Are you someone who pulls an all-nighter to finish entire seasons of How to Get Away with Murder?
I can relate.
Have you had to wait a whole week for a new episode, only to tear your hair out when the episode ends on a cliff-hanger?
With the introduction of subscription-based, video-on-demand streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, this vicious cycle has officially come to an end. You can now binge-watch seasons like nobody’s business in the comfort of your own home.
However, because of international licensing issues, we are not getting the full Amazon Prime Video or Netflix catalogue on our tiny island. So is either worth paying for?
Here’s our guide on the Top 3 online streaming options available today that will get you the most bang for your buck.
1. Free Trial Membership + How to Sign Up in Singapore
Sign on to a free trial to browse the catalogue of movies and TV shows each service has to offer before you decide to commit to one.
Netflix offers a 30-day free trial membership. However, you need to provide your credit card details to enjoy the free trial. An email will be sent to you 3 days before your free trial is up, so if you do not wish to continue, you can simply cancel it before it charges you.
Netflix was officially launched in Singapore January 2016 so you can sign up for an account and start streaming via their website and app.
Hulu only offers a 1-week trial period. You need to provide your credit card details as well and if you cancel during your free trial period, you will not be charged.
If you are residing in Singapore and want to access Hulu, you will also need to access virtual private network (VPN). Either that, or change your domain name system (DNS) through ISPs (Internet service providers), which can be a but more troublesome.
Amazon Prime was recently launched in Singapore in December 2016 and offers a 7-day trial period.
Credit card details are also needed to start the trial. You can sign up for an account right away and start streaming via the website or app.
Price is an important factor when it comes to choosing a streaming media service.
Netflix offers three plans — 1 Screen, 2 Screens + HD, or 4 Screens + Ultra HD. The plans cost S$10.98, S$13.98 and S$16.98 per month respectively.
For only S$16.98, you can watch on 4 screens at a time. You can get more value for money by splitting the subscription cost with friends when you sign up for 2 or 4 screens.
Hulu offers two plans — Limited Commercials and No Commercials at US$7.99 (S$11.28) and US$11.99 (S$16.92) per month respectively. The downside is that certain shows are not included in this No Commercials plan.
Amazon Prime only has one plan to choose from, which you can get for an introductory price of US$2.99 (S$4.22) per month — 50 per cent off the full price of US$5.99 (S$8.45) a month — for the first six months.
This is the cheapest among all 3 services, at least on paper.
Both Netflix and Amazon Prime are commercial-free.
3. Latest Episodes
Getting access to latest episodes is an important factor when it comes to choosing a streaming media service.
Netflix does not stream the latest episodes of TV series that aren’t their own. You could be binge-watching Suits until Season 5 and realise that the current Season 6 is not available in Netflix yet.
Talk about disappointment. This is a huge downside for one of the most popular TV subscription services, although this does give you the ability to binge-watch seasons at a time.
Hulu, unlike Netflix, streams the latest episodes of current TV shows, typically a day after they have been broadcast. This gives it an obvious edge. Try avoiding Breaking Bad spoilers for a whole year as you wait for Netflix to stream the last few episodes. Not fun.
Amazon Prime does not have the variety which Netflix and Hulu offer, but more shows will be added to the service this year.
4. Original Content
Here is where each service differs. Each service offers their own original content.
Netflix is, hands-down, the real winner here. Netflix features award-winning series like the exciting political drama House of Cards and the hilarious Orange Is The New Black under its belt of exclusive TV shows. This makes it perfect for those who want to marathon watch and dedicate full weekends to their favourites.
Hulu is a strong contender for original shows with its unbeatable industry partnerships.
Hulu LLC is owned by NBCUniversal, Fox Entertainment Group, Disney-ABC Television Group and Turner Broadcasting System. The Mindy Project, Casual, and 11.22.63 are some of the popular original series from Hulu.
Amazon Prime does not have as much content as Netflix but it offers popular Amazon Originals such as The Grand Tour from Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May (currently the top-rated TV show on IMDb with an overall rating of 9.4 and over 20,000 votes).
In addition, there are also award-winning Amazon Original Series like The Man in the High Castle, Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle and Tumble Leaf.
On the whole, Netflix provides the most value-for-money with its extensive selection of new and classic movie and television titles, as well as its original content. The only drawback is that, for current shows, you have to wait months to a year for a season, even after it has been aired on network TV.
Which one are you currently using, or are planning to use? Let us know!
This article was written by Sheila Chiang.