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Monday, November 23, 2015

Amazon Prime v Netflix

Not a day seems to go by when someone, somewhere, is giving their views about which streaming video service is best.  So, I thought, why not me too!

In the name of full disclosure, I am an Amazon Prime member; although I don't have a vested interest in the company, I just give them my money!
My Netflix subscription is courtesy of a gift, for a year, so I've had the opportunity to use both and give my considered opinions.



V

Amazon Prime and Netflix are just two of the many streaming services, giving you the opportunity to tune in and watch at your convenience.  There is a big differentiator in that Amazon also have their own Fire TV (box and stick) that you can plug directly into your television to watch.  Bizarrely, you can download a Netflix app to the Amazon TV; as well as YouTube, BBC iPlayer and more.

For the purposes of this post, I'll concentrate on the services and not the hardware - a review of which I have previously written.

Television

Let's start with television.  In each case, both offer a wide range of programmes and in both cases they have their own "Original" series.

Amazon has "Transparent", an Emmy award winning series, along with "Red Oaks", and the new "Man in the High Castle".
Amazon have their Pilots season, where, as a viewer, you can vote on programmes that you'd like to see made into full series.  Amazon are investing heavily in their own productions, and this is a terrific way for them to make something that we, the audience, want to watch.
To great fanfare, they also announced they are creating a brand new series of Top Gear, something which I think will ensure more people sign up for Prime.

Netflix are also investing heaving, and also have their own selection of Original programmes, notably "Orange is the New Black", "Daredevil", "House of Cards", and the new Marvel series "Jessica Jones".  Their catalogue of television programmes is very extensive indeed.

With the ability to vote on your favourites to be made into full series, then Amazon wins this round.

Feature Length Fun...

Moving onto movies.  This is where I believe Netflix has the upper hand.  Their selection of films appears to be non-exhaustive, unlike Amazon, which, whilst they have an abundance of films, doesn't seem to offer quite the selection.  I do think this is partly to do with the way Amazon organises its library, which makes it difficult to find something.  According to the filter criteria, there are over 1500 films currently, (and over 1000 TV shows) - so there is definitely something for everyone.

However, the on-screen navigation makes it easier to find on Netflix, so they win this round.

Bonus Point

There is one extra feature that is only offered by Amazon Prime.
The ability to download and watch offline.  When this was announced, Netflix immediately stated that this is not something that their customers would be interested in - as streaming is so straight-forward today, and it would mean helping people to free space on devices!  Really? Personally, I think they're wrong.
Having the functionality available to download a film or TV show, for me, makes this a winner.

Amazon gets an extra, bonus, point.

How much?

Last, but certainly not least is the cost.  This is where it really gets interesting.

Amazon - £79 per year.  For that, not only do you get access to a large library of films and TV, but you also have Amazon Prime Music, unlimited next day delivery, unlimited photo storage and, if you have a Kindle, access to the lending library too.
If you're not already a Prime member, you do get a 30-day free trial before they charge you.

Netflix have a range of options; starting at £5.99 per month, for standard defintion video; up to £8.99 per month for HD quality and multiple screens.
Again, they offer a 30-day free trial before they start charging.

Bear in mind that Amazon charge the entire year in one go; whereas Netflix charge on a monthly subscription basis.  This has the added benefit that you can stop at any time, without penalty, and also upgrade/downgrade at any time.

Conclusion

So there you have it.  A (brief) look at two of the major streaming services available in the UK.

There are plenty of others, that may, or may not, meet your needs.

Comparable in cost, on an annual basis, for me, it's easy.  Whilst I can see the benefit of Netflix, and its simpler-to-use menu structure, as I'm already a Prime member, and therefore taking advantage of the other services on offer, all for an annual fee of £79, then that makes the most sense.

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