Why Is HBO Still Ahead of Netflix and Hulu

HBO is still ahead of Netflix, right? Well, if you're looking for quality programming like "Game of Thrones" most certainly. The recent Emmys also agree.
Christopher McFadden
(Edited) Filmdoo

Are you a couch potato? Do you like to binge watch TV on a regular basis? Do yout think HBO is still ahead of Netflix? Then you might well have, at one point, wondered which of the plethora of providers out there is the best option? HBO, Netflix, Hulu, there are so many choices. But, is it true that HBO is still ahead of Netflix in terms of service or quality? 

Of course, too much choice can give you a headache and it can be hard to know which, if any, are worth paying for. Of course, your personal preference will have a major part to play but it can't hurt to see if you're missing out on anything.

Well, let's take a look....

Industrial Recognition

Is it true that HBO is still ahead of Netflix? Why yes, if September's Emmy awards are anything to go by. Despite Hulu making Emmy's history by being the first streaming service to win an Emmy with "The Handmaid's Tale" and Netflix coming a close second.

HBO managed to beat them all by scoring a whopping 29 Emmys, followed closely by Netflix on 20 and Hulu bagging 10. Not too shabby all round really. Netflix was actually nominated for a stonking 91 awards and came close to doubling its 2016 total of 54 nominations.

HBO was the clear winner however, and it didn't even need its flagship "Game of Thrones" to pip the competition. "Game of Thrones" didn't even compete as it missed the eligibility period. 

Why Is HBO Still Ahead of Netflix and Hulu
Source: HBO

Netflix's apparent spamming of nominations for the Emmy's seems to have been a result of its massive investment in its content of late. A total of around $6 Billion in 2017 alone. They even have plans to invest a further $1 Billion over the next year. This strategy seems to be paying off for them, however. They've seen a decent rise in subscribers and of course industry recognition.


Netflix's big guns at the Emmy's included "Stranger Things", "The Crown", "House of Cards", "Master of None" and of course, "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" to name but a few.

Netflix shouldn't be underestimated

By all accounts, Stephen Colbert was impressed by Netflix's growth over the last few years. Especially over such a short period of time. Despite all their gains they still couldn't beat the monolith that is HBO of late. 

HBO's victory was, in no small part, due to a strong performance of their "Big Little Lies" which claimed 8 Emmyss alone. Netflix, in response, was able to bag 5 Emmys for "Stranger Things", 4 for "The Crown" and both “Master of None” and “Black Mirror: San Junipero” took 2.

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But a special mention should be given to Hulu. They certainly stole the headlines, but it will remain to be seen if they can repeat this in future years. It may, if not, end up as another streaming service like Amazon with some minor success. Amazon, as those who might remember, had some success with shows like "Transparent" and "Mozart in the Jungle" but has had trouble keeping up momentum since. 

Speaking of which, Amazon managed to scrape 2 Emmys from last months Creative Arts Emmy Awards. 

HBO offers quality

Although HBO isn't the cheapest service out there it does have one of the largest libraries of original content. And some of its titles are simply "to die for". You won't be able to match the likes of "Game of Thrones" on any other provider. This is certainly a good reason for why HBO is still ahead of Netflix.

HBO has around 118 series of original content on its service. Most of these can be considered content from the "golden age" of television. You'll find greats like "The Sopranos", "The Wire" as well as "Silicon Valley" for instance. 

HBO does occasionally play its own ads before content which you can't skip but you can fast forward through them. Videos tend to load in HD instantly over Wi-Fi but it does feel like more of a "quality" service when compared to its competitors.

But what about Netflix and chill?

Despite HBO's credentials, you shouldn't write off Netflix by any means. It should probably be the very definition of binge-watching. Netflix has a massive offering of programming on offer but only about 240 of these are originals. These include in-house productions and those bought by Netflix. 

But its not just a numbers game. Netflix does have one massive advantage of HBO, no ads. You can also download titles to play offline, which is not yet something offered by HBO

Could Hulu take over in future?

Hulu, despite being a lot smaller than the other two, is the place to be for up-to-date TV on both cable and over-the-air. Neither HBO nor Netflix can even come close to this level of service. It also updates its catalog daily. 

Hulu in that sense is the closest you'll come to "conventional" cable TV despite being a streaming service. They also have a vast library of content when compared to HBO but probably on par with Netflix. They even have their own original series like "The Handmaid's Tale", for instance.

Hulu does suffer from ads but you can up your monthly sub to strip them off.

Why is HBO still ahead of Netflix and Hulu?

Despite being the most expensive of the three and offering the least total content, HBO effectively provides quality of quantity. At the end of the day, you will not be able to consume everything the competition offers. you'll be choosing what to watch or never actually leave the house.

As tempting as the later is, you do need sunlight and probably have some form of activity to earn some money to pay for your subscription. HBO's service is comparable in real terms to both Netflix and Hulu but does have drawbacks. Ads and lack of downloadable content are not ideal for instance. 

But, at the end of the day, why "have cotton when you can have silk?". Quality always wins out in the end. That's why, and the Emmys agree, that HBO is still ahead of Netflix and Hulu. But do you agree? Feel free to comment below.

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