Pros and cons of Video on Demand: What you should know

Prenisha Naidoo
Internet Provider Comparisons

In an era where convenience and flexibility reign supreme, Video on Demand (VOD) services have surged in popularity, dramatically altering the way we consume entertainment. Platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu have become household names, offering a smorgasbord of content at our fingertips, ready to be streamed whenever and wherever we desire. But like any technology, VOD services come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages.

As we delve deeper into this topic, we'll explore the pros and cons in greater detail, providing a comprehensive view of the VOD landscape. So whether you're a seasoned streamer or new to the world of on-demand video, stay tuned for an enlightening exploration of this modern mode of entertainment.

What is Video on Demand?

Video on Demand (VOD) is a technology and media distribution system that allows users to access videos, television shows, and films without traditional video playback devices like DVD players or cable TV. Instead, VOD offers content through online libraries where you can access video content at your convenience.

VOD services work by delivering pre-recorded and edited video content directly to individual customers for immediate viewing. This means that as a user, you have the ability to watch your chosen content whenever you want, often on a variety of devices including smart TVs, computers, or mobile devices.

VOD services thrive under two main frameworks. The first one being subscription-based (SVOD), think Netflix and Prime Video, where for a monthly fee you gain unlimited access to their library. Then there's transactional VOD (TVOD) like iTunes/Apple TV+. Here, each movie or show comes with its own price tag where you can either rent or buy movies.

And let's not forget ad-supported VODs (AVOD) such as YouTube which offers free viewing peppered with ads.

Advantages of Video on Demand

In the entertainment realm, VOD services have revolutionized the scene. But what makes them so appealing?

VOD services offer many advantages to their users, including:

Unmatched convenience: VOD allows you to watch your favorite shows and movies anytime, anywhere. No need to wait for a scheduled broadcast or record programs for later viewing.

Increased viewership: VOD can lead to increased viewership as content can be streamed at the viewer's convenience.

Variety of content: These platforms are treasure troves of content that you can stream whenever and wherever internet access allows. With VOD, you have access to a vast library of diverse content, from movies, TV series, documentaries, to educational content. There's something for everyone's taste. There's even variety across genres and languages as well as frequent updates with new releases or seasons.

User-friendly features: VOD isn't just about variety; user experience matters as well. The pause-rewind-fast forward trio gives control back into the viewer's hand - no more missing out on key dialogues because someone rang the doorbell.

Device compatibility: VOD supports a wide range of devices including smart TVs, computers, tablets, and smartphones.

Control over content and scheduling: Users have greater control over what they watch and when, allowing them to create a personalized viewing schedule.

Cost-effective: VOD services often offer more value for money compared to traditional TV subscriptions, with some also providing ad-free streaming.

Geographic flexibility: VOD lets you stream videos irrespective of geographic location, making it ideal for international viewers.

In a nutshell, VOD provides you with the authority to determine what you watch and when. It brings convenience and customization right at your fingertips.

It's important to note that while these advantages make VOD services highly appealing, they also come with their own set of challenges such as the requirement of a stable internet connection and the occasional removal of content from the platform.

Key takeaway: VOD services are often more cost-effective compared to traditional subscription television plans. They offer us control over what we watch and when, eliminating the need for scheduled programming. Moreover, streaming takes up less storage space than downloading content, and allows for entertainment on the go, a boon during lengthy trips or while away from home.

Disadvantages of Video on Demand

Just as a coin has two sides, video on demand services also have their share of disadvantages alongside the advantages.

Here are the drawbacks of VOD services:

Internet dependent: The most glaring one is that these platforms are heavily reliant on stable internet connections. A hiccup in your Wi-Fi can lead to buffering issues or even halt streaming altogether. This dependency makes it difficult for users with unstable or slow internet connectivity to fully enjoy these services.

Fortunately, there's HomeLinkd, offering reliable, affordable, high-speed internet from top providers in the United States.

Bandwidth use:
Streaming videos require sufficient bandwidth to play, especially at higher quality. This can be a challenge for users with limited or slow internet connections.

Check your internet speed

Availability of desired content:
Depending on the VOD service provider, it may not carry all the content that a user desires. Content availability tends to fluctuate between providers and regions due to licensing restrictions. You might find yourself needing multiple subscriptions just so you can watch all your favorite shows.

Ownership of content:
You don't own anything you watch. For instance, if you subscribe to Netflix or another streaming service, you're only renting the content.

Key takeaway: One key issue is bandwidth use. Streaming videos, especially at higher quality, requires sufficient bandwidth. Additionally, despite paying for these services, you don't actually own the content you watch. This can be problematic if a show or movie you love gets removed from the platform. There's also the risk of overuse, as the convenience and vast library of content could lead to excessive screen time.

Although there are drawbacks to VOD services, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and there are solutions that can help resolve some of them.

Comparing Video on Demand to Traditional TV

Video on Demand (VOD) and traditional TV fundamentally differ in the way they deliver content to viewers, with VOD services offering a new perspective compared to traditional television. Standard TV that operates based on a schedule, broadcasting programs at predetermined times. This means viewers need to tune in at a specific time to watch their favorite shows or record them for later viewing.

On the other hand, VOD services provide users with the power of choice and convenience, providing a more viewer-centric experience. They allow users to select and watch content whenever they want, offering a level of flexibility and convenience that traditional TV cannot match. Instead of sticking to a broadcast schedule, VOD users can pause, rewind, or fast-forward content, essentially watching shows at their own pace.

This flexibility is one significant advantage of VOD over traditional TV.

However, it's worth noting that cable or satellite television still offers unique benefits such as live sports events and news broadcasts which may not be immediately available via most streaming platforms.

When we talk about cost-effectiveness, your viewing habits play a crucial role in determining whether you'll save more money through VOD or maintaining an extensive cable subscription. If binge-watching series at your own pace or exploring various genres appeals to you more than sticking around for scheduled programming timeslots, then switching to video-on-demand might just be the economical solution for you.

Choosing the best Video on Demand service

In a world brimming with entertainment options, how do you pick the right video on demand service?

Here are some points to ponder when selecting a VOD service:

The content conundrum: What do you want to watch?

Your choice will largely depend on what type of content you enjoy watching. Each streaming platform boasts its own unique selection of movies, series, and documentaries.

Pricing plans: How much are you willing to pay?

Different services come at different price points – from free ad-supported platforms to premium subscriptions offering 4K quality streams without ads. Some even offer tiered pricing models based on features such as live TV access or the number of simultaneous screens allowed.

User experience: Does the platform feel right for you?

Apart from content and cost considerations, don't forget about user experience. This includes factors like ease-of-use interface design for navigation purposes along with stream quality (SD/HD/Ultra HD) depending on internet speed availability at your home location, etc. A trial period can be quite helpful here; use this time wisely by exploring all aspects thoroughly before deciding whether a subscription commitment makes sense financially speaking.

Platforms to consider

Several Video on Demand (VOD) services stand out as top options in 2023.

These include:

Netflix: Known for its vast library of movies and TV shows, including critically acclaimed original content.

Amazon Prime Video: Offers a diverse selection of movies, TV shows, and original series. It also provides additional benefits to Amazon Prime members.

Disney+: This service is especially popular among families and Disney fans, offering a wide range of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic content.

Hulu: Noted for its blend of original series, current and past TV shows, and films. Hulu also offers a live TV option.

Apple TV+: Although it has a smaller content library, Apple TV+ is gaining recognition for its high-quality original programming.

Ultimately, the "best" VOD service can vary depending on your specific preferences for content, budget, and viewing habits.

Saving money with Video On Demand services

Comparing the cost VOD services to traditional cable or satellite TV can be complex as it depends on individual viewing habits, the number of services subscribed to, and the specific packages chosen.

According to a CNET article, subscribing to multiple streaming services could potentially cost less than a traditional cable subscription. However, some argue that certain cable TV plans can be cheaper than streaming, particularly if only a few channels are desired.

A survey by SurveyMonkey indicated that more than half (58.5%) of respondents believe streaming services are cheaper than cable/satellite. Nevertheless, consumers need to be cautious as the monthly bill for streaming TV could become just as expensive as cable if they subscribe to multiple services.

Therefore, while VOD services can potentially save money compared to cable or satellite TV, the savings largely depend on YOUR viewing preferences, the number of subscriptions, and careful selection of packages.

Maximizing your Video On Demand experience

To maximize the value of VOD services, it's important to utilize all available resources wisely.

Personalized recommendations: Your viewing history serves as a treasure map guiding these platforms towards recommending new shows or movies that align with your preferences. It's akin to having a personal concierge hand-picking content based on what they know you'll enjoy.

Making use of multiple user profiles: If multiple people are using the same accounts as family members or roommates, a separate user profile ensures everyone gets their personalized recommendations without any mix-up. Think of it as each person having their own remote control.

Offline viewing options: No internet? No problem. Many VOD services let users download shows directly onto devices so that lackluster Wi-Fi doesn't come between them and binge-watching their favorite series.


Video on Demand (VOD) services have significantly reshaped the way we consume media, offering a host of advantages while also presenting certain drawbacks.

Despite the drawbacks, it's clear that VOD services have revolutionized our viewing habits, offering a personalized, convenient, and diverse viewing experience that traditional TV has struggled to match. The choice between VOD and traditional TV ultimately depends on individual viewer preferences and circumstances.

Whatever your choice may be, we do hope you enjoy watching the latest and greatest shows and movies.

Ready to find the best plan for seamless streaming?

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Written by:
Prenisha Naidoo
Creative Copywriter

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