Open question: Which streaming services do you use?

Are you loyal to one streaming service or do you sample from a streaming buffet?

Netflix Watch InstantlyIn a New York Times article on Netflix’s new plans and pricing, a customer quote toward the end of the piece jumped out at me:

“Netflix’s streaming video selection is horrible,” [Shelia] Haupt said. “What I can get on demand from my cable company is so much better.”

I found this notable for a couple reasons. First — and less important — I disagree about Netflix’s selection. The company’s streaming catalog was horrible when the service first launched in 2007, but it’s improved to the point where I’m often surprised at what’s available. More often than not I can find something interesting to watch. (And while I have an unabashed appreciation of low-grade pop culture, I also like “quality” content.)

Second — and relevant to this open question — Haupt’s comment about using her cable company’s on-demand selection hints at a usage pattern I’d like to explore. Specifically, are folks putting their time and money behind particular streaming services? Or are they sampling from a streaming buffet? A Hulu show here, a Netflix movie there, and perhaps an acoustic Pandora station for Sunday mornings?

So with that in mind, here are the questions I’d like to dig into:

  • Which streaming services do you use most often?
  • Do you use services for specific things (Hulu for TV, Netflix for movies, etc.)?
  • Do you pay for any streaming services?
  • Would you prefer to pay for multiple services from different providers or one super-service from a single provider?

Please weigh in through the comments.

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  • JD

    I use Netflix 90% of the time for probably 70% of my TV/Movie watching. I love it, I really do. (I don’t watch a lot of current, network TV, so it doesn’t bother me that they don’t have super new stuff.)

    I also use Amazon on Demand and Time Warner on Demand (sometimes the pay-to-watch, but mostly the free stuff the channels offer up – well ‘free’ with my cable subscription.). I do find the Time Warner offerings deeper than expected but difficult to find. They bury it in the channel guide and don’t do much to promote it (at least not in my market). There is one major issue with Time Warner’s on Demand – it often isn’t available, but you don’t know that until you try to load the show. You surf through the offerings, find what you want and try to load it, only to find it “not available at this time.” This happens a lot, but it’s Time Warner – what can you do? Complain? – yeah right.

    I do pay for some on Demand – my Netflix monthly fee, and sometimes for individual movies – though usually I have Amazon credits for the movies I get from them. I’m not sure what I would pay for truly on demand service. I don’t mind the Netflix hike – it’s not going to stop me from keeping both streaming and dvd queues. What I hate are the commercials on broadcast TV. Would I pay to not have to see my local politicians battle it out? YES… please, I would pay just about anything to never have to watch local news blurb, a local or national political ad, or any type commercial where the volume is 3x higher than anything else on TV. I would pay through the nose for that.

    I love streaming, watching what I want, when I want. I don’t mind the fees. I’ve been paying for cable for decades. What worries me are not the on demand service fees – but the bandwidth caps many service providers are starting to institute. This is the threat to streaming, in my opinion. Not the fee to as the stream.

  • MJ

    I used Netflix for 4 years before canceling after the price increase news. I agree that the selection has gotten better over time, but it was still pretty awful. Almost every week I would check in looking for new movies and would usually come away disappointed. Have you ever sorted the instant watch movies by rating? It’s terrible. I realize it’s not Netflix’s fault and am annoyed by the artificial/virtual barriers that the content producers put in the way.

    Part of the reason I canceled Netflix was to tighten up our finances. The other part of the reason is that we were watching more On Demand stuff from cable. We have AT&T U-Verse at home and although the selection is not as deep as Netflix, it is more current and we have the option of watching new release movies for a fee. This combined with Red Box and the occasional rent from iTunes is good enough for us.

    I feel sorry for Netflix. I think its days are numbered.

  • Answering my own questions (is that egotistical or just plain weird?):

    * Which streaming services do you use most often?

    Netflix for movies and catching up / checking in on second-tier TV shows (I’m a TV junkie so I tend to keep up with my favorites … Netflix lets me sample from lesser-known stuff).

    Hulu (the free version) for watching the occasional TV show I may have missed that week. I tried Hulu Plus for about 30 seconds. I wasn’t impressed.

    On the music side, I love Pandora because — like radio — it gives me exposure to music I wouldn’t encounter otherwise. I pay for the annual premium service because it’s ridiculously cheap ($36 per year for no ads? Sure.) I also have an extensive and highly-curated set of iTunes playlists that I stream all over the house through all sorts of devices. While this isn’t technically a “streaming service,” my interest in iOS / iTunes as a platform will undoubtedly transfer to iCloud and iTunes Match. This is why Spotify — despite being lovely — doesn’t apply to me.

    * Do you use services for specific things (Hulu for TV, Netflix for movies, etc.)?

    Netflix for movies. Hulu for TV. Pandora for my “radio” experience. iTunes for my curated music experience.

    * Do you pay for any streaming services?

    I’ve been a Netflix subscriber for years and I have no plans to stop, even with the price increase. I also have no intention of dropping the DVD side, either. As @MJ noted, the streaming offerings have improved but the selection of new titles is weak. I expect that to change in time (and after a *lot* of battles), but for now I still need Blu-ray discs to get my new”ish” movie fix.

    As noted, I also pay for Pandora. I plan on paying for iTunes Match as well. I also buy the MLB At-Bat apps every year, and that includes audio streaming so I guess that counts. (Note: I also pay for cable and I’ll continue to do that until another service can provide live, HD broadcasts of ALL sporting events.)

    * Would you prefer to pay for multiple services from different providers or one super-service from a single provider?

    Oh how I long for the one-provider-to-rule-them-all service, but I don’t see that happening. The music industry harbors regrets about Apple consolidating so much power. I can’t imagine the film and television industries would go down the same road (but never underestimate the short-sightedness of Hollywood!). In the near term I think a muli-service ecosystem is what we’ll have, and that’s not a huge deal since so many of these services are available on the same platforms.

  • SS

    – Which streaming services do you use most often?

    Netflix + HBO GO. I have some family friends that have HBO and never use their streaming so I bum off of them. If HBO asked $15 a month for just streaming (with Apple TV access so I could airplay it and HD quality) I would be there in a heartbeat.

    – Do you use services for specific things (Hulu for TV, Netflix for movies, etc.)?

    Netflix for movies. I’ve tried Hulu but due to lack of AppleTV integration I stopped it. I don’t mind paying but would like an ad free experience in return.

    – Do you pay for any streaming services?

    Just Netflix at the moment.

    – Would you prefer to pay for multiple services from different providers or one super-service from a single provider?

    Given Netflix’s new pricing scheme I really hope Amazon steps their game up and starts to offer apps and integration at the same level Netflix is. I’m already paying for Amazon Prime, so if it had 90% the content Netflix does and the same feature set I wouldn’t hesitate to dump Netflix.

  • KS

    About 7 years ago I moved to where they still didn’t have cable–and when I moved to have access I chose to have Internet alone. I needed it for working from home; also, I found I got a lot more done in life with out TV. And that I was less stressed.

    Netflix – I’ll go down to one disk a month, seeing as I’ve had the same two disks out for over a year. I stream 1-2 nights out of the week, unless…

    Hulu – …unless I’m addicted to a Korean historical soap on Hulu. They’re time consuming. I also watch Bones [which I’m moderately embarrassed to admit].

    Pandora – for radio.

    I’ve considered paying for Hulu+, but I’m never quite sure what value it would add. I’d pay for HBO in a heartbeat if Verizon (and everyone) didn’t require high-level cable package to go along with it.

    I’m wary of bundling. [see above]

  • Vincent

    •Which streaming services do you use most often?
    Netflix streaming via Roku, Hulu but only on the laptop because HuluPlus hasn’t proven necessary.

    •Do you use services for specific things (Hulu for TV, Netflix for movies, etc.)?
    Netflix for limited movies and 2nd tier or old tv shows. Hulu for current tv.

    •Do you pay for any streaming services?
    Netflix and limited Amazon on Demand.

    •Would you prefer to pay for multiple services from different providers or one super-service from a single provider?
    The current multiple services setup is not ideal. Amazon streaming via Roku seems the most compelling, but the free Prime content isn’t good enough yet to dump Netflix streaming.

  • Tarquinflimbim

    Very similar to the author – Pandora plays though my TV/Hi-Fi and I use it like the radio. $36 is a bargain. Have free spotify. Use netflix on demand to watch Bear Grylls. (and other stuff!) Have an Amazon prime account -so check there occasionally. Rarely use Comcast on-demand, and have found it next to useless in covering for my Tivo. If I miss something I want – it’s never on on-demand.

  • >Which streaming services do you use most often?
    hulu, Netflix, abc, PBS, mubi, arte & snagfilms

    >Do you pay for any streaming services?
    Netflix, Mubi

    >Would you prefer to pay for multiple services from different providers or one super-service from a single provider?
    I prefer to pay for multiple services.

  • S Williamson

    I’ve used Verizon Fios On-Demand, HBO Go, CWTV’s iOS app, VUDU, Amazon, and Netflix.

    I use Fios, HBO Go, and Netlix the most often. The flat rate structure makes it convenient enough to watch on a whim. The other services I have to actually have something specific in mind.

    I wouldn’t pay for additional services, but I would switch from Netflix if the price, selection, and convenience matched it.

  • I prefer Netflix & Hulu Plus right now.

    I would prefer one super provider. But then I’d be catering to Google, wouldn’t I?