Sharing Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime

The lowdown on sharing passwords for streaming content

Family using devices to watch streamed content
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With digital media content ready to be viewed almost immediately and on just about every device, sharing passwords for these streaming services with friends and family has become common practice. However, with all these choices, it can be tough to keep the rules for each streaming service straight. 

Every online streaming service has different rules on how many devices can be activated, how many streams of different content and the same content can be happening simultaneously, and with whom you're allowed to share your password.

Here's everything you need to know about sharing Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Now, Showtime Streaming, and Starz Streaming.

Sharing Netflix

Interested in saving some money by sharing your Netflix account with your friends and family? Netflix doesn't seem to enforce sharing accounts, but they do limit how many devices you can stream at the same time, from the same account.

  • Basic: One screen at a time
  • Standard: Two screens simultaneously
  • Premium: Up to four screens simultaneously

Screens include laptops, TVs, phones, and tablets. In addition to support for more screens, each higher tier supports better quality video streams than the lesser expensive plans. You can even turn off certain features, like 'Continue Watching', to aid in sharing the account.

Using Netflix profiles is another way to make sharing Netflix more convenient. Multiple watchers can have their own profile that stores their watch history, resume times, etc.

Keep in mind that Netflix does reserve the right to change the number of screens you simultaneously stream on at any time as outlined in their terms of service.

Netflix doesn't allow minors to have their own Netflix account and they expect that you let your kids stream Netflix under your account. They seem to be fine with you sharing your Netflix account within your household, but beyond that, they would like every household to use their own account.

Hulu Sharing

There are a few Hulu plans you can pick from, but only one supports simultaneous streaming:

  • Limited Commercials: Stream from one device only
  • No Commercials: Stream from one device only
  • Hulu with Live TV: Up to two simultaneous streams (more with Unlimited Screens addon)

You can create profiles within Hulu so everyone in the family can have their own favorites and recommendations, but with the non-live plans, only one person can be streaming at one time. Quite a few people have reported that they are able to stream on more than one device at the same time without any problems, but this isn't official.

Sharing Amazon Prime and Amazon Video

Amazon is very clear about who can share an Amazon Prime account. Amazon lets you create an Amazon Household that allows two adults, each with their own account, and up to four children to share the benefits of Amazon Prime.

The Amazon Prime benefits that can be shared include free Prime shipping, Prime Now, Prime video streaming, Prime Photos, Audible Channels, Kindle Owners' Lending Library, Prime early access, Prime-exclusive pricing, diaper subscriptions and baby registry completion discounts, and Twitch Prime.

Amazon also has put a limit on how many devices can stream videos at the same time through Amazon Video. You can stream up to three different titles at the same time on different devices, and the same title can only be streamed on two devices at one time.

If a download option is available for your Amazon video, you're limited to saving it to four devices.

Sharing HBO Now, Showtime Streaming, and Starz Streaming

There's a limit to how many devices can be used simultaneously with HBO Now, but a specific number isn't clear. They do ask, however, that you not share your password with anyone outside of the household.

Showtime Streaming, the standalone subscription app from Showtime, lets you be signed in to as many devices as you want, but only three of them can stream videos at the same time from the same account.

Starz Streaming probably limits the number of simultaneous streams to four devices, but their terms of service isn't clear, stating only that they might limit the maximum number of streams you're allowed per account:

Starz may control the maximum number of simultaneous streams per User Account (across all Content on the Service) regardless of the number of devices on which the Service is available.

Free Streaming Services

If you use a free streaming service to watch movies and TV shows, you don't need to worry about sharing your passwords. There are some great ones out there including Crackle, Popcornflix, and Tubi.