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Don’t judge me

I’ve always been able to wait before. Seven seasons, all watched on DVDs rented from Netflix. But what do you do when you know – absolutely know – that you won’t be able to avoid spoilers during this final season of Game of Thrones? The answer is obvious, you get HBO for the six weeks you absolutely need it. Yes, I did put this down as a NEED. My TV nerdiness is no secret.

Once I had signed up and made sure I could access the first episode at exactly 8 pm, I took some time to poke around and see if maybe this was going to be one of those decisions that seems temporary but turns out to be too delightful to reverse. It was a risk, I won’t lie.

So what’s the verdict? Let’s take a look at the two services.

Netflix

We have what some (most?) people might call an excessive amount of Netflix, with both a streaming and a DVD subscription. Here are the pricing options.

Streaming:

You can stream Netflix for as little as $8.99 a month for a single Standard Definition screen. Or you can up the ante and get two screens with HD for $11.99. OR, you can go crazy and get 4 screens, HD and Ultra HD for $15.99.

DVD:

Not all that many people still have DVD subscriptions (there are about 2 million of us), but that is how we see new(ish) movies. You can get a super basic level of one disc at a time, maximum of 2 exchanges a month for $4.99 per month. Or you can go up a little to one disc at a time, unlimited exchanges for $7.99. Want more? How about two discs at a time, unlimited exchanges for $11.99. STILL MORE? You can get three discs at a time with unlimited exchanges for $15.99 a month.

HBO

There are three different kinds of HBO. Regular HBO that you subscribe to through your cable or satellite provider, and HBO Now, that doesn’t require a cable subscription. HBO Go is the streaming part of regular HBO and comes free with that subscription.

So how much does it cost? That depends on your cable or satellite provider. For us it would have been $15 a month, but some providers discount it pretty deeply. For that you get a whole bunch of HBO channels and HBO Go. HBO Now costs $14.99 a month (after a seven day free trial) and is exclusively streaming – it doesn’t require a cable subscription.

Come on! WHAT’S THE VERDICT?

Okay, okay! Here’s what I think. Regular HBO + HBO Go is a good deal for the money. You get lots of movies on the channels, which you can DVR and watch at your leisure, plus everything that’s streaming. That entirely depends on your cable or satellite provider, of course, but I’m assuming an approximate cost of $15 per month. You can also find it cheaper (or free) bundled with some other services, like AT&T cell service. HBO Now costs the same but has no DVR-ability.

BUT – and it’s a big but – I don’t think you get the best content with HBO. You get a lot of content, but is it the content you want? For my money (and actually, it IS my money) the combination of Netflix streaming and DVD gives you more content, more options, and most importantly, content you actually want.

What I like best about the Netflix combo is the huge number of available plans and the ability to get big new movies either as soon as they come out on DVD or shortly thereafter. You can conceivably access both streaming and new movie DVDs for as little $14 a month. Granted, that doesn’t give you as many screens or as many monthly rentals as some of the other options, but you can stream everything and get a couple of big movies every month for about the same cost as regular HBO or HBO Now. And you get to choose those movies – Netflix DVD rarely fails to carry big releases as soon as they are available – instead of wait for them to show up (or not) someday.

Netflix also has more original content right now, and what’s available on HBO doesn’t really float my boat (aside from GoT of course). You’re more likely to find series and movies/shows for everyone in the family with Netflix streaming.

Depending on how much money you want to put into your entertainment budget for streaming/cable/DVD watching, there are almost limitless options right now to have thousands of movies and TV shows at your fingertips. Amazon, Hulu, HBO, Showtime, Netflix, and soon Disney – it’s overwhelming. So here is my…

Final, Final Verdict

I’m committed to the potent combo of Netflix Streaming and at least some level of Netflix DVD subscription to see the newest movies.

I also like having Amazon Prime for reasons other than Amazon Prime Video, but it does make a nice addition to my streaming options (yeah, currently watching Hanna). If you have (or are) a college student, look into Student Prime – it costs half as much as regular Prime and you get all the same perks. Also look into inexpensive ways to access Hulu. We have it free through our Spotify Premium subscription, and you can also get it for free if you have Sprint. I’m sure that there are other programs that offer it as well.

So despite my absolute devotion to Game of Thrones, I will not be keeping HBO past the end of the series. I love that HBO has put the work into making it an amazing show, but they don’t offer enough other things to make it worth an extra $15 a month.

Tell me what you have!

So what do you currently subscribe to? Are you a Netflix Only consumer or do you play the field with other services? Tell me in the comments why you love what you have!