Amazon Prime Video review

Amazon Prime Video highlights

  • Starting at $8.99/mo.
  • Discounts for students and Prime members
  • Start a free 30-day trial

Amazon Prime Video review

Striving to be a one-stop-shop for entertainment and media, Amazon stepped into the fray with its VOD (video on demand) service in 2006. It expanded worldwide in 2016, just one year after Amazon Studios took home the company’s first major award for original programming—a Golden Globe for Transparent in 2015. Subscribers love Amazon Studios’ exciting content and appreciate the ever-expanding library of TV shows and movies. More than 26 million subscribers have already signed up in the U.S. alone.

Amazon Prime Video started out as a service called Amazon Unbox, where users could purchase or rent movies and TV shows from one central hub. Since then, they’ve partnered with a variety of media partners like pay-TV channel Epix and UK-based LOVEFiLM to add a variety of new movies and TV shows to the service. Subscribers can discover popular movies and shows, Amazon Originals, live TV and have the option to rent or buy the newest releases.

Why Amazon Prime Video may be the right streaming service for you

If you’re looking for a way to watch lots of movies and discover new shows and original content along the way, look no further than Amazon Prime Video. Prime Video offers a giant library of on-demand shows, movies and original content to choose from, and Prime members even have the option to subscribe to over 100 channels like HBO and SHOWTIME, no cable required. 

Amazon Prime Video is an especially good fit if you’re a movie buff. Enjoy thousands of classic and niche movies, test your movie knowledge with the X-Ray trivia feature and use the Prime Cinema Hub to watch movies that are still in theaters.

Compare Amazon Prime Video packages and pricing

So how does Prime Video compare to other streaming services? The basic Prime Video subscription will cost you $8.99/mo., which is cheaper than the $12.99/mo. Netflix Standard plan. 

Pro tip: Compare Amazon Prime Video vs. Netflix to find the best plan for you.

Amazon Prime Video is more expensive than the basic Hulu ad-supported plan, which costs $5.99/mo., but Prime Video boasts a larger library, and unlike Hulu, doesn’t charge extra for 4k streaming.

Deep dive: See how Amazon Prime Video stacks up against the rest of the competition with our list of Best Streaming Services of 2020.

Amazon offers a basic Amazon Prime Video membership that doesn’t include full Prime membership perks, such as free shipping or two-day delivery. If you’re a frequent online shopper, the traditional Prime membership comes with Prime Video, so they’re probably worth the extra cost. 

No matter which membership you choose, the Prime Video offers about 24,000 movies and just over 2,300 shows. Users can also pay an additional monthly cost for premium channels, such as HBO, Cinemax, SHOWTIME and hundreds more.

Here’s a quick look at the available Amazon Prime Video packages:

Prime Video Prime Student Membership + Prime Video Prime Membership + Prime Video
Monthly price $8.99/mo.$6.49/mo.$12.99/mo.
Free trial length 30 days6 months30 days
Number of titles 26,000+ movies, shows and originals26,000+ movies, shows and originals 26,000+ movies, shows and originals
Number of simultaneous streams333
Offline viewingYesYesYes
Includes Prime membership benefits?NoYesYes

Amazon Prime Video bundles, deals and free trials

Currently, the two deals Amazon Video offers on its streaming service are discounted plans for students and customers who have an EBT or Medicaid card. While Amazon Prime Video doesn’t offer any special bundles with other services, any new customer can take advantage of the generous free trial offers for each of their plans.

Students get a great deal on Prime Video—and more

Simply enter the name of your university and a valid .edu email address and get access to all the perks of Prime membership—including Prime Video—for $6.49/mo..

Have an EBT or Medicaid card? Get a $5.99/mo. deal on Prime

If you have a qualifying EBT or Medicaid card, enjoy Amazon Prime and Amazon Prime Video for just $5.99/mo.—the lowest price offered on Prime.

Test a plan stress-free with a 30-day free trial

If the idea of signing up for a monthly streaming subscription makes you break out in a sweat, Amazon Prime Video offers a 30-day free trial to try streaming on for size. If you’re a student contemplating the Prime Student membership, your free trial lasts a whole six months. Cancel your trial any time if you decide Prime Video isn’t for you.

Device compatibility

Amazon Prime Video is available on most major devices and browsers in the streaming world.

Here’s a list of the devices you can use to start watching Prime Video with:

Pro tip: Compare the best video streaming devices of 2020 to build your best entertainment suite.

Amazon Prime Video features

Amazon Prime Video may not have as wide of an original content selection as Netflix, but Prime Video has some standout features that definitely turn heads. 

Share your membership

Two adults, four children and four teens (aged 13 to 17) can share one account and can stream the service from multiple devices simultaneously. Heads up to all the students out there, this feature does not apply to Prime Student accounts.

Use parental controls

Set parental controls and require a PIN to access titles above your set household age limit. 

Get fun information

When you subscribe to Prime Video, get access to X-Ray, a feature that gives pop-up trivia about what you’re watching without blocking the screen.

Watch together with Watch Party

Watch Party is a feature that allows you to chat and watch certain content with friends, family and S.O.’s virtually, so you always have someone to watch with.

Download and watch on-the-go

With a Fire tablet or the Prime Video app for iOS, Android or Windows 10, you can download shows and movies to watch offline. This feature is not available for customers who get Prime Video as part of an Amazon Household.

What to watch on Amazon Prime Video

The Amazon Prime Video library is unrivaled when it comes to size, and there’s lots of great content to explore. Though the Prime Video movie selection may include some low-rated movies you probably won’t find yourself watching, there are still great movies to stream plus the option to rent or buy the latest blockbusters. On top of that, the binge-worthy shows available and the growing library of original content on the platform packs a punch.

Shows and movies

Shows

Whether you’re into dark thrillers or laugh-out-loud comedy, Prime Video offers a little something for everyone. Some top picks for what to watch on Amazon Prime Video right now include the hit fantasy Supernatural, The 100 and the award-winning ABC show Modern Family.

Movies

Prime Video offers the chance to stream thousands of movies included in your subscription as well as rent or buy top new releases. Some of the best films to stream free with your subscription are Jonathan Demme’s unsettling thriller, The Silence of the Lambs, the Elton John biopic Rocketman, the cult-classic Dirty Dancing and the recent Daniel Craig comedy, Knives Out. As far as top movies to rent or buy, some great choices are the powerful true story of a young lawyer Just Mercy, the political comedy directed by Jon Stewart Irresistible and the feel-good film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.

Deep dive: To see how the Amazon Prime Video movie library stacks up when it comes to quality, read our in depth analysis.

Original content

One of the biggest selling points of Amazon Prime is the original content exclusive to Prime Video. Current favorites include Hanna, Homecoming and the critically-acclaimed shows featuring female leads, Fleabag and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Amazon Prime Channels

If you’re still unimpressed with the content Amazon Prime Video has to offer, you might want to consider adding on Amazon Prime Channels. Amazon offers over 100 Amazon Channels, ranging from $2.99/mo. to $14.99/mo.. These are available to add on to your existing Prime membership and can be accessed via the Amazon Prime video apps.While HBO, Showtime and Starz are the most popular options, there are several others to choose from. Most options will tack on less than $5 to your monthly bill, so if you can’t live without premium entertainment, they’re worth a second look. Each add-on offers its own free trial, so you can experience the subscription before you pay for it. 

Our hot take

The cost of the basic Prime Video subscription falls between the standard Netflix and Hulu plans, but when you go all-in and pay the extra $4/mo., you also get access to fast, free shipping and a wide range of discounts. Netflix still reigns supreme when it comes to original content, but Amazon Prime Video offers a great alternative for anyone who wants to watch lots of great movies, get additional practical perks and the option to buy or rent your favorite titles.

Margaret Manning