Netflix vs. Amazon Prime Video: What's the Difference?

Amazon has more content, but many feel Netflix's offering is stronger

Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are streaming services with huge libraries that can keep you entertained weekend after weekend. Netflix has a slightly smaller overall library, but it has far more original content and highly-rated shows not available elsewhere. Prime Video has a much larger selection of movies and is available as part of an Amazon Prime subscription. There are also differences in platform availability and pricing structures.

Netflix vs Amazon Prime Video

Overall Findings

  • 6,000+ movies and TV shows.

  • More original content, including movies and TV shows.

  • More highly-rated content than Amazon.

  • Monthly and yearly subscription options.

  • 4K UHD requires a premium plan.

  • Available on all streaming devices.

Prime Video
  • 8,500+ movies and TV shows.

  • Also produces original shows and movies, but to a lesser extent.

  • Available as a standalone Prime Video subscription, or as a feature of Amazon prime.

  • 4K streaming available by default.

  • Some Chromecast streaming issues.

Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are two of the strongest streaming services but offer very different experiences. Netflix’s overall library is smaller, but it’s focused on more original content, more highly-rated content, and more TV shows that aren’t available on other platforms. Amazon Prime Video has a much larger selection of movies, including award-winning original movies that Amazon produced.

The other big difference between these services is that Netflix is a standalone video streaming service, while Prime Video is part of the larger Amazon Prime membership bundle. While you can subscribe to Prime Video as a standalone service for a fee that’s in line with the basic Netflix plan, it’s also included with Amazon Prime, which also provides free shipping on Amazon, access to a music streaming service, and many other benefits.

Content: Amazon Has the Larger Overall Library, but Netflix’s Is Stronger

  • Lots of original content.

  • More shows that aren’t available elsewhere.

  • More shows that are highly rated.

  • Large library of movies and TV shows.

Prime Video
  • Also has original content, but not as much.

  • Some videos are available to stream for free without a subscription.

  • Some titles need to be rented or purchased.

  • Has a larger overall streaming library.

Amazon Prime Video has a larger overall library than Netflix, and it has more movies as well. You can also buy and rent movies and TV shows through the same interface, which isn’t an option on Netflix.

Both services create original content, but Netflix has the edge. Netflix has more original content, including many highly rated titles like Stranger Things, House of Cards, and BoJack Horseman. Netflix also has the edge in high-quality, licensed content. According to Independent analysis, Netflix has a larger share of top-rated TV shows than Amazon Prime. For example, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead are not offered other streaming services.

Pricing: Amazon Prime Provides More Value

  • $6.99/mo ad-supported Basic plan.

  • $9.99/mo ad-free Basic plan.

  • $15.49/mo ad-free Standard plan.

  • $19.99/mo Premium plan.

  • Yearly subscription options provide discounts.

Prime Video
  • $8.99/mo Prime Video plan.

  • $14.99/mo Amazon Prime (includes Prime Video, free shipping, and other benefits.)

  • Yearly subscription options provide discounts.

  • Some content is available to stream for free, without a subscription.

Netflix and Amazon both have fairly complicated pricing structures, but the basic streaming services are priced similarly. Netflix has the cheapest overall option with its ad-supported Basic plan. However, the standalone Prime Video plan is cheaper than the ad-free Basic plan from Netflix. In its Premium plan, Netflix also has the most expensive option, which includes 4K streaming. Amazon doesn’t lock 4K video quality behind a higher-priced subscription tier.

It’s also important to note that while Prime Video is available as a standalone streaming service, it’s also included as one of the main features of an Amazon Prime subscription. Other features and benefits of Amazon Prime include free delivery of Amazon purchases, access to the Amazon Prime Music streaming service, cloud photo storage, free e-books through Prime Reading, games through Amazon Gaming, and even a Whole Foods discount and free grocery delivery in limited areas.

Device Compatibility: No macOS Netflix App

  • Web player that works in all major browsers.

  • Mobile app for iOS and Android.

  • Windows app, but no macOS app.

  • Available for all streaming devices, including Chromecast.

Prime Video
  • Web player that works in all major browsers.

  • Windows and macOS apps.

  • Mobile app for iOS and Android.

  • Deeply integrated into Fire TV devices.

  • Also available on Roku, Apple TV, game consoles, smart TVs, and other devices.

  • Some Chromecast issues.

Regarding device compatibility, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are similar, but some important differences exist. Netflix is fairly platform agnostic and available on most devices, including Chromecast. Prime Video is also available on most devices, but Amazon and Google have a complicated history that kept Prime off Chromecast for a long time. The lasting result is that users run into compatibility issues while new Chromecast devices can accept casts from new phones and tablets with the latest Amazon Prime Video app version.

Prime Video does have a couple of advantages in this area. It’s deeply integrated into the Fire TV interface, making it a good choice if you stream on devices like the Fire TV Stick or your smart TV is built on the Fire TV platform. It also has a macOS app, which Netflix doesn’t have. You can still stream Netflix on a Mac using a web browser, but the Prime Video app lets you download videos to watch offline, making it a better option for Mac owners.

Final Verdict: Look at the Content

The choice between Netflix and Amazon Prime Video is primarily one of content, so consider looking at each service's current library before making a decision. They both offer free trials, which allows you to sift through their massive catalogs for shows and movies you’re interested in.

Netflix has a stronger library overall, with more highly-rated shows, exclusives, and critically-acclaimed originals. Still, Amazon Prime Video has many excellent originals and a larger library of movies. Device compatibility is also important, as MacBook users may appreciate the ability to download TV shows and movies through the Prime Video app for offline viewing. In contrast, owners of older Chromecast devices may have trouble casting from the Prime Video app.

  • How many people can use these services at the same time?

    Netflix starts at 1 stream at a time and, with its higher tears, up to 4 people can stream at once. Disney's maximum stream limit is 4 but that's included in the regular price of the subscription.

  • How fast should my internet be to stream?

    Your connection speed for streaming video depends on how many streams are coming into your home at any given time. Amazon Prime requires a minimum of 1.5 Mb/s and at least 5 Mb/s to stream HD shows and movies. Disney's requirements are higher, starting at 5 Mb/s and up to 25 Mb/s for 4K UHD.

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