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Amazon Prime vs Netflix: Streaming platforms analyzed

Amazon Prime Video vs Netflix - apps on Pixel 3 XL phone

Although Netflix is arguably the original media streaming service, it is by no means alone in the industry. There are many streaming services out there all vying for your monthly subscription dollars. One of those services is Amazon Prime Video, which begs the question: which service should you get?

The Amazon Prime vs Netflix decision isn’t easy. After all, an Amazon Prime subscription doesn’t just give you access to streaming movies and TV; there are many more perks on offer too.

However, if all you care about is which service you should pay for when it comes to watching movies and television shows, you can examine the strengths and weaknesses of each platform and come to a conclusion.

Let’s take a look at who wins the Amazon Prime vs Netflix fight!


Video quality

Netflix Android App Galaxy S10e

With display resolutions on TVs, smartphones, laptops, and all other electronics getting better and better, you want to be certain that the media you stream matches the quality of your display. After all, what’s the point of having a crisp 4K computer monitor if what you’re watching maxes out at 480p?

When it comes to Netflix and media quality, you have some options. There are three subscription tiers offered by Netflix and each one allows you to stream at different resolutions:

  • Basic — HD (480p max)
  • Standard — Full HD (1080p max)
  • Premium — Ultra HD (4K max)

Obviously, the price goes up the higher your streaming quality goes (more on that later). Also, it should be noted that only select content on Netflix will have a 4K option.

Amazon Prime is much more straightforward: your annual Prime subscription fee allows you to watch any available content at the highest quality possible, which in some cases would mean 4K resolution.

Both services will also stream with HDR support and Dolby Atmos sound quality, assuming your home theater setup supports those features. In the case of Netflix, support for those features is only available with the Premium tier subscription.


Streaming device support

There are so many streaming devices available nowadays. You’ve got your standalone devices like a Roku or Fire TV, as well as smart TVs with various apps pre-installed. You’ve also got laptops, smartphones, and tablets, all of which might have different operating systems and different features and limitations.

With that in mind, you want to subscribe to a service that offers the best compatibility with all the screens in your life.

At this point, both Netflix and Amazon support all the major platforms, with both services having apps for the majority of streaming devices as well as specific apps for Android, iOS, Windows, etc.

However, if you were to get picky, Netflix is supported on more devices than Amazon Prime. For example, you can watch Netflix on your Nintendo 3DS or even your old Nintendo Wii. If you have some very niche needs when it comes to your streaming devices, Netflix will likely be the most reliable option here.


Number of streams

Amazon Prime Video Android

Both Amazon and Netflix limit the number of simultaneous streams you can have going on your account at any given time. This prevents you from sharing your account with your extended family or large friend network — though many still do it.

That being said, the two companies understand that you might want to have one stream going on your living room TV while your kids have another stream going on the family tablet. As such, they offer options.

Since Netflix has tiered subscriptions, your simultaneous streaming limit goes up with the more you spend each month:

  • Basic — One stream only
  • Standard — Two simultaneous streams
  • Premium — Four simultaneous streams

Amazon does things a little differently. Each Amazon Prime member can stream on up to three devices at once. However, you can only stream the same media on two devices at once. Netflix doesn’t have this limit — if you’re a Premium tier Netflix subscriber, you could stream the same program on four devices at once without issue.


Content

Best sci-fi shows on Netflix

Image via Netflix

If you’re going to pay for a streaming service, you want the one with the most content. Ultimately though, when you examine Netflix, Amazon Prime, or any other service, which one jibes the most with your taste is going to be pretty subjective.

For example, Amazon has many more movies on offer as compared to Netflix. Knowing that, you might assume Amazon is the better choice for film lovers. Unfortunately, many of the movies Amazon offers are B-grade oldies or straight-to-video fare you’ll likely never want to watch. Littered among those movies are some bigger hits, but even those will likely be at least a few years old.

Meanwhile, Netflix offers fewer films but the ones it does offer are usually of a higher caliber.

When it comes to television series, Netflix is by far the winner. Not only does it have a larger selection of series content, but its original shows are also some of the most popular programs of the past decade, including Stranger Things, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and more.

To its credit, Amazon has some great original shows too, including The Man in the High Castle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Jack Ryan. However, none of those shows have earned the popularity and critical acclaim bestowed on multiple Netflix series.

More posts about Amazon Prime Video


Additional perks

Amazon Prime Day trailers Amazon

Although Netflix still has a DVD mail out service, its three tiers of subscription plans don’t have any additional features or perks. You pay a flat fee each month which allows you to stream as much content as you want, and that’s it.

An Amazon Prime subscription, on the other hand, comes with so many additional perks. You get free Prime shipping for anything you buy from the company as well as access to a free music service called Amazon Prime Music. There’s also unlimited photo storage, the Kindle lending library which essentially gets you free ebooks, and even discounts at Whole Foods supermarkets, which Amazon owns.

Sure, none of those perks have anything to do with streaming movies or TV shows, so you might not care about them. But if you want to get the most out of your subscription, Amazon Prime offers much more than Netflix.


Price

Netflix icon on the homescreen of the HTC 10.

As mentioned a few times now, Netflix has tiered subscription plans. Here are the prices and limitations to each plan:

  • Basic — One stream only with a 480p quality limit for $9 per month
  • Standard — Two simultaneous streams at 1080p for $13 per month
  • Premium — Four simultaneous streams at 4K with HDR and Dolby Atmos for $16 per month

Netflix does not offer any discounts for paying yearly instead of monthly, so the service will cost you about $108 per year for the Basic plan, $156 per year for the Standard plan, or $192 per year for the Premium plan.

Meanwhile, Amazon Prime costs $13 per month. If you pay yearly, you get a significant discount of $36 off, bringing your annual price down to $120.

When it comes to your yearly spend, the Basic Netflix plan is your cheapest option. However, for only $12 more per year, you can get Amazon Prime which comes with more simultaneous streams, 4K support, and the bevy of perks mentioned in the previous section.

  Netflix Basic Netflix Standard Netflix Premium Amazon Prime
Video Quality 480p Max 1080p Max 4K Max 4K Max
Simultaneous Streams One Two Four Three
Same Program Stream One Two Four Two
Monthly Price $9 $13 $16 $13
Yearly Price $108 $156 $192 $120
Perks None None None Multiple

Amazon Prime vs Netflix: The verdict

So which one should you pick? If you want to get the most out of your dollars, our suggestion would be to go with Amazon Prime. If you want to spend the least amount of money possible, we suggest going with Netflix.

Ultimately though, we highly recommend going with the Basic Netflix plan and Amazon Prime. If you do, you’ll get the incredible selection of content Netflix offers as well as the content and perks Amazon Prime offers. If you can afford to spend $228 per year — or around $19 per month if you budget it out for yourself — this is the ideal situation.

Let us know in the comments which service you think is best!

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