Amazon Prime Video represents outstanding value, especially when purchased as part of a wider Prime subscription
- Cheaper than rivals
- Impressive catalogue of content
- Lets you download content offline
- Interface includes titles you need to rent or buy
Update: As of 14 December 2020, Now TV subscribers will be able to access the Sky-owned streaming service via Amazon Fire TV devices, including the Fire TV Stick 4K and Fire TV Stick Lite. On the other hand, Sky has also made Amazon Prime Video available (to Amazon Prime customers) on Now TV devices, and as an app supported by the Sky Q streaming platform.
Our original Amazon Prime Video review continues below.
The best thing about Amazon Prime Video is that it’s free for all Amazon Prime customers. That is to say, if you already pay Amazon £79 a year or £7.99 a month for its unlimited one-day delivery service, then you already have access to the video streaming library.
Compared to Netflix and Disney Plus, then – which are only a streaming platforms – paying a monthly or yearly fee to Amazon grants you plenty more perks – there’s also unlimited music streaming and unlimited photo storage, to name two more. That might sound as though you can chalk off a win for Amazon right away, but how does its streaming service stack up against its rivals in terms of content, picture quality and accessibility?
READ NEXT: What you get with Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime Video review: Prices and packages
As well as being a Prime benefit, anyone can buy a subscription to Amazon Prime Video individually (forgoing the other perks of Prime membership) for only £5.99 a month. Regardless of which plan you choose, there’s no difference in content or streaming quality, or the number of devices that you can watch on simultaneously and both plans come with a 30-day free trial which is more than enough time to test whether the service is right for you.
Full Prime membership costs £79 a year or £7.99 a month, although if you’re a student, this fee is halved. That means that students get free next-day delivery and all the usual perks for a mere £39 a year or £3.99 a month. Students get an even sweeter deal on the trial-period, because Prime Student comes with a generous 6-month free trial before any money is withdrawn from your bank account.
To elaborate on streaming quality, the majority of TV shows and films on Prime Video are available in HD, and select content is also available to watch in both UHD and HDR. Naturally, you can download Prime video apps for both Android and iOS devices. Regardless of what you’re watching on, you’re limited to using three devices simultaneously and can watch the same title on no more than two screens simultaneously. Like Netflix, content on Amazon Prime Video is available to download, which is a great way to save your mobile data when travelling.
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Amazon Prime Video review: Content
Prime Video is significantly younger than Netflix, and was only introduced as a perk for Prime subscribers in 2014, but that doesn’t mean the service is inferior to its rival. Far from it, in fact – just like Netflix, the company has invested heavily in developing its own in-house productions, and although its catalogue isn’t quite so extensive, you can certainly make a case that it matches the popular streaming juggernaut when it comes to quality.
In the recent past, Amazon Prime Video has an enviable catalogue of TV series that cater to a wide variety of tastes, from Good Omens and Carnival Row to The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, Jack Ryan and The Grand Tour. There was a time where Netflix was the clear front-runner in the race for original content, but Amazon Prime Video has closed that gap very quickly, even in terms of regional content. What content you prefer purely comes down to preference, though, at the end of the day.
There’s not a huge amount in the way of British TV, but Prime Video does at least have a good range of both Hollywood and independent films. Indeed, you could definitely make a case that Prime Video is stronger than Netflix in this department, with current big-name films available to stream on the platform including Hacksaw Ridge, The Hunger Games, The Notebook and Justice League.
Like other platforms, any of Amazon Prime’s licensed content may come and go, so there’s no guarantee any of these series will still be available to stream several months down the line. Having said that, it should give you an idea of the calibre of programming Amazon Prime Video has to offer.
A slight frustrating we have with the interface is that it includes titles you need to rent or buy and there’s no way to turn this off. This often leads to confusion when you suddenly find a film or TV show that you’ve been longing to watch only to be taken to a page asking you to pay for it. We get it; it’s a great way to for Amazon to make money, but it dampens the user experience slightly.
In the last few years, Amazon Prime Video has also become the official broadcast partner for different sporting leagues around the world. Last year, for example, it was the only place you could watch 20 Premier League games live in December in a strategic move that saw it further enhance its credibility and customer base with great 4K coverage and live stats that even the UK national Premier League broadcaster doesn’t provide by default.
It also broadcasts several international tennis tournaments around the world. If it continues to broadcast live sporting events, it could set itself apart from the like of Netflix and Disney Plus and run away with the crown of the best-undisputed streaming services, given how expensive sports streaming services are in some countries.
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Amazon Prime Video review: Competition
Netflix is Prime Video’s biggest rival not only in terms of popularity, but also with the vast catalogue of content it offers. The streaming platform has three different plans to choose from. For £5.99, the Basic plan lets you stream in standard-definition on one screen at a time. If you want Full HD-quality streams and the option to watch on two screens simultaneously, you’ll need to front up £8.99 a month for the Standard plan. Alternatively, if you want to make the most of your brand new 4K TV, the Premium £11.99-a-month plan unlocks UHD and HDR streams (both HDR10 and Dolby Vision are now supported) and the ability to watch on up to four screens simultaneously.
The new kid on the block is Disney Plus. For £60/year, you can watch almost every hit from the likes of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic on a range of devices. The service lets you watch simultaneously on four devices at the same time and you can download its entire catalogue to watch offline, provided your device has the storage space to accommodate it. Despite its enticing price range and promising features, how the House of Mouse fares against the more established Netflix and Amazon Prime in the UK remains to be seen.
READ NEXT: Everything available on Disney Plus UK
The other big player in the UK is Now TV. Its Entertainment Pass includes premium channels such as Sky Atlantic and Comedy Central as well as plenty of TV box sets for £8.99 a month. With Now TV, you can stream on four devices, but only two at the same time and at a maximum resolution of 720p, unless you get Now TV Boost, which costs an additional £3/month.
The Entertainment Pass gives you access to an impressive range of top-quality programming, from Game of Thrones to Curb Your Enthusiasm, but most series are only available to stream for a set period of time. For this reason, it’s worth checking what’s currently available (and how long for) before you sign up.
Crucially, the Entertainment Pass doesn’t give you access to films. To unlock access to all 11 Sky Cinema channels as well as more than 1,000 movies on demand, you need to buy a Now TV Sky Cinema Pass, which is £11.99 a month. Paying £21 a month for the Now TV Entertainment and a Sky Cinema Pass is a lot to fork out but, if you’re happy to pay upfront, Now TV usually offers some good bundle discounts.
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Amazon Prime Video review: Verdict
Amazon Prime Video represents outstanding value for money when purchased as part of an Amazon Prime subscription. For only £80 a year (or £7.99 a month), you not only get free 1-day delivery on all Amazon products, but you also unlock the option to stream and download a superb range of TV and films on multiple devices (not to mention the other perks). As ever, though, content is king, so whether you want to subscribe to Prime Video will come down to whether there’s something you want to watch in its ever-growing catalogue of content.