For those of us who don’t take advantage of pirating for our movie and television needs, we are constantly bombarded by ads and promises from companies claiming they’re the best option for you and your family. But how much money are you spending on your entertainment needs? What is the big deal about Netflix and Hulu? What is Roku anyway? Amazon lets you rent and buy movies? Oh, hey, Redbox, how you doin’? We are on entertainment overload. Everywhere you turn you are being held hostage by commercials, pop ups, spam, junk mail, and that supposedly well informed friend who doesn’t mind giving you their opinion on just about everything. So let’s get down to brass tacks.
Netflix: $7.99 a month for mostly obscure movies and television series. If you are looking for current choices, Netflix isn’t the commitment for you. If you are looking to catch up on all nine season of the X-Files, you’ve just entered Scully and Mulder heaven! You may spend an hour searching for a movie that interests you, but it’s relatively cheap and it changes its selection on a regular basis (no commercials!).
Hulu: $10 a month to stay up-to-date on all your current shows. Hulu also has a movie collection, but like Netflix, it’s only good if you don’t know what you want to watch (browsing required). A downfall for Hulu would be the commercials despite upgrading to Hulu+.
Roku: you need wi-fi or Ethernet for this sucker. Roku is a streaming player for your television. With it you can stream Netflix, Hulu, Amazon video, over 1,000 channels and 31,000 movies. Prices vary – check it out here. This would be a good alternative to paying for cable. You’ll need accounts on the offered services (i.e. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon), but it may be worth not getting stuck in a two year contract with some unreliable cable company.
Amazon: like the afore mentioned, Amazon is just another way to rent or download movies to another device (like your Kindle or laptop). Becoming an Amazon member is free, but if you want to go Prime it’s an annual fee of $75. It’s worth the cost when you factor in speedier shipping from the Amazon store and better deals when shopping for movies.
If you don’t want to spend a serious amount of money on cable, perhaps you’d be happy with a Netflix and a Hulu+ account paying $18 smackers a month to stay on top of your television needs. Or, if you have kids, Roku might be your better option. Maybe, you’re pretty low-key and can survive on broadcast channels (Thank God for PBS) and the occasional movie rental.
However you slice it, you just need to ask yourself one question: what option is going to fulfill my desires without making me a slave to Hollywood? In the end, you have to decide what you are willing to spend monthly on entertainment. Could you be satisfied with the occasional $1 dollar rental from your local Redbox? Or are you the type of entertainment junky that requires multiple services to satisfy your movie taste buds? There are plenty of options out there designed to make it easy on you - and don't forget, you can participate in free trials! So be smart and educate yourself on what’s out there and what you truly need to live a happy and entertaining life. Perhaps in the end, we may want to stop watching life happen and make life happen...