Facebook and Warner Bros. start streaming partnership with 'The Dark Knight'; How's it measure up to Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix?

Today, Warner Bros. announced a potentially landmark deal to stream complete films through Facebook, kicking off the plan with The Dark Knight. Facebook users pay $3, or “30 Facebook Credits,” to rent the film for 48 hours, and you watch it on Facebook. Warner Bros. is promising an interactive movie experience. How does streaming a film on the social network compare to your other online streaming options? We checked out The Dark Knight on Facebook and compared it to Amazon, Hulu, and, of course, Netflix, and asked a question: Are any of these streaming options better than just paying for the films on iTunes?

Amazon:
Cost: Renting runs between $2.99 and $3.99, and you can buy a movie for $9.99. Alternately, you can pay $79 a year for Amazon Prime, which gives you access to a slightly more limited selection of movies.
Movie Selection: If you’re willing to pay full price, Amazon’s complete library is very extensive. The Prime membership only covers about 1700 films (along with several TV shows).
Better/Worse Than iTunes? The films cost a bit less on Amazon, but they’re also slightly lower quality, so it’s a split decision.

Hulu Plus
Cost: $7.99 a month
Selection: Hulu’s film selection was terrible…until the website announced a partnership with film-geek-heroes the Criterion Collection. Pre-Criterion? Some good documentaries and Flyboys. Post-Criterion? Classics like Modern Times and Paris,Texas, cult curios like The Exterminating Angel and Hausu, and 146 other Criterion-approved titles. (Admittedly, an inordinate number of those titles are from the Zatoichi series.)
Better/Worse Than iTunes? Many of the Criterion movies aren’t on iTunes, so even though Hulu Plus still isn’t an ideal subscription system — on TV shows, you’ll still be forced to undergo commercials — it’s worth considering. Unless you factor in that quite a few of the Criterion movies are currently streaming on…

Netflix:
Cost: $7.99
Movie Selection: Very good — the streaming library is pretty extensive, and covers a broad swath of film history (which is more than can be said for the recent-leaning Amazon). It’s possible to quibble — what, Fellowship of the Ring but no Two Towers? But considering that it’s only $2 more per month to receive one DVD at a time, this is still the best bang for your buck.
Better/Worse Than iTunes? Here’s where we get existential. If you absolutely feel the need to own movies, iTunes is unquestionably the best bet. But if you’re okay with just watching a movie, then Netflix is your best bet for high-quality streaming video.

Warner Bros. on Facebook:
Cost: 30 Facebook Credits, or $3, to rent a movie for 48 hours.
Movie Selection: Only The Dark Knight so far, but there’s a potential for Warner Bros. to explore its entire library.
Better/Worse Than iTunes? It costs the same as renting a movie on iTunes, and since the audio-visual quality on the Facebook video isn’t great at this point, you should maybe save those Facebook credits for Farmville or whatever. Still, there’s something undeniably appealing about the service, so we’ll consider checking back a couple upgrades from now.

Comments (54 total) Add your comment
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  • Bourgeoisee

    Goodbye Netflix!

    • mikadamus

      Goodbye Nexflix? Your retarded.

      • vaporland

        Exactly – FB wants to pimp your personal information to their advertisers.

        Netflix is the best all around available service for the price.

        The only reason the movie studios don’t let Netflix stream more recent movies is that the movie studios don’t want the marketplace’s ‘perception’ to be “$8.99/month for all the movies you can watch”.

        They much prefer you pay “$129/month for all the CABLE you can watch” – so last century.

        We have Netflix and the internet, and between the two of those, we can see anything (movies, TV, etc) we want, for much less than cable TV or satellite.

      • Big Walt

        I almost never spell/grammar nazi people but if you’re going to call someone retarded (which in and of itself is pretty bad) please use the proper you’re not your. As much as I consider the original post dumb your’s is much worse. I’m amazed you are capable of reading and comprehending to begin with. To paraphrase you, you are mentally deficient.

      • Tpaul

        Big Walt, you started out OK but soon fell to the same level of the post you are criticizing. And in this context, it’s “yours is much worse,” not “your’s is much worse.”

      • Big Walt

        Dang, your totally correct Tpaul. (this one was intentional though)

      • Grammar Police

        Correct grammar: “Your” isn’t possesive, It’s “You are”.

        ~~Grammar Police: To serve and correct

    • Michelle

      Love Netflix and I also have a prime membership with Amazon so I can stream movie (limited), but still not going to give up my netflix account just because FB is jumping into the mix.

    • MrBo

      Funny man says, YOU FUNNY!!!

    • skip

      You prefer to send Mr Zuckerberg money for one movie while you can get unlimited movies on netflix for under 10 bucks a month? You must be an idiot.

  • Sweet

    Sorry, but I don’t want Facebook being involved and knowing every aspect of my life so they can sell the info. I’ll pass.

    • Michelle

      Yes and have you noticed how FB is slowing becoming Big Brother.

  • Mike

    What, they didn’t start with a stream of The Social Network?

  • please.

    But will they tweet it?

    • dntbstpd1

      Hahaha, can you imagine having the movie tweeted with only 140 characters of script at a time, lol.

  • vaporland

    “If you absolutely feel the need to own movies, Netflix & MacTheRipper is unquestionably the best bet.”

    there – fixed that for you…

    • drew

      FTW

    • robo t

      ARG

  • MIkey

    I dont think that Netflix will go away but the I think the idea can potentially be big. Especially adding the social component of it, the possibibilities are endless. Having 1 place to see reviews that my friends wrote or see movies that recently watched that I may be interested in while still catching up on other things I routinely do on Facebook. I think that would be totally cool. And come on people, FB and WB are doing this as a test. If it bodes well, they will definately improve performance quality ect. I see the potential but its way too early to determine if it truly is a Netflix competitor or not.

  • Baz

    If you watch 3+ movies a month Netflix is the ONLY option.

    • DeniedByFleury

      Um not really, there are OTHER options besides netflix..

  • JoDee

    facebook was cool until now

    • jonny

      facebook was never cool. someone had to say it. now, go outside people!

      • yeswab

        Can’t I just click “Like”? But–Jonny’s comment is dead on.

    • skip

      all facebook is a glorified message board. I can some SOME reason for it but why people spend as much time as they do on it I dont get. There are so many better things to do on the internet and in life in general. If a person spend more than 10 minutes a day on facebook, they are a complete loser.

  • KC

    Ridiculous. Netflix will win. They have a larger streaming library but they really need to expand upon it.

    • skip

      From what I read, Netflix plans to get away from the DVD side of it in the next few years to be total streaming. So look for the number of streaming movies to explode over the next few years.

  • TheDandyMan

    You can OWN this DVD for $3, on sale at Walmart. Idiots

    • C Men

      Way to get the point TheDandyMan. You are totally winning!

  • Big Walt

    To say right now that Netflix will “win” is like saying when Facebook first started up that My Space would win. You have no idea what FB is going to do to distinguish itself from the others. Until then all speculation is pointless.

  • John

    This comparison left out the option I’ve been using lately instead of Netflix… I’m soon to cancel my Netflix account due to poor streaming selection. I’ve been using vudu.com to stream new releases for a decent price (price per movie, though). Selection on older movies is not so great, but they can’t be beat for new releases. Plus, 1080p streaming! Woohoo!

  • I Mold

    Doesn’t matter what Facebook does, I’ll stick with Netflix as long as it’s adequate (and right now, it’s more than adequate). Too much garbage attached to Facebook, don’t need the worry that they’ll cause me grief somehow with all their information gathering and third party sales. Getting as bad as M!crosoft…well, maybe not that bad.

  • someone

    I have not seen a single day where is there is no article written on facebook, even if facebook changes button, there is a article on it,

    • skip

      This is true. Same with google. No wonder Google and Facebook dominate. They dont have to pay for ads to promote themselves. They have the media constantly talking about them. Their competition really does not have a chance.

  • yeswab

    Streaming Netflix: the greatest invention since sliced bread.

    • Lulu

      I agree yeswab :)

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