Streaming services allow accessible entertainment


We live in a digital age where our favorite sitcoms and movies are right at our fingertips. Whether you use Fire Stick, Apple TV or a smart TV, there are plenty of options for streaming, but which option is right for you? Cable packages are climbing higher and many people are choosing to “cut the cord” on cable. So, what is a struggling college student to do? There are cheap ways to stream your favorite shows.

I highly recommend Amazon Prime Student. I love everything Amazon. Just for signing up, you get a free six-month trial. That includes all the perks of regular Amazon Prime at a lower rate of $59.99 a year or $6.49 monthly. All you would need to do is show proof that you’re a student. When I renewed my prime student account, all Amazon required of me was a screen shot of my unofficial transcript.

Amazon also gives you the options of adding channels via Prime Video and there is a large variety. Some of the premium channels, such as HBO, are pricier. However, there are other channels you can add to your prime account which are less expensive. Some channels are for gamers, children, movie fanatics and nerds. All have free trials and the upkeep for some of these channels are as low as $3.99 a month. Prime video also offers shows and movies that Netflix and Hulu do not stream, as well as their own Prime Originals. Additionally, an Amazon Prime Student account offers free two-day shipping and discounts at Whole Foods. All this and more are included for less than what we would spend on a single trip to Taco Bell.

For our music lovers, Apple Music is offering a student discounted membership for only $4.99 a month. After verifying your student status, you are entitled to a student account for up to four years (the time it usually takes to earn a degree) and you get to listen to an unlimited amount of music and stream ad-free music and videos.

In order to compete with Apple Music, Spotify and Hulu have collaborated to offer both of their memberships together to students for $4.99 a month. This membership also includes Showtime. The plan is a limited commercial plan, but for that price, it can’t be beat. Hulu offers next-day access to prime-time television and its award-winning Hulu Originals. With Hulu exclusive shows like “The Runaways” and “East Los High”, plus free access to a premium channel like Showtime, which is usually $8 a month on Hulu without student discount, this seems to be the better deal.

Netflix is also a powerful contender. By turning books into their own originals, they continue to appeal to wide audiences. Unfortunately, Netflix does not offer any student discounts, but their basic plan is still $7.99 a month for one screen. Netflix may not have next day access, but it does have a fast turnover for television shows and recent movies. The CW shows will usually appear on Netflix within a week of its on-TV finale and that means binge-worthy weekends of “Riverdale”. Since Hulu lost the rights to any CW shows, all our favorite shows can be found on Netflix. The downside: waiting up to a year for it to be available on the streaming site.

For anime-lovers, Funimation offers an extensive collection of anime and full-length feature films for $5.99. I personally prefer Crunchyroll. Although both offer a free version with limited anime and ads, Crunchyroll has streaming rights to some of my favorite anime while Funimation does not. Although Crunchyroll is one dollar higher, it is worth it to be able to watch my favorites

Watching your favorite sitcoms doesn’t have to cost you. By carefully choosing which streaming service is right for you, you can easily fit it into your budget. You can even pick multiple services for no more than $20 monthly. As long as you have access to Wi-Fi, your next binge is available for instant streaming.