Why YouTube buffers: The secret deals that make—and break—online video | Ars Technica: " . . . cynical types who suspect their Internet Service Providers (ISPs) intentionally degrade streaming video may be right as well. No, your ISP (probably) isn't sniffing your traffic every time you click a YouTube or Netflix link, ready to throttle your bandwidth. But behind the scenes, in negotiations that almost never become public, the world's biggest Internet providers and video services argue over how much one network should pay to connect to another. When these negotiations fail, users suffer. In other words, bad video performance is often caused not just by technology problems but also by business decisions made by the companies that control the Internet. . . ."
Popular streaming channels:Netflix: The king of movie and TV show streaming. $7.99/mo.
YouTube: User-submitted videos and some original programming. Free.
Hulu Plus: TV shows days after they air and some movies. $7.99/mo.
Amazon Prime: A strong Netflix competitor with other Amazon benefits. $79/year.
Crackle: Movies and TV mostly from Sony's library. Free.
Vudu: Movie rental site owned by Walmart. Fees per movie