Amazon Prime Video Review

8.7

Great

Price 9 out of 10

Interface 7.5 out of 10

Compatibility 9.2 out of 10

New Shows 8 out of 10

Amazon Prime Video is a digital streaming platform which enables customers to rent, buy and watch movies and TV series across a wide range of genres. All you need is an Amazon Prime account, an internet connection and a compatible device. There are many options when it comes to how to stream content with Amazon Prime Video – you can use a Smart TV, Blu-ray player, Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick, set-top boxes such as Roku and TiVo, games consoles like the PlayStation, Xbox or Wii, Android and iOS devices, Fire tablets and Fire phones. Many titles are available to watch for free, but if you want to watch a more recent movie or TV show, you have the option to rent it for a limited time or buy it. All purchases will be stored in the Your Video Library, which can be accessed on any connected device.

Although Prime Video hasn’t been around for as long as Netflix, this doesn’t mean you should expect a less extensive service. Like its main rival, Amazon has placed a large focus on investing in high quality content, as well as its own original productions. Key examples of popular titles include Transparent, Mr Robot, The Tick, The Man in the High Castle and The Grand Tour. If you want the security of knowing a series won’t be subject to rotation due to licensing, you can be sure that all Amazon Originals – like Netflix Originals – are there to stay. Outside of original content, you can expect to stream classics such as The Walking Dead, Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy, plus exclusives like Lucifer, Vikings and Preacher. (These titles may come and go, but plenty of other exciting ones are sure to replace them!)

Pros and cons

Pros

  1. Downloading content for offline viewing. Not all streaming services provide this feature, and so those who want the option of watching their favourite TV shows and movies on the go can use Prime Video to download these titles before leaving the house.
  2. Convenient all-in-one package. Amazon Prime Video is unique in that it offers customers several other perks besides video. Fast shipping, music, groceries and other such services make for a highly effective lifestyle bundle that’s hard to turn down.
  3. Free trial. You can decide if this service is for you by partaking in a free trial for a full month. Cancelling it before this period is over means you won’t be charged for Prime Video.

Cons

  1. Library isn’t as extensive. Of course, the downside with focusing on other areas such as groceries and music – as well as the fact that Amazon wasn’t originally a streaming service; it just branched out to be one – means that you won’t get as many titles as you’d expect from big names such as Disney Plus.
  2. Few titles receive critical acclaim. While services such as Netflix and Disney Plus will be used to putting out content that is widely talked about and shared by consumers, Amazon Prime Video doesn’t have as much luck in this department.
  3. Hefty price tag. Some are put off by the yearly fee for Amazon Prime if they want to pay upfront. At $119 a year for US customers, it’s a sum that isn’t parted with lightly, and some may question if it’s worth it if they can get more titles for a lower price with another streaming service.

Types of content available

There is a wide range of content available to stream with Amazon Prime Video. Available genres include action/adventure, animated, children, comedy, documentary, family, drama, sci-fi/fantasy, teen, sport and thriller. You can watch Prime originals and exclusives such as Lucifer, The Purge or Homecoming. Titles are also arranged according to what you’ve previously watched, recommending related titles you may enjoy. You can view movies that other customers enjoy, so if people are watching Legally Blonde, 22 Jump Street or The Great Gatsby, these will be available to click onto from the Prime Video homepage. Certain movies are also available to rent, so if you want the latest titles on your compatible device, they are available for just a few dollars each. Some titles are only available for a limited time on Prime, so catch them before their expiry date. Recent movie releases can be bought as well, meaning you won’t miss out if you didn’t manage to see them on the big screen. Other categories on the Prime Video homepage include Highest Rated Movies, Rent or Buy bundles, and Prime Video channels such as Hayu.

Top Amazon Prime Video TV shows and movies

Murder on the Orient Express

This movie features an all-star cast, including the likes of Sean Connery, Ingrid Bergman, Vanessa Redgrave and Anthony Perkins. Albert Finney is the star, and he plays Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot. He is called upon to work out which passenger on the train killed a man. The twist is that everyone had a motive for the crime.

Moonlight

This film depicts a young, gay African-American man’s coming of age in Miami. The storyline is an adaptation of a play by Tarell Alvin McCraney and it was directed by Barry Jenkins. Viewers can enjoy a rich set of characters they can get stuck into and intense dialogue.

Mid90s

Jonah Hill directed this movie, making his debut in this type of role. The plot follows a 13 year old named Stevie who spends a summer in LA, torn between a troubled home life and a group of friends who push him to try out new things beyond his limits. It explores coming of age and the skater culture which was prominent in LA at the time.

Lady Bird

Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf star in this movie, which examines the relationship between mother and daughter. Ronan is the Ladybird, a woman attending Catholic school who craves the culture promised by a move to New York. Meanwhile, her mother is overbearing and overprotective.

Death at a Funeral

This is a dark British comedy featuring a ton of dry wit and a star cast. The plot involves a man who has to arrange his father’s funeral without any help from his successful brother. When the day comes, the father’s ex-lover blackmails the family with salacious photos and Daniel’s cousin doses her new boyfriend with LSD, thinking it’s Valium.

The Sopranos

This show has several seasons to its name and over 80 episodes. Viewers watch the life of Tony Soprano, played by James Gandolfini, as he goes through life. The only difference is that his workplace is running a criminal organisation, and there’s an Italian family who are just a bit complicated featuring in his life. Many people regard The Sopranos as essential viewing.

Deadwood

Despite having a handful of seasons, this show has created an impressive name for itself. Commonly regarded as one of TV’s best Western series of all time, get stuck into a world where people speak a unique language which incorporates Shakespeare and various profanities. Many characters are based on real historical figures, and you can expect danger, corruption and a whole lot of family drama.

Curb Your Enthusiasm

HBO fans will know all about this show, as it’s been running for quite a while now. The premise focuses on the details of everyday life, with a hefty dose of cynicism thrown in for good measure. The main character is a fictionalized version of Larry David, and it’s received dozens of Emmy nominations.

Downton Abbey

During the first half of the 2010s, all anyone could talk about was this British series. It focuses on an aristocratic family and their mansion full of servants as they go through major historical events such as the First World War and the sinking of the Titanic. Viewers can expect to see plenty of gossip and scandal from the servants’ quarters.

Luther

With a respectable number of seasons under its belt, Luther is a good pick for those who enjoy cop dramas. With an intense storyline and household names such as Idris Elba and Ruth Wilson, fans can watch the story of a genius detective who has trouble keeping his professional and personal lives separate.

Fleabag

Fleabag is the name given to a woman who experiences life and love in London while also trying to deal with a tragic experience. She rejects anyone who attempts to help her as she tries to recover.

Hannibal

An FBI profiler is recruited to investigate a serial killer. This profiler is supervised by a forensic psychiatrist, who is secretly a cannibalistic serial killer and working to manipulate the FBI from the inside.

Goliath

A disgraced lawyer called Billy McBride takes on a wrongful death lawsuit in order to try and get revenge on the firm he had a part in creating.

The Americans

Two married Russian spies with kids pose as Americans while living in Washington DC so they can spy on the US government.

Bosch

A Los Angeles homicide detective called Harry Bosch looks into the murder of a 13 year old boy while he is also undergoing trial for murder charges.

Six Feet Under

Nathaniel Fisher Senior hands over his funeral home business to his two sons before he passes away. However, this leads to the brothers and the rest of the family fighting about the decision.

Justified

Deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens has an unconventional outlook on justice enforcement. He is reassigned to Lexington, Kentucky – an area he grew up in and thought he had escaped for good.

Modern Family

This rockumentary family sitcom explores three different types of family living in LA, who are all interrelated.

Utopia

A group of people who get to know each other online stumble across a manuscript which predicts the disasters which took place over the previous years. They then find themselves being tracked down by an organisation known as The Network.

Monthly Subscription

$12.99
a month

Yearly Subscription

$119
per year

User Interface

To load up Amazon Prime Video, you will need to be signed into your Amazon Prime Account. From there, you can navigate to the Amazon website and click on Your Prime on the right hand side of the top menu bar. There, you will be able to click on the Prime Video option in the black menu tab. 

The Prime Video menu lets you filter categories into Home, Channels, Rent or Buy and My Stuff. So if you sign up to a channel such as Hayu or Starz through Prime, you will be able to browse the content you can access. The rent or buy feature lets you purchase temporary or permanent access to films and TV shows. My Stuff lets you bookmark TV shows and movies you want to watch later, and you can also navigate to your video library from here. This is where you’ll see content that you’ve purchased.

The Categories tab available as part of the menu has a drop down bar where you can navigate to options such as Movies, TV shows, Included with Prime, Kids & Family, Amazon Originals and Exclusives, Sports, Recently added to Prime, Top-rated, 4K UHD, Featured Deals and Christmas. As you scroll down, there will be tabs which let you watch Amazon Originals and Exclusives, resume watching shows or movies you may have paused, browse popular TV shows, look at Prime Deals where members can rent movies for a lower price, and so on. There may be custom categories such as Christmas movies, recommended on Prime Video Channels, Premier League Highlights and Channels on offer for a lower price during the first month of being subscribed.

How to watch

The Prime Video app can be loaded on a huge range of devices. You can browse titles on Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and LG TVs, or you can use the Xbox One or PS4 if you have a gaming console. Compatibility is available for TalkTalk TV, BT TV and Virgin Media, or you could use Roku, Apple TV or Google Chromecast. Naturally, there is compatibility with the Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV stick and Fire tablets. 

To use Prime Video with a smart TV, games console or streaming media player, you will need to download the app from the App Store if it doesn’t come pre installed on your device. From there, you will need to either enter your account details to sign in or register your device on the Amazon website. This can be done by going to Amazon.com/myTV and entering the code provided.

To use the FireTV or FireTV Stick, connect this device to your TV, then sign in with your Amazon account to register it. From there, press the Home button on your remote to get started. If you want to use Chromecast, go on the Prime Video app and select the Cast icon. Then select the Chromecast device you want to use, bearing in mind that it must be connected to the same WiFi network as your Chromecast. Select a title you want to watch, and it will be shown on the TV the Chromecast is connected to.

What setup do I need?

If you want to view Prime Video streams in the highest quality possible, you will need a broadband connection speed of at least 0.5 Megabits per second. However, the recommended speed for decent quality streams is 1.5 Megabits per second.

If you want SD quality streams, then ensure your connection speed is at least 3.0 Megabits per second. Alternatively, if you would prefer HD quality, make sure your connection meets the 5.0 Megabits per second or higher requirement. Finally, for those who want to stream content in Ultra HD quality, you’ll need a speed of 25 Megabits per second.

How to cancel Amazon Prime Video

To cancel your subscription if you only receive Prime Video:

  1. Navigate to the Account & Settings category.
  2. Go to the Your Membership section under the Your Account tab.
  3. Select End Membership, then confirm this option.

If you receive Prime Video as a benefit of Amazon Prime membership:

  1. Go to the Account & Settings option.
  2. Click on the Your Account tab and select Edit on Amazon when you’re in the Your Membership category.
  3. Select End Membership and benefits or End Trial and Benefits (whichever one applies to you), then confirm this option.

If you signed up to Amazon Prime Video through a third party, such as a mobile phone service, you will need to contact them directly to receive cancellation details.

Plans available

There are a number of subscription plans available with Amazon Prime Video. The main one is being part of Amazon Prime. If you are already an Amazon Prime member, you will receive access to Prime Video through this monthly or yearly plan. Membership costs $12.99 per month or $119 per year. If you are an EBT or Medicaid card holder, you’ll receive Prime benefits at a discounted rate of $5.99 a month for up to four years. 

These are the services included with an Amazon Prime subscription:

  • Prime Video. Stream TV series and movies on your compatible device.
  • Prime Now. Enjoy two-hour delivery at no additional cost.
  • Prime Music. Listen to over 2 million songs at home or on the go.
  • Delivery Benefits. Make the most of unlimited one-day delivery on millions of items. Have your weekly shop delivered in selected areas.
  • Prime Early Access. Enjoy early access to Lighting Deals with Amazon.
  • Prime Photos. Photo storage is available for your essential content.
  • Twitch Prime. Make the most of monthly bonus game content, subscriptions and more.
  • Prime Reading. Unlimited reading, including books, magazines and articles.
  • Prime Wardrobe. Try before you buy with free returns and a broad range of options.

Alternatively, if you are a student you can sign up for Amazon Prime Student membership. This subscription is half the cost of a standard one, with the first six months free. You will need a valid .edu email address – or proof of enrollment in a college or university course – in order to qualify. Once your free six months are up, you will pay either $6.49 a month or $59 a year.

Finally, Amazon Prime Video can be signed up for as a standalone option if you don’t want the other benefits of a Prime membership. You can pay either $8.99 a month or $107.88 a year.

Trials and subscription options

Amazon Prime offers users a free 30 day trial. At this point, you will be able to decide whether or not you want to proceed with a paid subscription. If you decide you don’t, you can cancel the trial before it expires and pay nothing at all. If you want to continue, then there’s no need to do anything, and you will have the subscription taken from your account. 

If you want to sign up to one of the channels showcased on Amazon Prime Video, but not remain subscribed to Prime, you can sign up separately. These are the options:

  • HBO – $14.99 a month
  • Starz – $8.99 a month
  • CBS All Access – $5.99 a month
  • Cinemax – $9.99 a month
  • Showtime – $10.99 a month

You can avoid subscriptions altogether if there’s just a one-off movie or TV show purchase you want to make. You can simply log in to your Amazon account and pay for an individual title. Then it will be available in your video library to watch.

Competitors

There are a number of competitors when it comes to TV streaming platforms. Alongside Amazon Prime Video, similar services include Netflix, Hayu, Hulu, YouTube TV, HBO Now, Sling TV, Crunchyroll and more. The main benefit of using Prime Video is that a Prime membership comes with numerous other services as detailed above. Additionally, you can rent and buy titles which are newer to the market or have just been released.

Amazon Prime Video offers a similar or superior service to many of its competitors. For example, if you were to compare the streamer with Netflix, you would find that the quantity of content is extensive for both. Furthermore, both have their own original content available, so it’s more a case of which titles you prefer to watch. Many will choose Prime due to the other convenient services available as part of a subscription option, such as deals on music and delivery. Of course, with new services coming to the industry such as Disney Plus and HBO Max, Amazon will need to work harder to keep up its position in the streaming wars.

What we liked about Amazon Prime Video

We like having the option to sign up for multiple discounts and benefits with an Amazon Prime membership. It’s also nice to have additional channels integrated into the Video interface, such as HBO and Starz. There are many original titles which have received Emmy nominations, and a number of movies you can’t find anywhere else. The option to buy or rent titles is a nice touch.

What we disliked about Amazon Prime Video

There isn’t much choice when it comes to choosing plans focusing on multiple simultaneous streams or stream quality, as Amazon isn’t primarily a streaming platform. It’s also somewhat disappointing to click on a title, just to find you would need to sign up to another service or pay a one-off price to watch it. This happened a lot when we were browsing the homepage selection.

Is Amazon Prime Video worth it?

Amazon Prime Video is an advanced streaming service which offers a multitude of options for customers to enjoy. Whether you want to watch the latest movies or your favourite TV series, you’re sure to find all the content you need. All you need is an internet connection and a compatible device, with a plus point being that many devices work with Amazon Prime Video. This service has a decently sized library of content, along with other benefits that come with a Prime membership. Overall, Prime Video is a strong competitor in the streaming market.

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