Netflix raised its subscription prices last week, upsetting tens of thousands of U.S. users. For those angry enough to cut the virtual cord on Netflix, we present a few video-streaming alternatives for your Android phone.
HBO GO (free for subscribers)
This streaming app delivers all your favorite HBO shows, including movies, sports, comedy and original programming. The downside is that HBO doesn’t offer the entire Netflix lineup, and doesn’t feature as expansive of an on-demand library. You’re limited to the programs HBO has available at the time, but for many fans, that’s more than enough. It’s primarily HBO’s original programs that app users are after. This handy app lets you catch up on episodes or camp out for an entire series session. The app comes with custom watchlists and you can set up a series pass to automatically load your queue with the HBO original series’ you don’t want to miss.
Hulu Plus (free with subscription $7.99/mo.)
There’s no telling who will buy Hulu, but until then, this network-owned video service delivers tons of shows direct to your Android device. Hulu Plus is designed for series lovers, with options for full season passes to watch every current episode of top programs from broadcast networks. That includes your favorites from ABC, NBC and Fox, spanning Glee to The Office. Similar to Netflix, you can create and manage a queue, working your way through an entire series at your leisure. As one of the newer apps to hit the Android Market, Hulu Plus is only available on a handful of devices. So check the list before you get too excited about this video app.
One network missing from Hulu’s lineup is CBS, so your best bet (aside from Netflix) is to download its TV.com app. Another great option for viewing television programs, TV.com delivers full episodes to your Android device. There is some extended content available with this app, including Showtime, CBS News and CBS Sports, all available on-demand from the comfort of your mobile device. Unlike many of the other streaming video apps, TV.com is completely free. But the content is also limited to the CBS network, and premium content is watered down compared to Netflix’s offering.
Google recognizes the potential behind online video streaming and smartly added video rentals to its Android Market. This service is designed to rival Apple’s movie rental options, and its recent launch comes shortly after YouTube incorporated movie rentals into its network. The Videos app enables you to view movies instantly--just search the Market for the title you want and it will open in this free app. There is offline access and cross-device support, so movie rentals can be viewed in the Chrome browser as well. There is no all-inclusive subscription option with this app, but you can get movies on demand, paying only for what you watch.
XFINITY TV (free for subscribers)
Similar to HBO GO, the XFINITY TV app gives existing subscribers access to their content. More than just a single channel’s content, XFINITY on-the-go lets you view TV listings, manage your DVR and watch programs on-demand. It’s not a full library of movies, but you can still access the stuff you would get with Comcast On-Demand and without additional costs. The management features are also helpful for interacting with your cable settings remotely, making sure you don’t miss television programs or movies that are scheduled for future times. XFINITY also has a Comcast app that gives you full access to your account, enabling you to pay bills, check your voicemail and control your settings from anywhere.
Blockbuster (free to download)
Not to be outdone by Netflix, Blockbuster also has an app for small screen Android devices. You can rent or purchase movies from this app with options for offline viewing. The selection isn’t as vast as you’d expect from Blockbuster, but this fading movie rental giant is building up its digital presence and its collection of television and movie titles. Blockbuster releases movies earlier than Netflix, which sometimes lags by weeks for new releases. There is no monthly subscription options with Blockbuster’s app, and you’ll have to filter through its assembly of Android apps. Just like Netflix and Hulu, Blockbuster is limited to certain devices, although the company has created separate apps for various handsets.
Crackle offers movies and full-length television programs on your Android phone. Everything on this app is free, so you won’t have to worry about monthly subscription fees or rental costs. That also means you won’t get all of the newest content, but it’s a great alternative to pricey digital media offerings. You can build and manage your queue from the app or Crackle’s website, with streaming options for 3G or Wi-Fi networks. There’s a pretty wide range of supported devices for this app, so if you have Android 2.2, you can likely run Crackle on your phone.