The live streaming services are not that many but it’s still not that easy to pick one out of all the best streaming tv service in 2020. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime are already among the top three and then there are HBO Go, Roku, Sling, Vudu, YouTube, iTunes in the list, competing for rest of the top positions.
Only a fraction of total users is subscribed to all three of these services which makes these comparison discussions very popular. Reddit and other platforms are full of it and you’ll find people debating over their favorite tv streaming service.
Hulu vs. Netflix vs. Amazon Prime – it’s not that easy to pick a winner out of these three. To sort this problem, most of the users prefer to pay for at least, two of these live streaming services. In this article, I’ll go through comparing a bunch of vital features that make these best streaming tv services in 2020 and will help you pick out the winner. If you are interested in free options, you should check our article on free movie apps here. Anyway, coming to the current topic, if I have to make it less complicated then I would say, Netflix is a winner because of its massive Original content library, followed by Amazon Prime as it comes with added shopping features and later, the Hulu which is perfect for watching live TV channels.
Clearly, these three are the best tv streaming services in 2020 and that’s why it gets tough to pick one out of three.
Table of Contents - Article Hierarchy
Netflix Pros and Cons
|Offline viewing option is there.||Titles disappear without any prior notice.|
|Cancellation of subscription is straight and simple.||Basic plan offers SD streaming|
|High quality Original Content.||Content takes time to update|
|No restriction on content and No commercials.|
|Super fluid and easy to learn UI.|
Hulu Pros and Cons
|Best for watching Live TV.||Costlier than competitors.|
|Live News and Sports channels are there.||Basic plan contains commercials.|
|It can stream on smartphone, TV, Xbox and even Apple TV.||Commercial plan is as costly as cable TV.|
|Original Content library is increasing every month.||UI is comparatively bad.|
|TV Series stays up for longer than on Netflix.|
Amazon Prime Video Pros and Cons
|Streaming available on almost all kind of devices except on Chromecast.||Latest movies or TV shows takes time to be available for free.|
|Original Content library is catching up.||UI is not that user friendly and requires learning.|
|Comes with Same-Day Delivery, Two-Day Delivery, Prime Music, and many exclusive offers.|
|No commercials in the content.|
Why Buy online streaming service?
- No long-term commitments needed. The cancellation process is straight and simple.
- No hidden fees. You’re pretty much clear about the price to pay.
- No need to take instalment appointments and the installation is fairly simple for most of the users.
- Lesser special equipment are required for the configuration.
- Portability feature makes it easy to keep our favourite TV shows and movies all the time with us.
- Personalized user interface helps to discover more content of our taste.
Hulu vs. Netflix vs. Amazon Prime
If you live anywhere other than the US, the decision to pick one out of these is not that tough because not all three services are available globally. But, if you happen to be in the US, all three are functional and among the most popular live streaming services in the USA.
Hulu is preferred choice for those who wish to watch Live TV channels because of its partnership with more than dozens of TV channels in the country.
For those who are mostly looking for Original Content, Netflix is the preferred choice. You can easily find users complaining about how Netflix spoiled them as they can’t watch the traditional TV shows anymore. To put it in better words, Netflix has raised the quality bar which is not that easy to beat or even come close.
Amazon’s Prime Video service comes bundled with its Prime subscription which is more of a utility subscription. Generally, Amazon Prime is picked for the mix of both live TV and Original Content.
This is kind of popular opinion when we compare Hulu vs Netflix vs Amazon Prime. You can still go in-depth and find out which one of these will be a better choice in your case.
#1 Live TV
Internet gives us flexibility which isn’t there in case of Satellite or Cable TV but there is a good number of users who wish to watch live TV using the internet streaming service provider.
If you’re one of those people, then Hulu should be your choice. For $39.99 a month, you get to enjoy all the content in the media library along with access to Live TV having 50+ top channels along with on-demand TV channels.
If watching Live TV channels is not what you mostly care for then Hulu services are available in two other plans as well. Hulu gets cheapest for just $7.99 a month plan offering unlimited access to all of its library but there is another plan for $11.99 offering a similar set of features with an additional one.
The additional feature is what makes all the difference between these two plans, also making $11.99 plan, the recommended choice out of these two. In the $11.99 plan, you don’t get to see commercials while in the $7.99 plan, you get to see all the commercials offered between the content.
There are a bunch of customization options available for Hulu user to pick as add-ons. One can add HBO (or Cinemax or Showtime or Starz) for another $15. The feature to stream on unlimited screens is also available as an add-on for $15. Enhanced Cloud DVR feature is another add-on for again, $15.
Next in the list is Amazon Prime Video, which offers a good number of live TV channels for $13 a month (or $119 when paid annually). But in this case, you need to pay separately for add-ons to watch particular TV channels. This is where Prime Video becomes a little complicated for users and also becomes costly. It asks for SD streaming of an episode for $2-3 and up to $4 for HD streaming.
Netflix comes at last as it’s way behind in putting live TV shows in the library but you still get to watch most of it.
When it comes to Live TV streaming and TV shows, Netflix is least preferred out of three because of their past deeds. They have taken down many popular titles without any notice and users have been nothing but furious about these actions.
Most of my friends prefer buying Netflix for a month or two when they update their seasons and then switch back to Hulu for the rest of the calendar.
Winner – Hulu
#2 Original Content
This is where Netflix wins the race and outshines the competition by a huge margin. However, this is changing with time as Prime Video and Hulu are catching up with their original content.
Netflix became user’s choice with its list of original content most of which won industry standard awards like Emmys. There are many TV shows which are available only on Netflix and are actually worth watching. My personal favorites are Narcos, House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. But the list doesn’t end here as most of their original content are having above average user ratings, giving users a wide variety of content to watch.
The award for Best Streaming Service in 2020 in this category will be picked by Netflix as most of their content is of top-notch quality. In other words, their content is of award-winning quality.
They have award-winning web series like Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Stranger Things and many critic’s favorite ones like Daredevil, Bloodline, Sense8, Narcos, The Crown, and many more.
Prime Video comes the next as it has produced a good variety of original content lately. Amazon has invested a lot lately in producing original content to push its video streaming service further.
An additional benefit of staying with Amazon is their movie rental feature. You can easily rent out a particular movie from their huge library and the purchased content is quickly integrated with the Prime Video.
They still lag behind in having top-notch shows as Netflix does but their content is worth watching and worth appreciating. In countries like India, they are giving a good head-to-head competition as far as original content production goes.
Hulu has a lot to catch up as its original content shows are not that popular. The quantity is not that much either but the quality makes them worth watching. Bottom line, Hulu shouldn’t be your pick in this case.
You can easily find people ranting about how Netflix spoiled their TV watching experience as there aren’t any advertisements. We all have been offered a mix of quality, mediocre, and crap content wrapped with a good number of advertisements since ages. And, there are many users who are not liking the way online streaming services like Netflix have changed their habit.
Many of them have switched to Hulu just because its cheaper plan streams content with the advertisement. Personally, I agree with the rant as feeding only the quality content can be a burden for the brain. We all have watched a lot of crap or mediocre shows just for the sake of it and there are many like us who miss these moments with Netflix. This is the reason why you’ll find many users preferring the cheaper plan from Hulu than the premium plan which gets rid of advertisement.
Winner – Netflix
#3 Content Quality (technically speaking)
Now, let’s talk about a few technical things which matter a lot to most of us. Yes, the quality of content which is available for streaming.
In the age of 4G cellular network and easy availability of high-speed broadband, the streaming quality is an important factor which can affect the decision of end-user. All our gadgets (smartphones and tablets) and TV systems are having at least, HD resolution screens. So, HD streaming is an important factor to compare.
Hulu lags behind as none of its plans supports 4K, keeping content limited to HD standard.
The Basic plan ($8 per month) of Netflix offers to stream at SD quality while the content on Standard plan ($11 per month) streams at HD quality. You can pick the 4k Ultra HD quality with the Premium plan which costs $14 per month.
The Amazon’s Prime Video wins this battle as it offers 4k Ultra HD quality at no additional cost, keeping HD quality as the standard.
Coming at the audio part, Hulu offers audio streaming at Stereo quality while Amazon Prime streams audio with 5.1 encoding on selected titles. Netflix goes a little far by offering selected titles in 5.1, 7.1 and even in Dolby Atmos encoding.
Winner – Prime Video and Netflix
#4 User Interface
If I was writing this comparison between Netflix vs Hulu vs Amazon Prime a year or two ago, Netflix could have easily won in this section. But now the other two contenders have improved a lot, making their user interface stand a chance to give a head-to-head competition.
Netflix still holds an upper hand in quickly recommending a title based on your previous choices. In case of live TV, Hulu will be delivering a more personalized feed. And, Amazon Prime stays somewhere between the two.
Out of the three, Hulu’s user interface is the least preferred followed by Amazon Prime.
Winner – Netflix
#5 Device Support
When it comes to the list of supported devices, Hulu vs Netflix vs Amazon Prime, only the Prime Video lags behind as it’s not supported by devices like Chromecast. Rest of the two are available almost everywhere. If you’ve to make a choice between Hulu vs Netflix then I suggest you check the list of compatible devices (Netflix | Hulu) where their services are officially available.
Winner – Netflix and Hulu
Features is where Amazon Prime Video will take the lead as the Prime account works on Amazon’s shopping portal as well. Additionally, it comes with free Prime Music streaming, Prime Reading and free two days shipping. Same-Day delivery and One-Day delivery feature for the shopping portal is also offered if you live in selected 8000+ cities. All these additional features are included with Prime Video account, none of which are available in Hulu and Netflix.
Hulu offers streaming on Unlimited screens as an add-on while the Basic plan of Netflix offers to stream on just one device at a time. The Premium plan of Netflix supports streaming on a maximum of four devices at a time.
In the case of Amazon Prime, the user is allowed to stream three different shows on three different devices, but a single show can be streamed on a maximum of two devices only.
Winner – Amazon Prime
Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu are definitely the top three internet streaming service provider in the US but these aren’t the only one. They do have competitors which you can consider as an alternative.
Roku – If you wish to add multiple streams with a single streaming device, Roku should be your choice. It comes with hundreds of TV channels, movies and even include Netflix in the library. It comes with a remote, keeping things traditional. It supports up to 4K quality, making it a cheaper option offering maximum quality.
Sling – Sling works with Roku but offers a new level of freedom to the user as they can pick a plan keeping just their favorite TV channels, ignoring the one they don’t prefer watching. It is almost as costly as cable TV but works without any contracts.
HBO Go – This is what you should pay for to get exclusive access to everything HBO produces and their vast collection of movies and documentaries. The streaming quality is super high but the collection is limited.
iTunes – Apple’s media platform, iTunes offering access to thousands of movies and TV shows. Of course, you need to pay for individual titles and the library is regularly updated with new ones. The best thing is that there isn’t any commercial. However, their 4K content is limited to Apple TV 4K which is a major downside for many.
YouTube – YouTube has a dedicated section hosting hundreds of movie titles which can be purchased individually. A lot of titles are available at no cost but served with standard advertisements. New releases are also added regularly.
Vudu – Vudu’s collection comprises of both free and paid titles, giving it an upper hand. It works on Chromecast, Roku, and even on Apple TV. Their free movie library is huge compared to alternatives.
|Criteria||Hulu vs Netflix vs Amazon Prime|
|Content Quality||Amazon Prime & Netflix|
|Device Support||Netflix and Hulu|
All three of these offer anytime cancellation feature. They have also made it easy to quickly switch between the available plans. So, there is a very small chance that you pay for a package that you’d regret later.
The fact that each of these best streaming TV services in 2020 has come so close to each other, doesn’t help the user who is looking to opt for just one.
Amazon Prime Video sounds more of a Utility Pack along with Entertainment one with all the benefits from its other platforms. Hulu is a clear choice for best live TV channel streaming service in the USA but if we strict this comparison to pure entertainment, Netflix will emerge as a winner for its library of Original Content.