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

Pros:

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

Cons:

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

Pros:

Commercial-free unlimited video streaming

Video streaming on the Kindle Fire

Cheaper than Netflix at $6.58 per month

Cons:

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)

Pros:

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

Cons:

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

Verdict:

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.

Amazon to Offer Video Streaming Service?

  • February 3, 2011
  • Tech
  • Comments Off on Amazon to Offer Video Streaming Service?

Amazon to Offer Video Streaming Service?

Rumors have begun to spring up suggesting that Amazon will begin offering streaming video service to Amazon Prime subscribers. The service would offer about 5,000 titles to start, with additional titles to be added over time. If the rumors are to be believed, any Amazon Prime subscriber would have access to Amazon’s streaming library. Rumors have been circulating for a long time indicating that Amazon intends to compete with Netflix with a streaming service of its own, which lends credibility to the latest rumor.

An Amazon Prime subscription will set you back $80 per year, which actually puts it ahead of Netflix’s $7.99 per month streaming plan which will set you back a total of $95.88 per year. Amazon Prime subscribers also receive free two day shipping on all their Amazon orders, which would certainly add value to the service when compared with Netflix.

Although Amazon’s streaming service would be priced lower than Netflix, the success of such a service would lean heavily on Amazon’s ability to continue to add new titles to the service, as well as their ability to bring the service into their customers’ living rooms. Netflix currently offers tens of thousands of movies and TV shows to their customers, and Netflix subscribers can stream the content to their televisions through a wide variety of devices. In order for Amazon’s service to present any real competition to Netflix, they would have to build up a comparable catalog of videos, and a similar distribution model.

Amazon has been working hard to expand their digital offerings over the past five years. While their streaming service hasn’t been officially announced or addressed by anyone at the company, it would fit in nicely with Amazon’s efforts to offer more digital content to their customers. Amazon has gone as far as to register several domain names that lend credit to this rumor. Amazon-owned DPReview has registered the domain primeinstantvideos.com, as well as several variants of that domain. The service may not be official just yet, but if Amazon is buying up domain names, chances are an announcement isn’t far off.

NetFlix, NetFlix.com Introduces Roku TV Boxes

  • May 20, 2008
  • Tech
  • Comments Off on NetFlix, NetFlix.com Introduces Roku TV Boxes

I currently subscribe to NetFlix because of the high value they offer. For only $16.99 a month I rent 3 DVDs at a time with no monthly limit! I can also watch hundreds of movies from my PC at no additional cost through NetFlix.com. Now comes another groundbreaking way for me to enjoy my subscription in a 5-inch-by-5-inch device from the California startup Roku. The device downloads movies from the NetFlix web site and delivers them to your TV. For the 8.2 subscribers that would like this extra it will cost them $99 for the set top box. Once you hook up the device you’ll be able to unlimitedly stream over 10,000 movies. Best part of all you only need to have the $8.99 subscription to enjoy this service. Early reviews look promising, CrunchGear: “This is one of the most elegant and surprisingly usable dedicated devices I’ve seen in a long time. Unlike, say, the Kindle, everything here is almost perfect. As the literal incarnation of a web service, the Netflix Player by Roku is a true gem.” Visit NetFlix.com.

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