Netflix vs. Hulu Plus

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Netflix vs. Hulu Plus

If Netflix or Hulu are having problems, you don’t need to wait 4 days for the cable guy to show up. Indeed, one major reason for cutting the cord was out of frustration with constant cable outages. Comcast, now branded as Xfinity, was so bad, they ranked as the worst company in America and were awarded a “golden poo” by The Consumerist. Their internet service was also horrible. It was fast when it worked, but a techie like me can’t make do with 4 day outages. I had about one outage per month!

Apps, Software, and Supported Devices: Netflix Wins

Beyond Apple TV, both Hulu Plus and Netflix offer their programming on a variety of platforms — Apple TV, Roku, Boxee, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, game consoles, and smart TVs. For a complete list, visit the Netflix and Hulu Plus supported devices pages.

Hulu Plus doesn’t offer its full catalog to all devices. Some Hulu Plus content is external to their site, and Flash-based only. For example, if you watch Star Trek episodes from Hulu, they are actually hosted on StarTrek.com and only playable with Flash on the web. Some programming is web-only due to licensing issues. The best Hulu Plus experience is on your computer’s web browser.

While Netflix does not work on Linux (unless you run a virtual Windows machine), Hulu actually works on Linux, and not through any sort of workaround or kludge. They have developed Hulu Desktop for the main Linux distros. That’s impressive. If you are a die-hard Linux geek, Hulu is obviously a better choice than Netflix. Netflix for computers uses the Microsoft Silverlight plugin, which is only available on Mac and Windows.

I have used Hulu and Netflix on my iPad 2 and iPhone 4. They work well on both. Netflix has true AirPlay support, while Hulu has a screen mirroring mode. The Hulu screen mirroring mode shows the video on TV with the screen of your iPad or iPhone displaying playback controls, information about the show and recommendations. Unfortunately, if you use AirPlay screen mirroring with Hulu Plus, you cannot use your Apple TV remote to control playback. This isn’t a big deal. If you have an Apple TV, you can use Hulu Plus directly. The only reason one would use AirPlay is if the target wasn’t an Apple TV — perhaps another AirPlay compatible device. Since AirPlay is becoming a standard, many devices beyond Apple TV support it. You can also install software that turns your Mac or PC into an AirPlay receiver. That said, most devices that support AirPlay also have native Hulu Plus support. AirPlay support for Hulu Plus or Netflix is a moot issue. You will probably never use it, unless you prefer the user experience of the iPad or (less likely) the iPhone. (continue…)

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