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Best streaming video services

Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, and Vudu all did better than Netflix

Consumer Reports magazine: September 2012

Tired of paying big bucks for dozens of channels he never watched, Paul Talaga dropped his family’s cable-TV service two years ago and now relies mostly on streaming video for entertainment. “We stream lots of last season’s TV shows and one or two movies a week from Netflix,” says Talaga, a 31-year-old computer-science professor who lives in Cincinnati. “We also get a DVD by mail maybe once a week.” He connects a computer to his TV to watch news and current programs available on network websites. The entertainment mix suits him fine, he says, calling Netflix “an excellent value compared to paid TV service.”

Talaga is among the millions of Americans who now watch video that’s delivered to their screen over the Internet. More than half of the 15,277 ConsumerReports.org subscribers we surveyed recently had used a streaming video service within the previous month. Most didn’t drop TV service, as Talaga did, but use streaming as a supplement to regular TV rather than as a replacement for it.

Like him, though, the overwhelming majority of streaming viewers used the company that accounts for most of the action in video streaming: Netflix. But Netflix didn’t earn especially high scores for satisfaction from the users surveyed by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

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