When it comes to on-demand streaming video services, there is none bigger than Netflix. It’s far and away the most popular service of its kind both in the U.S. and internationally. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only option. As the market for these services matures, more competitors are emerging all the time. One of the most compelling for a lot of people is Amazon Prime Video, simply because so many people already have a relationship with Amazon.
Netflix is arguably more than a streaming service these days; it’s become a cultural phenomenon, with an enormous 139 million of us subscribing to chill and binge.
That’s largely down to Netflix’s huge wealth of original and syndicated TV shows and movies, as well as it’s simple user interface.
That’s not to say that Amazon Prime Video isn’t popular too – as of December 2018 it had 75 million users worldwide. On its own, it’s a large number of users, but it pales in comparison to Netflix.
And yet, as much as these two services both compete for our entertainment dollars, they’re radically different from each other in several areas including price, content selection, and extra features. So, if forced to choose just one, which one do you choose? It’s not necessarily an easy decision, so we’ve assembled a cheat sheet that lets you compare the two on some of the most important criteria. So get your scorecard and your wallet ready … and let’s get ready to rumble.
Netflix vs Amazon Prime Video: price and availability
Any comparison will be Kicked off with the price comparison as in How much you’ll have to pay if you want to watch these services
Netflix’s pricing model is very easy to understand, there are 3 tiers of pricing as below:
- Basic – $9/month
- Standard – $13/month
- Premium – $ 16/month
All three give you access to Netflix’s entire catalog of ad-free movies, TV shows, and specials. The only things that change as you pay more are the quality of the video and the number of devices that can be used to stream simultaneously.
Basic, as the name implies, gives you a single stream and limits you to standard definition (480p). Standard gives you a second simultaneous stream, and both are available in HD (up to 1080p). Premium lets four devices watch at the same time, and content can be streamed in up to 4K Ultra HD with HDR, as well as Dolby Atmos (when the show or movie is available in these formats).
Whereas Amazon Prime Video is even more straightforward. A $119 annual Amazon Prime membership.
So, what does an Amazon Prime membership get you? The most famous of Amazon’s service is its free shipping, with same-day, next-day, and two-day delivery available depending on your location.
You also get access to a free Kindle e-book every month from the Kindle First service and another free book from the Amazon Kindle Lending Library, as well as Prime Music, which offers free music streaming of millions of tracks.
In the US and UK, you can also subscribe to Prime Video without an Amazon Prime membership for $8.99 / £5.99 per month; however, doing this is only marginally cheaper than buying the full membership, and for just a few dollars more, you get access to a host of fantastic services.
As with Netflix, this will vary by movie or TV show. All Prime Video memberships let you stream up to three titles at the same time, but you can only stream the same title on two devices at a time.
Even Netflix’s most affordable price plan is about the same as Amazon Prime Video, which means that on a purely financial basis, Amazon Prime Video is good.
Netflix vs Amazon Prime Video: Device support
Having membership doesn’t make sense without having proper compatible device for it.
Netflix has the most device compatibility of any service. It supports all the devices which amazon supports plus Nintendo 3DS
Amazon Prime Video is compatible with a wide variety of devices and platforms, including web browsers on a PC or Mac, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon’s own Fire TV and Fire devices, iOS, Android, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 & 4, Nintendo Wii U, various models of connected Blu-ray players, smart TVs, and Google’s Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra.
Netflix vs Amazon Prime Video: User Interface
One of the best things about Netflix is how it uses clever algorithms to tailor its content to you, recommending shows and movies you might like based on your past viewing habits. Sure, these algorithms can get it wrong – and often caters to Netflix originals – but the Netflix algorithm is still one of its best features.
Another reason for Netflix’s popularity is its intuitive user interface, which makes it easy to navigate shows and films you’ve saved to your ‘list’, as well as making it easy to search by genre, director, actor and more.
Prime Video is curated in a similar way, seemingly taking inspiration from Netflix’s user interface; navigation still isn’t quite as seamless as it is in Netflix, but Prime Video is catching up with the streaming behemoth.
Amazon Prime Video also has a nifty feature known as X-Ray, which gives actor and trivia information about what’s happening on screen as you watch.
Netflix vs Amazon Prime Video: Content
Netflix has thousands of licensed Hollywood movies, TV shows, documentaries, and specials. But over the years, its Netflix’s original productions, like House of Cards, Stranger Things, and The Umbrella Academy, that have been stealing the spotlight and increasing Netflix’s desirability. The only content creator that consistently beats Netflix in quality is HBO — fans of shows like Game of Thrones, Veep, and Barry know exactly what we mean.
In fact, over the years, Netflix has been steadily reducing its catalog of movies as it increases its TV show arsenal, and its originals are a big part of that growth. Unfortunately, with the imminent launch of the Disney+ streaming service, Netflix is slowly being stripped of some of its most popular movies. In the coming months, it’s expected that all new Marvel, Disney, and Star Wars franchise installments will become Disney+ (and/or Hulu) exclusives, and it’s unknown how long Disney will let Netflix continue to license existing titles, like the massively popular Avengers and Star Wars movies.
If you’re purely looking at Netflix as an alternative to renting Blu-rays or going to the theater, this might not sound like a good development, but even stripped of these titles, it’s hard to beat Netflix’s offerings if you value high-quality entertainment from virtually every genre.
Prime Video also boasts a huge library of content. In terms of TV shows, there’s a wealth of exclusive series like Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, The Man in the High Castle, Transparent, and Mr. Robot, as well as syndicated shows like The Office US, The Walking Dead, and Parks and Recreation.
It also has a more extensive range of films than Netflix, with rough estimates placing it as around 18,000 movies and 4,500 TV shows, compared to Netflix’s 11,000. Plus, Amazon often gets the rights to new releases much quicker than any other streaming service, with movies like Mary Queen of Scots, Crazy Rich Asians, and Bohemian Rhapsody already available to watch (at least in the UK).
However, most of these newer films and TV shows aren’t actually included as part of the Prime Video subscription, which means you have to either buy or rent these titles to watch them.
This is where using Prime Video can be confusing; you have to be really careful about which movies and shows are included in your subscription and which are part of Amazon’s video storefront. Amazon is pretty good about flagging Prime Video content and warning you before you make a purchase, but the fact that the two types of videos are mixed together can make things confusing.
Netflix vs Amazon Prime Video: Takeaway
With both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video offering such a fantastic wealth of content, either platform is a brilliant choice – but you should ask yourself a few questions before making your decision.
Are you looking for a really simple one-stop shop for streaming TV shows and movies? Opt for Netflix. Do you regularly buy online from Amazon and want to save money on your shipping costs? Try Prime Video – it’s built-in to your Prime subscription so there’s nothing really to lose.
As there isn’t a huge amount of crossover between the content available on each platform, looking at which TV shows and movies appeal to you the most is a pretty good way of choosing between Netflix and Prime Video: If you’re a RuPaul’s Drag Race devotee, Netflix will be your best bet, but if you like the look of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, you should go for Amazon Prime Video – both services offer a great variety of content, so be sure to look through each library before you make your choice.
There’s a reason Netflix has more subscribers than any other streaming video service — and by a very wide margin. It’s a fantastic way to watch ad-free movies and TV shows, and the company’s investments in both licensed and original content mean there’s always something worth watching. If having access to the best selection of video content, delivered via a well-thought-out and consistent interface, matters to you, we think it’s the best choice.
However, even Netflix Standard can still put a dent in your budget, so if you’ve already got an Amazon Prime membership for its various other benefits, it makes a lot of sense to see if Prime Video can quench your entertainment thirst. After all, you’re already paying for it.
If you’re not sure which to choose, we’d say both. These days, having a few streaming services (at the least) is pretty standard, allowing you to dabble in all manner of movies and TV shows for a great entertainment experience right from your living room.