Streaming services: The Big Three, Netflix, Hulu plus, Amazon

The Big 3 Streaming Services for Cordcutters: Amazon, Hulu, Netflix

If you’re looking to save money and still get lots of movies and television programs to watch in 2015, cut the cord and supplement your over-the-air free HDTV with paid streaming media services from Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon.  

These time-tested video streaming services offer thousands of entertainment options, for very little additional cost to cord cutters each month. Whether you choose one service, or all of them like I do, you can’t go wrong signing up to enjoy the visual smorgasbord each one has to offer. Especially as they continue to compete with cable and premium TV channels with award-winning original series.


Amazon Prime Instant Video service is part of the Amazon Prime program. Prime members have access to unlimited instant streaming of Prime content. TV series and movies with a Prime logo are free to stream for Prime members. Recently the Prime offerings have included all the episodes of The Sopranos and other HBO dramas.

Check out this Amazon Original offering…

…as well as Transparent, which took home two Golden Globes this year for Best Actor in a TV series (comedy) and Best TV Series (comedy).

Only shows marked as ‘Prime’ are included in the Prime Instant Video library. All others have fees attached to buying or renting them, but the offerings are clearly marked and since there’s so much Prime content to watch, I find I rarely even glance at the non-Prime content.

Once an Amazon Prime member, you’ve got a year’s worth of great stuff to watch!

For only $99 a year (works out to $8.25 per month, but you pay for the full year upfront) you get all the Amazon Prime member services including Free Prime shipping on many items, access to the Prime Kindle Lending Library and Prime Instant Video paid streaming service.

Those who have never had a Prime account before can get a 30-day Free Trial of Amazon Prime, which includes their Instant Video service.

Amazon Prime members can view streaming content via their PC or Mac by going to the Amazon site and logging into their account. Members can also download free apps for iOS and Android devices to view Amazon Instant Video content on their tablets and smartphones.

Amazon Instant Video apps are found on streaming media devices like Apple TV, the Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku 3 and select smart TVs, but in reviewing products I have found a few streaming devices that don’t have this app, so check into it before you buy your device.

Hulu Plus

Hulu Plus is a great way for cord cutters to see TV programs they may be missing when they cut the cord with cable or satellite TV.  There are brief commercial interruptions with the paid subscription to Hulu Plus. You can get a FREE 1 Week Trial and if you decide to keep the service, it costs only $7.99 a month.

Cancel Hulu Plus paid streaming service at any time if you don’t like it.

Networks like Bravo, Comedy Central, FX, The Discovery Channel, and The History Channel are ones I miss not having cable TV, but I can find shows from those networks on Hulu Plus paid streaming service. Top Chef Masters, Deadliest Catch, and more!

I also use Hulu Plus kind of like a DVR.  The service stores episodes of shows like Saturday Night Livewhich while I could get the show over-the-air using my Mohu Curve 50 HDTV antenna, I missed because I went to bed before it aired. With Hulu Plus I can easily watch my show the next day on my PC or Mac, or by using the Hulu Plus app on my smartphone, tablet,  or streaming media device.


Netflix content is expanding every day, by leaps and bounds! In addition to adding quality movies, interesting documentaries, and television programming from multiple networks, it’s offering critically acclaimed Netflix original series like Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards (which were both nominated at this year’s Golden Globes and with House of Cards taking home an award for the second year in a row).

You can get Netflix for FREE for 1 MONTH and if before the end of that 30 days you decide you want to cancel it, you can easily do it online. If you keep the streaming-only service, you pay only $7.99 a month, with the ability to stream Netflix programming to two screens simultaneously. Other plans are available, including those that allow you to have both streaming service and DVDs or Blu-ray discs out without fear of late fees.

The Netflix Help Center is a great resource for troubleshooting and makes contacting Netflix Customer Service easy to do by online chat or phone.

Below is a video I made that shows Netflix pricing, how Netflix helps you find customized entertainment including kids programming, and the types of devices that support Netflix apps.

Andrea Polk hails from Oregon and is a wife, mother, writer, Amazon Top 50 Reviewer, and more. She’s also the author of the Simple Guide to Over-the-Air Free TV as well as the avid deal-seeker behind, where she scours the web for the best online deals.