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Netflix vs Hulu…is there really a difference?

by Leroy Rivera

Technology has been in such an evolutionary state over the last decade and there is no intention of it slowing down. Everything we ever dreamed about and have seen from our favorite television shows is becoming a fast reality. At this point we all know it is not just technology that has been evolving but how we get our entertainment and how fast we get it. Television and how we view it has had the most drastic change recently. We view Television on our computers, on our phones, on our tablets, through our gaming consoles and other outlets. Rory O’Conner, a contributor to the Huffington Post and the author of Friends, Followers and The Future, has stated it best. “This is not a media evolution this is a media revolution”.

This is the year 2014 and Streaming Media has taken over with a large variety of services to pick from such as Amazon Prime, Vodu, HBO GO, Pandora, Youtube, The WWE Network, and much more. However, the two most popular ones are Netflix and Hulu Plus. The later two services offer television and movie streaming options for a monthly fee, just like most streaming subscriptions. However, there is something that sets these two apart than the others. The majority of people want entertainment through visuals, so that leaves the music services out of the picture. Unless of course you’re riding in a car and need random good music because music streaming services are way better than the radio but let’s not get into that right now.

The majority of people are still confused as to what is the difference between Netflix and Hulu Plus. At the very core of it all Netflix focuses more on movies, even though they have television shows, where Hulu Plus focuses more on television shows, even though they have movies. There are movies and television shows that both share such as Doctor Who, and Arrow. However, there is a major difference and that is how television shows get distributed on both platforms, and it is not the commercial breaks. If you have Netflix then chances are that you mostly watch television shows instead of movies. This service always distributes their programming in one complete bulk. Meaning you get the whole series one season at a time in one shot. The downfall to this is that if there is a new episode of that show you still have to wait a full year until that series is complete to catch up. This is where Hulu Plus shows its true strength. Let’s go back to Arrow, as an example because it is a series that is on both services. Currently on Netflix, we have Arrow season 1 but we have to wait until two to three weeks before Season 3 begins on television to get Season 2 in order to catch up. However, as Season 3 is airing on television then Netflix will not have those episodes available to us but Hulu Plus will. What they do is the next day an episode of a new television series airs on any prime-time network, such as CBS, NBC, FOX, CW and so on, they have it ready for viewing for five weeks and then remove it. Think of it as an On-Demand service but with more options. The point is that Hulu Plus will have brand new shows instantaneously for a specific amount of time while Netflix forces you to wait but gives you more time for your patience. We also see this through their original programming. With shows like Orange is The New Black and House of Cards we get all the episodes in one full bulk. There are a few original shows for Hulu as well such as Deadbeat, which is a great comedy if you haven’t seen it, but they release the episodes weekly instead of the instantaneous option that Netflix offers with their shows.

These two services also have specific contracts with networks, which is why we get certain shows on one service than the other. Hulu has an exclusive contract with Comedy Central so they have the rights to a lot of the original exclusive shows to that channel and have every episode available for streaming such as South Park, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, and the list goes on and it is also the reason why Netflix removed South Park from their services. One major error that Hulu has is the representation of their exclusive content. They own the rights to a lot of International shows from The UK and Canada but advertise it as a “Hulu Original Series” when in fact the series was not made for the services but aired years prior to it on a different channel in another country, such as Misfits.

This media revolution is the future of our entertainment and at the rate it is going there is no need for cable television and soon they will become as obsolete as Blockbuster. Granted, Netflix and Hulu do not have everything we want due to legal distribution rights but they are both a great investment. Services like this are making it easier for the media consumers to pirate entertainment drastically less at a reasonable rate. Nothing in these services are perfect, you will have people complaining about the commercial ads on Hulu and you will have people complaining about having to wait for the next season of a show on Netflix or the removal of one. However, the price we pay for these two services is extremely affordable compared to a basic cable bill with better options.

About Armand (1269 Articles)
Armand is a husband, father, and life long comics fan. A devoted fan of Batman and the Valiant Universe he loves writing for PCU, when he's not running his mouth on the PCU podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @armandmhill
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