Cord Cutting: A Comparison Of Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime

Cord Cutting: A Comparison of Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime

We cut the cord a while back. Several months ago actually. Our satellite bill was getting out of hand. We were paying somewhere around $120 a month for TV. That is insane. So, we cut it off cold turkey and then went without TV at all for several months. However, a couple of months ago we started getting antsy, jonesing for our TV fixes {hey, Castle and Vampire Diaries were back and we were missing out!} so, after a little internet research to see if we could come up with cheaper TV options, we decided to try out Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime.

Cord Cutting: Pros and Cons of Netflix

At $8.55 per month {after tax}, Netflix is the most expensive of the services we have tried. Netflix has a huge selection of older shows that you can watch complete seasons of, as well as a large variety of older movies. We are streaming Netflix on our TV through our Wii, which means less movies to choose from {than if you choose to do the mail version of the program} but it is also instant access. You have to love instant.

Netflix also allows you to set up different lists for each user. There are 3 of us who currently use Netflix and we all have our own screen. For instance, I can watch Private Practice on my screen and be on one episode and Amber can watch it later on her screen and go back to her episode, which could be a completely different season. There is no overlapping and you can start each episode exactly where you left off. You can also rate what you watch and get personalized recommendations.

So far, Jay has been watching Miami Vice: Season 1, American Horror Story: Season 1 and he and I together have been watching Law and Order: SVU {since season 8, where Netflix episodes start}. Amber and I have been watching Private Practice together and I have been watching Wings. We have also watched a few movies, including Side Effects {which is newer} and we have The Rum Diary and Playing For Keeps in cue. Netflix doesn’t offer a lot of newer movies when you do the online version, but there are enough to keep us entertained.

Pros:Β Netflix offers a variety of series not offered on all TV traditional packages. For instance Amber watches the UK version of the show Skins which she couldn’t see in the US. Also, shows start back right where you stopped watching them, even if everyone has the same show saved on their list – the list caters to that person. Netflix is also commercial free. πŸ™‚

Cons: The movie collection is smaller online than if you do mail order. This is also the most expensive service of the three.


Cord Cutting: Pros and Cons of Hulu Plus

Hulu Plus costs us $7.99 per month. Hulu Plus offers a lot of newer programming that is not available on Netflix. For instance, Jay and I have been watching Castle {a show that we love and watched when we had satellite} and I have been watching Nashville. Amber has also been watching Vampire Diaries and she is very pleased that they have that show available.

As far as offerings, Hulu Plus is great. However, Hulu Plus does have it’s downside. We are not finding it nearly as user friendly as Netflix. It’s a bit harder for Jay and I to read as it is darker, in general and the small print and rotating show and movie advertisements at the top are distracting and make it difficult to read on the TV if you are not watching it on a large screen. This may sound like nit picking but if 2/3 of the users in this house feel this way, I am sure others might want to hear about this. Also, if there is a way to make lists like there is on Netflix, we haven’t figured it out yet.

Amber also just reported that Hulu Plus has been freezing up on the computer on occasion. That could just be the computer, or our internet or something, though, as we have not experienced this on our TV with Hulu Plus. I will keep an eye on this and if it keeps up, I will revise this review accordingly.

Pros: There are lots of current shows and movies to choose from that we would otherwise have to watch on the computer or do without.

Cons: Hulu Plus is less user friendly and can be hard to read. You also have to watch commercials.


Cord Cutting: Pros and Cons of Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime costed us $79 for an entire year. At roughly $6.58 a month, Amazon Prime is definitely the cheapest. With Amazon Prime, you can watch any of the Amazon Prime instant videos for free and you get free two day shipping on all Amazon Prime eligible purchases. You also get other perks {like access to their lending library}, but none of these perks have interested us yet. So far, we have only found one movie that appealed to us on Amazon Prime, that was National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation. We watched that last night and it played fine. Like Netflix, this movie was commercial free.

We also realized after checking out our Amazon Prime membership that we have to scan through tons of movies that are for rent or purchase {some are as high as $14.99!} and it seems there aren’t many Amazon Prime movies at all. We have also been fooled a couple times into thinking that we could watch a movie, only to click on it and find out that it was just a trailer. Ugh. We have watched one actual movie since signing up for Amazon Prime and we have had 2 or 3 packages delivered. We received delivery notifications for all of the packages and one that was scheduled to arrive in two days {we ordered in time for two day delivery} still came in 3 days – with no explanation as to why it was late. So, if we don’t order a LOT of packages, I am not sure if Amazon Prime will be worth it for us in the long run. I don’t really mind waiting longer for packages if they are free delivery.

Pros: Two day shipping on Amazon Prime eligible purchases. Cheaper than Hulu Plus and Netflix.

Cons: Poor selection of movies and shows that are actually free. Most of the movies on Amazon Prime were movies that were also available on either Netflix or Hulu Plus, in our experience.


Cord Cutting: The Verdict

If I had it to do all over again, I would probably just sign up for Netflix and Hulu Plus. I feel like we get our money’s worth with them. We like Netflix the best, but I feel that we could get used to Hulu Plus and the shows they offer are worth the adjustment. I would probably pass on Amazon Prime next time. I mean, it’s not bad to get a couple packages delivered faster and a movie for $6, but I am not worried about the speed of delivery to justify it. We really wanted Amazon Prime for the TV and movie collection and it just hasn’t been working for us so far. Since we have already paid for it for the year, we will probably just use the year up and then cancel it. Who knows, we might like it more later.

In the end, we are very happy with our cord cutting decision, overall, and anything that we miss on TV that we can’t find on one of these services, we can find on the internet.Β All of these services offer free trials. I encourage you to try each of them out to see which you prefer before paying for any of them.

I also need to let you know, if you are a sports junkie, cord cutting simply may not be the right thing for you. My husband is having withdrawals not being able to watch as many games as he used to. We are currently looking into ways he can watch his games other than by hooking up cable or satellite. If you have any suggestions, please share. πŸ™‚

And finally, if you do not already have the internet, the savings that you generate from cord cutting might not be the same as what we achieved. This is definitely something to consider.


Money We Saved Cord Cutting

Our satellite bill was around $120 per month. We called about adding some more channels and they wanted to up our bill to $180ish. We were tired of paying for all the channels that we never watched which is why we decided to get rid of satellite. After we turned off the satellite, all of our services together cost approximately $22 a month.

That’s a savings of about $100 per month.

I think it was well worth it!


Are You Cord Cutting Or Thinking About It? Do You Use Any Of These Services? If So, What Advice Would You Give A Potential Cord Cutter?


About Dawn McAlexander

Dawn has been a music lover her entire life. She went to college in Boone, NC, an area that is rich in music and culture. She also worked as a radio deejay for 8 years and grew up in Southeastern, Va, a melting pot of different musical styles and traditions. She has been to more concerts than she can count in every genre you can imagine. She resides in North Carolina with her furbabies and her massive collection of Disney memorabilia.


  1. Very complete and valuable analysis. Did you need any special equipment for Netflix or Hulu plus? An internet ready TV? Thanks.
    SHELLEY R ZUREK recently posted…Foxcroft Collection Fall Lineup on the Verizon Voices Fashionista Style HopMy Profile

    • Dawn McAlexander

      We just had to have the Wii and the internet. Nothing else. πŸ™‚

      We do not have a Smart TV, but are planning to buy one soon. Merry Christmas to us. πŸ˜‰

    • We didn’t buy anything but an HDMI cable. Put one end in the laptop and the other in the TV and voila! But buy it online, not at Best Buy–ours was I think $5 for a 25-foot cable & it would have been way more in-store.

  2. We only have Amazon Prime (i.e. no cable, Hulu, or Netflix). It pays for itself in the free shipping. There are times when I would LOVE to be able to watch some shows that are subscription based, but it’s just not in the budget.
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  3. I have Netflix and am quite happy. Hulu Plus is ok and I haven’t tried Amazon yet.

  4. We have talked about it for a long time and just haven’t made the leap! HA

  5. I’m totally one of those people who watches all my shows via the internet. I very very rarely even turn on the TV, unless it’s to catch a sports game. Plus, I find something rewarding about being able to watch an entire season in succession without waiting for each week to come along. And now online you can catch all the latest shows too via the station’s website. (Hello, Arrow and Beauty and the Beast!) – Katy
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    • Dawn McAlexander

      I really love watching complete series, too. I started doing that with Beverly Hills 90210. I watched it last year on the Soap Network. Then I watched the complete series of Friends on Blu-Ray. I won it on a blog. πŸ™‚ So, now my daughter and I are watching Private Practice. I never actually even watched a single episode on TV. πŸ™‚

  6. Since my husband and I got married, we have only used Hulu Plus and Netflix. We love it and have no issues. I don’t know what you are talking about with ads and movies flashing across the top of the screen when you watch Hulu Plus on the TV, we don’t have that

    • Dawn McAlexander

      The ads flashing across are not while we are watching a show. It’s while we are looking for one. But our Hulu Plus does play ads during the movies {just not flashing across}. We do not have to watch ads at all with Netflix.

  7. Our DSL is so slow that to up it would cost close to what we are paying for the satellite anyway – we only have basic service so it’s not that expensive – I think $35 a month. I had netflix but when they went to either or for the $8 a month I was bummed – back to the DSL. And one dvd at a time is torture when you are trying to follow a show.
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    • Dawn McAlexander

      We have high speed DSL because we all like to get on at once. So, there was no change there for us. Also, I simply wasn’t interested in the one DVD at a time deal either.

  8. Jenna Wood says

    We cord cut a while back, dropping down to only internet via our cable provider, and boy have they ‘stuck it to us’ by raising our rates….almost cheaper to just bundle with cable now- But we simply don’t watch a lot of TV. I love Hulu most, but Prime is great for entertaining and watching an entire series….unfortunately Amazon is greedy and will not let you pay for your Prime membership with their gift cards…hmmmmm

    • Dawn McAlexander

      Oh no. I get a ton of Amazon Gift Cards but I had no idea that you couldn’t use them for that. We just happened to pay out of our checking account. Wow, that would have been a horrible surprise.

      Also, what series do you watch on Prime? Do you pay for any?

  9. We got rid of our cable tv about two years ago and started using Tivo with an antenna. Over the past two years we have added on Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime. Just last week we got rid of the Tivo… really, the only reason we needed it was to record football games. My husband decided it wasn’t worth it (he can just watch them when they are on).

    I definitely recommend cutting the cord!
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  10. Love this post.. thanks for taking the time to do. I think we’ve made the best decision.. and that is to use Netflix. We’ve been pretty satisfied.. especially for the cost!
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  11. We have been really thinking about getting rid of our TV service as well since it is just soooo expensive and for mostly a bunch of channels that we never ever watch. This gives me some great ideas to try but my husband is a football junkie and I need a solution for that first LOL
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  12. I personally use Netflix and Hulu Plus it works out for us well.
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  13. We subscribe to Netflizx and Hulu and have saved a ton of money since getting rid of cable.

  14. My daughter is huge fan of Hulu Plus. She says it is a great service!

  15. Wow, $120 for TV is a lot of money. We don’t have sattelite TV and we don’t miss it either. Don’t have much time to watch TV πŸ˜€ But, when I have time Once Upon a Time and Beauty and The Beast are must!
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  16. Awesome post, thanks for taking the time in putting it all out.. We have Netflix, but I’ve been looking at Amazon and I think we are switching… Thanks to you … Love to save money
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  17. We haven’t had cable in years, like 10. I’ve tried all 3 and Netflix is probably my favorite. we have a Roku and love it.
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  18. We watch Netflix all the time!! I just got an email about this site this morning and it looks awesome!! I love Family Movies!!! –
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  19. I have been thinking of cutting the cord for a long time. I just haven’t figured out which program would be the best for our family.
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  20. We have cable and Netflix. I really appreciate your insights into the other services because I have also considered them.
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  21. My parents just recently got rid of cable and roku. They love it.
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  22. I’ve had Netflix for years and it’s really the only one we’ve used.
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  23. This is exactly the info I was looking for! I didnt know about Amazon, but like you I am going to go back to Netflix πŸ™‚

  24. We’ve cut the cord about a year ago. Love Netflix! Haven’t tried Amazon Prime, but considering it for the Free Shipping. Thanks for your insight!
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  25. We cut the cord years ago and are so glad that we did.

  26. We cut the cord 6 years ago when my oldest son was born. We use Netflix and amazon prime. We were so used to just waiting for full seasons to be out by the time hulu plus came out it seemed a waste in money. We haven’t found a series worth paying the monthly fee yet.

    If you have young kids you most likely will want Prime. Amazon has an exclusive contract with Nickelodeon, just like Netflix got a contract with Disney. So if your kids like nick you will prob want to do prime.

    Amazon Prime is also getting more exclusive content and shows.

    I don’t understand if its been a while since you have tried prime, but their site is pretty easy to find prime content. You click Prime Instant Video and its all listed. There is a button to the left you can select movie or TV. When you are searching make sure that Prime is checked in the left. Plus they are marking all the content now. They even have a next episode button, now if it was only available when the episode was over.

    Oh and they have special deals for students on the cost of prime.

    And my poor kids don’t understand commercials. Lol
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    • Dawn McAlexander

      Thank you for your comment. We don’t have any small kids, but that is very cool about the exclusive contract with Nickelodeon. πŸ™‚

      Maybe you are right. Perhaps we are not checking the right box to see only Prime content. I will try to pay closer attention next time we go onto that account. We have seen content marked Prime, but we always had to weed through what was not Prime as well. That has been an annoyance to us.

      Also, my daughter is a student, otherwise, no students here. However, I did just sign up for Amazon Mom. That was free with Prime, so we shall see if that feels like a payoff. πŸ™‚

  27. I have Netflix and I watch about two or three movies a week so it pays off for me. I do have Amazon prime as well but strictly for the quick shipping.
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  28. Deciding to cut the cord and get rid of cable is a huge decision, but can really save you some serious money!
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  29. Thanks for posting this, I’ve been curious about Prime. We’ve been cable free for most of our marriage we had cable once for a few months but just weren’t using it enough to justify the cost. Plus now with little ones I feel like we’re in more control of what gets seen plus with Netflix we can avoid the commercials. I also like that Netflix lets you have different user profiles so our selections and the kiddo’s aren’t jumbled.

  30. I was just talking to my husband the other day about this because we have Netflix. I was wondering if Amazon Prime had the same movies if not more.
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  31. I have been using Netflix for years and think it is well worth the money. I also have Amazon Prime which is good for when more than two of us in our family of six are on Netflix.
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  32. We’ve cut the cord for two and a half years now. I actually prefer the lack of commercials and entire series available through Netflix. We had Hulu for a while but cut it since we kept having errors with bandwidth (not their fault). We haven’t looked back since!
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  33. If we could just watch HBO and football, without cable, we’d cancel in a heartbeat. I lived without TV for 11 years and loved it. Netflix went down when it lost Stars, and while we have Amazon Prime, there is rarely anything free worth watching.
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  34. we haven’t cut the cord because of sports. but we do love netflix- the kids call it neck-flicks

    GREAT post!!

  35. Very helpful! We’re thinking of cutting the cord, but are still deciding what service(s) to go with, so it’s so nice to see a comparison like this. I had a free trial of amazon prime a while back and wasn’t too impressed with the selection, which apparently hasn’t been expanded.

  36. We do Netflix and Amazon Prime. It seems with having both we cover all the bases and we get what we need!
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  37. We have cable but its included in the price we pay for rent at our apartment.. but I took advantage of Amazon Prime when they did a free 30 day trial and it sucked no books, shows, or movies that we liked… Right now I do have Netflix for my kids because they all love to watch Netflix. I never thought about Hulu Plus though I will have to look into that one..
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  38. We cut the cord on satellite and cable years ago. It was hard to get used to it at first, but now we are used to it. We have Hulu and Netflix and we use them both regularly. We save so much money this way, and we also have a digital antenna so we get a bunch of basic channels that way.

  39. I’ve only had Netflix for over three years, and am very happy with my decision….you can watch so much online for free too!
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  40. Michelle F. says

    my husband and I was just talking about this. thanks for the comparisons

  41. We have Netflix and it’s very worth it for us. We use it often.
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  42. amanda whitley says

    we have Netflix and find the variety is much better than hulu.

  43. It’s kind of strange I happened across this post because just yesterday I did some cord cutting of my own. We too are tired of all the rate hikes from satellite. Our bill went from $48 to $74 a month and I’m just tired of paying so much when we actually don’t watch most of the channels they give us. We decided on going with Netflix because I had never heard of the other two you mentioned but I did hear about Redbox online streaming and checked into that. We chose not to go with them for a few reasons. One they didn’t have as many movies not even close to as many as Netflix. They didn’t have any shows at all to watch only movies and we liked the fact that Netflix did have some shows we liked. We also had Netflix before and liked how easy it was to operate. We Now pay less than $9 a month. We have two box’s to get free local channels but we have not hooked it up yet. That is our next step. I’m am in hopes to get 5 local channels so we can still get our local news and weather and CBS NBC FOX CW PBN if so we will be happy as we ever was for a lot less money!!!
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  44. We utilize Netflix and Hulu… What a great savings over cable or satellite, thanks for a great review

  45. Heather Bridson says

    I love the dvr feature on our cable, and we get the internet from our I may just cut hulu plus. I already cut netflix

  46. I was really afraid this post was going to be about child birth…I would love to “cut the cord” but my mom and I have a house together and she can’t go without cable. I am considering getting her a roku and having her try it. We pay like 160 a month for cable, internet and home phone. I’d love to get rid of the cable and phone but can’t live without the internet. Ok, I would live, but my life would suck. πŸ™‚

  47. This was a helpful article. Thank you for sharing. I just bought myself a Roku 3 for Christmas and loving it. I have the option of subscribing to Amazon, Netflix, Hulu Plus and many other streaming sites under one streaming device. I have done a trial for Hulu Plus & Amazon. I am not a big fan of Hulu because its hard to figure out how to search for particular movies & too many commercials. I like the Amazon because the 2 day shipping (especially this time of year) and easy to manuever. I noticed though all movies/shows aren’t free. That’s a downside about Amazon. I used to have a Netflix accounts years ago so I am familiar on how it works but I think I’ll do my free trial soon cause a lot has changed over the years I could imagine with them.

    Loved reading everyone’s comments. This article did help. Thanks again.

    • Dawn McAlexander

      Thank you so much for your feedback. After using the 3 services for a few more months I have to say:

      I LOVE Netflix. I love the way it’s set up and how user friendly it is, the programming that is offered and really, everything about it.

      I HATE Hulu. I watch a couple shows on it, but have pretty much given up on them because of how UN-user friendly Hulu is. I can’t tell what I am clicking on half the time and I despise having to click down for everything. I also hate having to search and there are too many commercials. It doesn’t save my spot in the show half of the time, so I have to watch every single commercial all over again. Ugh. Oh, and we have had it freeze up a lot. I am pretty sure we are going to cancel it as the approximate $8 is too much for all the hassle.

      I have changed my mind about Amazon Prime. I didn’t like it at first because of the programming not being free. Yeah, I still don’t like that, but I love the two day shipping! That first package was the only one that was late. After that, we have ordered a TON and gotten everything in 2 days. πŸ™‚

      My advice? Get Netflix and Amazon Prime {if you order a lot} and skip on Hulu. Also, get Vudu. We have been renting off there and love it, too. πŸ™‚

      • Did you ever find a replacement for the sports you talked about? That is the one thing that would keep me from dropping my satellite.

        • Dawn McAlexander

          Sure haven’t. However, we did get an antenna from Best Buy that has helped a lot. We can pick up several channels that we were not able to pick up before. My husband will be doing a review of this antenna soon so keep a look out. It may be a good option for you, depending on where you live.

  48. I have never had cable nor satellite thus no chords cut here. I use Netflix and Hulu plus. I DVR over the air content, from antenna, to my computer which has a TV tuner card installed. Windows 7 sleeps until time to record TV programs and returns to sleep giving a relatively green solution. The recorded TV shows are watched on my entertainment center via an XBox 360’s network connection to Windows Media Center on the PC. Thanks for your informative review. I was considering Amazon Prime but your review sways me to pass on that service.

  49. We have Netflix. I was thinking of getting Hulu. Thank you for the information,.

  50. We have Netflix right now, but I was thinking about doing Amazon Prime. Thanks for the insight into how it works.
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  51. Very nice summary Dawn and beneficial.

  52. we love to binge watch seasons of shows, so we are really enjoying netflix and definitely getting our money’s worth

    • Dawn McAlexander

      I just finished “Downton Abbey” on Amazon and am waiting for the next season to be added and I also just finished “Big Love” on Amazon. My daughter and I have almost caught up on “Once Upon A Time” on Netflix and had to move over to Hulu Plus to get the current season. So, I think it’s worth it for us to have all three, even if I prefer one to another.

  53. Thank you for an awesome post! We are in the midst of this decision as well. Have you found a sub for sports? This is our number one hang up right now.

    • Dawn McAlexander

      I haven’t. But I don’t watch too much sports so it hasn’t been a problem for me. After all this time, though, I have found that I rarely use Amazon Prime at all. So, for me, it’s not worth the subscription. I will be canceling it when it runs out this time. I love Netflix and really like Hulu Plus. I also just got a Roku and have been trying it out. So, I might post about that after I have used it a while. Best of luck!


  1. […] football season when I cannot watch my beloved Carolina Panthers play. Why? Several months back we cut the cord and dropped our television provider to save money. I will be honest, the monthly bill for dish or […]

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