Amazon Prime Instant Video review
|Review: January 2016|
In a nutshell: Amazon Prime Instant Video is our favourite streaming service. For a modest annual fee, you get access to a wide range of films and TV series, including top-quality original content from Amazon. The ability to download video to a phone or tablet is a major benefit, as is the availability of 4K and even HDR video at no extra cost.
In the past couple of years, the streaming of movies, TV series, and other premium video content has become mainstream. The widespread adoption of Smart TV and connected devices, smartphones and tablets, plus fast broadband makes it a compelling proposition. In the UK, the main choice is between Netflix and Amazon, and at present, Amazon looks like the best option to us.
Unlike Netflix, which offers a choice of monthly subscription options, with Amazon you buy a year's subscription to Amazon Prime, and that gives you full access to Prime content. For about the price of Netflix's mid-range option, an Amazon Prime subscription gives you access to HD, 4K, and even HDR versions of its Prime instant video content, plus unlimited free next-day delivery on products ordered through Amazon, plus Prime Music streaming, plus the Kindle lending library. You really do get a ton of stuff for your money.
You do have to pay for a full year up-front, which currently costs £79, but you can get a free trial before you commit yourself.
One other thing to note is that not all of Amazon's Instant Video content is free with Prime. Some is premium content that you have to pay extra for. But even if you stick with Prime content, the choice is comparable with Netflix.
Devices and portability
Amazon Instant Video is available on a Smart TV, or via PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U, and some Blu-ray players. You can also watch it on PC/Mac, plus iOS, Android and Fire smartphones and tablets, and iPod Touch - but not Windows Phone devices.
An internet connection with a minimum of 5Mbps is recommended for HD content, and 15Mbps is recommended for 4K streaming.
One key advantage that Amazon has over Netflix is that you can download content to a phone or tablet for offline viewing.
Choice of programmes
Amazon offers a good choice of movies and TV series. The latest movies are often released as premium content before becoming free with Prime. At the time of writing this review (January 2016), films like Minions (2015) and Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015) are available to buy or rent, and popular Prime movies include Paddington (2014) and Divergent (2014). So popular movies tend to appear on Prime after a year.
Amazon has a good choice of films, as well as TV series, including its own original content, such as The Man in the High Castle, Hand of God and Transparent. It also famously signed up the Top Gear presenters to make its own exclusive car show, which will be available on Prime in 2016.
We much prefer the Amazon Video user interface to Netflix. Instead of scrolling through endless lists, you can quickly jump to genres, view popular or top-rated content, or enter searches. You also get suggestions based on what you've watched recently.
Amazon Prime Instant Video is our favourite streaming service. It costs about the same as Netflix's mid-range offer, although you have to pay annually instead of monthly. But as well as video streaming, Amazon Prime membership bundles in lots of other benefits too.
Amazon also gives you access to HD, or 4K where available, without having to pay extra, and the ability to download content for offline viewing on a phone or tablet is a major benefit.
When it comes to content, Amazon's choice is similar to Netflix's, although finding stuff to watch is easier on Amazon, thanks to the user interface. Both Amazon and Netflix include very high quality original series.
You can try out Amazon Prime for free, so you have nothing to lose. Perhaps the best way to choose between Netflix and Amazon is to try both and decide. Either way, streaming is the way forward, and is by far the best way to watch films and TV series without adverts or clutter.
Amazon Prime Instant Video features include:
- Free one month trial
- Included with Amazon Prime subscription
- Amazon original series
- Available via Smart TV, Blu-ray players, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, PlayStation, Xbox & Wii consoles
- Also watch on PC/Mac computers, Android, iOS & Fire smartphones and tablets
Sorry - questions and comments on this page are now closed.
I have no amazon icon on my lg 4k smart tv.
Asked by sue
on 1st Aug 2016
Can i watch it through a yamaha receiver, it does have a hdmi port at the front, so can i use that with down loading onto my tablet first. Thanks.
Can this be viewed through a humax freesat freetime box?
Asked by Craig
on 12th Jun 2016
Reply by S21
on 12th Jun 2016
As far as we know, Humax boxes don't have an Amazon Instant Video app installed.
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