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Amazon Prime Instant

Est. $100 per year
Reviewed
March 2014
by ConsumerSearch
Amazon Prime Instant

Pros
  • Part of Amazon Prime, which includes free two-day shipping for Amazon.com purchases
  • Original programming
Cons
  • Smaller movie and TV program library than Netflix
  • Clunky interface

Bottom line

Although its streaming movie and streaming TV lineup is dwarfed by Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant has some powerful pluses, including perks like free two-day shipping for many Amazon.com purchases. That makes it a bargain for heavy Amazon.com shoppers, but other movie streaming services offer more content for less money

Movie library

Limited selection. While the streaming movie selection at Amazon Prime Instant looks a lot like the one you'll find at Netflix , the downside is that there is simply less of it. Aside from some new-ish Hollywood movies via a deal with the Epix cable channel, you'll again find the best movies to be older titles. Don't confuse Amazon Prime Instant with Amazon Instant; the latter is an on-demand streaming service that has lots more content and new movies. However, you'll pay separately for each streaming movie, so costs can pile up.

TV library

Less to love. The TV library is strong on past-season TV programs, but not quite as strong as Netflix. You will find some exclusives not found on Netflix, however, notably children's programming from Nickelodeon. Deals with studios such as Sony and Fox have also granted Amazon exclusive access to certain TV shows such as FX's "Justified" and "The Americans," with past episodes being added to Amazon Prime Instant. The streaming service is also trying its hand at original programming, with users getting free access to pilot episodes and the ability to vote for which ones will be made into full series.

Hardware support

Broad support. Amazon Prime Instant isn't supported on as many devices as Netflix, but it's still available on a number of platforms. Those include many smart TVs and Blu-ray players; current- and previous-generation video game consoles from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo; and set-top boxes from Roku and others, but not Apple TV.

Our Sources

1. TomsGuide.com

In this face-off, Netflix is declared a clear winner, but Amazon Prime Instant is called a "worthy contender." Elsewhere on the site, Amazon Prime Instant is included in a list of the 10 best online streaming services.

Review: Netflix vs. Amazon Prime Instant Video: Face-Off, Marshall Honorof, Nov. 11, 2013

2. DigitalTrends.com

This review pits Amazon Prime Instant against the other best-known subscription streaming services: Netflix and Hulu Plus. While other services prevail in other categories, Amazon Instant Prime is a clear winner in terms of price thanks to a lower subscription cost and free two-day shipping. This review was written prior to a March 2014 price increase for Amazon Prime, however.

Review: Netflix Instant vs. Hulu Plus vs. Amazon Instant Video, Mike Flacy, Mar. 9, 2013

3. ShellyPalmer.com

New York City TV tech expert Shelly Palmer says that while Amazon Prime Instant is a pretty good source for streaming movies and streaming TV shows, the best reason to subscribe might be the program's extra perks like free two-day shipping on Amazon.com purchases. "Those sort of features are truly and uniquely Amazon, so if you want access to a pretty good streaming library but also want your online shopping dollar to go further, Amazon Prime may be for you," he says.

Review: The Best Streaming Services, Shelly Palmer, Apr. 28, 2013

4. TopTenReviews.com

TopTenReviews.com places Amazon Prime Instant in second place in its current list of top TV streaming sites. Part of the review touches on the pay-per-view features and content of Amazon Instant, as well. Content, features and customer support help it earn the site's Silver Award.

Review: Amazon Prime Instant Video, Kent Dunn, Not dated

Movie Streaming Runners Up:

Amazon Prime Instant Est. $100 per year

4 picks including: DigitalTrends.com, TopTenReviews.com…

M-Go Est. $1.99 and up per video

1 pick by top review sites.

Aereo Est. $8 per month and up

1 pick by top review sites.

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