Television and Movie Libraries
With the first two categories showing the services to be equal we’ll get to the meat of the matter. The true measure of a content service is the amount and quality of the content that they provide. So which one comes out on top here? That really depends on if you are a movie buff, or prefer television shows. Netflix began its existence as a movie delivery platform, and currently has over 20,000 movies available for streaming. New release movies are usually available for streaming one month after they’ve been released on DVD (although many of the most popular movies don’t make it to the streaming service).
Netflix also offers old episodes of popular television shows from the Discovery Channel, SyFy, A&E and several other cable networks. In February, 2011, they agreed to a contract for non-exclusive rights to air CBS shows including Medium and the CSI franchise, and older shows like Fraiser, Star Trek and The Andy Griffith Show. While the television library isn’t nearly as large as the movie library, it does offer several seasons of hundreds of shows. The only drawback to the Netflix television experience is that there are no streaming titles for the current season; all shows are at least one full season behind. There are also several shows that have part of the library streaming, and the other available only on disc.
Hulu Plus is geared toward the information generation, and offers television shows from popular series’ a day after they have been aired. For people who want to know what the talk around the water cooler is about, Hulu Plus is the obvious choice. They offer current seasons of ABC, NBC, and Fox shows including perennial hits like The Office and Saturday Night Live and up and coming shows like Terra Nova and Allen Gregory. Hulu Plus is built around its television content having 16,000 episodes from more than 400 current and classic TV shows but that’s not all they offer. Hulu Plus also has just under 2,000 movies as of November 2011. While they aren’t the newest releases or the biggest blockbusters, they do have a good variety of decent material. In addition to the movies, Hulu Plus offers the bonus features that are available on the DVDs for streaming as well (something Netflix doesn’t do).