Streaming services are quickly becoming an alternative to cable TV and an essential consideration whenever choosing one’s internet connection or plan.
However, the addition of new options to the market each year is making it more and more difficult for consumers to weigh their options. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! Let’s take a look at two of the biggest names in streaming and what they have to offer.
|Starting price||Basic plans start at $8.99/mo.* and include standard definition viewing on one device at a time||Amazon Prime Video’s standalone streaming plan starts at $8.99/mo.* for access to their video library
|Approximate library size (movies and TV shows)||5,000+ U.S. titles available for on-demand streaming||20,000+ U.S. titles available for on-demand streaming, rental or purchas
|Ads||All plans are ad-free||Ad-free except for Amazon ads which can be skipped
|Simultaneous streams||Up to four devices with premium plan, starting at $15.99/mo.*||Up to two devices at a time with basic plan
|Original programming available?||Yes||Yes
|When is new content available?||New titles and full seasons are released at 12:01 A.M. PST at various times of the month||New TV episodes added within 24 hrs. after airing with Amazon TV Season Pass. Other content releases vary
|Kid-friendly and family programming||Wide variety of age-appropriate TV shows and movies |
|Large Kids & Family category with varied selection of TV shows and movies
|Video quality||480p with basic plans, 1080p with standard plans and 4K or Ultra HD with premium plans; Quality varies with availability||480p, 1080p, 4K or Ultra HD and HDR (High Dynamic Range) with streaming only, Prime monthly or Prime yearly subscription; Quality varies with availability
|Device compatibility||Web browsers, media players (Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Fire TV Stick, Nvidia Shield, Roku), smart TVs (Samsung, Vizio, Sony etc.), gaming consoles ( PlayStation, Nintendo, Xbox), set-top boxes, blu-ray players, Android devices, iOS devices and Windows devices ||Web browsers, smart TVs
blu-ray players, set-top boxes (Roku, Google TV, TiVo, Nvidia Shield), Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, game consoles (PlayStation, Xbox, Wii), Android devices (Prime Video app for Android phones and tablets), iOS devices (Prime Video app for iPhone, iPad & iPod touch), Fire phone and Fire tablets
|Extra perks||30-day free trial||30-day free trial with Prime plan
|Critically-acclaimed original shows||Stranger Things, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Black Mirror, The Crown, 13 Reasons Why||The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Bosch, The Tick, The Grand Tour, Transparent, Hand of God, Mozart in the Jungle, The Man in the High Castle, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan
*Pricing per month plus taxes for length of contract. Additional fees and terms may apply. Pricing varies by location and availability. All prices subject to change at any time. May or may not be available based on service address. Speeds may vary. As of 05/24/19.
Best content: Netflix
If you’ve seen or heard everyone talking about that new show they can’t get enough of (Black Mirror, 13 Reasons Why, or Stranger Things, for starters), odds are it’s a Netflix original. They’ve been setting a new standard across the industry with original content that’s only available on their platform. In November and December of 2018 alone, the streaming service premiered more than 120 original movies, documentaries and new seasons of shows.
Netflix’s practice of premiering every episode of a season at once, makes it easy for audiences to binge-watch a series upon release and quickly move on to the next original hit show.
“Netflix is actually shaping the way that consumers are viewing content by focusing on content that’s higher quality and original,” says streaming expert and principal analyst at Frost & Sullivan, Dan Rayburn.
Netflix has become such a trusted source in the media industry that content that previously aired elsewhere experienced an instant boost in attention just from being on the service. So, the question is no longer whether you need Netflix, but whether or not you need additional streaming services.
Best experience: Netflix
Netflix’s interface and intuitive recommendation tool, valued at one billion, makes the service easy to use and navigate. As a monthly subscriber, you’ll be able to add titles to a queue called “My List” to view later. When it’s time to watch, get right to the good stuff with a convenient “Skip Intro” feature that kicks in after the first episode of the series.
Switch from TV shows, movies, new releases and your queue using the high-level main menu, and to keep your content separate, build profiles for each user in your household. Profiles designed for children with age-appropriate content are also available.
Best value: Draw
Both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have multiple monthly plans offering different tiers of benefits, so there’s a plan for any budget. Both services also host more than enough classic and original content for any film or TV buff. The big decision will come down to what you’re looking for in a streaming service.
If you want a steady stream of original content that won’t be slowing down anytime soon, Netflix is your best option. If you’re looking to rent, buy or stream the most titles, Amazon Prime Video might be ideal for your household.
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