Lifestyle Magazine

Amazon Prime Video Review

By Raider @davedallyv

Even if you ditch your cable company, you can still keep current with the latest series and movies by subscribing to one or more video streaming services. Amazon Prime Video offers a growing library of quality original content and a decent collection of movies and TV shows to stream. Subscribers also have the option to download content for offline viewing and even watch 4K titles. On top of that, Amazon hosts an impressive catalog of TV shows and movies available for rent or purchase. However, it does not have as many high-quality shows as the top services and continues to lose third-party content.

Table of Contents

What Can You Watch on Prime Video?

Although Amazon Video started out as a place to purchase and watch TV shows and movies, the industry has changed and Amazon has embraced the world of unlimited, buffet-style streaming for a single monthly fee. Take, for example, Amazon’s growing library of excellent original content such as Bosch, Catastrophe, Electric Dreams, Fleabag, Good Omens, Homecoming, Hunters, Jack Ryan, Tales From The Loop, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Patriot, The Boys, Undone, Upload, and Utopia. Amazon even saved The Expanse from cancellation.
Amazon is also producing a series based on the Fallout franchise, one set in the world of Lord of the Rings, and one based on the mammoth Wheel of Time fantasy series. The list of originals continues to grow, and while it is not as large as Netflix’s or HBO Max’s collection, many of the shows are on par, quality-wise. Prime Video’s original shows also outclass Hulu’s.
You get more than just Amazon’s originals with Amazon Prime Video, including shows such as Chuck, Burn Notice, Hannibal, Mr. Robot (Seasons 1-3), and The Americans at no additional cost. Note that Prime Video has already lost shows such as Justified, The X-Files, and Veronica Mars to Hulu. Other HBO and NBC shows previously on the service have left or are leaving soon, too. Amazon Prime Video has the most shows any streaming service, but when you filter for quality, Netflix and Hulu are better options.
Prime Video’s library also includes popular movies, though the available titles rotate frequently. Like Netflix, it also creates original movies, such as Blow the Man Down, Honey Boy, Manchester by the Sea, My Spy, Troop Zero, The Aeronauts, The Big Sick, and The Report. These movies have not fared as well as Netflix’s The Irishman, El Camino, or Roma. Prime Video has more movies than any other service, but when you filter for quality, its numbers are in line with Netflix’s. Of course, if you love B movies (and even C and D movies) you may disagree!
Dedicated movie streaming services tend to offer more curated selections of titles with more supporting content. Mubi and The Criterion Channel are both excellent options for cinephiles.


Amazon has been cranking out original documentaries over the years; examples include Generation Wealth, Time, One Child Nation, and Gimme Danger. For pure entertainment, check out Hamilton: One Shot to Broadway and The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia, which chronicles the life and times of an eccentric West Virginia family.
All In: The Fight for Democracy is a documentary about voter suppression, while Citizenfour covers NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Lower-budget documentaries about spirituality and non-traditional medicine, such as Food as Medicine, round out its library.


Amazon Prime Video falters when it comes to anime and cartoons, though it does feature a good range of animated kids’ shows and some anime titles. VRV is our Editors’ Choice pick for watching anime, thanks in part to its massive library of series and films, though both Hulu and Netflix offer some anime titles as well. In terms of other animated shows, Netflix leads the pack with originals such as Bojack Horseman and Matt Groening’s Disenchantment. Hulu is another good option for animated shows that premier on traditional cable networks.
Our feature on everything arriving on Prime Video can help you keep up with changes to the library.

Sports Content

In addition to on-demand content, Amazon will host some live NFL games on Thursday nights during the 2020-2021 season, assuming they happen. Note, however, that other NFL streaming services offer coverage that is more comprehensive. Amazon also produces the All or Nothing series that follows various professional sports teams throughout their season. If you are a die-hard sports fan, however, fuboTV or ESPN+ are far better sports streaming services, particularly for their live coverage of games.
However, Amazon does let subscribers add Prime Video Channels to an existing subscription, some of which are focused on sports. For instance, users can subscribe to MLB.TV, NBA League Pass, and PGA Tour Live through their Amazon Prime Video account. Of course, each of these channels adds a significant cost to your monthly or annual subscription.

Amazon Prime Video Cost

There are two ways to get access to Amazon’s video content: a standalone Amazon Video subscription and an Amazon Prime subscription. An Amazon Video subscription costs $8.99 per month and only includes access to Amazon’s streaming video library. Alternatively, you can pay $12.99 per month (or $119 per year) for an Amazon Prime subscription, which includes Prime Video as well as other perks such as free two-day (and same day, when available) shipping, unlimited music streaming, a Twitch Prime membership, and discounts at Whole Foods. To clarify, the vast majority of Amazon’s documentation refers to its video service as Prime Video, though a standalone subscription is technically called Amazon Video. Both tiers give you access to the same content and are ad-free, save for Amazon’s in-house, pre-roll ads, which are entirely skippable.
If you no longer want or need your subscription, follow our instructions on how to cancel your Amazon Prime account. This will take away your access to Prime Video as well.
Students can sign up for an Amazon Prime subscription at a discounted rate of $6.49 per month or $59 per year. This plan includes all the perks of the regular Amazon Prime subscription, including Prime Video and Music (not to be confused with Amazon Music Unlimited).
Like many other video streaming services, Amazon Prime Video also lets users add subscriptions to different content providers to their account for a monthly fee. Options include CBS All Access ($5.99), Cinemax ($9.99), HBO ($14.99), PBS Masterpiece ($5.99), Showtime ($8.99), and Starz ($8.99). Prime Channels are not available for Amazon Video subscribers; you need to have a full Amazon Prime account to add this content.
For comparison, Netflix’s cheapest plan with HD streaming costs $12.99 per month. Hulu’s cheapest on-demand streaming plan costs $5.99 per month, but if you want an ad-free experience, the cost jumps to $11.99 per month. HBO Max costs $14.99 per month and CBS All Access’s commercial-free plan costs $9.99 per month. Acorn TV and BritBox are both cheaper at $5.99 and $6.99 per month respectively.
You do not need to pay anything for your video streaming entertainment. Our roundup of the best free video streaming services includes options for watching popular shows and movies. Our top pick for that category is NBC’s Peacock for its mainstream titles, though you need to pay more to get everything it offers.
All of these are considerably cheaper than the cable-replacement type services, such as Sling TV ($30 per month) and Hulu + Live TV ($54.99 per month).
Amazon Prime Video works on a web browser, as well as Android and iOS devices, media streaming devices (including Apple TV, Chromecasts, Fire TV, and Rokus), game consoles (PlayStation, Xbox, and Wii), and Smart TVs. Recently, Prime Video launched a Windows 10 app joining Netflix and Hulu on the Microsoft Store. The app supports offline downloads and the IMDb-powered X-Ray panel for streaming content.
With Prime Video, you can stream up to three titles at the same time from the same account. Most other video streaming services support more concurrent streams. BritBox, for example, supports five. Other than Prime Video, Apple TV+, Disney+, and Netflix also offer 4K and HDR content. fuboTV also streams select live programming in 4K.

Renting and Buying Videos

Amazon Prime Video offers an advantage over rivals such as Netflix and Hulu with the option to rent or buy TV shows and movies outright, similarly to iTunes, Google Play Movies and TV Shows, and the Microsoft Store’s Movies & TV section for Windows 10 and Xbox. Notably, for some content, buying and renting are your only options. Keep in mind that purchases and rentals come with restrictions. Once you purchase a video on Prime Video, you can stream it as many times as you want and download it on up to four compatible devices. For rentals, the three-video-stream limit remains, but Amazon does not let you stream the same rental to more than one device simultaneously. If you watch a downloaded rental video on one device, you can still watch it on another (though not simultaneously). You typically get 30 days to download or start streaming a rental, but after you do, you usually have 48 hours to finish watching it. You can read all of the specific details on Amazon’s Video Usage Rules support page.
Amazon prioritizes movies and TV shows that are included with Prime, so your best bet is to specifically search for the content you want to watch or navigate directly to the Rent or Buy section. Renting a movie typically costs between $2.99 and $5.99, while buying it runs anywhere from $7.99 to $19.99, depending on how recent it is and the quality (SD or HD). Sometimes, however, the SD and HD options cost the same.
In terms of pricing, Amazon Prime Video is in line with its competitors for both buying and renting movies. For example, Ford v Ferrari (in HD) costs $19.99 to purchase. Google Play, iTunes, and the Microsoft Store charge the same price. However, the iTunes and Google Play versions are in 4K and support HDR. Some movies are free if you subscribe to a channel add-on that includes it. In the case of Ford v Ferrari, subscribers to the HBO add-on would get to watch the movie for free.
The story is pretty much the same when it comes to TV shows as well, though not all TV shows are purchasable outright. Individual episodes typically cost between $1.99 and $3.99, with seasons running anywhere from $22.99 to $29.99. We compared prices for an HD episode from season 3 of Westworld across the four platforms. Each service charges $3.99 per episode and around $29 for the entire season. Amazon organizes all the content you rent or buy in the Your Video Library section, which is separate from the Your Videos section, which collects streaming content.

Web Interface

One of Amazon’s biggest issues (not unique to its video services) is that it shoehorns all its services into the same interface. Amazon Prime Video, like all of Amazon’s other services such as Amazon Fresh, lives in the drop-down to the left of the main search bar. Amazon should create a separate site solely dedicated to its video services or at least organize everything better. That said, the interface’s organization has improved substantially over time.
The video service’s homepage cannot match the minimal aesthetic of Netflix or HBO Max, but it looks fine. At the top, users can select between the following menu items: Home, Free to Store, Channels, Categories, My Stuff, Watch Party, and Me. Right below that, Amazon Video highlights a few notable shows or movies available for streaming and then organizes everything else in horizontally scrolling lists, such as Watch Next, TV Shows We Think You’ll Like, and Blockbuster Movies, going down the rest of the page. The Categories section is particularly useful for finding new releases, originals, and 4K UHD content. There is also a Prime Video Explorer tool for finding additional recommendations.
If you cannot find something to watch on the homepage, you can use the search bar up top to find specific content by title, genre, release date, or channel. If you see something that interests you, you can start streaming immediately (provided it is available for Prime Video) or add it to your watchlist. Your watchlist is just an easy way to keep track of the shows and movies you want to revisit later.
Clicking a movie or TV show link opens a page showing the user rating, runtime, release date, and other pertinent information. If you are on a TV show page, you can click the Preview button to watch a snippet; movie pages let you watch a trailer. One advantage that Amazon Video offers over Netflix is user reviews. Mubi and Shudder also let users chime in about shows and movies. Like Netflix, Amazon gives recommendations based on the content you watch.
We particularly like Prime Video’s Now Playing screen, as it looks clean and lays out the controls intuitively. In addition to the standard play, rewind, and forward buttons, Amazon Prime Video also implements subtitle and streaming quality options on the screen. However, Amazon’s biggest draw—and something no other streaming service we have tested currently offers—is its X-Ray feature (powered by IMDb). This transparent overlay populates with useful information on the characters and actors currently in a scene, any soundtrack titles, as well as relevant show notes (such as continuity errors and important cultural references). Most shows get a Skip Intro button as well, a feature that Netflix made popular. Check out our feature on other Prime Video tips and tricks you might not have known about.


We downloaded Amazon’s Prime Video app on an Android 11 device to test the mobile experience. Note that Amazon does not offer a separate Amazon Video app: all video accounts use the Prime Video app. We appreciate that Amazon built a separate app for the video experience, since wedging it into the Amazon shopping app would make things much less manageable.
The interface looks identical to that of the website, albeit scaled down for a mobile screen. The app appears similar to many other video streaming apps, notably Netflix and HBO Now, with a dark background and vivid content thumbnails. Across the top, the app displays the following menu options: Home, Originals, TV, Movies, and Kids. There is a new bottom menu, too, for navigating between the Store, Channels, Search, and My Stuff sections. Gone is the overburdened left-hand menu. Tapping on a show or movie brings you to a details page where you can view a show summary, as well as read user ratings and reviews.
The app does give users a fair amount of control over the service, with settings for stream and download quality, parental control options, a list of registered devices, as well as the ability to clear video search history. Prime members (not Amazon Video subscribers), can also manage Amazon Channels subscriptions from the app.
Streaming on a mobile device is quick and stable. Over Wi-Fi connection (15Mpbs download), We downloaded a 44-minute episode of The Expanse in the highest quality in a little under a minute and a half. If you have the time and storage space, the app includes an option for downloading an entire season of a show all at once. For streaming or downloading on a mobile device, make sure that you are on a Wi-Fi connection or have an unlimited data plan; one hour of content equates to about 1.8 GB of data.

Accessibility and Parental Controls

Audio descriptions are one-step above the regular dialogue-based closed captioning (CC). You can search specifically for Amazon’s Movies and TV Shows with Audio Descriptions to find compatible content. This search returns over 1,000 results at the time of publishing. Most of Amazon’s Original programming includes audio descriptions, and we hope that it continues to support and implement these enhancements. Netflix and Apple TV+ also support audio descriptions.
Prime Video lets you adjust the CC settings directly from the video player. You can change the font size and color of the text. Acorn TV also allows these customization options from the playback screen.
In terms of parental controls, you can require a pin for any purchases, as well as restrict streaming by user ages. You can designate specific accounts as a Kids profile, too. Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max also include top-notch parental control options.

Playback Experience

We did not experience any issues streaming over a home Ethernet connection (200Mbps download speed). Although Prime Video may take a couple of seconds to ramp up to full quality, the quality stays consistent once it does. The service is also pretty accurate at saving your progress through a video in case you get disconnected or need to resume watching later.
Amazon Prime Video does not splice ads into the middle of shows, but it does advertise in-house content at the beginning of a show or movie, similar to the way HBO Max does. Users can easily skip these ads, or if they are interested in the show, add it to their watchlist directly. In any case, Amazon Video’s in-house ads are much more palatable than those of the cheaper plans of Hulu or CBS All Access, which plague you with the mainstream commercials that drove people away from cable in the first place. Netflix offers the most ad-free experience, especially since you can now disable the auto-playing video ads for its shows.
Amazon Prime Video now lets you co-watch Prime Video content with up to 100 people, provided they all have an account and are located in the US. The service also finally brought support for multiple viewing profiles to subscribers in the US.

Prime Video and VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) is an important tool for protecting your privacy online. Unfortunately, some video streaming services, such as Prime Video, make it difficult, if not impossible to stream content while you are connected to a VPN. This policy could be due to content licensing deals, as many shows are restricted to viewers in specific countries. Amazon Prime Video did not work after we connected out test mobile and device desktop to US-based Mullvad VPN servers.
You could try to find a VPN that works with all the services you subscribe to, but even if you do, this does not guarantee that everything will work together in the future. Many video streaming services continue to close down the loopholes that VPNs currently rely on to avoid being blocked. Note that some VPNs do offer dedicated streaming servers, which may be more reliable for this purpose.

Amazon Prime Video offers a ton of great originals at a reasonable price and continues to introduce new streaming features. Additionally, Prime Video is available on nearly every platform you can name and lets you purchase or rent shows and movies it does not include as part of its subscription. The main drawback is that the service does not have as many high-quality shows as our top picks and stands to lose more content to competitors.
Netflix is our Editors’ Choice winner for the on-demand video streaming since it has the best library of originals and movies. Hulu is a great value for its combination of a vast on-demand library and live TV capabilities. YouTube TV impresses with intuitive interfaces and an excellent range of channels.


Starting Price – $8.99 per month
Concurrent Streams – 3
Ads – No
Live TV – No
On-Demand Movies and TV Shows -Yes
Offline Downloads on Mobile – Yes
Original Programming – Yes
Anime – Yes

Excellent original content
4K and HDR streaming
Supports offline downloads, multiple viewer profiles, and Audio Descriptions
Let’s you rent or buy movies and TV shows
Continues to lose third-party content to other services
Not as many high-quality shows as competitors


Amazon Prime Video hosts lots of prestige content for streaming and supports impressive technical capabilities such as 4K HDR streaming and offline downloads.

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The post Amazon Prime Video Review first appeared on Greatofreview.

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