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/ March 28, 2012
Netflix vs. Hulu Plus: The Showdown

To legally view those 90s/early-2000s movies we’ve been meaning to watch, or the latest episode of “30 Rock,” paying a fairly small fee seems worth it. And since it’s gotten nearly impossible to find those notoriously reliable-yet-sketchy illegal websites to stream videos for free, paying $7.99 for Netflix or Hulu Plus seems like the next best alternative.

Although neither website’s library is close to being satisfactory, there are some crucial factors to help decide which one better suits your guilty movie or TV show pleasures.

Remember when Hulu became popular for being the sole host of “SNL” clips way back in the day? When it comes to content, Hulu Plus provides more recent television shows and series’, including “The Daily Show,” “Modern Family” and almost anything in between. As a joint venture of NBCUniversal, Fox Entertainment Group and Disney ABC Television, Hulu became available to the U.S. in 2008. Now, Hulu Plus, which launched in 2010, boasts an more expansive library with full seasons and more episodes.

However, free Hulu and Hulu Plus seem to share the same movie library, which only provides about 2,800 movies. To name a few, these include about 440 comedies (including only two cult comedies and 20 romantic comedies) as well as 360 action movies. Hulu Plus, however, provides Criterion Collection films, which include gems like “The Three Stooges” and some Chaplin films in the midst of ever-boring movies that are probably required for your Tisch class. Although the movies are overall weak, avid TV aficionados should stick with Hulu Plus for the most up-to-date shows.

Netflix prides itself on offering an extremely wide variety of movies. Although the exact amount of instant watch movies is unclear, there are over 100,000 titles on DVD, which are available through a different $7.99 per month plan (that only sends DVDs one-by-one via snail mail).

In comparison to the Hulu movie library, Netflix provides 110 cult comedy movies and 14 teen comedies, which Hulu Plus doesn’t even have a category for. The epitome of Netflix’s library lies in the content of these teen comedies. The genre includes unpopular sequels such as “Bring It On Again,” “Legally Blondes,” and “Grease 2,” which all replace the famous star roles with low-budget, C-list actors. Netflix doesn’t even have the original, better version of these movies! But among the never-ending vortex that is the Netflix movie library, you’re bound to find a solid amount of movies worthy of that $7.99 fee.

The problem with Netflix is that its TV show selections are such a tease. The site usually only provides the first one or two seasons of a show, even if the show is already on the fifth season. Then, it seems like customers would switch over to Hulu to watch the rest of the seasons.

Netflix and Hulu are the temporary solution to the ever-changing film industry. Both video providers have their faults, so a perfect video streaming website that contains every TV show and movie must prevail in the near future. Until then, choose which website fits your preferences, or you’ll have to settle with iTunes rentals or finding a nearby Redbox kiosk that rents $1 to $3 movies.

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