Netflix vs. Amazon Instant Video Face-Off

Netflix vs. Amazon Instant Video Face-Off

Streaming video is responsible for the death of cable TV in many American households. Who wants to pay for hundreds of channels that you don’t watch anyway when you can watch unlimited movies and TV shows for as little as $6.58 a month? Streaming video awesome, but there are trade-offs. For one, you need a fast broadband connection. You get average picture quality, sometimes poorer than a DVD (forget about Blu-Ray). There are also no fun DVD extras like actor interviews and director commentaries. If that’s fine and binge viewing is more important to you than anything else, there are two popular streaming video providers that you should look at: Netflix and Amazon Instant Video.

Amazon Instant Video

Amazon streams video through Instant Video and Prime Instant Video. Like iTunes, the first is a store that rents and sells films, videos and TV shows. There’s no subscription; you buy or rent titles that you can watch instantly, later or download for offline viewing. Prime Instant Video is a streaming service included in an Amazon Prime membership. Most people sign up for Prime for Amazon’s free two-day shipping rather than video streaming, but that’s included too. For $79 a year, you get unlimited video streaming plus a free Kindle ebook rental per month. The monthly subscription comes down to just $6.58, but note that you can’t pay monthly, only for the entire year.

Price: $0.99 to $1.99 per episode for standard definition and $2.99 per episode for high definition

Library: 120,000 titles


Reasonable price

Huge library

Clear HD video

Fast downloads

Videos can be accessed on different devices (PCs, Macs, game consoles and media players)

Latest TV shows are available 24 hours after airing on TV


Latest releases and blockbusters are unavailable

Not all titles are available in high definition

Certain content can’t be downloaded due to licensing restrictions

Mac users can stream but not download videos

Prime Instant Video

Price: $79 per year

Library: 18,000 titles


Commercial-free unlimited video streaming

Video streaming on the Kindle Fire

Cheaper than Netflix at $6.58 per month


Limited library. Most new TV shows are not available for Prime subscribers.

Limited devices. You can’t download videos onto a PC, laptop or mobile device except for the Kindle Fire.

Netflix – Free Trial Offer

Netflix is the original cable TV killer, with currently 27 million streaming video subscribers. It still has a DVD-by-mail service, but with fewer subscribers. Netflix Instant costs $8 a month for unlimited streaming of videos, TV shows and films. There’s a lower priced version ($4.99 a month), but it’s strictly limited: it only streams on computers, the library is sparse and you can only watch two hours of video per month. Netflix Instant lets you watch videos on a PC, Mac, Roku Box, tablets, game console or a mobile device after installing the right media player. It also supports more devices than Amazon Instant Video; it’s available on Apple TV, Nintendo Wii, TiVo, Android phones, iPhone, Windows phones, the Nook, TV sets and Blu-Ray players.

Price: $8 per month (Netflix Instant), $4.99 per month for limited subscription

Library: Twice that of Amazon’s (Netflix refuses to divulge the actual number)


More than 80 percent of videos have subtitles (not just the foreign language ones)

Scene thumbnails to mark your spot

Suggestions and recommendations for additional movies

Netflix-produced exclusive TV shows in the works


Only available in certain countries due to licensing restrictions

Most movies are old

Limited selection on recent releases

Shifted focus to TV shows after ending partnership with Starz


In terms of playback, selection and site usefulness, Netflix Instant beats Amazon Prime. Netflix also has a bigger library. Amazon Prime wins in terms of price, but you pay $79 up-front and are tied to a one-year subscription. Both Amazon and Netflix are partnering with third parties to expand their video collection, so it will get better with time. But right now it’s more of finding something you like than say, finding that particular art-house movie. If the selection doesn’t bother you, go for cheaper Amazon Prime. If you hate being tied down to anything, go for Netflix. An alternative is to try the free one-month trial for each service and then make a decision.

2 Responses

  1. julianne456 Says:

    It is nice post and i found some interesting information on Keep it up

  2. kitta rumani Says:

    We Americans have a lot of options when it comes to chose from different t.v. channels, they are also reducing their prices in timely manner just after the government new procurement to set a plan for common man. I have read in news that some countries have made it mandatory to install set top boxes to access the cable services.






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