Which streaming service should you use? And how fast will it stream?

Does it stop there and just tease you?

Does your attempt to stream stop there and just tease you? Maybe it’s time for new ISP

Streaming movie and TV shows is a great way to both keep up with culture without resorting to piracy and becoming a hermit who never leaves the house because you need to watch all of Comedy Bang Bang in one sitting. But with three big players, Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime, in the streaming game now, which should you choose? And while you’re sitting there waiting for your selection to load, are there people out there who are getting entertainment beamed into their eyeballs even faster than you? There just might be, depending on your internet provider.

Digital Trends compared the three services to each other based on selection and original content, use on mobile devices, price, audio and visual quality, and the earliest date you can get certain new content. At the moment, Netflix still seems to be the best value, as it has the best picture quality and the largest amount of original and other content. It makes sense, since Netflix has been in the game longer than the other two players, but it should be noted that the other two have their own advantages. Amazon Prime is the cheapest service, and users get free two day shipping on anything bought on Amazon, along with a free e-book from the Amazon Lending Library every month. Hulu Plus, on the other hand, makes it easiest to keep up with new episodes on TV, often making new episodes available to its users the day after they air.

How fast will your movie stream though? Netflix’s US ISP Index can offer some clues to that. The ISP Index measures the average speed that the streaming service comes in to your home based on your choice of service provider. Coming in at number one overall is GoogleFiber, which you can only get in freaking Kansas City at the moment, so let’s just ignore that and quietly seethe that those rotten Kansans have Fiber while we don’t. Cablevision’s Optimum service comes in second overall, trouncing Time Warner, which comes in ninth out of all the streaming services measured. Just another reason to run screaming from Time Warner if you have a choice between that and anything else. And in between those is Verizon FIOS, which is ranked fifth overall. But before immediately switching over to it from Time Warner, note that their normal high speed internet comes in fifteenth out of sixteen providers and that FIOS isn’t available all over Brooklyn yet. So it turns out that there actually is a fate worse than Time Warner. What have your experience been with your streaming services? Are you happy enough with them to lose an entire day to House of Cards?

One Comment

  • The nice thing about Netflix is you can choose the definition – e.g. standard through high definition (and in between). Hulu streams at a higher definition all the time. I am limited to two wireline providers where I live, and the cheaper is AT&T. So with my 5 Mbps speed, I have selected standard definition streaming through my Netflix account, and have absolutely no buffering problems. http://www.streaming-411.com/broadbandrequirements.htm