When Redbox officially ended its partnership with Verizon and their combined streaming services, many thought this was a sign that no other company could ever topple Netflix. Though it still reports a high number of sales each year, it did experience a slight drop that some believe it due to the number of other options now available. While the government managed to shut down a number of websites that illegally offered streaming and download services, there are some official apps and sites that might beat Netflix in the long run.
Amazon Prime Instant Video
Amazon offers a membership program for $99 per year. Members receive free two-day shipping, advanced notice of upcoming sales and access to Amazon Prime Instant Video. Similar to Netflix, this service has more than 40,000 television shows and movies available. Though some point out its high price, the streaming service costs around the same for one year as Netflix does. Amazon has an exclusive deal with HBO that lets it stream former hit shows that aired on that network to its customers, and it also has some current HBO shows available as well. Users can download the app and use the service on tablets and game consoles.
Hulu started as a website that gave viewers the option to watch hit television shows and movies on their computers. As the service grew, it created an optional service called Hulu Plus. While Hulu is free to users, Hulu Plus costs around $8 per month. Hulu viewers can only use the service on their computers, and the site will only allow Plus members to watch certain videos. Plus members can also use the service on tablets and other devices. Hulu typically makes television shows available the day after those shows air on TV, but viewers do need to watch several commercials.
Paid services are premium services that charge users a fee based on the number of films or shows that they download. One of the most popular of these services is iTunes. Once users buy and download a video, they can access that video any time they want. Most videos cost less than $10, and new releases are usually available on the same day that those films land in video stores. Microsoft and PlayStation offer similar services on the XBOX 360 and One and the PS3 and PS4 that let users buy films and shows.
One of the biggest competitors to Netflix, according to tech expert Bobby Kotick, are the apps developed by television networks. FOX has its FOX Now and FXX apps, and A&E, ABC, History Channel and other networks also have their own apps. These apps give viewers the chance to watch some of their favorite shows on video game consoles, tablets, computers and smartphones. Network apps run commercials like Hulu does, and these apps also limit the selections available based on the cable service provider the user has.
Though Netflix is still the king when it comes to streaming services, some new companies and apps hope to dethrone the company. Users can watch the latest television shows on Hulu, watch shows that stream through network apps and get free shipping, streaming of television shows and movies and other perks when they purchase Amazon Prime.