Netflix vs Hulu Plus vs Amazon Prime

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About a decade ago Blockbuster ruled the movie rental business. In 2005 it was valued at about $8 billion. Believe it or not, Netflix in the early 90’s was terrified of going out of business.  It originally wanted to partner with Blockbuster but management decided NOT to invest in Netflix. Years later Netflix helped destroy Blockbuster because executives from Netflix understood how to use new technology. They learned the advantages of streaming media and how it was going to change the way movies were delivered to customers. Streaming media has become popular over the years because people no longer need to leave their homes to rent a movie. If you’re an avid movie watcher such as myself then choosing one of the three will actually help to save for those on a budget. Video rental outlets are a thing of the past because consumers are able to stream films and TV shows online. Digital streaming media has created binge watching that eliminates the risk of extra fees for returning a late movie. Streaming media has now become simple, inexpensive, and convenient. It also eliminates the need of a DVD player. The three most popular streaming media companies are Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime. Which one is the best? It depends on your personality and financial situation. Below are a list of the advantages and flaws of each.

Netflix: The leader among online DVD rental service. It has the “watch instantly” feature that streams shows and DVD’s to your electronic devices. Provides a 30-day free membership with a valid credit card.   Watch TV shows and movies for $7.99/month. Netflix started as a DVD service but switched over to streaming. There is a large collection of TV, documentaries, and movie shows. It has great original shows: House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and Arrested Development. Flaws: They separated the DVD rental and streaming video section. Customers can’t do both unless you pay extra. The renewal rate of videos and TV shows are slow, which is the reason why many say it has few new releases. Also, the content is difficult to browse efficiently. If you don’t know what to watch it is a bit difficult to find something you may like.

Hulu Plus: Only has a one-week trial period and is $7.99/month as well. The content is over 2,700 TV shows and 4,400 movies for streaming. You have a chance to watch pilots of NEW shows before their cable debuts. New TV shows are available the day after they air on major networks such as CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX. Hulu Plus might be better for people who do not have cable.   Flaws: Commercials are a serious concern for Hulu Plus. You can’t really avoid watching them. Some of the content is available only over the web and not on your T.V. Most of the content Hulu provides Netflix already has or you can find it online.

Amazon Prime: 30-day free rental and $99/year with a cancel anytime offer. If you are a regular customer on Amazon.com, then Amazon prime may be worth the investment. The content includes movies, TV shows, music, products shipped to your door, kindle, and E-books. Alpha House is the most popular. If it’s not on prime, you have the ability to rent or purchase the DVD. Flaws: Is the $99/year membership worth it for you if you don’t purchase many items on their website or mind receiving products via standard delivery? Also, the streaming service may not be available in other countries outside of the United States.

When to search for airline tickets and get the best price

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Studies indicate the best time to purchase domestic airline tickets are 49 days in advance/7 weeks. For international travel it is 81 days/11 to 12 weeks. 6:00 A.M. flights, right after lunch, or right after dinner tend to cost less than other times of the day. The days of the week are important as well because traveling on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday are the best days with the most deals. Traveling to a destination on Friday or Sunday are the most expensive. Purchasing last minute airline tickets obviously will result in a high price, but also purchasing too early is not a good option as well. Flights go on sale for a destination around 330 days in advance. Don’t purchase too early because the price of the tickets will be too high. The most cost efficient holiday flights are Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. After you book, it is wise to check the next morning to see if the price of your airfare fell. If the price falls call the airline to cancel your flight and re-book. Typically, there are no penalties to do this. Recently, airlines such as Jet Blue have started experimenting with social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter for providing deals. If you have profiles in social media, act fast because the deals can disappear within a couple of hours.

To get the best deal on airline tickets, one should check fares early and often because airlines change fares constantly. Check alternate airports as well such as in Illinois we have Midway and O’Hare. The more options the consumer has the better. Also, understand airline ticket websites play tricks on their potential customers. For example, if you search an airline ticket website, a total price is generated for your destination. If the same individual leaves the website to find better deals, the original site will not provide the same price when the potential customer comes back. There will be an increase with regard to the total for the destination by $50 or $100. If a website plays this trick on you restart your computer, under control panel delete browser history, and delete cookies. Go back to the site you were on and the original deal will show. The website will think you’re a new customer and the same search will provide the original discount. Also, customers should register for Kayak.com fare alerts because the alerts are sent to your email for free. The potential customer sets the price and destination. If there is a match, the alert is sent to your email. To create a free account register on their website, click on emails & alerts, and click add a price flight alert. CheapAir.com offers mix and match category that lets you combine two one-way fares to form a round trip. The website offers a price drop payback program for Cheapair.com. If the price for the same itinerary goes down any time before your trip, they will pay you back the difference for up to $100 per ticket. Hope this helps and let the search begin!