We recently broke down the four main online streaming and rental services—Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, and iTunes—to find out which service offers the best features for your buck. Based on selection, price, interface, third party devices and quality – we came to the conclusion that Netflix is one of the most well-rounded video streaming services you’re going to find. That said, not every single TV show or movie is available on Netflix.
Still having a hard time deciding which of these services is right for you? One of the most important factors to consider when it comes to making this decision is the first criteria we used: the selection. Rather than search each service one by one to see if it has the movies or TV shows you like, with the following third party sites, you can search all four (and quite a few more) in one go.
If you’re going to stick with one service, it should be Hulu. With Hulu Basic, you get full access to Hulu’s entire library of on-demand TV shows, and with Hulu Live, you can stream more than 50 TV channels and watch them live. But if you’re signed up to multiple services, definitely use one of these sites to help you find content to watch.
Can I Stream It searches: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Play, Crackle, YouTube, Streampix and HitBliss for TV shows. In addition to these sites, it also searches Epix, Redbox Instant and Snagfilms for movies.
You can search for both TV shows and movies on multiple sites to find out where to watch it. What’s cool about CISI is that it doesn’t limit itself only to searching for streaming movies available online, but also lets you know if the movie is available for digital or DVD rental and digital or DVD purchase. When you search for a film or TV show, it will let you know which sites it’s available on and how much a rental or purchase will cost. If you can’t find it on the service of your choice, you can set it up so that CISI will notify you once it is available.
Watchily searches: Netflix, Redbox Instant, Amazon, iTunes, Hulu, HBO Go, Showtime Anytime, Cinemax Go, and Comcast XFINITY, and Vudu.
Search results clearly label the costs — making it easy for you to rent or stream a film for the least amount possible. One of Watchily’s best features is the fact that it allows you to filter down results by price (free to $9.99 or less), by maximum length, by store, by content rating, and by genre.
GoWatchIt searches: Fandango, Netflix, Redbox, Amazon, iTunes, VUDU, Hulu, YouTube, SnagFilms, Sundance Now, and Movies on Demand on Cable.
One of GoWatchIt’s best features is the fact that, not only can you search with a movie title, you can also search by names — so if there’s a particular actor you’re interested in watching, or a particular director whose work you want to see, you can do a search directly on GoWatchIt and see what you can watch online.
One drawback to using GoWatchIt is that you can’t search for TV shows, as results are limited to movies, but on the plus side, you can take its search features with you on the go using the free iOS app.
FindSeri.es [No Longer Available]
FindSeari.es searches: Netflix, Hulu, and iTunes.
TV fans rejoice. FindSeri.es is a great website that makes it easy for you to find out where you can watch or buy your favorite TV shows online. The drawback? It’s limited only to residents of the US, Australia, Great Britain and Canada. Search results include both streaming, and digital rentals/purchases.
Watch It Stream searches: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Instant, Vudu,and iTunes.
In addition to letting you know where you can stream your preferred movie or TV show, it will also let you know where it’s available for digital or DVD rental, and how much it’ll cost you. Again, using Watch It Stream lets you make sure you’re getting the best deal on a rental.
If you want an even more convenient search function, you can opt for Watch It Stream’s Chrome extension.
Which service you ultimately decide to use really does come down to personal preference, as well as which site you might already have a subscription for. At the end of the day, if you’re trying to search across as many services as possible and find the best deal for an online or DVD rental, Can I Stream It offers a wide variety of platforms to search and presents the search results in conveniently categorised way. Watchily comes a close second thanks to its support of cable channels like HBO.
Which site do you prefer? Let us know in the comments.