Amazon Prime Video tends to return in third in discussions about streaming, behind Netflix and Hulu — perhaps even fourth, with the large progress of Disney Plus. But the tech and retail large’s streaming arm is muscular in its personal proper with plenty of high-quality unique reveals and flicks, a formidable again catalog of older favorites (and B-movies you have not heard of) and NFL on Thursday nights. If you already subscribe to Amazon Prime for the free delivery, the Video providing is a very great included perk. And if you happen to do not, it should still be price paying $9 a month for, especially if you’re eager about any of its Amazon Original reveals or its massive film choice.


  • Included with Amazon Prime subscription
  • Wide number of motion pictures and reveals, together with many critically acclaimed originals
  • Large assortment of 4K UHD reveals and flicks
  • Offline downloads and consumer profiles
  • Ad-free content material

Don’t Like

  • Can’t watch reveals as they air on different networks
  • Paid content material blended in with free content material
  • Menus may be complicated

On the opposite hand, Prime Video is extra of a companion service to Netflix and Hulu, and weaker total than each. It cannot exchange Netflix’s huge catalog of originals and hit reveals, and may’t compete with Hulu’s huge assortment of TV each outdated and newly aired. If you do not already have a Prime subscription we might positively advocate selecting a type of two first — however chances are high you already get the video half for free.

Select streaming providers in contrast

Amazon Prime Video Netflix Hulu Disney Plus
Monthly value $9 (or included with $120/yr Prime membership) Starts at $9 Basic $7 with advertisements, Ad-free for $12, Live TV for $65 $7
Ads No No Yes No
Availability Now Now Now Now
Top titles Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Boys, The Expanse, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Stranger Things, The Crown, Breaking Bad, The Queen’s Gambit Handmaid’s Tale, Catch-22, Lost, Bob’s Burgers The Mandalorian, WandaVision, Avengers Endgame, Toy Story, The Simpsons
Mobile downloads Yes Yes Yes (on Ad-free plan solely) Yes
4K accessible Yes Yes (on Premium plan) Yes Yes
HDR accessible Yes Yes (on Premium plan) No Yes
Number of streams: 2 1 (2 for Standard, 4 on Premium) 2 (Unlimited with Live TV + $10 add-on) 4

Prime 101

Amazon Prime Video — typically simply referred to as Prime Video — is Amazon’s TV and film streaming service. Before the Prime Video we all know immediately, Amazon launched Amazon Unbox, an internet film rental and obtain service, again in 2006 — simply earlier than Netflix launched on-line streaming. 

In 2011, as a technique to increase the Prime subscription service, Amazon created Amazon Instant Video, with entry to five,000 streamed motion pictures and TV reveals for Prime subscribers. Unbox formally shuttered in 2015, and Amazon started advertising and marketing its streaming service as Amazon Prime Video. It turned accessible as a standalone service outdoors of Amazon Prime in 2016. 

If you’re one of many 150 million-plus folks worldwide who subscribes to Amazon Prime for the free two-day delivery ($13 per thirty days or $119 per yr), Prime Video is included with the service. If you do not have an Amazon Prime account, you’ll be able to nonetheless subscribe to Prime Video for $9 a month, the identical value as Netflix’s Basic Plan, and some bucks greater than the Hulu Plus Ads plan. Prime Video subscribers can add on subscriptions to HBO, Showtime, Starz, Paramount Plus and a number of different channels for an additional month-to-month value as properly.


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Critically acclaimed TV, and a great deal of motion pictures which can be… much less so

Prime Video lists greater than 200 Amazon Original Series on the location — bigger than Hulu’s 100 or so originals, and smaller than Netflix’s assortment of a number of hundred. Amazon’s Original collection stand out for the quantity of essential acclaim they’ve obtained: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Boys, Fleabag, A Very English Scandal, Good Omens, The Man In The High Castle, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Transparent and Mozart within the Jungle all had been nominated for or received Emmy awards up to now few years. These reveals are usually made accessible on the platform a full season at a time. 

And later this yr Amazon’s Lord of the Rings prequel collection will debut on Prime Video as properly. Amazon reportedly paid almost $250 million for the rights, which might make it the most costly TV collection ever.

Original motion pictures embody Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, The Big Sick, Manchester By the Sea, Late Night and The Report. You’ll additionally discover unique unique comedy specials, youngsters’ reveals, documentaries and actuality reveals.

Another space the place Prime Video stands out is its collection of youngsters’ reveals. You’ll discover favorites like Sesame Street, Spongebob Squarepants, Shaun the Sheep, Thomas and Friends and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, together with originals like Clifford the Big Red Dog and Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny. 

Prime Video additionally contains an extensive catalog of B-movies which can be fairly horrible and tremendous enjoyable to look at — simply not essentially with the children. 

While Prime Video is great for binge-watching unique reveals and older favorites, one draw back is that there isn’t any choice to sustain with present reveals like you’ll be able to on Hulu, except you subscribe to one of many channels for an additional value. 

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Not everything in Prime is Prime

Unlike Hulu and Netflix, Amazon sells TV shows and movies separately from its Prime subscription content, for rental and/or purchase, including new releases like The Croods: A New Age and Freaky. As the pandemic forced movie theaters to shut down, in March 2020, Amazon also launched Prime Video Cinema — a hub full of movies that would have otherwise been shown in theaters, like Trolls World Tour and Minari. 

These pay-to-rent (or buy) titles can show up on some Prime menus too, mixed in with stuff you can stream “free” as part of your subscription. The mingling of content is confusing and can even seem like another incentive to buy something. But Amazon has since changed the Prime Video layout to make it clearer what’s included in Prime (which typically has a blue Prime tag) and what’s paid for (which has a gold dollar sign tag). But this appears differently across different devices. 


Sarah Tew/CNET

Otherwise Prime Video’s interface is pretty similar to those of Netflix and other streaming services. At the top, you’ll see tabs for Search, Home, Originals, Movies, TV, Kids, Purchases & Rentals, Watchlist and Settings. As you scroll, you’ll see personalized categories like Movies based on your viewing, Popular movies and TV shows we think you’ll like, followed by more typical ones like Trending TV and Top-rated movies. 

Prime Video’s nested menus operate similarly to those on Netflix. Click a title and you’ll see a description, an IMDb score and the ability to Watch Now if it’s included with Prime, as well as check out other rental or purchase options. If the title you choose is not included with Prime, this page will show you how much it would cost to rent or buy on the platform. 

You can watch Amazon Prime Video on your Amazon Fire TV ($34 at Amazon), Fire TV Stick, or Fire Tablet, as well as on Apple TV ($180 at Best Buy), Roku, Xfinity X1, smart TVs, Blu-ray players, game consoles, iOS devices or Google Chromecast ($15 at eBay)

Prime Video’s best features

One cool feature that differentiates Prime Video from other streaming services is called X-Ray. Thanks to Amazon’s ownership of IMDb, you can scroll up while playing a given show or movie and see information on cast members, the music playing and trivia — helping you avoid “wait, don’t I know that guy from somewhere?” syndrome. 

Another perk: Prime Video is generally ad-free. You may see a short promo for an Amazon Original before a show. But Prime Video doesn’t run regular advertising, so you won’t see ads for things like soda or trucks during any commercial breaks in your programming. The exception is the IMDb TV category, where you’ll find some popular network shows like Lost and Friday Night Lights free with ads

To aid your binge planning, Prime Video does tell you what new shows are coming up for the month, which Hulu does as well but Netflix does not. 

Most Amazon Original movies and shows along with several others are available to stream in 4K Ultra High Definition with HDR. This is great news, since in our experience, HDR actually delivers a more noticeable picture quality improvement, especially on a good TV, than 4K resolution. You’ll need a 4K UHD display and a streaming device that supports the format, including 4K-compatible smart TVs and streaming players like the Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick, the Apple TV 4K and the Roku Streaming Stick Plus, among others.

Up until recently, Prime hasn’t allowed you to create separate user profiles, like Netflix, Hulu and Disney Plus do. But that feature has now rolled out on most devices, with users being able to add up to six different profiles, including kids profiles, on one account. 

You can download Prime Video titles to watch offline if you have a Fire tablet, or the Prime Video app for iOS or Android. 


Sarah Tew/CNET

Is paying for Prime Video worth it if you don’t have Amazon Prime? 

Depends on what you’re looking for in a streaming service. If you’re a big fan of movies (good, bad and everything in between), a Prime Video subscription might be worth it for the extensive film catalog — especially if you can use it to replace pricey digital rentals. The growing collection of quality Amazon Originals is also a big draw — especially since there are no ads in any shows. And the large number of 4K HDR offerings is a plus for those with 4K TVs. 

But if you’re more of a TV show binge-watcher and the Amazon Originals don’t spark your interest, you may be just fine with your Netflix or Hulu subscription. Either way, you can try out Prime Video free for 30 days — just make sure you cancel before it auto-renews.

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