Four Netflix alternatives tested

We tested Netflix against four solid alternatives to see whether switching video providers is worth it.

By Sarah Jacobsson Purewal, PC World |  Networking, amazon prime, Blockbuster

The iTunes viewing interface is pretty bare-bones, but it does allow you to turn on closed captioning (if closed captioning is available on the source video) and skip between chapters, as you would on a DVD.

Because you have to download the video before you can watch it, the experience is not ideal for spur-of-the-moment viewing. Bridesmaids, a 1.8GB file, took about 30 minutes to download on my wired Internet connection.

Ease of Use

TheiTunes interface isn't the user-friendliest one around, and you have to rent from within the iTunes program.

Searching for the title you want to rent isn't as easy in iTunes as in other services, since you have to use the iTunes search box, which produces a lot of extraneous results, including matches for music and apps. Though the iTunes search box auto-completes your search terms, the item available from the service may be a soundtrack or an ebook instead of the movie you're looking for.

On the plus side, the staff at iTunes does a good job of cultivating lists for its browsers (aside from 'Recent Arrivals' and 'Popular Titles'). Current iTunes lists include 'Funny Guys Get Serious', 'Spoofs', 'Baseball Movies', 'Fashion Movies', and 'Original vs. Remake'.

Because iTunes rentals are compatible only with Apple products and with PCs, you're out of luck if you want to view content on an Android device or a connected TV.

Next: Amazon Prime, Which Is the Best Alternative?

Amazon Prime

Stats

Price: $79 per year

Selection: TV shows, documentaries, older films

Notable titles: Notting Hill, The Tudors, Amazing Planet

Notably missing titles: All new releases

Supported platforms: Connected Blu-ray players, connected HDTVs, Macs, PCs, Roku, TiVo

Content

If you take a quick look at Amazon's Instant Video library, the service seems to have a lot of content--everything from new releases to older documentaries. But Amazon Prime video encompasses only some of these titles--not most of the new releases, such as Bridesmaids and Thor, which are available for individual rental (ranging from $1.99 to $3.99). Rental films are available for 30 days; once you start watching a film, you must finish within 48 hours (most rental services--including Apple's and Blockbuster's--give you only a 24-hour watching window).


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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