Amazon Prime Video review

Amazon Prime Video highlights

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 US 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.

Compare Amazon Prime Video plans

The company offers a basic Amazon Prime Video membership that doesn’t include Prime perks, such as free shipping or two-day delivery. If you’re a frequent online shopper, the traditional Prime membership and the student Prime membership both come with Prime Video, so they’re probably worth the extra cost. No matter which membership you choose, the Prime Video offers about 18,000 movies and 2,000 TV shows, according to a recent Barclays study. Users can also pay an additional monthly cost for premium channels, such as HBO, Starz, Showtime and hundreds more.

Prime Video Prime Student Membership + Prime Video Prime Membership + Prime Video
Monthly price $8.99/mo.$6.49/mo.$12.99/mo.
Yearly price $108/year$59/year$119/year
Free trial length 30 days6 months30 days
Includes Prime membership benefits? NoYesYes
Premium channels available? Yes (additional monthly cost)Yes (additional monthly cost)Yes (additional monthly cost)
Renting and buying titles To rent: $2.99 – $5.99 / To buy: $7.99 – $14.99To rent: $2.99 – $5.99 / To buy: $7.99 – $14.99To rent: $2.99 – $5.99 / To buy: $7.99 – $14.99

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

Amazon Prime Video has attracted several subscribers because of the sheer number of titles it offers and the ease with which you can sign up. Its content improves every year—the company’s deep pockets continue to attract talented producers, actors and writers. In 2017, Amazon announced it had acquired the global TV rights to The Lord of the Rings. Look for an epic series to rival Game of Thrones within in the next few years. 

User experience

You can stream videos through the Amazon web interface on a PC or Mac. A mobile version of the service is also available. Amazon Video apps give you access through Smart TVs and game consoles. The Amazon Fire TV Stick and the Fire TV Cube link seamlessly to the streaming service.

Device compatibility

Other ways to stream Amazon Prime Video include:

Amazon Prime Video features

Share your membership

Two adults, four children and four teens can share one account, and you can stream the service from multiple devices simultaneously.

Use parental controls

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

Get access to fun information

Tap the screen while a video is in progress to learn facts and trivia about the actors.

Tweak the captions 

Use the five unique settings to fine-tune caption appearance. 

Put a stop to auto-play

Opt-out of auto-play to limit the temptation to binge-watch.

What to watch on Amazon Prime Video

With a subscriber base that tops 26 million in the US alone, Amazon has developed a winning formula. However, some people dislike the web interface and the fact that the platform doesn’t have its own site. Ads at the beginning of each show or movie disturb some viewers, but you can always hit fast forward to get right to the main event. Amazon has occasionally had problems with subtitles, which could be an issue if you rely on closed captioning. Despite all that, the service provides quality content that keeps people coming back.

Amazon Prime Originals

Amazon Prime Video has more than 17,000 titles, but one of the biggest selling points of the streaming service is its original content that’s exclusive to the platform. Current favorites exclusive to the platform include Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Modern Love and the new Mindy Kaling-penned movie, Late Night.

The unique thing is that these shows and movies are not available anywhere else. They are exclusively for Amazon Prime members, and can only be viewed via Amazon Video. Considering the high quality of these shows, this is a huge benefit of Amazon Prime membership.

Amazon Prime Channels

One of the cool things about Amazon Prime Video is the add-on subscriptions, known as Amazon Prime Channels. Amazon offers over 100 Amazon Channels, ranging from $2.99 per month to $14.99 per month. 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, and when most of them are under $5 they are certainly worth considering purchasing. Not only that, but each add-on offers its own free trial, so you can experience the subscription before you pay for it. Other worthwhile subscriptions include Acorn TV, SeeSo, Shudder, and Tribeca Shortlist, though there are tons of subscriptions in all different genres. Amazon just recently added HBO and Cinemax, and they have plans to further expand Amazon Prime Channels in the future.

The takeaway

The cost of Amazon Prime Video is comparable to services like Netflix or Hulu, but you also get access to fast, free shipping and discounts you can apply to everything from food to video games. Netflix still reigns supreme when it comes to original content, but Amazon Prime Video offers a great alternative for anyone who wants device flexibility, an easy-to-use interface and the option to buy or rent your favorite titles.

Jordana Weiss

Jordana is an accomplished freelance writer who loves working with clients to create articles and blog posts that speak to their unique audience. She is passionate about content, and has been widely published on topics that include travel, health, food, entertainment, and entrepreneurship.