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Hulu Plus versus Netflix

May 27, 2011 - Andrea Johnson
Lately I have been enjoying my new online subscription to Hulu Plus, which will enable me to watch many shows I missed this year on FOX, NBC and ABC, though not on the CW or CBS.

For the last few years I've had a subscription to Netflix, which sent me three DVDs at a time in an envelope, which I then mailed back when I was finished with them. Since it took me weeks to get around to watching those DVDs and it was a nuisance to go to the post office to mail them back, I dropped that subscription in favor of an online Netflix subscription a few months ago. Last week I decided to give that up in favor of Hulu Plus since Netflix has mainly old movies and documentaries and past seasons of TV shows, but didn't have shows from the most recent television season available.

For people who are huge old movie buffs, the online Netflix subscription, which costs under $10 a month, is probably a good deal, but I wasn't watching enough movies to make it worth my while. So far what I like best about Hulu Plus, which costs about the same as the Netflix subscription, is that every episode from the last season is available at will. I've never bothered to get a DVR and my VCR is too much of a hassle to use, but I am often working or otherwise occupied when a particular show is on.

This service will let me catch up on all of the episodes of "Castle," a show I like. I probably missed half or a third of the episodes of the show this season, so I will have something to watch online instead of the inferior programming that is bound to be on the networks during the summer months. The wild season finale of "Castle" revolves around the intricate conspiracy surrounding the murder of Beckett's mother 12 years earlier and events in the episode reference those in an episode that aired months ago. After watching the finale on Hulu Plus all the way through, I was able to go back the other night and find the earlier episode, which helped me figure out the back story and who all of the suspects were in the finale.

I also like Hulu Plus because if you click out of a show when you have something else going on, the service will remember where you were at when you click on the show again. It is nice not to have to watch the entire episode again or try to remember where I left off.

It would be nice if Hulu Plus included CBS or CW shows or some of the cable programs I have been missing. I suspect I am going to be sorry to miss Sarah Michelle Gellar's new show "Ringer," which will air on the CW this fall. There are also some CBS shows, like "The Mentalist" or "CSI," which I missed a lot of this year and can't watch online.

Another drawback of Hulu Plus is that you have to watch two two minute ads after every commercial break, even though you are paying about $8 a month for the service. On a computer the ad function isn't as annoying as it might be otherwise, since I can click out of the ad and surf the Internet until it is finished. If I were streaming it on a TV screen, it might be more irritating.

But Hulu Plus does offer a lot for what it is and there should be plenty to keep me occupied.


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