If you love to watch TV shows, movies, and even videos of your own, then it’s a great time to be alive. With the advent of super-fast, high-bandwidth connections, numerous companies are now offering some fantastic services to their customers via ‘The Cloud’: Streaming videos over the net to any device be it a smartphone, tablet, PC or Mac, giving you the flexibility to watch what you want, when you want, where you want.
But there are so many companies offering such services that it can be difficult to know which one is right for you, and your hard earned money.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the top 6 content providers and why you should consider them.
- Netflix: I’m sure you’ve heard of this service. Netflix offers thousands of films, documentaries, stand-up specials, TV shows, and documentaries which you can stream directly and instantly to your viewing device. Many of their titles are offered in HD, and due to being a large company, they have servers all over the country allowing for quick, hassle-free use. You get all of this for a monthly fee which is very low and, while they continually add new content, they’ve even started funding their own shows just like HBO. It’s a really brilliant service and all you need to do to get started is download their free app for almost any device you can think of, including game consoles.
- Hulu: Offers a similar service to Netflix, although its basic catalogue of titles is available for free. The downside to this is that you have to sit through adverts to watch the content, but that’s a pretty small price to pay for some excellent films and TV shows. There is also a subscription based service called Hulu Plus which gives you access to even more movies and seasons of your favourite shows, with limited advertising. Unfortunately, as of the writing of this article, Hulu is only available in the United States and Japan, but they do have plans to expand to other territories in the future.
- Amazon Prime: The up and coming company with regards to online streaming has to be Amazon. In the UK they recently acquired LOVEFiLM which is a competitor to Netflix, and in other territories offer Amazon Prime as a way to deliver content to you instantly. As well as offering instant viewing, Prime customers also get access to a huge number of Kindle or eBook titles for free and free shipping on many items bought through the Amazon website. You get all of this for a one off yearly fee, but they usually offer a 30-day free trial first so that you can test the service out.
- Youtube: Yes, Google are also getting in on the streaming content act. You might be used to using Youtube to watch internet-only content, but now you can also rent movies and television shows on a pay-per-view basis. The streaming quality is good and you only pay for what you watch. There is no monthly subscription to commit to either which will be appealing to many, along with many free movies, especially public domain, which you can enjoy without spending anything.
- Crackle: Similar to Hulu’s offerings, Crackle provides a range of films and TV shows for streaming using adverts to offset the cost. There are no subscription fees and everything works smoothly. As of the writing of this article, Crackle does not have a large back catalogue, but it does make its own shows including the excellent Comedians in Cars With Coffee, hosted by the legendary Jerry Seinfeld. You can stream Crackle content onto mobile devices with their handy app, making it a must-try. It is free after all.
- Cloud Storage: Not so much a single service, but a real option for those who want to watch their content from anywhere. Services such as Stream Nation, DropBox, and JustCloud allow members to host and stream their own content to their devices. If you have digital copies of your movies, TV shows, or music, you can then access them wherever you are from any device. A monthly or yearly membership will normally apply and for that you will receive a certain amount of storage space. Many cloud services also provide a free option with a limited amount of storage to get you started. A great choice for those who already own digital versions of their favourites and want to access them from anywhere.
Streaming of online content is a growing market, and for this reason new companies are attempting to offer something different to the above six mentioned on a near weekly basis. Keep looking for the service which suits you best and always make sure that you can cancel your subscription or membership easily if you choose to. Happy viewing!
Author’s bio: Alice McLean is a writer at http://www.bestessays.com with a background in history, sociology and internet marketing. Now she is writing her first book on internet marketing.