Streaming Services Compared: Amazon, Hulu Plus, iTunes, Netflix and VUDU

August 29, 2011

Last March, we compared the high definition (HD) content offerings of the popular video streaming services including Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, iTunes, Netflix and VUDU. Since then, a lot of content deals have been announced so we thought it was time to look at the numbers once again. Click on the graphic below to see our latest streaming service comparison grid.

Click to see the Streaming Comparison Grid

One addition to our comparison matrix is that we are now tracking the total number of TV shows and movies each service provides. Here’s a summary of the changes since March:

Amazon has significantly grown the size of their Prime Catalog from 5,000 to 8,000 titles. At launch, Amazon Prime only had 24 movies available in HD but now they have almost 400 available for streaming. Also, don’t forget Amazon has over 50,000 TV seasons and movies for rental and / or purchase. So why does Amazon state there are 100,000 TV shows and movies available on their service? Tech of the Hub’s number is different since we count each season of a TV show as one title as opposed to counting the individual episodes. We do this with each service in order to to compare apples to apples.

Hulu Plus has made significant additions to its selection of movies. From almost no titles last March, they now have over 1,500 movies available from sources such as the Criterion Collection and Miramax.

iTunes also made significant additions to its HD offerings. Of the 14,000 movies available on iTunes, almost 2,900 are now in HD (compared to 1,800 last March). iTunes has also tripled the number of movies that are closed captioned to 1,700. (For some odd reason, none of the TV shows on iTunes are captioned). We haven’t been able to get a number of total TV seasons available on iTunes yet but we do know 811 of them are in HD. As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, Apple is working on something significant in the video delivery space.

Netflix is still the champ when it comes to the number of all-you-can-watch-titles available. Most of Netflix’s HD titles are now available in 1080P as well as 720P.  Netflix has also started to let other devices such as the Roku 2 start to access 1080P content. Netflix also had a net add of over 1,400 HD titles. While Netflix increased the number of closed captioned titles from about 1,110 to 1,800, it’s a small increase relative to the size of the entire Netflix streaming catalog (~13,000 titles). With the exception of iTunes, the other streaming services have not appeared to make significant progress in the area of closed captions. Note, our exact numbers for Netflix are a few weeks out of date since their data feed is not 100% complete.

VUDU announced several months ago they were beefing up their selection of TV shows. Last March, their TV catalog was non-existent. Slowly, but surely, they have been building it up over the summer. Now there are 242 TV seasons available with 152 available in HDX or HD quality. Note, that VUDU still offers the best video quality with its HDX format which approaches the quality of Blu-ray.

Please let us know if you have any updates or feedback on the streaming comparison matrix (Contact Us).

Tags: Amazon, Hulu, iTunes, Netflix, streaming, VUDU

3 Responses to Streaming Services Compared: Amazon, Hulu Plus, iTunes, Netflix and VUDU

  1. ap on September 11, 2011 at 12:39 am

    Problem with Netflix is selection for streaming. They have a vast majority of old outdated stuff. I mean really, right now under "NEW ARRIVAL" Movies they have "Maybe Baby (2000!!!)" and "Blue Gender (1999!!!)" for example. Last I checked it was 2011! Most of my friends have Netflix and they all say the same thing, the selection sucks!

  2. Igal on July 9, 2012 at 7:40 am

    You should also checkout
    It compares prices and check availability on Amazon Instant Video, Netflix & iTunes

  3. kelly on September 8, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    I have had Netflix for several months. It’s selection is older movies and since they are being cut off from a Vendor this makes it worse.I also have had gliches in the program throwing me out of the movie and then not being able to find the movie and it has a station that even tells you what you are watching or just watched forget it, it’s not listed there either.Using Paypal needs assistance from Netflix their billing requires help. A credit card that can be pinged every so often is required so that they can make sure they can get another months payment so a gift card or prepaid card is worthless. I have noticed that their series movies only go back so far like 5 which leaves you stranded. I have run out of things to watch so I’m looking for something else.Hulu has too many commmercials and they are very out dated.

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