Truck drivers are getting outfitted with more tech these days as prices for mobile phones, tablet and laptop computers continue to drop. The days of the cheap VCR TV combo in truck cabs are disappearing in favor of more versatile entertainment options. The same is true for broadband internet prices that can be accessed by mobile wifi devices nearly anywhere. Some of these mobile wifi devices even let you choose how much you pay a month for access.
The versatility of video services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have been helping people on limited budgets get a lot of entertainment value for their dollar at home and on the road. Many of the video streaming services we’ll look at today have their own mobile apps, if you don’t feel like lugging a delicate laptop out on the highway. But in case you do, we’ve had a look at some of the latest laptops truck drivers might want.
So the deal here is, we’ll go over some of the video streaming services available and compare them based on just a few factors for monthly cost. Some like Hulu and Netflix are subscription based – the price doesn’t change month to month no matter how much you watch. Some services like Vudu work on a per-purchase model – you rent a movie at a time at a low cost.
Video Streaming Services Monthly Cost
Hulu is a video service that has thousands of TV shows and a few hundred movies that stream from a website. When you use the free version of Hulu, you have to watch a short advertisement about every 15 minutes. You also can only use your computer at Hulu.com, not with your mobile device.
If you upgrade to the Hulu+ subscription plan, you can use their mobile app to watch, you only endure an ad per hour, and you get extended access into their video catalog. You can also find some set top boxes like Roku players which incorporate Hulu+ into their catalog, so you can use your account on your home TV system.
Hulu: Free, Ads, High Def Video, No Mobile Device Access, Limited Selection Rating: B
Hulu+: $8 a month, Limited Ads, High Def Video, Mobile Device Access, Home TV Options Rating: B+
The undisputed king of video streaming services, Netflix has about 30 million users and their data stream accounts for a whopping 22% of all internet traffic. The service features nearly 30,000 TV episodes and close to 5,000 movies. The Netflix mobile app works on most devices that have 3G and 4G access and performs quite well against similar apps from competitors. It’s also an incorporated feature on hundreds of models of TVs, DVD players, video game systems and set top boxes.
Netflix: $8 a month, No Ads, High Def Video, Mobile Device Access, Home TV Options, No Viewing Limit Rating: A
Fast becoming Netflix’s biggest competitor, Amazon Prime is an inexpensive video streaming service offered by the largest online seller with an interesting membership offer. Amazon offers the Prime video service for $6 a month, but with that you also get free 2 day shipping on certain items from Amazon, and you also get reduced rental and purchase rates on thousands of Kindle books and first run movies from Amazon Video On Demand. Like Netflix, Amazon Prime has been incorporated into many A/V devices that hook to your home TV, but it also features a mobile app for tablets and phones that performs admirably.
Amazon Prime Video: $6 a month, No Ads, High Def Video, Mobile Device Access, Home TV Options, No Viewing Limit, Extra Deals from Amazon with Membership Rating: A
Vudu is a video streaming service offered by Wal-Mart. It can be accessed through a mobile app, or at their website. Vudu isn’t a subscription-based service like Netflix or Amazon Prime. You buy or rent movies and TV shows one at a time for a low price. However, Vudu has the unfortunate distinction of being nearly the most expensive video streaming service in the comparison, coming in just below iTunes. They have a majority of their video offerings in HD, but you have to pay extra for the upgrade (usually a dollar). Vudu is available on lots of DVD players, video game consoles and set top boxes, so you can carry your video library on the road, while your family enjoys them at home. Plus you get 10 free movies to own when you sign up.
Vudu: $4 average rental fee, No Ads, High Def Video, Mobile Device Access, Home TV Options, Free Movies with New Account Rating: B-
The video and music catalog service from Apple computers was an early leader in the streaming video business, but now faces quite a challenge from lower-cost services that perform quite well. Still, iTunes has one of the slickest interfaces and their mobile apps for the catalog and the associated iCloud service work well on the gigabillions of iPhones, iPads and iPods the world has purchased in the last decade.
The challenge? Prices can get pretty outrageous if you make a habit of renting around 2 to 3 movies a week. That will set you back around $420 a year on average. But iTunes is basically the enthusiasts pet, as the video and sound quality of the videos is outstanding. But you better have a good connection. iTunes can also be accessed through laptops and through their set top box, AppleTV. The box sells for $99 and is a worthy competitor to Roku Box and Boxee.
iTunes: $5 Average Rental Rate, High Def Video, Limited Mobile Device Access, Home TV Access Rating: B-