Still, it is doubtful that you will want to abandon your current TV show streaming options — Hulu, Hulu Plus, Netflix, Amazon On Demand, iTunes or the network websites — and rely on Vudu to watch your TV shows.
Although Vudu announced "many" shows, in reality Vudu's initial offering is small: "Walking Dead," "24," "Weeds," "Arrested Development," "Glee" (Season 1), "Firefly," "Gossip Girl," "Bones" and "Modern Family" (Season 1). Many of the shows are only available in standard definition (SD) and not in high definition (HD). "Walking Dead" is one of the few that is streamed in Vudu's premium HDX format — picture and sound quality that has set Vudu apart from its video on demand competitors.
Comparing TV Show Availability — Video On Demand vs. Monthly Subscription Streaming Services
When it comes to the number of TV shows offered by online TV streaming sites, the video on demand sites seem to have a more complete list of current shows. The new Vudu TV show offering can be found elsewhere--on video on demand sites and on the Hulu Plus subscription service.
In fact, almost all of the Vudu TV show titles are available on other subscription services — with the exception of "Walking Dead" that is only available from video on demand sites. Both Amazon On Demand and iTunes have extensive lists of current and classic TV shows, in high definition and standard definition. Vudu has a long way to go to catch up with the titles offered by the other two services.
So what do the subscription services and video on demand services offer?
Netflix — While this monthly subscription service has been predominantly movie and older TV show titles, recently the omnipresent Netflix added many more TV shows to its Instant Que streaming service, including "Arrested Development," "Firefly," "24" and "Bones" — also some of the few titles initially offered on Vudu. Still, with Netflix, each episode is included in the monthly fee. With Vudu you are paying for each episode watched.
Hulu — Another TV-show streaming service is Hulu. Hulu's basic service is free and offers most of the popular TV shows. Hulu is only available on web browsers, so it may be limited to computers; I have not tried Hulu on the new TV web browsers, so I cannot comment if Hulu can be played on a TV. Typically, Hulu will stream a TV show about a week after it airs, sometimes sooner. Only five of the most recent episodes of a TV show are available on the free service.
Hulu Plus — The subscription Hulu Plus service is available on many media streamers, TVs and home theater devices. Hulu Plus airs most ABC and NBC primetime shows. Many TV episodes are available the day after broadcast, including "Modern Family," "Grey's Anatomy" and "The Office." Hulu Plus subscribers can access all episodes of these shows.
Both subscription services — Hulu Plus and Netflix — and video on demand services — iTunes, Amazon on Demand and iTunes — offer standard-definition and high-definition video streaming. While Netflix and Hulu Plus will adjust the video quality based upon your internet speed, you can choose between high-definition or standard-definition video on demand purchase.
A few TV shows don’t appear either on their network's websites nor on Hulu. "How I Met Your Mother" is one example of a series that can only be found for sale on Video On Demand sites like Amazon On Demand and iTunes.
Which TV Streaming Option Is the Best Value? — Price Comparison for Vudu, Amazon On Demand and iTunes
If you want to watch more than the occasional "missed" TV show, subscription services will be a better value. Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu Plus require a monthly subscription, yet the price of the subscription is often a bargain compared to the cost of renting individual TV shows on Vudu and other video on demand services. Vudu TV shows cost $2.99 for HD, and standard definition is $1.99. If you do the math, watching three or four rentals will cost nearly as much as a Hulu Plus subscription that runs $7.99 per month for unlimited viewing of high-definition TV shows.
Both Amazon On Demand and iTunes offer most current TV shows, with a choice of streaming in standard definition or high definition. Amazon on Demand charges 99 cents for most standard definition shows and $1.99 or $2.99 for HD.
Vudu, Amazon On Demand and iTunes offer a deal for a "season pass" or "season purchase" of all episodes of a particular season. TV shows with many episodes offer a better value than those with 13 episodes or less. Amazon on Demand and iTunes will notify you when a new episode is available for streaming.
Proceed to Page 2: TV Show Price Comparison Between Vudu, Amazon On Demand, and iTunes