Being able to watch a movie or catch up with a television series without leaving home is a luxury available to everyone through streaming video subscription services, but knowing which service to choose can be a challenge. Netflix and Amazon Instant Video both have strong points, but determining which is best for personal needs is a matter of evaluating the features of each of these services.
Netflix is compatible with most devices that have an Internet connection. This includes Roku, Blu-ray players, televisions with connection, game consoles and mobile devices. In addition to computers, Amazon is available on XBOX 360, Roku, some Blu-ray players and high-end televisions.
Advantage: Netflix. Amazon is still working to catch up with Netflix in terms of availability on a wide variety of devices.
Each streaming service has a wide variety of movies and television shows available, but the pricing structure differs. Netflix charges a flat monthly fee for access to its 25,000 plus choices, while Amazon Prime members gain access to about 17,000 titles with their $79 per year fee.
Amazon does have a total of over 100,000 titles available for streaming, but most of these are not covered with a Prime membership. An additional rental fee of about $1.99 per title is required to gain access to any title that is not included with Amazon Prime.
The Amazon library that is include with Prime membership is more limited than the offerings available through Netflix. Newer movies and television shows are typically not included.
Advantage: Netflix. Although Amazon Prime membership is cheaper, the selection is extremely limited.
Picture quality related to streaming video depends on Internet connection, but the service itself can become slow and picture quality can become poor if the traffic load to the streaming website is too much for servers.
People with poor Internet connection speeds or a data rate cap may experience buffering and other annoying disruptions while watching a streaming video. One unique feature that Netflix offers is the ability to adjust picture quality based on connection speed in order to avoid buffering.
Advantage: Netflix. Both services depend on Internet speed in order to stream high-quality pictures, but Netflix allows customers to adjust quality to fit their needs.
Netflix utilizes a wide variety of different genres to categorize movies and also provides customers with suggestions based on what the customer has watched before and what the customer has given a high rating to. There is also a kids’ section that only lists movies and television shows that are appropriate for children. The search option is easy to find.
Amazon has a limited number of genres to choose from. While there is an option to search for specific titles, the results from a search will include any streaming movie or television show available. This means that many of the search results require customers to pay an additional fee instead of being included in Amazon Prime.
Advantage: Netflix. It is easier to navigate and find a title based on interests, and there is no possibility of having to pay more money to watch a particular title.
Netflix charges $7.99 for its streaming service, and customers can stream on two devices simultaneously with one membership. Amazon Prime costs $79 per year, and there are other benefits extended to Prime members including free two-day shipping on many of the items sold and shipped by Amazon.
Advantage: Amazon. Even though the selection is limited, Amazon Prime is cheaper and offers customers additional benefits.
Conclusion: The better choice depends on personal needs. A casual viewer of streaming video who also likes to shop online would benefit from an Amazon Prime membership. People who do a lot of movie and television watching through a streaming device and prefer a wider variety that includes new movies and television shows would benefit from Netflix. Subscribing to both could even be an option for people who feel that they would do enough online shopping to take advantage of the free shipping included with an Amazon Prime membership.