Comparison of Online TV Show Options

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In yesterday’s post (shown at link below), I discussed the different features (both similar and different) that are offered by Blockbuster.com and Netflix’s DVD rental programs.
Both of these discounted DVD rental programs can be used to effectively lower your monthly entertainment (TV) bills.
In order to continue this topic of discounted online entertainment options, I wanted to spend some time analyzing online TV show options, such as Hulu.com, to see if they would be worthwhile alternatives for me to look in to. Let’s get started!
What options are available for watching TV online?

So, just what options are available out there to us?

As is the case with many question in life, Google.com’s search engine is a good place to start finding answers to this question.

Google Search – “Online TV”

Online TV Options

  • StreamDirectTV
    • With StreamDirect, you pay a one time fee of ~$50, and you supposedly have access to 4100 channels available for live streaming/watching.
    • However, I am skeptical of their service because they do not list the specific channels they offer that would be included in this 4100 group. Additionally, it does not say if you get continuous live streaming TV, or if they are just clips.
    • I did a little search online to see if I could find what everyone else had to say about this service. The link to what I found is shown below.
      • Review of StreamDirect
      • In the comments below the blog posting, everyone seems to have had a pretty negative experience with this service. Therefore, it makes me want to steer clear.
  • MyEasyTV
    • This options is free.
    • However, you are not able to actually stream the live feed from TV channels the way you would be able to if you were watching the station through your cable TV box.
  • ChannelChooser
    • This is my favorite online “TV” option.
    • However, you are again restricted from watching the actual live channels, and can only view whatever clips are currently available.
Online TV Show Options

  • Hulu
    • I placed Hulu in a class by itself because it takes a different approach to the idea of watching TV online.
    • Instead of claiming to stream live TV channels online, the free service of Hulu aggregates links to popular TV show episodes already being published by the television channels.
      • For example, I am a big fan of the TV series, Lost.
      • At Hulu, I can click on the link of any of the episodes shown for Lost, and it will automatically redirect me to ABC’s website, where I can view the entire episode.
  • Hulu Plus
    • In addition the free service that Hulu offers (which is pretty extensive if I do say so myself), they have also started offerring a Plus service recently.
    • Included in this Plus service is expanded access to current season TV show episodes and mobile device enabled plug-ins.
      • Using the Lost series example above, the free Hulu service does not offer episodes 1-15 of Season 6 (current season at the time of this writing). I would imagine that these would be available within Hulu Plus.
    • The cost of Hulu Plus is $10 per month.
What’s the bottom line with all this?

  • From my investigation, free online live-streaming TV did not seem to exist, except for short clips here and there. 
    • I did not get a chance to try out online streaming live TV that you pay for. Has anyone had success with that?
  • Hulu is a great option to watch episodes of TV shows, but not live TV.
  • Hulu plus would offer value to people who are looking to watch TV episodes using their mobile phones (iPhone, HTC Droid, etc).
For me personally, I will stick to using Netflix and watch Hulu’s free service for my favorite TV episodes.

How about you all? Do you use online TV show sites like Hulu.com? Do you pay for them or use the free versions?


Do you know of any other good online TV services that you can recommend?

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