As we get more in to summer, many of you may be wondering how to spend some of your newfound freedom for the next few weeks. One way I enjoy spending my downtime is watching videos online. Now while videos of cats playing the piano are fun, I like to watch shows with a little more to them. When you look online for legitimate places to watch video online, you might feel like your choices are limited. Fret not however, as we at the UW IT Help Desk, have some suggestions for where to go to watch video online when you’ve got some downtime. While these options sometimes cost a few bucks, the abundance of video makes it worth it.
Netflix (Free 1 month trial, $7.99 for unlimited streaming a month)
Netflix is the top dog in the game when it comes to streaming video. Netflix has been around since 1997 and they took over the industry pretty quickly. Netflix only costs $7.99 and nets you unlimited streaming. The biggest attraction to Netflix is the large library of video they have. Name a television show or movie that has come out in the last 30 years and more often than not, Netflix has the video you are looking for. Netflix is also expanding its content base by expanding its line of original content. The biggest hit to come out of this is the return of Arrested Development and more is expected to come!
If you are looking primarily for movies or older television show episodes, Netflix is the best option for you.
Hulu (Free, Hulu Plus – $7.99 for unlimited streaming a month)
Hulu is a joint venture of NBC, FOX, and ABC. The biggest draw to Hulu is that they offer episodes of television shows the day after they air. These shows are free to watch up to a certain time that varies video to video. You might be wondering though, why would I want to pay for Hulu Plus? Paying for Hulu Plus nets you access to the back episodes of television shows both in the current season but also in previous seasons. For some television shows, the difference between Hulu Plus and Netflix is non-existent – for instance, both have ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and NBC’s The Office, some shows however aren’t so lucky. If you want to watch an episode from season two of FOX’s House, M.D., you’ll need to have a subscription to Hulu Plus as the show isn’t available for streaming on Netflix. One of my favorite functions on Hulu is the ability to create a queue of video so that you watch shows, they can advance to a video you have in your queue instead of some random video.
Amazon Instant Video (Students – $39, everyone else – $79 for unlimited streaming for one year)
Amazon Instant Video is a service Amazon.com rolled out several months ago for use with their Amazon Prime subscription service. While Amazon Prime’s biggest draw is its unlimited free two-day shipping, they continually added perks to this service and Amazon Instant Video is one of the best ones they’ve released yet. By having a Prime subscription, you have access to over 100,000 television shows and movies. The content is a little more varied but they do have several popular movies you’ll be pressed to find on other services like Forrest Gump and Mrs. Doubtfire.
Hopefully, with the services we discussed today, you’ll be able to find something to kick back, relax, and watch and enjoy that downtime you’ve got before we see you back in the Fall!