Amazon Prime vs. Netflix: Who Is King of Streaming?

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By far the most popular and versatile online streaming platforms in the world, Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video both offer immense catalogs of content at prices that make traditional cable TV look like a colossal waste of cash. If you’re in the market for the best streaming platform to enable your cord-cutting, this Amazon Prime vs. Netflix comparison help you choose the one that’s right for you.

Content Offerings

Amazon Prime Instant Video, Transparent

Amazon Prime Instant Video, Transparent

Both Amazon Prime Instant Video and Netflix have signed deals with major movie distribution companies. These deals make it possible for each to showcase vast libraries of movies and TV shows, often exclusively. Netflix, the vanguard of online video streaming, was in the game for years before Amazon decided to dive into the market – but in a relatively short time, Amazon has made gains that continue to challenge Netflix’s dominance in the home entertainment realm.

For a starting price of $7.99 per month, Netflix gets subscribers unlimited streaming to around 10,000 titles. This includes movies and TV shows. In comparison, an Amazon Prime membership costs $99 per year (discounted to $50 per year for students), which averages out to $8.25 per month. Amazon Prime claims over 15,000 movies and 1,000 TV shows. Both offer original programming (Orange is the New Black is exclusive to Netflix; Transparent is exclusive to Amazon), but Amazon Prime holds an edge over Netflix for its collection of newer movies and currently broadcasting shows. The catch here is that most of this new Amazon content isn’t free. The typical cost of a single TV episode is $2.99 or around $25 for an entire season, which users have to pay in addition to their yearly subscription.


Netflix on Roku

Netflix on Roku

The list of devices on which viewing for both Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video can take place is extensive. Netflix is supported by a broad range of devices including smart TVs, game consoles, set-top boxes, streaming media players, mobile devices, computers and Blu-ray players. Netflix has become so ubiquitous, in fact, that many Blu-ray players even include a shortcut on their remote control to launch the app directly without having to navigate through the menu screen. Amazon Prime Instant Video is likewise compatible with many of the same devices and platforms. Amazon Fire phone users get the added perk of being able to download offline video content.

There are freely downloadable apps for Android and iOS devices for both services. Netflix wins the mobile platform accessibility contest, however, due to the fact there are fewer involved steps. To install the Amazon Prime Instant Video app on an Android device, a user has to get it from the Amazon Appstore, and then it also requires the user enable non-Google Play app installations in the Android settings. Meanwhile, iOS mobile users can only stream Amazon Prime content when connected via Wi-Fi.

Ease of Use

Amazon Prime Instant Video on a mobile device

Amazon Prime Instant Video on mobile

While neither platform is difficult to use, there is a minor difference that positions Netflix slightly above Amazon Prime Instant Video in the ease of use category. Because of the fact that all Netflix content is included in the cost of membership, there are no determinations to be made as to what’s free and what’s not. Anything that’s advertised can be viewed at no additional expense. The Amazon Prime Instant Video platform, on the other hand, also lists paid content in search results and therefore requires an additional step to filter by free content.

Both services offer the ability to earmark content for later viewing, in addition to rating previously viewed content to create better user recommendations. Both also have settings to enable parental controls, but only Netflix offers the ability to create individual password protected profiles that save individual user preferences.

What Else?

With literally thousands of titles at your fingertips, often the decision of which movie or TV show to watch can be a difficult one. Amazon Prime Instant Video simplifies the hunt by providing something that Netflix doesn’t – trailers, which can be viewed from the title’s listing page. A yearly subscription to Amazon Prime also brings free two-day shipping for all physical purchases ordered from Amazon fulfillment centers, unlimited photo cloud storage, Prime music streaming, and access to the Kindle lending library.


The Amazon Prime vs. Netflix debate is pretty much a draw in terms of quantity of content and performance. Each service comes with its own perks. At the moment, Netflix offers a far greater choice with respect to its library of exclusive original programming – but for the subscriber who wants to take advantage of bonus benefits, like the aforementioned two-day shipping and streaming music, Amazon Prime could be the choice with the greater overall value.



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