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5 Streaming Services Making the Movies Irrelevant

Hulu Plus
Streaming cost: $8 a month

So NBCUniveral (CMCSA), Fox Entertainment (NWS) and Disney-ABC's (DIS) television streaming venture that lets scores of TV geeks watch Community a day after it airs also streams movies? Yes, but it pays to drop that $8 a month.

Hulu Plus touts past Oscar-winning films including Doubt, Frida, Sling Blade, Seven Samurai and The Crying Game, but you get only 30-second previews of the films unless you sign in. While Hulu Plus' episode content is still chopped up with commercials, its movie catalog runs uninterrupted and looks just fine in HD when streamed through a set-top box such as a Roku.

Things can get a bit choppy when viewing from a laptop, tablet or smartphone, so mind your connection, and Hulu Plus' library is still a bit thin compared with those of its competitors or even its television offerings. Still, Hulu Plus has jumped from 250,000 paying subscribers at the end of 2010 to nearly 3 million today. Its revenue has more than doubled over the same span.

If Hulu Plus ditches the commercials entirely for paid customers and makes its playback just as smooth on every device, it can be a huge player for films if its content partners can get it together.

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