Friday, November 16, 2012

Netflix vs. Huluplus

by Rachel Diebel, A&E Writer
and Camille Adams, Guest Writer

#collegestudentproblems: finding a way to keep up with your favorite shows. With a limited number of televisions in the residence halls, viewing shows live may not always be possible. For many, the choice comes down to Netflix, HuluPlus, standard Hulu or old-school DVDs.

Hulu may be free, but viewing current episodes of our favorite shows requires a subscription. Both Netflix and HuluPlus have their own set of advantages and shortcomings to consider before investing in a subscription.

HuluPlus

If you want to stay on top of current shows, Netflix DVDs can be inconvenient with the residence hall mail system. Hulu, on the other hand, only offers five of the most recently aired episodes, unless you are a member of their private club — HuluPlus.

For the same price as Netflix, $7.99 per month, you can get a HuluPlus subscription and watch past and present seasons of nearly any show you want. Plus, subscribers can watch new episodes of shows from most networks just a day after they air on TV — usually only possible via illegal streaming.

If you are a TV buff, HuluPlus is the best choice. Along with current shows, you can watch every season of classics like “The Cosby Show,” “Firefly” and “Spongebob Squarepants.”

However, if you are a diehard movie lover, the cinematic options Hulu Plus offers can be painful. While scrolling through the options, titles such as “Fetishes” and “Elvira’s Movie Macabre” appear as highlights.

Like YouTube, HuluPlus has taken to producing short webisodes. A new six episode series called “4 to 9ers,” exclusive to HuluPlus, centers on the lives of young Subway employees. Overt product placement aside, HuluPlus can be commended for adopting this trending entertainment medium.

For the same financial commitment as Netflix, a HuluPlus user can access archived seasons of classic television, just-aired shows, brand new webisodes and can view them all on multiple devices. For a TV-loving college student, HuluPlus is the way to go.
   
Netflix

Everybody knows about Netflix.  Their red enveloped DVDs delivered to customers’ homes are iconic.  But how well does Netflix stack up to the competition?

Netflix has many recommendation-worthy attributes, such as its pricing.  For just $7.99 per month, users have access to unlimited video streaming. 

For an extra dollar per month, users can have DVDs sent to their homes as well.  These DVDs are usually recent releases that aren’t yet accessible online.

Another positive aspect of Netflix is the usability of the site.  It is well laid out and easy to navigate.  Features like “My Queue” help keep the movies and TV shows you want to watch organized.  There are also no commercials to delay viewing — not the case with Hulu or even HuluPlus.

Until recently, a downside of Netflix was its sparse content.  Few recent television shows or movies were available for instant watch.  This problem has been remedied with one caveat: typically episodes of a show do not go up until the season is over. 

Unlike Hulu, where some episodes show up the day after airing, Netflix posts whole seasons of a show at once.  But once a TV show goes on Netflix instant watch, it typically stays there. With the free version of
Hulu, users have only a limited period of time in which to watch the episode. 

Netflix is even beginning to produce its own content.  The series “Lilyhammer” was Netflix’s first original series, and the cancelled cult hit "Arrested Development” will find a new home there in the coming months.

Overall, Netflix is well worth the price paid and will only continue to improve in the future.