate Game of Thrones, and so do many other people across the globe.
According to the U.K.-based piracy monitoring firm, MUSO, this year’s season opener was pirated an astonishingly high 91.74 million times around the world.
“It’s a big number but it’s a big show and there’s high demand,” says MUSO CEO Andy Chatterley.
The company based its data on internet traffic to more than 23,000 piracy sites. It found that in most of the cases — a whopping 84.9 per cent — pirates used unauthorized streaming to watch the episode.
MUSO stands by its data but Sandvine’s Deeth believes the statistics should be viewed as an estimate, claiming it’s hard to track some forms of piracy. But he does agree with the company’s findings that streaming, instead of downloading, is now the preferred way to steal content.
“Streaming is just easier to now do because the technology has gotten better,” says Deeth, who’s based in Waterloo, Ont. “Things like those Android boxes have made it easier for the average consumer.”
He’s referring to TV boxes loaded with special software that are often advertised with the promise of “free TV,” and sold for a one-time fee, typically around $100. Once buyers connect the device to a TV, they can easily stream a vast selection of pirated movies and shows — including Game of Thrones.
“It’s as easy as Netflix,” says Deeth.
But the shift to streaming will make it even more difficult for TV networks like HBO to catch pirates. Deeth says illegal downloading is public, which means the anti-piracy police can at least figure out the internet provider involved and get it to send the suspect a warning letter.
But he says unauthorized streaming is much harder to track because the content is often encrypted.
“It’s impossible to tell what file’s what, who’s sharing what,” says Deeth. “The content is anonymous.”
Give them what they want
Deeth suggests the best solution is to offer people easy and affordable streaming services that include premium TV shows.
“If you give people the services they want at a price they think is appropriate on the devices they want to watch it on, they’ll pay for it,” he says.
Thrones fan Randell agrees. “The content creators deserve their money,” he says. “But I want to pay for the content I want, not the content I want plus a bunch of extra crap.”
Bell Media owns the rights to HBO content in Canada. It told CBC News that while it continues to look at other options, for now Game of Thrones remains only available to traditional TV subscribers.
“We strongly discourage piracy, which hurts content creators, and encourage all Game of Thrones fans to subscribe to HBO Canada,” said spokesperson Scott Henderson in an email to CBC News.
CBC News also asked HBO for comment.”HBO aggressively protects its content but finds it counterproductive to publicly discuss our anti-theft tactics,” said spokesperson Jeff Cusson in an email.