If you haven’t already, please make sure to check out part one of this post:
Legal and Legitimate Places To Stream Movies Online
At the link above, I shared some of my experiences in my search for a better alternative to cable. I also included some devices you can use to stream movies to your television (for both flatscreens and the older box set TVs). However, getting the devices is only half of it. You still have to have the movies or television shows to stream.
Below, I’m sharing the places I’m aware of to stream movies and shows. Unless otherwise noted, to my knowledge these can be watched with Roku, Kindle Fire TV, or directly on your laptop or computer.
Pretty much everyone has heard of Netflix. Netflix is a great place for readers to find movies based off of books. Netflix is a great place for movie lovers period.
The way they charge now is based off of your device usage (how many devices you plan on using at any given time). If you have a family, you are probably going to need the bigger plan, as you will likely be watching on more than one device at a time.
Netflix offers two plans: the instant watch plan or the DVD plan. If you decide to go with the DVD plan, this is going to open up a lot of movies for you to watch. They mail these out, you keep them however long you want, and then you return them in the prepaid mailer.
There are a ton of movies and shows available on the instant watch plan, too. However, they might not necessarily be movies you want to watch.
If you’re a reader searching for book to film adaptations, they have a section for that. It’s called movies based off of books or something like that. You can also find these mixed in with the different genres. I’ve seen a LOT of Nicolas Spark movies on here and one or two Stephen King movies. Hemlock Grove (there’s a book for that) is a show created by Netflix. You can see all the episodes there, too. From the websites I’ve tried (and I haven’t tried all of them yet) Netflix definitely has the most instant watch movies when it comes to book to film adaptations.
*Something to keep in mind!*
Netflix might not work with Windows XP. They say it does, but there are a lot of complaints that the movies stall or don’t work at all when it comes to watching with Windows XP.
I tried Hulu way back, but I never made it past the free trial. From what I see recently though, a lot of things have changed here, and they now have a lot of great movies available. It also looks like they are still offering the free trial. In addition, you can now sign up for the Showtime streaming plan on this site, too. I think that’s pretty awesome. It’s somewhere in the same price range as Netflix (which is nowhere near the cost of cable or satellite).
I’m also going to share a trick with you, if you’d like to check out their offerings before you sign up for the free trial. Hulu has their site set up so that it feels and seems nearly impossible to do anything there but sign up. However, you can type in their website address and add on some extra characters and it will take you to a page not found. From there, you can click on movies at the top of the screen to see what they currently have. For example http://www.hulu.com/ddasdeweve
Who knows how long this trick will work but for right now it does. After browsing their selection, you can then decide if this streaming plan would work for you.
Crackle is free, and it works with Windows XP. They have a lot of hit movies that are really good, but they aren’t new releases. I’m really impressed with the simplicity of the site and the selection. See it for yourself here. No sign up needed and no credit card needed.
PopcornFlix is another site I’ve been checking out for free movies. No credit card or sign up is needed on this site either, and it works with Windows XP. They have television shows and movies here. You can be watching a movie within a few minutes.
Sling TV is something that I’ve heard of but haven’t tried… yet. I’m really interested in this one, though. Created by Dish Network, you basically pay $20 a month for 25+ channels. Unlike the satellite service, there are no contracts, and you can cancel when you want. From what I’ve read about this, it’s for live television programming, and the $20 a month gets you several popular channels. They also have other packages that are more expensive but contain even more channels.
This does go through your Internet service so keep this in mind. You can watch this through several devices (Roku, Kindle Fire TV, etc) by hooking it up to your television.
Something else I like is that they are giving away a two week free trial. You can sign up or see the details here.
I’ve used Sling TV for several months now. Overall, I am pleased with this service.
There was an advertisement on the Roku homepage for a thirty day free trial of Directv Now, so I decided to get the app and try it out. When you get the app, it will tell you to go to the website to sign up. Don’t try this with Firefox, as it won’t work. You’ll have to use Google Chrome.
As I registered I entered the code for the thirty day free trial, and I got a message that the promotion was no longer valid (hmmm). Instead, I was given a seven day trial.
With Directv Now, it’s very similar to Sling TV. At least in theory. The one thing Directv Now has that Sling doesn’t is the Discovery Channel.
However, starting with the first day of my trial, I realized Directv Now simply wasn’t going to work for me. The commercials are excessive, with 4 to 6 playing at every single break. Not only that, sometimes the shows will come off of a commercial break, play for about twenty seconds then start another loop of commercials. The shows and movies are constantly reloading (I tried on both the Roku app and online through Chrome), sometimes as often as every two seconds. I’ve also gotten messages several times that there is something wrong with the movie or show loading. It took me an hour and a half to watch a show that should have only been an hour, due to the commercials and the never ending reloading.
After going through this for a few hours, I did a Google search to see if anyone else has had this problem. I haven’t had any issues with Sling, Netflix, or Hulu like this. Doing a Google search revealed that there are a LOT of people with similar problems.
Direct TV costs quite a bit more than Sling TV. The quality of Sling is so much better (at least for me), and the cost is a lot cheaper.
Places Like Showtime, HBO, Etc
A lot of premium cable channels now have streaming plans that you can purchase directly and watch instantly. These don’t require you to have cable or satellite in any way, shape, or form, as you are buying directly. And they are cheaper than what you’d pay to get it through cable or satellite. If you get one of the devices I mentioned in my previous post, there will be an app or some way for you to access these on your television. You can also watch these on your laptop.
In my other post here, I talk about the devices you can use to get these shows and movies playing on your television. There are devices that work for the old box set televisions and flatscreens. All of these depend on wifi, so you will need an Internet connection. You can also watch movies on your computer or laptop, but with the way technology is today, you will probably want to get these up and running on your television set!