Vedder: Netflix, other services offer afforable TV options

Remember when the best television shows aired regularly on prime-time cable? It was not too long ago that people planned their weekly schedules around the air time of “Friends” or “The Simpsons.”

Since the emergence of YouTube, digital media has made the slow crawl from an experience exclusively on the computer to one almost anyone can enjoy from their living room.  Entertainment technology continues to develop rapidly, and with a greater access to high-speed internet, people are finding better ways to consume media.  With so many services available for streaming and downloading, the problem is no longer about finding content, but deciding which service is the best.

Anyone who has picked up a piece of technology in the last decade can tell you that the media behemoth, Netflix, has become the most successful and affordable subscription streaming service in the world.  With over 30 million members who pay $8 monthly for unlimited content, Netflix has shamed the company’s competitors and dominated the industry since its arrival in 2000.  However, there are a few minor drawbacks.

Choosing the “Watch Instantly,” or streaming option, members have access to around 1,500 movies and TV series that are constantly being added and updated.  Some might consider their search for accessible television complete, but what about their favorite shows that aren’t offered on Netflix?  For example, episodes from the widely popular “Dexter” and “Californication” were yanked from Netflix with the advent of Showtime

Anytime, its own media streaming model.

Several other networks have followed suit.  HBO, for instance, only offers streaming content to subscribers of HBO Go, a collection of original series, movies, comedy specials, documentaries, and sports.  Rachel McCall, a senior from Shawnee Mission, said that she subscribed to HBO

Go to keep up with her favorite shows, “Game of Thrones” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

“I still am subscribed to Netflix, but they don’t offer a lot of the series I want to watch, so I had to compromise,”  McCall said.

Unlike Netflix, HBO Go is available with major cable providers like Time Warner, Comcast, and AT&T U-verse and as an app for iOS and Android devices.  The major difference lies in HBO’s decision to update new episodes the second they are aired, whereas an entire season of a series will not be available to stream on Netflix until its subsequent season has begun.

People who habitually watch several hours of TV each week will benefit from subscription to several of these different streaming services, but for those on a limited student budget, a choice must be made.  For those on a limited student budget, who are interested in an affordable,  diverse selection of media, Netflix will certainly not disappoint.

Those who find themselves drawn to shows on a specific network, outlets like HBO Go or Showtime Anytime will provide the highest quality and up-to-date content.

Dane Vedder is a junior from Kansas City majoring in Journalism. Read more from .

  • Updated Jan. 30, 2013 at 12:04 am
  • Edited by Allison Kohn
  • javi

    You’re right; Netflix looks GREAT…until you take a look at
    the streaming library. Not to mention, they are constantly in a state of
    flux, transition, crisis or any number of disparaging adjectives. I
    switched to DISH, and for a TRULY enjoyable experience with movies, TV shows
    and games, DISH’s Blockbuster @ Home is a fantastic alternative to other
    streaming services. In fact, considering the poor quality of Netflix’s
    streaming service, I don’t know why they even bother naming it as such. A
    DISH coworker told me BB @ Home had over 100,000 movies, games and TV shows,
    and that I could exchange at a BB store, by mail or streaming live to my
    TV. The variety is amazing, and I never have to worry about DISH not
    updating the streaming selections.