The Streaming War is on – Pass the Popcorn!

Gone are the days of going to the movie theater or renting a DVD especially now that Blockbuster has filed for bankruptcy.  With the rise of Netflix and other companies that stream movies and television shows online, it makes it easier to watch new releases at home – and has subsequently started an online streaming war.

The New York Times recently reported that Netflix is the front runner in the online streaming world with its subscription service, Watch Instantly. With the ability to watch movies on a computer, television, iPad or iPhone, a whopping 61% of Netflix’s 15 million subscribers streamed movies in the second quarter.

Netflix CEO CEO Reed Hastings - living large in the streaming wars.The only downfall is that Netflix’s catalog of 20,000 steaming movies doesn’t include many recent hits because the company hasn’t been able to negotiate rights from all the Hollywood studios. Most of Netflix’s deals require the movie to be on store shelves for 28 days before it can be available on DVD or online.

Not having the most anticipated movies and television shows available to stream when they are released makes other options very tempting. For example, “Robin Hood,” is available to stream on Amazon, but will not be available on Netflix until mid October. The online video hub, Hulu, which recently launched the subscription service, Hulu Plus has the current season of “The Office,” while the most recent episodes on Netflix are from last season.

What side will you take in the streaming war? Will you stick with the leader, Netflix, or the up-and-comers who offer the most recent releases? I’m voting for the underdogs!

-Contributed by Jena Coletti. Follow her @jmcoletti.