Streaming is better than cable

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Internet streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime are revolutionizing the way we watch television. With our favorite shows and movies readily available at our fingertips, it makes sense to wonder if there’s any need to pay for cable anymore.

There are pros and cons to using any streaming service or cable provider, but which works best for the typical college student?

Cable

In 2016, USM partnered with Comcast to bring Xfinity On Campus to all students living in the Hattiesburg residence halls.  While this is a free service, the selection is limited. For example, if I wanted to watch “Grey’s Anatomy” with this service, I would only have access to select episodes from this current season.  However, Xfinity does offer live TV and On Demand services. As this service is not accessible to every college student, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Without this deal, Comcast starts out at $20/month with a year-long agreement and $29/month without the agreement. The benefit of using a streaming service over cable is that you don’t have to commit to an agreement, and you can cancel anytime. Comcast is also the cheapest cable service – DirecTV costs $35/month and Dish runs at $59/month.

Hulu

If you want to watch a majority of the same shows at half the cost, I would recommend getting the Spotify + Hulu and Showtime bundle.  With a student email, it’s only $4.99/month. While Hulu’s original programming isn’t up to Netflix’s standards, Hulu does offer a better selection of television shows and movies. The downside to this selection is that Hulu does run ads, but the add-free subscription is only $7.99/month. Hulu also allows you to add extra packages (such as sports) for an extra cost. I also enjoy Hulu because they upload content from big networks such as NBC and CBS the day after the show airs. Hulu also offers their services in addition to live TV for $39.99/month, which is still cheaper than Dish.

Netflix

Netflix is by far the most popular streaming site. They are notably famous for their original programming, including my all-time favorites: “The OA,” “Orange Is the New Black,” “Stranger Things” and “Grace and Frankie.” Netflix’s original shows are the reason why I still pay for a subscription. Recently, Netflix increased their base subscription cost to $8.99/month. This is only slightly more expensive than Hulu’s base plan. I also like Netflix because they personalize your profile to what they think you’d like to watch next based on your viewing habits. I’ve found quite a lot of new favorite shows this way.

Amazon Prime

If you sign up for Prime Student, you can either pay $6.49/month or $59/year. This gives you access to Prime video, Prime music, Audible, Prime delivery and other benefits. However, Amazon Prime’s selections of television and films are disappointing. They recently released a good amount of A24’s films such as “Lady Bird,” “Hereditary” and “Moonlight,” which almost makes up for it, but compared to Netflix and Hulu, the selection is lacking.

The best option for college students is to ditch cable altogether and opt for Netflix or Hulu. It’s more cost-efficient, and with Hulu, you don’t even have to miss out on live programming.

photo courtesy Cord Cutters News