What is the best streaming service for movies and series? – The Economic Journal

What is the best streaming service for movies and series? - The Economic Journal


It is undeniable that the way we watch television has changed radically in recent years. If we still see our favorite shows on television, there are those who already prefer to use their tablet or mobile phone to watch the series of the moment or see the movie that everyone talks about. It is streaming in its splendor, based on the rapid expansion of fast internet connections.

At the moment, in Portugal, with the arrival of HBO last February, there are three main streaming options available to Portuguese consumers, not to mention NPlay, exclusive to NOS customers: the producer of the famous series War of the Thrones joins Netflix, which arrived in Portugal in October 2015, and Amazon Prime Video, available since December 2016. Soon there is also the arrival of Disney +, the streaming service of Disney, due to debut later this year .

A matter of taste

The choice of a video streaming service will always be quite dependent on the personal taste of each user and what content he prefers. Is HBO's "Throne War" better, Netflix's "Stranger Things," or Amazon's "The Grand Tour"? It all depends on your personal tastes. Apart from this, there are other aspects that are always important:

– Price;
– Video resolution and image quality;
– How the navigation and location of the different videos is done;
– Number of simultaneous devices and streams you can do;
– How you can manage mobile data.

We found some substantial differences. In a nutshell: Netflix Ultra-HD service is better, while the best value for money belongs to Amazon Prime Video, although the latter is a poor adaptation of the content to our language. Compare the 3 streaming services.

3 services in confrontation

Netflix: the best streaming service
Netflix is ​​the most competent service, but also the most expensive: the most complete plan, Ultra-HD, which allows access to 4K videos (HDR in some cases) and 4 simultaneous streams is quite expensive (€ 13.99 monthly ).

If you want to keep or join Netflix, the Standard plan, € 10.99 monthly, with Full HD videos and 2 simultaneous streams, will be the most balanced. The picture quality of these Full-HD videos is already quite high.

Regardless of the chosen plan, Netflix allows a trial period of 30 days (you must associate a means of payment). It is also the best service for compatibility with various devices, such as Vodafone and MEO set-top boxes, all the latest SmartTV platforms, recent game consoles and various multimedia players. Not all videos can be downloaded for offline viewing to save mobile data. However, when accessing by mobile data, you can choose the quality level or even completely block the use of mobile data.

Amazon stands out for the relation between quality and price
In the first 6 months, the monthly fee is only € 2.99 and after that period it goes to € 5.99, including 4K videos (several in HDR) – something that in the case of Netflix is ​​only possible in the most expensive plan – and two simultaneous streams.

As in Netflix, compatibility with the various devices is also notable, apart from the absence of the set-top boxes of Pay-TV operators. This service also offers the most complete mobile data management options. All videos can be downloaded, you can choose the quality level and select which storage to use.

The least positive aspect of Amazon Prime Video is that most of the subtitles are not available in Portuguese Portuguese, but Portuguese in Brazil. And in the case of children's content, the problem becomes greater, because the same thing happens with the folding.

HBO is the least interesting option
Less interesting, for now, is the HBO streaming. It differs from the other two services because of the lesser compatibility with poor handsets and mobile data management options: not all videos can be downloaded and it is not possible to choose the quality level of the transfers or where they are stored. Image quality is lower than Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, for the same level of resolution (in the case of Full-HD videos on these 3 services).

Access to service by equipment

Browser and app access on smartphones and tablets is always an option for accessing streaming services, but the ability to access directly through a SmartTV, a game console, the subscriber service box or a multimedia player that you have, can be important aspects for many users, as they make access much more comfortable.

Netflix
– Smartphones: Android (possibility of "cast") and iOS (Apple iPhone / iPad).
– Boxes for decoding of paid TV services: Vodafone (Channel 105) and MEO (Channel 88).
– Smart TVs: present on all major Smart TV platforms.
– Game consoles: Sony PlayStation (PS3, PS4, PS4 Pro), Microsoft Xbox (One, X).
– Multimedia players: Apple TV, based on Android TV OS and most Linux-based systems.

Amazon Prime Video
– Smartphones: Android (no possibility of "cast") and iOS (Apple iPhone / iPad).
– Pay-TV boxes: no.
– Smart TVs: present on all major Smart platforms.
– Game consoles: Sony PlayStation (PS3, PS4, PS4 Pro), Microsoft Xbox (One, X).
– Media players: Apple TV, Android TV players, Roku and Fire TV stick.

HBO
– Smartphones: Android (possibility of "cast") and iOS (Apple iPhone / iPad).
– Boxes for decoding of paid TV services: Vodafone (Channel 106).
– Smart TVs: LG webOS and Android TV (Sony and Philips).
– Game consoles: Sony PS4 / PS4 Pro.
– Media players: Apple TV, players with Android TV.

The Netflix app is available on almost all latest handsets, and is unbeatable on this criterion today. It follows Amazon Prime Video closely, also with a high availability rate. It distinguishes itself from Netflix only by not including it in any set-top box of pay-TV operators and by not integrating into such a wide range of multimedia players. Finally, with room for improvement, the HBO app, as far as Smart TV is concerned, is only present on the webOS (LG) and Android TV (Sony and Philips) systems.

Experimental and tariff period

Netflix
– Trial time: 1 month and only when linking means of payment.
– Easy to manage / unsubscribe: it is simple, because in the profile-account, you can cancel subscription, change subscribed plan and means of payment.

Amazon Prime Video
– Trial time: 7 days and only when linking means of payment.
– Easy to manage / unsubscribe: easy access in profile – accounts and settings.
– Amazon Prime Video has a trial period of 7 days, after that, the price is € 2.99 monthly for 6 months and then passes to € 5.99 a month.

HBO
– Trial time: 1 month and when associating means of payment.
– Easy to manage / unsubscribe: it is very simple access and the options are presented in a clear and accessible way.

Only Netflix has more than one subscription plan. The option influences the number of simultaneous streams that can be made and the maximum resolution of the contents.

Netflix
– Tariff 1 (Base): monthly fee of € 7.99; without limit to the number of equipment that can be associated; only 1 equipment to be reproduced; resolution of SD videos.
– Tariff 2 (Standard): monthly fee of € 10.99; without limit to the number of equipment that can be associated; 2 equipment can play simultaneously; resolution of Full-HD videos.
– Tariff 3 (Ultra-HD): monthly fee of € 13.99; without limit to the number of equipment that can be associated; 4 equipment can play simultaneously; resolution of 4K (HDR) videos.

Amazon Prime Video
Monthly fee: € 5.99 (€ 2.99 for the first 6 months); without limit to the number of equipment that can be associated; 2 equipment can play simultaneously; resolution of 4K (HDR) videos.

HBO
Monthly fee: € 4.99; 5 equipments can be associated; 2 equipment can play simultaneously; resolution of Full-HD videos.

View offline content
All services allow you to download titles when you are connected to a Wi-Fi network so you can view them at any time without spending any mobile data. That said, just in the case of Amazon Prime Video, this was possible to do in all the content we rehearsed; already with HBO and Netflix, only some of the content can be downloaded. It is still very useful to be able to choose the level of quality that you want to use when streaming from the mobile data. The mobile data consumption in video playback is quite high.

Advertised consumptions

Netflix: in HD up to 3 GB / hour and 7 GB / hour in 4K. In the Android / iOS app you can choose to stream to a lower quality level to reduce the amount of mobile data ("save data" means about 0.3 GB / hour).

In the Netflix service, not all titles can be downloaded. It is possible to choose the quality level of the downloads and soon the space they will occupy. You can also set whether to save downloaded videos in the internal memory or on the memory card. With regard to mobile data, you can choose the quality level or even block the use of mobile data completely.

Amazon Prime Video: 0.46 GB / hour; in the maximum quality setting, using the "data save" option, the value drops to 0.14 GB / hour.

All videos can be downloaded and you can choose the quality level. It is given the indication of the space that the content will occupy. We can also select which storage to use (internal memory of the phone or memory card). For mobile data, you can choose the quality level or even completely block the use of mobile data.

HBO: 900 MB to 1.2 GB / hour for HD videos.

In the HBO service, not all videos can be downloaded. It does not allow choosing the quality level of the transfers, nor the location where they are stored. The options for managing the use of mobile data are really insufficient. You can not choose the quality level of videos or block the use of mobile data altogether. The only safeguard is the "pop-up" that comes up whenever you start downloading a video when using mobile data.

Content catalogs

Our analysis was based on the catalogs present on February 15. The number of series, documentaries and films is an approximation, because when using the search engines of the services, there are some duplications (for example, films that are also documentaries, comedy series and also appear in the police). We assign an assessment of the number of titles available, but it is only an indicator. More important is the quality of content and the fact of identifying with them. That's why we've listed the titles featured as the most popular titles for each of these platforms.

Netflix
– The amount of series available is very high. We counted a little more than 1000 titles.
– High number of documentaries. We counted a little more than 600.
– Very high film quantity. We counted almost 1500 of these.

Netflix most popular content (* are own productions):

Series
13 Reasons Why
Stranger Things *
Prison Break
Black Mirror *
Bloodline *
Breaking Bad
The Crown *
Friends
gossip Girl
House of Cards *
How I met your mother?
The Paper House *
Modern Family
Narcos *
Orange is the New Black *
Movies
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch *
Operation Finale *
Annihilation *
Harry Potter (all titles)
get out
Gone Girl
Argo
The Revenant
Gladiator
Seven Years in Tibet
50 Shades of Gray
Snatch
Birdman
Our passion's diary
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs *
Kids
Vaiana
Kung Fu Panda
Zootropolis
About Me
Tintin's adventures
Patrol Pat
Trolls
Dinosaur
The Choné Sheep
Wallace and Grommit
Shrek
Finding Nemo
Up-Highly
angry Birds
Madagascar

Amazon Prime Video
– The number of series available is sufficient for the vast majority of users. We counted a little more than 500 titles.
– The number of documentaries is extremely low. We registered about 50 of these.
– The amount of films available is vast and we have counted more than 700 titles.

Most Popular Amazon Prime Video Video (* are your own productions):

Series
This is Us
Seinfeld
The Office (US)
Two and a Half Men
30 Rock
Mr Robot
Law and order
The Marvelous Mrs Maisel *
The Grand Tour *
Downtown Abbey
Heroes
NCIS
The Romanoffs *
Fear the Walking Dead
Friday Night Lights
Movies
Man in Fury
The Godfather (all titles)
Combat Club
Too close
Marley & Me
Better is impossible
Once upon a time in America
Taxi Driver
Catch Me If You Can
Saving Private Ryan
2012
Philadelphia
The Da Vinci Code
This country is not for old people.
District 9
Kids
Alvin and the Chipmunks
SpongeBob: The Movie
Rank
Hotel Transylvania
Meatballs rain
Aliens in the Loft
karate Kid
The Last Airbender
Mourning on the Farm
Dora the Explorer
About Me
Patrol Pat
The Kung-fu Panda: The Warrior's Destiny
Bob the constructor
Lego Ninjago: The Movie

HBO
– The number of series available is the lowest among the 3 services. We counted a little more than 200 titles.
– The number of documentaries is somewhat reduced, we count about 180 of these.
– The amount of movies is enough for many of the users. We counted just over 500 of these.

Most Popular HBO Content (* are Own Productions):

Series
The Game of Thrones *
True Detective *
Sex and the City *
Westworld *
Big Bang Theory
Legacies
Big Little Lies *
Girls
The Sopranos *
The Vampire Diaries
Veep *
The Great Friend *
Krypton *
Seven Spans of Earth *
The Wire *
Movies
Brexit
Wonder Woman
Rio 2
Harry Potter (all titles)
Nightmare on Elm Street
I'm the Legend
The origin
Gru – the Unkind
The Departed – Between Enemies
The hangover
2012
Gladiator
River
Twilight (all titles)
The big Gatsby
Kids
About Me
Ice Age (all titles)
River
Shrek
The
Pocoyo
Masha and the Bear
Patrol paw
Kung Fu Panda
Ruca
Bob the constructor
How to train your Dragon
The Choné Sheep
Garfield
Winx

Are you traveling in Europe? Maintains access to the catalog

When traveling within the community, you can access any of these services, under the same conditions as in Portugal (same catalog, subtitling, etc). This possibility was granted by the portability regulation of online subscriptions of May 2017.

Navigation and use

With regard to navigation, location of the different contents and ease in resuming the reproduction of the contents that we leave in the middle, in general, all the services please.

O Netflix is the only service that allows you to use differentiated logins. Each user will have their own list of content they can resume and personalized recommendations. This is an advantage over other services.

The menu structure is quite similar, whether accessed through a PC (browser), or smartphone app or Smart TV. The menu system is very well done, it's quite intuitive. The use was shown to be fluid in the various equipments that we rehearsed.

Access to the videos you left in the middle is done in a very simple way, among the various devices where you login.

The system of recommendations is well achieved, with suggestions based on general user usage or content related to some title you have seen recently.

O Amazon Prime Video does not have differentiated accesses per user. Also here the menu structure is quite similar, whether accessed through a PC (browser) or smartphone app or Smart TV.

The menu system follows the same Netflix logic. The resumption of the video that he left in the middle works quite well (among the various equipment in which he logs in). The recommendations system works in a manner similar to Netflix.

The service HBO does not have differentiated accesses per user. Access through the Android / iOS app, due to screen space restrictions, has a slightly different design from the PC (browser) or Smart TV. The idea seems to work well, with the tabs popping up at the top of the screen.

Also here the menu system follows the same Netflix logic, with a very similar appearance. The resumption of the video I left in the middle, works quite well (among the various equipment I log in). The recommendations system works in a manner similar to Netflix.

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