So I’ve wanted to share my two cents on this for a little while. What I think are the pros and cons of each service. For the sake of transparency I have both services and I just have the Prime streaming service not the full delivery service. The only reason I have the streaming service is because I didn’t have the £79 upfront for the full service, so chose to pay monthly for just the streaming service. I don’t really buy stuff from Amazon a lot either so it doesn’t make much of a difference to me.
So, first comparison is the price difference. Netflix has three subscription options. The basic plan, giving you one screen at a time is £5.99, the standard plan is £7.49 (a recent hike from £6.99) which gives you two screens, and the premium plan of £8.99 which gives you four screens.
Amazon Prime has two price tiers, one is £79 for the year. This gives you access to everything Amazon Prime related, so that includes the videos but also the next day delivery feature, amazon music and ebook access. The other option (the one I’ve gone for) is a flat £5.99 a month. I can’t find anything that says how many screens Amazon Prime allows though and I haven’t been able to test this myself yet. I’ll give it a try later tonight and post an update. But for now I’ll assume it allows at least two screens.
Netflix’s average price per month is £7.49 ((5.99+7.49+8.99)/3) for an average of two screens ((1+2+4)/3)
Amazon Prime’s average price per month is £6.30 (((79/12)+5.99)/2) for two screens (like I said, an assumption at the moment)
So the winner for price is Amazon Prime, it’s only saving you an average of £1.19 a month. It doesn’t sound much but it’s the little things that count.
Supported devices. I mainly stream on four devices, my iPhone, my iPad, my PS4, and a PC when needs be. We also have a smart TV in the living room with a BT TV box. Netflix works on all of these without issue. Amazon Prime, however, does NOT work on the TV or the BT TV box. I think this is mainly a manufacturer thing as opposed to an Amazon thing through as BT also has an issue with Now TV. I’ve also heard that Amazon Prime doesn’t fit well with Chromecasts or Apple TV yet, but I’m sure this is due to change.
The winner for supported devices is Netflix, but I can’t imagine them staying that way for long.
The first two comparisons are objective but the next comparisons are pretty subjective. What I mean is that they’re true for me but you might see them in a different way.
Library viewing and amount of content. Like I said, I mainly do the streaming on four devices and the layout for each of them is pretty universal across all platforms. This is great because I can’t stand it when different services vary wildly across different platforms. So they both get an A for their cross-platform development but there’s got to be a winner and, in my honest opinion, it’s Netflix. Prime is great in that it allows you to search everything but, when I say everything I mean EVERYTHING. If you search for something on Netflix and you might find it then you can watch it, simple as that. If you search for something on Amazon Prime you WILL find it. The only problem is it might not be part of the Prime package. If you’ve bought or rented the series or movie then you can watch it on Prime but the whole reason I started streaming stuff is so that I don’t have to buy or rent things any more. So technically Amazon Prime has more in the library but it might not be under your Prime Membership.
Convenience. Before the most recent update Amazon Prime would have won this by a LONG way, that’s because Netflix’s iPhone app didn’t support post-play, you know, the thing where the next episode plays once you’ve finished with it. Netflix does that now so it’s pulled up some, but not enough. The thing that puts Amazon Prime as the winner of this is that you can download the videos to watch offline which is brilliant if you’re not on an unlimited data plan. I assume there’s a limit to it but I downloaded all the episodes of Black Flag, Lucifer, Fear the Walking Dead, and the first season of The Walking Dead and it didn’t stop any of them for me downloading too many. I also assume that there’s a time limit in the length of time you’ve got to download them but as I watched all of these within a ten day window it didn’t seem to affect me at all. So Amazon Prime has beat Netflix until they can provide this.
Interface. Netflix’s interface is fancy looking but fundamentally simple. There’s a play pause button, a back 10 seconds button, a list of episodes option, and a back to library option. That’s about it. Amazon Prime showed me what I didn’t know I needed. Not only do they have a back ten seconds button but they also have a forward 10 seconds button, not much I’m sure, but when a TV show has its credits 5 minutes in it’s really great. But the thing I love the MOST about Amazon, and that I find myself missing a lot in Netflix (and even on the videos I’ve downloaded), is the IMDB X-Ray integration. For those of you who haven’t heard of this (as I hadn’t until I got Prime) IMDB X-Ray eventually ends the whole “Who’s that guy?” or “What’s this song?” discussion. If you tap your screen (like I said, mainly touch devices) you’ll get a list of the actors and characters in the scene (which you can tap to get a short blurb about the actor) as well as the song that’s playing at the moment in the episode and even just general trivia about the episode or location or actors or whatever. I never knew I needed this until I didn’t have it but until Netflix gets something like this they’ll always lose out to Amazon in my opinion.
Winner: Amazon, by a long way.
Quality and range of shows. Like I said technically Amazon has everything so long as you’ve rented or bought the stuff on Amazon first so I’ll only be looking at what’s available for free through Prime. I stress that this bit is INCREDIBLY subjective and you may not agree with it but it’s my two cents at least. So which platform has a better range and quality of shows completely depends on what you want the service for. If you want to just turn your brain off and veg out Netflix has definitely cornered the market on that. They have a better range of comedies and sitcoms than Amazon Prime does, and so if you’re just in the mood to kick back and relax definitely go for Netflix. But if Netflix is ‘Netflix and Chill’ then Amazon Prime is definitely ‘Wine, Dine, and Amazon Prime’ (I hope that catches on, I’m hoping to make it a thing). Everything I’ve found on Amazon Prime is quality but it’s not casual watching, it’s Walking Dead, it’s Black Sails, it’s Vikings, fantastic shows with an incredible level of quality but it’s not something you put on in the background and veg out to, it’s something you watch with the intention of sitting down and watching a decent TV show. In that regard I would say that they tie for winner there because they excel at different things but I’ll be giving the point to Netflix because of the niggly fact that it shows everything, even the stuff that isn’t part of prime.
Exclusive shows. Whilst they excel at different things this is where Netflix really pulls ahead. The Marvel shows alone would put Netflix above Amazon (IMHO) but they also have House of Cards, Better Call Saul, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and a few other brilliant shows. And even though they do have some bad shows (Fuller House is atrocious and only made for nostalgia value) their good shows far outweigh their bad ones.
Winner: Netflix, no contest.
One other niggly thing that Netflix has over Amazon is that it skips the opening part of a show, the credits and the ‘previously on’ bits which is great when you’re binging. But the skip 10 seconds forward button does something to alleviate this so it becomes more of a minor irritation instead of a tedious start to every episode.
So when we analyse it and add things up where do we stand? Out of seven sections Amazon won three, Netflix therefore won four. So from a simple pass fail stand point Netflix just beats Amazon. But some things should be weighted more than others, convenience is a higher factor for me than price. So, in MY order or importance (I stress *MY*) is: Convenience, Exclusive Titles, Interface, Quality and range of shows, Library, Price, Supported Devices. I’m not fussed on the other supported devices. So with Convenience being a seven and Supported Devices being a one it averages out with the following scores:
Convenience – 7
Interface – 5
Price – 2
Quality – 4
Exclusives – 6
Library – 3
Supported Devices – 1
A tie. And honestly not an orchestrated tie so I could say they’re both as good as each other and sit on the fence. My personal preference is Netflix over Amazon Prime, I only really use Amazon Prime for when I want to watch shows out and about without destroying my data but that’s about it. If I had to make the choice between Netflix or Amazon Prime for good then I would go with Netflix, but Amazon Prime does have its benefits and (by the numbers) it’s just as good as Netflix. The other thing to note is that Amazon Prime’s full subscription of £79/year is an average of only £6.58 a month and when you bundle that in with the ebooks and the music it’s instantly better, especially when you consider the money you’d save if you have something like Spotify.
What about you? Which streaming service (if any) do you use? Do you agree with me? Do you disagree with me? Have I helped you make your mind up on a decision between the two? Send me a comment with your opinion.
P.S. I just started watching Vikings today (as in whilst I’m writing this post) and If I Had a Heart’s the opening theme for the first episode (don’t know if they keep it for other episodes yet) I hate to get all ‘hipster’ but I liked this song before it was cool 😛