Amazon Prime Video
Before reviewing Amazon Prime Video, I’d like to clarify that I got hooked up to Amazon Prime mainly because of its 2-days free shipping feature. I didn’t know much about its streaming service and wasn’t expecting anything from it either. Two months later, I’m obsessed with Amazon Prime Video and Prime membership seems to be the best decision I’ve made in a long time. I love Amazon Prime Video’s originals along with its vast library of popular TV Shows and movie collections. It’s mind-boggling how this internet giant manages to keep itself at the top of the pyramid in its every venture. With Amazon Prime, not only is the company competing with Netflix in the online streaming industry but also with leaders in logistics, music streaming, data storage and multimedia industries.
Bundling services for cohesive offering
Amazon Prime has quintessentially redefined the entire landscape of providing an all-inclusive digital experience at an affordable price. With that said, let’s dive deep into our review of Amazon Prime Video – a significant pillar in the Amazon Prime membership. With this membership not only do you get free video streaming but also free additional services such as Prime Delivery, Prime Kindle, Prime Photos, Prime Early Access, and Prime Music to name a few.
What is Amazon Prime Video?
Amazon Prime Video is an online video streaming service where you can watch a plethora of original and popular content. These include TV shows, Originals, and popular movies. With Prime membership, you can download the content and watch it at your own convenience. Its impressive content library boasts of TV shows and movies along with additional content which is available for paid-purchases and rentals as well.
Amazon Prime was first launched in 2005. After its initial success in the US, it made its way to Europe in 2007 primarily as a free shipping scheme. But in the past decade, the e-commerce giant has completely transformed the Prime network with the inclusion of a host of free services under a simple subscription model. Since we’re just concerned with its streaming services in this blog, we’ll only discuss that.
This might be an unpopular opinion but I do not like Amazon Prime’s overall design and interface, to begin with. It feels as if I’m on a shopping website (which isn’t surprising) while trying to stream a movie. The design is too cluttered and the content isn’t well segregated either. Overall, I found the homepage to be unattractive with little to no visual appeal.
If you happen to land on primevideo.com, it’ll give you an option to click on amazon.com. Both of these pages have minimal aesthetic value. Once you’re on the page, you can then choose from options such as Prime Originals, Prime Video, Movies, TV Shows and Kids. There are video highlights for notable movies and shows which are available for streaming and rest everything is organized horizontally. Thus, you can keep scrolling to check out popular TV Shows and Movies along with recommended content.
Under the main slideshow, you get additional menu items such as All Videos, Your Videos, Included with Prime, Channels and finally Rent or Buy option. Amongst these, I like the ‘Your Videos’ section because at least that makes it easy to pick up from where you left.
Though the landing page is not overly bad, when pitted against the likes of Netflix, Stan, and Hulu, you’ll feel the gulf in class. The design is pretty basic with the main color scheme following a blue color as opposed to the orange one for e-commerce. Rest, the menus, the banners, and the content presentation are honestly 2005’ sh.
What I do want to give them credit for is that it has an optimized interface that does vary based upon the device. No doubt it’s fairly intuitive and quick but it isn’t easy to navigate. The only positive I can take from the design is that there’s consistency regardless of the device you stream it on. So, whether it’s on Smart TV, Roku, Fire device, mobile phone, Chromecast or tablet, it works fine on all of them.
I consider this to be the heart of any streaming website. If the content is great, everything else can be worked upon. And I have to say that Amazon Prime Video does not disappoint in this category. With its ever-growing library currently having over 4500 titles, including excellent original content such as ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’, ‘Electric Dreams’, ‘Bosch’, ‘Sneaky Pete’, ‘Red Oaks’ and ‘The Grand Tour’, there’s a lot to cheer for in this segment.
Though they don’t have as many originals as Netflix, the ones they have been doing a pretty good job of retaining the viewers. Similar to Netflix, they aren’t backing down and allocating budgets towards creating great original content. Their efforts to save ‘The Expanse’ and renew the sci-fi action drama for its fourth season just shows their commitment towards this project. You’d be excited to hear that it’s also producing a series based upon the popular franchise “The Lord of the Rings”.
While the ‘Prime Originals’ are the streaming platform’s strength, it also offers popular HBO series’ such as ‘The Sopranos’, ‘Deadwood’, ‘Boardwalk Empire’, ‘The Wire’, and ‘OZ’. Apart from these shows, it also offers other popular shows such as ‘Justified’, ‘Mr. Robot’, ‘Hannibal’, ‘Chuck’, ‘The Americans’, ‘Recreation’ and ‘The X-Files’ for no additional cost.
Personally, I haven’t faced any compatibility issues with the streaming service. I’ve tried it on my Android and iOS devices along with gaming consoles and fire devices. I’m sure it works well on major gaming consoles (Xbox, PlayStation, and Wii) and set-top boxes (Google TV, Nvidia Shield, Apple TV 4K and Roku) as well. One thing I would like to point out is that it doesn’t natively support Chromecast devices.
You can stream three titles on Prime Video from the same account at a time. However, only two accounts can stream a particular title simultaneously, which can be frustrating if three people want to stream the same content simultaneously.
Picture and sound quality
Amazon Prime Video is one of the very few streaming service providers that have a decent catalog of 4K and HDR content. Its ground-breaking deals with international broadcasters allow it to showcase popular content alongside its own shows.
Picture and sound quality are truly amazing and like I said, the stream in general works very well. Also, I’d like to point out that the best Amazon Prime video experience is delivered on Amazon’s Fire TV (Not a surprise). Thus, if you’re considering Amazon as a viable option against cable television, I’d advise you to get a Fire TV.
Plans & Pricing
Amazon Prime Video similar to other video streaming platforms runs on a subscription model. Its cost varies based upon the plan you choose – basic plan and add-ons. Basic Prime package costs $99/year which works out at around $8.75/month. Though that might look cheap on the paper, if we’re to compare the streaming service alone, it’s pretty much an entry-level package offered by Netflix. But the fact that you get HD and 4K content along with added benefits such as delivery, music streaming, Kindle access, and other discounts, that really does make it feel dirt-cheap.
Amazon Prime Video allows you to sign-up for its own content library and provides the option of adding other content for a monthly fee. For instance, you can add HBO for $14.99/month, Showtime for $8.99/month, Cinemax and CBS All Access, each for $9.99/month.
Remember, that prime channels are not inclusive for Amazon video subscribers. You need to have a full Amazon Prime account in order to add these channels. Furthermore, Prime Channels that I just mentioned above cannot be shared across household profiles – which is a considerable catch.
Before you take a plunge, you should totally try-out its 30-day trial. You can use this period to judge if it is good enough for you. If you’re a student, you’d be pleased to know that Amazon Prime Video also provides a Student plan which brings down the Prime subscription rate from $99/year to $59/year. All you need is a .edu email address.