Since I got Internet service at home, I’ve been completely addicted to streaming video. Being able to get movies and TV shows and plays on demand is just like having the contents of the library’s video collection right in my own home. I have been disappointed, however, by the various streaming video services I have tried.
Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and others advertise themselves as not just a replacement for, but a better service than cable. Consumers are urged to “cut the cord” and replace their cable package with fee-based streaming video. The idea looks good at first and I highly recommend that anyone considering signing up take advantage of the free trial period many of these services offer. Unfortunately, my experience of these services was that the movies and shows I wanted to watch were not available. Again and again I would search (mainly Netflix and Amazon Prime) only to find myself renting the show from Amazon Instant Video instead. In the end I cancelled my trial subscription and simply rented (or purchased) the episode or movie I wanted to see from Amazon Instant Video. In brief, streaming video services seem to be replicating cable TV: lots of things available, but very little that you actually want to watch.
The best part about streaming video is being able to get things like theater productions from the UK’s Digital Theatre On-line that simply aren’t available on DVD. The worst part about streaming video is the bizarre pricing structure. Some movies, for example, have both a rental and a purchase price. Other films, even though they’ve been out for a while, are still available only to buy.