Amazon Prime Video Review 2020: A Netflix-Rivalling Streaming Service

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8.5
Our Rating Excellent
Amazon Prime Video PROS
  • Great device support
  • Allows you to rent and buy movies that aren't available for free
  • High-quality originals and great third-party shows and movies
  • Comes with great Amazon Prime benefits
Amazon Prime Video CONS
  • Overall number of titles is lower than Hulu, Netflix
  • UI can be confusing
  • Search function leaves something to be desired
  • Pre-roll ads for Amazon Original shows can get old when binge-watching

What Is Amazon Prime Video?

Amazon Prime Video was first introduced in 2006 as Amazon Unbox. As it grew, it was renamed Amazon Instant Video on Demand. Then, with the widespread introduction of Amazon Prime, it got its current name.

Today, Amazon Prime Video is now one of the best on-demand streaming services out there, and it’s widely considered one of the “Big 3” VOD services next to Netflix and Hulu. It includes a huge variety of great on-demand content, including a number of highly-regarded Amazon Original shows, and also has a large library of movies which can be bought or rented for an additional fee.

If you’re looking for plenty of on-demand shows and movies, critically-acclaimed original shows, and a great user experience, you should definitely consider Amazon Prime Video. 

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Amazon Prime Video 60-Second Summary

amazon prime video review cord-cutting hulu netflix alternatives
Source: Amazon

Amazon Prime Video has great device support, plenty of great original shows and movies, and some great additional benefits – like free 2-day shipping with Amazon Prime, access to the Kindle Unlimited library, and more. 

However, its user interface does leave something to be desired. It can sometimes be hard to find the content you’re looking for. 

Additionally, movies that cost an additional fee to rent or buy are shown next to movies and shows which are free to stream with Prime Video. This means you may accidentally buy or rent a movie when you don’t intend to – which is definitely not a good thing for families with children! 

Overall, though, Amazon Prime Video offers great value for the money, especially if you are also frequent Amazon Shopper, or read a lot of books on your Kindle. 

Amazon Prime Video Pros and Cons

Wondering what Amazon Prime Video has to offer? Let’s take a brief look at a few of the pros and cons of this streaming service now.

Pros

  • Large library of on-demand content – Amazon Prime Video has a lot of top shows and movies that you won’t find on any other streaming service, as well as a host of great Amazon Originals like Man In The High Castle and Transparent
  • Watch on up to 3 devices at once – You can watch on up to 3 devices at once, so it’s easy to share your subscription with family members or housemates.
  • Subscribe to some live channels like HBO, Cinemax & more – For an additional fee, Amazon Prime Video Channels lets you subscribe to a handful of select channels and watch live. 
  • Reasonable cost – Amazon Prime Video starts at just $8.99/month, which is much cheaper than the comparable Netflix Standard plan, which costs $12.99/month
  • Can buy on-demand movies and shows – This is a feature that neither Hulu or Netflix have. Amazon Prime Video has a ton of movies and shows you can rent or buy to watch on-demand. 

Cons

  • Poor interface – Compared to the streamlined Netflix or Hulu interface, Amazon Prime Video falls short.
  • Hard to find what you’re looking for – The Amazon Prime Video search feature leaves something to be desired, and it can sometimes be hard to find a particular show or movie
  • Laughable Alexa support – Amazon Prime Video supports Alexa search on Amazon Fire TV and some mobile devices… but in our testing, it never worked as intended, even for simple queries. 
  • Pre-roll ads for Amazon content – Amazon Prime Video does not show ads on its on-demand content… except for pre-roll ads for other Amazon Prime Video shows. Honestly, this may not be a huge deal for some people, but it gets annoying, especially when the services advertises an “ad-free” experience

Amazon Prime Video Plans and Pricing

watch amazon prime video review cable alternatives
Source: Amazon

There are two primary options for Amazon Prime Video plans and pricing, as follows.

Amazon Prime Video
30-Day Free Trial
$8.99 / month

24,000+ titles

Award-winning content

2 simultaneous stream
SIGN UP

Prime Video – $8.99/month

The “Prime Video” subscription is a pretty recent addition to Amazon Prime, and was recently spun out to allow subscribers to get ONLY Amazon Prime Video. This subscription tier contains only Prime Video, and no access to any other benefits from Amazon Prime. 

If you’re not a big Amazon shopper but still want to access its unique library of originals and on-demand content, it’s a good choice.

Note, however, that you cannot get Amazon Prime Video Channels with this subscription. YOu need to have a full Amazon Prime account to watch live content from channels like Cinemax, HBO, Starz and Showtime.

Amazon Prime – $12.99/month or $119/year

This subscription includes Prime Video as well as all other Prime benefits like 1-2 day shipping from Amazon.com, Kindle Unlimited, photo storage with Amazon Photos, and more than 2 million ad-free tracks of music with Amazon Music.

For most folks, an Amazon Prime subscription makes more sense than subscribing to Amazon Prime Video alone. If you choose a yearly subscription, you’ll pay only about $9.91 per month. In our opinion, an extra dollar per month is worth the additional perks you get from Amazon Prime.

This tier also lets you add Amazon Prime Video Channels like CBS All Access, Showtime, MLB.TV and more. In addition, those who are on EBT/Medicaid can subscribe to this plan for $5.99/month. If you’re a student, you can get Amazon Prime for $6.49/month or $59/year. 

Amazon Prime Video Content Library

amazon prime video review
Source: Amazon

The Amazon Prime Video content library is absolutely top-notch. For the price of your subscription, you will be able to watch tens of thousands of titles, including blockbuster movies, top TV shows, and a growing library of critically-acclaimed Amazon Originals.

The Amazon Originals, in particular, are a high point. Amazon has a ton of critically-acclaimed original shows like Transparent, Good Omens, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Sneaky Pete, Bosch, and The Grand Tour, just to name a few. It also recently saved cult sci-fi hit The Expanse and gave it a fourth season as an Amazon Original. A Lord of The Rings TV show is also in production from Amazon. 

While the number of Amazon Originals is much lower than a competitor like Netflix, the consistency and quality of Amazon Originals is incredible. You don’t just get original content, though. The Prime Video library of third-party content is equally superb.

HBO, for example, provides Amazon Prime Video with titles like Deadwood, Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, Veep, and Boardwalk Empire, just to name a few. A few other top shows available on the network include Mr. Robot, The X-Files, and Hannibal, just to name a few.

As far as movies go, Amazon Prime Video is also excellent. It’s got plenty of newly-released blockbusters as well as old classics. A few top tiles include Rush Hour, Hereditary, Hot Tub Time Machine, True Grit, The Silence of the Lambs and Logan Lucky, just to name a few. 

There are also thousands of movies and shows that are not included in your Prime Video subscription, but can be rented or purchased for a fee. 

Amazon Prime Video Stream Quality 

Amazon prime video review
Source: Amazon Prime Video

In our testing, we found that Amazon Prime Video had great stream quality. We’ve tested the service on an Android phone, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, and on a Mac and PC using Chrome.

In all cases, the streaming quality was crystal-clear, with minimal buffering except at the very beginning of accessing a piece of content. Quality drops were rare, though more common when we moved farther away from our modem and router.

In addition, quite a few Amazon Prime Video titles like Good Omens, Bosch, The Big Sick, and The Lost City of Z are available in 4K, which provides an even better viewing experience. HDR is also available on a select few titles. Naturally, you’ll need a streaming device like the Amazon Fire Stick 4K and a 4K/HDR compatible TV to view these titles in this format. 

Amazon Prime Video Device Support

amazon prime video review
Source: Amazon

Amazon Prime Video has great device support. You can watch it on iOS and Android, Chromecast, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku, web browsers, and quite a few smart TVs and Blu-Ray players from various manufacturers like Sony, Vizio and Samsung. 

Amazon Prime Video on Roku

Amazon Prime Video is available on the Roku Channel Store here. It supports 4K content, and is easy to use and install. The Amazon Prime Video channel supports most Roku devices, and has an average review of 3.6 stars. 

Amazon Prime Video on Fire TV Stick

As you might expect, Amazon Prime Video is available on the Amazon Fire TV Stick and other Amazon Fire devices. It comes pre-installed, so there’s no need to download an additional app.It’s pretty easy to use, though it can sometimes be a bit confusing, and the search features leave something to be desired.

Amazon Prime Video on Apple TV

You can download Amazon Prime Video for the Apple TV here. It seems that Amazon has knocked the ball out of the park with this one. This app has more than 1.3 million reviews, but maintains a 4.8 average rating, which is extremely high for a VOD app. 

Amazon Prime Video on iPhones and iPads

You can use this link to download Amazon Prime Video for iPhones and iPads. Using the mobile app, you’ll be able to save videos for offline viewing, use Chromecast, and use the tvOS app to control your Apple TV directly from your iPhone or iPad. 

Amazon Prime Video on Android Phones and Tablets

You can download Amazon Prime Video for Android phones and tablets at this link.The app has nearly 1 million reviews and maintains a 4.4 star rating, which is pretty good. It allows you to download videos for offline viewing, use Chromecast, buy and rent videos and more all on the go. Most negative reviews mention occasional playback issues, such as difficulties pausing and resuming shows from the proper point at a later time.

Amazon Prime Video Offline Viewing

amazon prime video review offline viewing
Source: App Store

Does Amazon Prime Video have offline viewing? Yes. Amazon Prime Video allows you to download shows for offline viewing and view them without an internet connection, which is great if you are traveling or live somewhere with spotty internet service.

Currently, this feature is supported on both iOS and Android devices. When you view the details page for a particular show or movie that supports offline viewing, you can simply click the download icon to add it to your download queue. Then, you can watch it whenever you want. It’s easy to manage your downloads and delete them after you watch, too, which helps you save space on your device.

Amazon Prime Video Customer Support

Amazon Prime Video has great customer support. First, the Amazon Prime Video knowledge base is extremely helpful, and it goes over most of the common issues that you may encounter while using Amazon Prime Video. 

In addition, you can contact Amazon Prime Video customer support via a text chat window and get 24/7 answers to any questions you may have. The company also offers you the ability to receive a phone call and get help, and most customers get a response within 2 minutes. You can learn more about Amazon Prime Video customer support here.

How to Cancel Amazon Prime Video

Canceling Amazon Prime Video couldn’t be easier. There are no barriers to the cancellation process, and you can cancel your account in just under a minute. First, just head to your account at Amazon.com and sign in. Then, click “Accounts and Lists” and choose “Your Prime Membership” as you can see below.

amazon prime video review
Source: Amazon

Then, just scroll to the bottom-left of the next screen. There’s a button which says “End Membership and Benefits.” Click it to continue and cancel your membership.

Alternatively, just click this link, and select “End Membership” to cancel in just a single click. You don’t have to talk to any customer service representatives or fill out any forms – it’s quick and easy to cancel Amazon Prime. 

Amazon Prime Video Refund Policy

You cannot get a refund for your Amazon Prime or Amazon Prime Video subscription. If you choose to cancel, your service will simply end after the end of your current subscription term. You will not get any money back.

However, Amazon does have a refund policy for accidental purchases of Amazon Prime Video products. As we mentioned above, Amazon Prime Video does allow you to purchase and rent movies that are not included in your subscription.

If you accidentally buy or rent a movie you didn’t want, and you have not attempted to download or watch it, you can get a refund within 48 hours of the purchase. Take a look at this page for more information. 

Final Comments

amazon prime video review is it right for you
Source: Amazon

Amazon Prime Video may not have quite as much content as Netflix or Hulu, but its Originals are all excellent, and it has a ton of movies and TV shows that you won’t find anywhere else. 

It also has great device support, support for 4K and HDR viewing, and provided us with a seamless viewing experience during our testing on multiple devices. 

Not only that, but Amazon Prime provides a ton of benefits beyond Prime Video, like free 2-day shipping on your orders. If you’ve been thinking about getting Amazon Prime anyway, Prime Video is just icing on the cake.

Even if you just choose to subscribe to Amazon Prime Video alone, its $8.99/month fee is on par with Netflix and Hulu. No matter how you slice it, Prime Video is a really great service for cord-cutters. Beyond a few quibbles with its UI and search functions, we have no complaints – so give it a try for yourself, and see if it’s right for you. 

Eric Liston is a freelance writer and tech enthusiast based in Ohio, specializing in internet security, cord-cutting, and more.
Final Verdict
8.5
Our Rating Excellent