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|
|Free trial length||30 days||6 months||30 days|
|Includes Prime membership benefits?||No||Yes||Yes|
|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 – $14.99||To rent: $2.99 – $5.99 / To buy: $7.99 – $14.99||To 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.
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.
Other ways to stream Amazon Prime Video include:
- Apple TV
- Fire tablet
- Google Chromecast
- Nvidia Shield
- PlayStation 4
- Roku devices
- Virgin Media TiVO
- Xbox One
- Xbox 360
Amazon Prime Video features
Share your membership
Two adults, four children and four teens can share one account.
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
Amazon Prime Video has more than 17,000 titles. Current favorites exclusive to the platform include Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Modern Love and the new Mindy Kaling-penned movie, Late Night.
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.
How to sign up for Amazon Prime Video
Signing up for Amazon’s streaming service only takes a minute. Most of the time, when you purchase a product from Amazon, the site will prompt you to sign up for a Prime membership during the check-out process. Once you become a member, you’ll have automatic access to Amazon Prime Video. You’ll need to provide a credit card to give the free 30-day Prime membership a try. At the end of your trial period, the company will automatically charge your credit card. Cancel anytime—you’ll be able to access your perks until the end of the period for which you’ve paid. Sign into your Amazon account to purchase a video only membership. You can manage everything through your Amazon account.
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.