Amazon offers two main price tiers: $119 annually (discounted to $59 annually when you sign up with a valid student email address) or $13 per month. Both versions include all of the Amazon Prime perks, like two-day shipping, discounted prices on select items, cloud storage, and — most importantly for our purposes — on-demand video and music streaming.
The best part is that, unlike Netflix, 4K Ultra HD content with HDR comes standard at no extra cost. Plus, you can share accounts with friends and family, so everyone can get in on the deals. You can also supplement Amazon’s included content with optional channel add-ons, such as CBS All Access, for an additional fee. Amazon doesn’t have a live TV streaming service per se, but many of the content providers it has partnered with for Prime Video offer the ability to watch their shows “live” too.
Hulu starts at just $6 for the ad-based service or $12 for the ad-free option (which we highly recommend, even at double the cost). Hulu’s options don’t stop there as it also offers a live-TV streaming package similar to Sling TV or PlayStation Vue. The Hulu with Live TV streaming service is $45 per month and includes 50-plus live streaming channels on top of the service’s regular on-demand library, and there are also add-on features like enhanced DVR, for additional fees. However, that can get very pricey very quickly.
While Hulu’s $6 tier on its own is technically cheaper, especially for those who want to stream 4K at the lowest possible price, Amazon offers the most value when considering all of its other perks and its complete lack of ads. Amazon has also stated that the company won’t raise prices for 4K streaming. Throw in Amazon’s student discount and it walks away with the win here.
Amazon Prime has a catalog of thousands of titles to watch before you add on any premium options like Starz, or Showtime. Plus, Amazon continues to invest heavily in original content, like Jack Ryan and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Where Amazon really shines is in sheer quantity. It has more movies than Netflix and Hulu combined, at with over 17,000 titles as of January 2019. Of course, quantity does not equal quality, and when it comes to ratings, Amazon and Hulu are about on-par, with around 200 “fresh” movies each as judged by Rotten Tomatoes. And of course, if you’re leaving a cable provider and think you’ll miss out on pay-per-view options, Amazon has an extensive collection of new releases available to buy or rent.
On the other hand, Hulu, which is owned in part by Disney, has access to unparalleled collection of TV shows, making it a great choice if what you really want is a replacement for cable TV access to the major networks. Most shows are available the day after they air live on their respective broadcasters, except for CBS, which is not a part of Hulu. It has a decent collection of movies, but you can tell that movies are not the main attraction.
We’re going to give this one to Hulu for now, because while it may not be able to match Amazon’s breadth of selection, we think you’ll actually want to watch more of Hulu’s catalog.
Both services are available on a long list of devices — too long to list here, in fact. The full lists of compatible devices for each service are available here: Hulu, Amazon Prime.
The only real noteworthy gap comes with Amazon, which is absent from Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra. That isn’t surprising considering these are Google’s devices, and the Google Play Store is in direct competition with Amazon. Still, it’s an annoyance to have such restrictions. Amazon does have its own line of streamers, though, including the affordable Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K.
Given the near ubiquity of Hulu, it’s the one you want if you’re concerned about having the widest device support possible.
INTERFACE AND EASE OF USE
Amazon has a scattered interface across devices that’s not very well designed, though it is constantly improving. One point in its favor is that you can browse Prime Instant Video directly on the Amazon webpage and its various apps and it also works great with Amazon’s Fire TV streaming devices. However, these interfaces tend to differ from one another, and frankly, some aren’t as intuitive as others are.
Hulu has a relatively intuitive interface that’s much more uniform, offering categories like Keep Watching, TV, Movies, and Kids that make it pretty simple to navigate. You can also add on premium channels like HBO, and shows and movies from those channels will show up on your main interface. For its quick interface and ability to incorporate premium channels, we’re going to designate Hulu the winner.
AUDIO AND VIDEO QUALITY
As touched on above, Amazon offers 4K Ultra HD resolution and HDR streamingsupport, and does so at no extra charge. In terms of video quality that’s huge, and those with high-quality, large TVs (55-inches and up) should take serious note. Hulu can’t seem to make up its mind on 4K. In 2016, it said it would be adding more 4K content, but as it stands right now, there is no support for 4K on any devices.
As for audio quality, Hulu is limited to stereo sound for the vast majority of its content, despite the fact that the same shows are available in 5.1 surround elsewhere. Yes, there are select shows and movies that support 5.1, but it’s nowhere near as impressive as Amazon’s 5.1, 7.1, and Dolby Atmos surround sound encoding on select content. Did we mention there’s no extra charge for any of this high-end A/V support? Yup, Amazon wins this one without breaking a sweat….Read More>>>