|✔ Largest on-demand content library on the market|
✔ Unique on-screen features
✔ Option to rent or purchase movies and shows
|✘ Interface can feel crowded|
✘ Mediocre original content
|Prime Video has a strong selection of popular shows and movies, but its original content lags behind Netflix and Disney+.|
Amazon Prime Video review summary:
- $8.99/mo. for Amazon Prime Video Only
- $12.99/mo. (or $119/year) for full a Amazon Prime membership, including video
- 30-day free trial
- Largest content library of any streaming service
- Behind-the-scenes info and trivia
- 4K and HDR titles available
When it comes to sheer numbers, Amazon Prime Video is the dominant powerhouse among today’s video streaming services.
With tens of thousands of TV shows and popular movie titles to peruse, it’s easy to get lost in the rabbit hole of content. For some users, this might be ideal, others, however, may find it overwhelming. As with any streaming service, it all comes down to preference.
Cord cutters looking for a cable alternative may be turned off by the fact that Amazon Prime Video charges extra for many shows and movies. And the service doesn’t provide the range of live TV options offered by some other streaming providers. Those interested in a serious cable replacement, will probably be better served by a live TV streaming service such as Hulu + Live TV.
On the other hand, users who can’t sleep at night without knowing that they have the maximum amount of content at their fingertips (I simply must have around-the-clock access to Sam Neill’s entire body of work!) stand to gain the greatest benefits from adding Amazon Prime Video to their media diets.
Amazon Prime Video plans and pricing
|Prime Video only||Amazon Prime|
|Price||$8.99/mo.||$12.99/mo. or $119/yr.|
|Amazon Prime perks||✔|
*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. As of 02/12/20.
Considering its huge selection of shows and movies, Amazon Prime Video seems like a pretty good deal for the $8.99/mo. price tag. But the catch with Amazon Prime Video — and it’s a big one — is that most of its library is pretty obscure. While Prime Video has five times as many movies and shows as Netflix, for example, it has only a fraction of the most popular titles.
While live sports have never been the platform’s selling point, Amazon is taking steps to compensate for its shortcomings in this area. Amazon Prime members can now enjoy Amazon Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football.
Aside from a generous discount for students, the streaming service itself doesn’t offer any deals. That said, an Amazon Prime subscription includes access to Amazon’s video content as well as savings on shipping and Amazon products.
The platform does, though, feature an ever-expanding library of current and popular TV shows and movies. Also included in the price of the subscription is the option to stream a number of 4K titles and to download content to watch later offline.
How does Amazon Prime Video’s content compare?
For users who are looking for the most choices, it’s hard to go wrong with Amazon Prime Video’s massive content catalog.
Allconnect® gave Amazon Prime Video a score of 6 out of 10 for its movie selection, 6.4 out of 10 for its TV shows and 6.6 out of 10 for the service’s original content offerings.
To compare Amazon’s library to the other major streaming services, we broke our evaluation into two categories: licensed content and original programming. For the shows and movies Prime Video purchases instead of producing themselves, we focused on the total number available and how many popular titles it has. For that, we turned IMDb’s lists of the top 250 TV shows and movies, which combine user ratings and popularity to determine its rankings. We counted how many titles each streaming service had in both lists.
For original content, we compared Amazon Prime Video’s content to top industry competitors HBO Now, Hulu and Netflix to help readers get a feel for how these services stack up. We compiled audience and critics ratings for each original show and movie produced by each streaming service. We also counted the number of Academy Awards and Emmys each has won for its original content.
|Prime Video||Netflix||Hulu||HBO Now||Disney+|
|Number of movies*||22,876||3,751||1,210||930||676|
|Number of shows*||1,984||1,569||1,347||189||170|
|Movies in IMDb Top 250||21||33||7||2||14|
|TV Shows in IMDb Top 250||47||69||64||22||4|
*According to data from JustWatch.com (01/17/20)
Unsurprisingly, Amazon Prime Video leads the pack by a significant margin when it comes to the sheer number of movies and shows it offers viewers, with almost 25K titles total. But despite those huge numbers, it still has fewer movies and shows in IMDb’s top 250 lists than Netflix.
What does that mean? You’ll have more options with Prime Video, but you still might have a harder time finding something to watch.
|Prime Video||Netflix||Hulu||HBO Now||Disney+||Apple TV+|
|Number of titles||164||1,197||57||507||12||9|
|Average Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score||74%||71%||79%||75%||n/a||91%|
|Average IMDb user ratings||7.3||6.9||7.2||7.3||7.5||7.2|
|Tomatometer® Critic Score||75%||75%||78%||85%||75%||67%|
Accurate as of 09/03/19
Thanks to the explosion of original content on the market, trying to catch every show necessary to stay up-to-date with water cooler chit-chat can feel like drinking from a fire hose. Among Amazon’s thousands of shows and movies is a growing library of originals that have garnered mainstream attention, including the Emmy-winning The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, as well as The Man in the High Castle, Bosch and Mozart in the Jungle.
Compared to other leading services, Amazon Prime Video lands dead center in terms of how many original content titles it offers. Our research revealed that audiences appear to have middle-of-the-road, slightly positive feelings toward Amazon Prime Video’s original content, with IMDb audiences giving it a score of 7.3/10 points. Rotten Tomatoes users were on the same page regarding Amazon Prime Video’s original content, giving it a 74%. Netflix rated just a bit lower with a 71% score, despite having nearly 10 times as many originals.
While audiences may feel so-so toward Prime Video’s original content, Rotten Tomatoes critics had a slightly higher opinion of the platform’s original content efforts. The professionals gave it a solid 75%, tying the service with Disney+ and Netflix.
And while it hasn’t garnered as much awards-show attention as HBO and Netflix, Amazon Prime Video has still had some solid success over the past few years.
|Emmy Nominees (2013-2019)||Emmy Wins (2013-2019)||Oscar Nominees (2014-2020)||Oscar Wins (2014-2020)|
Among its most successful award-winning shows are The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Fleabag, the latter of which took home Emmys for Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 2019, thanks to starring actress and writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
But despite its high volume of shows and movies, Prime Video has yet to achieve the type of success HBO and Netflix have experienced in terms of Emmys and Academy Awards.
User experience and navigation
Amazon Prime Video’s interface is easy enough to use and navigate. At Allconnect, we gave the streaming service high marks for its user experience, with a score of 7.1 out of 10.
However, for some users, it may feel cluttered compared to other streaming services like Netflix and HBO Now — the web interface includes both the Amazon Prime Video menu as well as the standard Amazon toolbar, which can feel overwhelming.
Users can access their account information, including parental controls, playback, subtitles, devices and watch history, by clicking the “Settings” hyperlink in the top right corner of the screen. One nice feature that Amazon Prime Video offers users is the ability to select from a variety of preset subtitle formats, including yellow text, white text, white text on a gray background or black text.
Like other major streaming services, the home screen includes a masthead with current featured shows and movies. After a few seconds, the featured content auto-plays a preview of the title that is displayed, which can feel a bit chaotic when users are trying to get their bearings.
Below the masthead, content is sorted under categories like drama, popular movies and Amazon Originals Stand-Up. Like its competitors, Amazon Prime Video displays its shows and movies in rows that users can scroll through horizontally by clicking the carrots on the right and left ends of the rows.
However, this can prove disappointing to users, as it quickly becomes apparent that many of the movies and shows require extra payment to view (either by renting the title or purchasing it outright). Renting a movie costs users anywhere from $2.99 to $5.99, while purchasing movies typically costs between $7.99 and $14.99, depending on the title and whether users choose to purchase 4K, HD or SD.
Like Hulu and Netflix, Amazon Prime Video permits users to watch trailers, add titles to watchlists, find similar titles and review information such as rating, genre and director.
Users can hover over the screen while viewing a program to see what actors are featured in any given scene. The feature also provides information about the soundtrack, scene notes and production trivia.
Amazon Prime Video FAQs
What devices is Amazon Prime Video compatible with?
Like its competitors, Amazon Prime Video is compatible with almost every streaming device and smart TV, including:
- Boxes and media players (such as Roku, Apple TV, TiVo, KPN and more)
- Smart TVs (such as Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, LG and more)
- Echo devices with a screen (such as Echo Show, Echo Spot)
- Fire TV Stick
- Fire Tablet
- LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony Blu-Ray players
- PlayStation 3
- PlayStation 4
- Xbox One
- Android devices
- iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)
- Most popular web browsers
- Google Chromecast
- Nvidia Shield
How many simultaneous streams does Amazon Prime Video allow?
Amazon Prime Video allows users to stream up to three titles simultaneously from the same account. But only two devices can stream the same movie at once. Unlike Hulu, Amazon Prime doesn’t offer the option to add additional screens. Video rentals can’t be streamed on more than one device at the same time.
How do I download movies and shows from Amazon Prime Video?
To download content, users need access to a Fire Tablet or the Amazon Prime Video app on an iOS or Android device. Users can search the Amazon Prime Video library for titles they’d like to download, then select the option to download from the details page.
What internet speed do I need for Amazon Prime Video?
|Standard Definition||1 Mbps|
|High Definition||3.5 Mbps|
|4K Ultra HD||15 Mbps|
Recommended download speeds for Amazon Prime Video are 1 Mbps for standard definition streaming, 3.5 Mbps for high-definition streaming, and 15 Mbps for 4K ultra HD streaming. These speeds are slightly lower than recommended speeds for competitors like Netflix.
It’s important to note that an internet connection supporting multiple devices will require higher speeds. If several people on your connection are using the Internet at the same time, you may still encounter buffering issues even if your hardware is operating at Amazon Prime Video’s recommended speed.
Below is a handy internet speed test.
How much data does Amazon Prime Video use?
|Data usage||Time to 1 GB|
|Browsing Facebook||0.09 GB per hour||667 hours|
|Streaming Spotify||0.072 GB per hour||13.9 hours|
|Streaming Prime Video in SD||0.72 GB per hour||1.3 hours|
|Streaming Prime Video in HD||1.82 GB per hour||32.9 minutes|
|Streaming Prime Video in 4K||6.84 GB per hour||8.8 minutes|
Like other streaming services, Amazon Prime Video requires a fair amount of data to work smoothly. However, it uses slightly less data than other leading competitors like Netflix. For additional information about streaming speeds, see our full guide to streaming with a data cap.
The bottom line
When it comes to the sheer volume of titles, users won’t find a service out there that beats Amazon Prime Video. And it’s a great value for Amazon Prime members — access to video content is just one of the many perks included in an Amazon Prime membership. The service’s wide-ranging device compatibility options make it easy to enjoy movies and shows whenever, wherever.
Viewers won’t have trouble finding interesting things to view. And if features like live TV and access to a variety of sports channels are non-negotiables, services like Hulu + Live TV or fuboTV might be a better bet.
For people not interested in paying for an Amazon Prime membership, the calculus is slightly different. It’s probably not worth $8.99/mo. for what Amazon Prime Video has to offer — Netflix and Hulu both offer comparably-priced alternatives and higher-quality programming.