Netflix is the de-facto leader in the world of online movie streaming services, but competitors are catching up fast and enticing users with added benefits for switching over. Amazon Instant Video is perhaps leading this pack and has the most value-for-money offering out there.
In terms of sheer benefits and freebies, none of the other streaming service options come anywhere near the Amazon Instant Video. If you are planning to cancel Netflix and are looking for an alternative, Amazon Instant Video is an option you should try once.
The good part? It’s completely free to use for 30 days. You can enjoy unlimited access to the shows for a month and once you have squeezed the most benefit from this offer you can decide if it’s worth continuing.
Content on Amazon Instant Video
Amazon Instant Video sources a lot of content from TV networks and studios and has several popular series available for streaming. This includes over 22,000+ movies, 2200+ TV series, and original content from Amazon.
Amazon is also focusing on creating original content to keep the competitive edge. They also try to get exclusive deals like the recent one with PBS for exclusive streaming rights to several titles for children and ‘Downtown Abbey’, the most popular series from PBS.
Even Netflix and Hulu try to score exclusive rights all the time, and as the competition heats up, all these networks are going to try to get more exclusive deals in an attempt to lure new subscribers and keep the present ones happy.
Amazon goes one step ahead and is blatant about showing off exclusive content that is not available on Netflix. Just filter for ‘Prime Member Exclusives: Not on Netflix’ to list everything that is Amazon Instant Video has and Netflix doesn’t.
Searching on Amazon Instant Video Beats Netflix Hands Down
The search interface on Netflix is quite visual, but it is not very efficient. I often struggle to find content that falls in my areas of interest.
One of the best things about the Instant Video interface is the search interface. If you are familiar with the Amazon website, you will be right at home in the Instant Video interface. The sidebar on the left has several filtration criteria that you can use to refine the search results and shortlist the movies and TV series that suit you best.
Since you can apply multiple filters, it is relatively easy to find the content you are looking for. It is not as “visual” as that on Netflix, but I find it more efficient.
Unique features of Amazon Instant Video
- X-Ray: Access information about the movie or TV show, it’s actors and more, powered by IMDB. May not be available for all videos.
- Parental Controls: Restrict the content that can be purchased or viewed on your device.
- Downloads: Some titles can be downloaded for you to view on the go when the internet connection is spotty, and streaming is not possible.
- Toggle Auto Play: You can turn off auto-play so that the next video does not start streaming automatically.
- Video Library: The titles you purchased on Amazon are listed here.
Just like Netflix Amazon provides two subscription options, but with a lot of added benefits that Netflix can’t match.
- Subscribe to Amazon Instant Video only ($8.99 / month).
- Get Amazon Instant Video subscription as a part of Amazon Prime subscription ($10.99 / month which totals $131.88 over 12 months or one-time annual payment of $99). This package also includes all the benefits of Amazon Prime listed below.
Of course, for either plan, you can get a one-month free trial.
Let’s talk about which of these memberships make more sense?
Benefits of Subscribing to Instant Video as part of Amazon Prime
Instant Video subscription just gets a subscription to the streaming service. The Amazon Prime subscription gives you access to the video streaming along with:
- Free 2 day shipping for purchases on Amazon
- Unlimited music streaming
- Unlimited photo storage
- Over a million eBooks
- Borrow one book a month from Kindle Owners’ Lending Library
- Early Access to Prime Day deals
- Free Same-Day Delivery in eligible areas
Amazon Instant Video supports an extensive list of devices and platforms. You can get access to it on Android phones and tablets, iPhone, iPad, iPod, Xbox, and PlayStation consoles and a host of other devices. You can view the entire list of compatible devices here.
Pros of Amazon Instant Video
- All the extras mentioned above, including Amazon Music, free shipping, and ebooks.
- Search and filtration options that can help you shortlist content that you like.
- Best value offering compared to competitors, especially considering the extras.
Cons of Amazon Instant Video
- It can be confusing at times to figure out whether a movie / TV series is free under Prime or you have to buy it.
- The same search and filtration options, that I appreciated above, can be overwhelming for new users. You’d need some getting used to the process.
- Even the content that is free under Prime membership can be purchased, so you have to be okay with these up-sell tactics.
My Online Streaming Video Setup
I get access to Amazon Instant Video as an Amazon Prime subscriber. Free two-day shipping is great, and I regularly use Amazon Music. Amazon Instant Video is also regularly used, though not as often as Netflix.
I have been a Netflix subscriber for a few years, and after a lot of binge-watching, recently I spend more and more of time just searching for something that I am interested in. It is the original content that Netflix is producing, in partnership with Marvel and new TV series like House of Cards, which keeps me interested.
Amazon also has a growing library of original content which has me quite excited.
What We Recommend
Which service best works for you primarily depends on the content that you want to stream.
Be it for binge-watching the best of Amazon Instant Video or load up on the freebies, the free, one-month trial is worth exploring before committing.
Note: Amazon auto-renews the subscription automatically after a month, so you might want to keep track of when you signed up and when the free, one month trial period ends.
We hope you enjoy Amazon Instant Video just as much we do.
(Article updated on 30th November 2019)