Amazon Prime Video has become one of the most popular streaming services, offering an extensive collection of movies, TV shows, and original content. This comprehensive guide will explore everything you need to know about Amazon Prime Video in 2023 – from pricing and features to content libraries and how it compares with other top streaming platforms.
An Overview of Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is a streaming service included with an Amazon Prime membership. It gives access to thousands of movies and TV shows to watch instantly on smart TVs, mobile devices, Fire TV, Fire tablet, and the web.
Some key things to know about Amazon Prime Video:
Pricing and Plans
- Amazon Prime membership – Prime Video comes bundled with a Prime membership for $14.99 per month or $139 per year. Prime includes free shipping, Prime Music, Prime Reading, and other benefits.
- Prime Video alone – It can also be purchased as a standalone service for $8.99 per month. However, most users find it more cost-effective to get it as part of the Prime bundle.
- Add-on channels – Prime members can access content from additional channels like HBO, Showtime, Starz, and more for an extra monthly fee. Add-ons give you broader content options.
Prime Video is available on most major streaming devices and platforms:
- Smart TVs like Samsung, LG, Sony, Vizio
- Mobile devices – iOS, Android
- Game consoles – PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
- Streaming boxes – Fire TV Stick, Roku, Chromecast
- Web browsers on laptops and desktops
Prime Video offers these helpful features:
- Multiple profiles – Create up to 6 profiles per account for personalized watchlists and recommendations.
- X-Ray – Get actor, scene, and song info while you watch.
- Downloads – Download titles to mobile devices for offline viewing.
- Parental controls – Set viewing restrictions with Amazon Kids profiles.
- Watch Party – Synchronized group streaming with chat.
The Prime Video Library of Movies and TV Shows
A Prime membership unlocks thousands of titles to stream on-demand. Here’s an overview of the Prime Video content catalog.
The Prime Video movie library includes:
- Recent theatrical releases – Newer movies are available to rent or buy, while some titles are free for Prime members.
- Past blockbusters – Popular hits and award-winning classics from major studios.
- Amazon Originals – Exclusive films produced by Amazon Studios.
- Indie movies – Eclectic selection of independent and foreign cinema.
- Family favorites – Animated kids’ movies and lighthearted comedies.
Overall, the movie selection compares favorably with competitors like Netflix or Hulu. However, it does not match the deeper catalogs of dedicated movie services like Disney+ or HBO Max.
For TV, Prime Video offers:
- Past seasons – Previous seasons of popular shows are available for streaming on-demand.
- Amazon Originals – Critically praised original series like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Jack Ryan, The Boys and The Wheel of Time.
- Exclusive content – Certain shows are only available on Prime Video.
- Classic TV – Iconic older series to binge like Downtown Abbey, Mr. Bean, and Dilbert.
- Children’s TV – Amazon originals and licensed kids’ series.
Compared to Netflix, Prime Video has fewer current hit shows. But its back catalog of shows plus award-winning originals make it very competitive.
Additional Content Categories
Beyond movies and TV, Prime Video also contains:
- Live events – Select live sports, concerts and more through Prime Video channels.
- Free streaming content – Ad-supported movies and shows from IMDb TV, Tubi, Pluto and more.
- Rentals and purchases – The latest movie releases available to rent or buy.
- Bollywood and international – Extensive libraries of Indian, Japanese, Korean and other global cinema.
This diversity of content gives you more to watch, though some comes with an additional cost.
Standout Original Movies and Series
One major incentive to get Prime Video is its collection of original and exclusive content. These are some of the most popular and acclaimed original titles produced by Amazon Studios and available only on Prime Video.
Top Original Movies
- Manchester by the Sea – Oscar-winning drama starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams.
- The Big Sick – Romantic comedy produced by Judd Apatow and starring Kumail Nanjiani.
- Brittany Runs a Marathon – Feel-good story about getting in shape and finding yourself.
- One Night in Miami – Fictionalized meeting of Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke.
- The Handmaiden’s Tale – Critically acclaimed dystopian drama based on Margaret Atwood’s novel.
Notable Original Series
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – Award-winning comedy series about a 1950s housewife turned comedian.
- Jack Ryan – Action thriller series starring John Krasinski as Tom Clancy’s CIA analyst hero.
- The Boys – Subversive superhero drama that satirizes the genre.
- The Wheel of Time – Epic fantasy adapted from Robert Jordan’s best-selling novels.
- The Underground Railroad – Historical fiction mini-series directed by Barry Jenkins.
Amazon earns consistent praise for its original prestige films and shows competing with the likes of Netflix, HBO, and Showtime.
How Prime Video Compares to Other Streaming Services
Prime Video has grown into a top streaming option, but how does it compare to the competition? Here is a look at how it stacks up to Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and HBO Max.
Prime Video vs. Netflix
| Prime Video | Netflix |
| Cost – $8.99/mo. standalone or included with Prime | Cost – $9.99+ per month|
|Fewer current hit shows, more back catalog | More acclaimed original series, especially dramas|
|Original movies compete well| Leading service for original films|
|Lacks breadth of international content| Extensive foreign language content|
|Available in 200+ countries|Available in 190+ countries|
Both have extensive libraries and originals worth watching. Netflix has the edge for volume of content, Amazon stands out for movies and prestige titles.
Prime Video vs. Hulu
| Prime Video | Hulu |
|Included with Prime| $6.99/month with ads, $12.99 no ads|
|Original and exclusive content| Stream shows day after airing|
|4K and HDR only on select titles| Live TV channels with upgraded plans |
|Limited selection of recently aired shows| Add-ons like HBO Max available |
Hulu focuses on next-day streaming of current shows while Prime Video excels in exclusives. Both offer add-ons to customize your streaming.
Prime Video vs. Disney+
| Prime Video | Disney+ |
| Broader selection, less family-focused | Costs $7.99 per month |
| Massive movie catalog, including indies | Just Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, and other brands |
| Emphasis on original prestige series | Light on original series so far |
| Available globally | Available in most major countries|
Disney+ streams all Disney content in one place while Prime Video offers diverse mix of shows and movies.
Prime Video vs. HBO Max
| Prime Video | HBO Max |
| Included with Prime | $9.99/month without ads, $14.99 with ads |
| Emphasis on original series | Home to HBO series old and new |
| Movie library still building | Massive collection of blockbuster movies |
| Limited brand recognition | Strong HBO brand with iconic shows |
HBO Max has wider name recognition and deeper vault of classic shows. But Prime Video holds its own with acclaimed original series.
Pros and Cons of Amazon Prime Video
Prime Video deserves its popularity, but is it the right streaming service for you? Here are some key advantages and disadvantages to consider.
- Bundled value – Included with Prime makes it very affordable
- Prestige originals – Multiple award-winning exclusive series
- New theaters releases – Latest movies available to rent or buy
- X-Ray perks – Get extra actor, scene and song info as you watch
- Available globally – Use Prime Video in over 200 countries and territories
- Confusing add-ons – Extra fees for some content
- Limited new shows – Small selection of current hit series
- Web interface – Not as intuitive to browse as competitors
- No offline downloads – For most content on mobile apps
- 4K and HDR limited – Only available for some titles
On balance, Prime Video’s upsides make it worth considering – especially if you already have a Prime membership. But it also has aspects that lag behind competitors. Evaluate your specific needs to decide if it’s the right service for you.
Getting the Most Out of Your Prime Video Experience
Once signed up, what’s the best way to take advantage of everything Prime Video offers? Follow these tips for the optimal viewing experience.
Use Multiple Profiles
Set up a personal profile for each member of your household. It only takes a minute and allows personalized watchlists, viewing history, and recommendations for up to 6 people per account. Makes it easy to keep track of what you want to watch.
Download Movies and Shows
If you frequently travel or commute via subway, download movies and shows to your mobile device for offline viewing. Downloads let you watch even without an internet connection.
Explore Original Content
Don’t just stick to familiar shows and movies. Amazon invests heavily in acclaimed original content, so browse the Prime Video originals section and give some a try based on your interests.
Check Out the Free Sections
See what’s available at no extra cost. Filter by “Included with Prime” or check the free movies and shows from IMDb TV, Tubi or other providers. Lots to watch gratis.
Use X-Ray as You Watch
X-Ray provides cool behind-the-scenes trivia, actor bios, music, and more while you stream. Turn it on in the player controls for an enhanced viewing experience.
Set Up Watch Party
Have long distance friends or family? Start a synchronized Watch Party so you can stream together while voice or text chatting through the app. A fun way to connect and discuss shows.
Examining the Pros and Cons of an Amazon Prime Membership
Since Prime Video comes bundled with an Amazon Prime membership, it’s important to weigh the overall pros and cons of Prime to determine if it’s worth the $139 annual fee.
- Free 2-day shipping – On most Amazon purchases with no order minimum
- Prime Video – Extensive on-demand movies, shows, and originals
- Photo storage – Unlimited full-resolution photo backup
- Music streaming – 2 million songs free for members
- Prime Reading – Rotating selection of free ebooks and magazines
- Other perks – Prime gaming, discounts at Whole Foods, early deals, and more
- Price increase – Membership fee went up to $139 in 2022
- Too many add-ons – Extra fees to access some movies, channels, etc.
- Having to wait – Popular items sometimes out of stock or delayed
- Hard to cancel – Cancelling not clearly explained or accessible
- Promotes overspending – “Free” 2-day shipping removes shopping friction
On the whole, Prime provides exceptional value if you use the shipping and streaming benefits regularly. But consider your actual needs before committing to the yearly cost.
Frequently Asked Questions About Amazon Prime Video
Considering Prime? Still have some questions? Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions.
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Does Amazon Prime Video have ads?
No. All movies and shows on Amazon Prime Video stream commercial-free. There are also no ads on the Prime Video interface. However, some content you access for free from IMDB TV or other channels will contain ads.
Can you watch Prime Video on multiple devices?
Yes. A single Prime Video account supports streaming on up to 3 devices simultaneously. You can register compatible smart TVs, streaming sticks, gaming consoles, phones, tablets and computers to the same account.
How often is Prime Video content updated?
New content is added to Prime Video regularly. Major title drops happen at the beginning of each month. But individual movies and shows get added daily. Use the “Newly Added” section to see the latest.
Does Prime Video have a better selection than Netflix?
The libraries are comparable in size, but Netflix likely edges out Prime Video in terms of buzzy original shows. However, Prime competes well on movie selection and prestige films and series. It comes down to personal taste.
Can you watch Prime Video on a plane?
Yes, you can download movies and shows to tablets or phones to watch in airplane mode. Downloads expire after a certain period. You cannot stream Prime content directly in flight unless the plane offers in-flight WiFi.
Is Amazon Prime worth it for just Prime Video?
At $8.99 per month, Prime Video alone may not be worth it for some customers compared to cheaper services like Disney+ or ad-supported Hulu. But as part of the whole Prime bundle, the streaming perk plus others like free shipping for $14.99 per month make it very worthwhile for frequent Amazon shoppers.
The Bottom Line on Amazon Prime Video
With an unbeatable combination of prestige originals, exclusive content, new theatrical releases, and an extensive back catalog of movies and shows, Prime Video stands as a top-tier streaming service and a compelling reason to join Amazon Prime.
The value only increases when you factor in all the additional Prime perks like free shipping. While it may not beat competitors in every area, the breadth and quality of entertainment make Prime Video impossible to ignore in today’s streaming landscape.
Hopefully this guide provided answers to help you determine if Amazon Prime Video is worth your time and money in 2023. Happy streaming!