Netflix vs Amazon Instant Video – Which Is Better?

picture of the homescreens of amazon instant and netflix side by side

You’ve got your new Smart TV and you’re probably excited to experience all of the cool new features and content options. While there are likely to be plenty of other features and functions to try with this new TV, one of the most useful and worthwhile is the access to streaming content. If you’re not streaming movies and TV shows, then you are not getting the most from this purchase.

When it comes to streaming services, you have some choices, but the two most popular and probably the two best are Amazon instant video and Netflix. If your monthly budget permits, then you could go for both, but for many, it will come down to choosing one or the other. To make this choice, you are going to need to know a little more about what to expect from these streaming services and how they stack up.

 

Availability

A few years ago, Netflix would have won this battle hands down. It was, without question, the biggest player in streaming and it was available in more formats and on more devices. However, Amazon has made some big efforts to catch up and both now have excellent coverage. You should be able to find apps available for both on almost every Smart TV that is currently on the market, and on just about ever streaming media player. In addition to that, they both have apps for Android devices and for devices that run on iOS.

In regard to availability, Netflix still has a bit of an edge, but there shouldn’t be an issue for the vast majority of people looking to stream content. That said, there could be the odd device or platform that does not have an app to support one or the other (As an example, Chromecast does not have an Amazon app). Just to be safe, you may want to check the apps list for the device or TV that you choose to buy to make sure that it has the services that you are looking for.

 

Pricing

Both work on a monthly subscription basis. Amazon does have a premium membership (know as Prime) that they do offer on an annual basis and it does come with additional benefits like free shipping on purchases, access to an ebook library and music streaming services. If you are a frequent Amazon shopper and you like these additional benefits, then this service may be worth considering, but for this article, we are just going to compare the two streaming services.

With Netflix, you have a few subscription options for their streaming service. The first is their basic plan that goes for £5.99/month. This gives the user access to standard definition programming and the ability to stream on one device at a time. If you move up to the standard package, the cost goes up to £7.49/month, but you can stream in HD and you can access the service from two devices at the same time. After that, you have the premium package, which costs £8.99/month. With premium, you get access to the Netflix 4k streaming library and the account allows streaming for up to four devices at the same time.

If you go for an Amazon membership without all of those extras that are mentioned above, you have one monthly subscription option. A standard Amazon Instant Video account costs £5.99/month and you get access to everything that is in the Prime library (there is other content that is pay per view). With this package, you get the streaming service with access to content in HD and 4k. Along with that, you can also stream on two devices at the same time.

 

 picture of netflix on a phoneApps

Both Amazon and Netflix have apps that cover a wide range of different platforms and devices. Netflix probably does have slightly better coverage, but Amazon has made serious strides in catching up and it probably won’t be long before it’s on a par.

Netflix does a great job with the uniformity of experience between different devices. When you move from watching on your Smart TV to your tablet, the experience is going to be familiar in both the look and the functionality. Amazon does do a pretty good job in this regard, but it is not quite as good as the Netflix experience.

The Netflix service also seems to do a better job of learning from your viewing history and organizing things by what is your favourite and by the stuff that you access the most. Amazon’s service does do this, but Netflix just seems to do it slightly better.

picture of amazon handheldOne way that Amazon does beat Netflix in regard to the apps is with its offline support. With Amazon, you can download content to watch later, when you may not have access to an internet connection. Netflix does not provide this option and it is something that can be nice for a variety of different situations.

 

Content

When you consider which streaming service to subscribe to, the content options is an important point. The price and functionality are good points, but it is all for naught if you don’t like the content options. For the quality of the content, and whether the individual viewer will enjoy one service more than the other, it is a bit of a subjective comparison. They both provide different options and an individual’s preference is going to come down to personal taste.

If you are talking about the number of options that you have, then Netflix is likely to offer you more options than Amazon. However, their libraries are always adding and removing options, so this could change with time.

They both offer films and TV shows and they both develop their own original content. The one point that you have to consider with both is that – with the exception of content that is developed by the service – new releases usually do not become available through either for quite a while. If you want to get the latest releases as soon as they are available to stream you’ll need to look more to services like Sky or Virgin Media or NOWTV (which is owned by Sky) or Amazon PayPerView. If you are an Amazon subscriber, you’ll notice that some content comes with the subscription and that some content requires an additional fee. You may see some new releases available from Amazon, but you have to pay to view the video and it will be some time before those pieces reach the subscription service.

If you are talking about the original content, then most people would agree that Netflix does have better original content. They started developing their own content first, and they have put more money and focus on the idea of developing their own content.

Selecting the right streaming service might be tough. It is kind of hard to know which one you will like more until you have tried them. Fortunately, both Netflix and Amazon do offer free trial periods. You can try them both, see which one you like more and then make a decision based on a little bit of experience.

 

 

 

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