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 whom you're allowed to share your password with. 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.

The Basic plan lets you view videos on one screen at a time, the Standard plan lets you watch on two screens simultaneously, and the Premium plan lets you stream Netflix on up to four screens at once. 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.

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

Two of Hulu's plans (Limited Commercials and No Commercials) restricts you to only being able to stream on one device at a time, which makes it tough to share an account. However, the Hulu with Live TV plan does support streaming from two screens simultaneously.

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

With HBO Now, you're able to stream on three devices at the same time and they ask you not to share your password with anyone outside of the household. There's no limit to how many devices can be activated with HBO Now.

Showtime Streaming, the stand-alone subscription app from Showtime, allows you to 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.

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.