Geek Girl Report: TV Where You Want It, When You Want It – The Pros And Cons Of Streaming TV Services
In last week's report, I talked about the differences between cable and satellite TV, and the pros and cons of each. But I also brought up a third option: ditching both options and getting a streaming service. I rarely watch regular TV anymore myself, unless it's a special event like say the Super Bowl or the Oscars. Instead, I prefer to use my TV for gaming, watching movies, and streaming TV and movies from my PlayStation 3. And I'm not the only one. Many households, young and old alike, are going to a strictly streaming format for TV, and there's plenty of reasons why.
One of the biggest reasons many people switch to strictly streaming is the cost. Both cable and satellite companies love to boast about their low, low prices, or how much money you can save when you bundle cable and Internet together, or any number of sales ploys they'll use to convince you they're the cheapest option. But how many of those companies can give you unlimited access to TV and movies for under $10 a month? The biggest names in streaming: Netflix, Hulu Plus, even Amazon Prime are available to everyone for just under $8 a month. And compared to upwards of $50 a month for cable or satellite, this is a great bargain, particularly for households on a budget.
Another advantage to streaming is the ability to watch shows and movies whenever and wherever you like. Netflix, for example, has complete seasons of tons of different programs, anything from dramas like Law & Order and CSI, to comedies like Family Guy and The Office, reality shows, cartoons for the kids, horror, sci-fi, mystery, pretty much any type of show from any genre you can imagine.
And unlike cable or satellite, where you have to check listings and TV guides to see when your favorite shows will be airing, streaming services allow you to watch these shows at your own pace. You can blaze through an entire season in one sitting, or take your time and watch each episode at your leisure. Not to mention you can watch these shows anywhere with nearly any device you want: computer, laptop, tablet, even your phone if you can stand watching on such a small screen.
All that being said, there are a few problems with the streaming-only option. One common complaint is the timeliness of streaming content. Take Hulu Plus, for example. In most instances, Hulu Plus will have a new TV episode up within 24 hours of the episode being aired. However, it takes much, much longer for movies to show up on the service; most of the time it's years after the movie's release.
Netflix doesn't take quite that long to put movies up on its service, but it can still be several weeks or months before it show up. And as for TV shows, Netflix usually doesn't release those until the entire season is complete. So if you want to stay up to date on the latest new shows and movies, streaming-only is probably not the best choice.
Aside from that, there are a few other annoyances with streaming. For example, if you have a weak Internet connection, you may be in for some long loading times, especially if you just want to pop in a movie and it takes half the length of the movie to load. Also, it can be tricky to search through the queue to find what you want, Hulu Plus's interface in particular is notoriously annoying to sort through. And, this should go without saying, but you'll have to have a device that can connect to the Internet hooked up to your TV already, either a game console, or a device like the Roku box or Apple TV, along with a decent Internet connection.
But in my case, the pros of streaming TV far outweigh the cons. I love being able to watch my favorite shows whenever I want on any device on what, even when I'm on vacation. It fits my budget, my lifestyle, and my taste in content. Even if you do have cable or satellite, I would strongly recommend you to look into a streaming service as well. Who knows, you just might end up liking it better.
Be sure and check out The Geek Girl Report every Tuesday morning, only on KFYO.com. And be sure to follow me on Twitter as well: @ArielWalden214.