PROS / This streaming service includes the benefits of an Amazon Prime membership, such as free two-day shipping and unlimited access to a library of eBooks.
CONS / You can't customize your profile to adjust taste preferences nor have multiple profiles on your account.
VERDICT / Amazon Prime Video has a great balance of content, features and customer support, which makes it worth the yearly rate.
While evaluating the best internet TV services, we looked at pay-per-view models and services with required monthly memberships. Amazon Prime Video is the only streaming TV source that is paid for annually. While the service was originally an afterthought incentive when you paid for Prime to get free shipping from Amazon, the ability to watch television shows at your leisure has become well worth the yearly price on its own.
Amazon Prime's online TV service has a great collection of new and classic TV titles. The massive viewing library, combined with great features and customer support, make this service our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award winner for movie and TV streaming sites.
Amazon Prime Video scores major points for its impressive content library. When you stream TV shows online with Amazon Prime Video, you will be able to watch full seasons free up to a point, which typically eliminates seasons that are currently airing. At that point, you have the option to stay up to date on the latest seasons by paying the standard $1.99 per episode.
Amazon has begun to garner more exclusive shows than its competitors. This service is the only one to offer multiple free streaming seasons of "Justified," "Tosh.0" and "Downton Abbey," among others. This service has also managed to become very kid-friendly with its exclusive contract with Nickelodeon. If you have children who watch "Dora the Explorer," "Blue's Clues" or "Avatar: The Last Airbender," subscribing to Amazon Prime is a must.
There are a few notable networks missing from Amazon's stream-friendly list, but you are allowed to purchase episodes from some paid cable channels, which typically isn't an option with other monthly subscription services. In addition to the television side, there is a great selection of free and pay-per-rental movies.
The list of high-definition shows available for free on this internet TV service is expansive and continues to grow. For current running HD episodes the price will sit, on average, at about $2.99. Watching shows in HD is a bit more expensive than streaming or downloading their standard-definition counterparts. That's understandable, considering that HD images are much bigger and require more bandwidth than standard definition.
This video service runs on a number of platforms. You can stream and download movies to personal computers, smart TVs, Roku boxes and the ever-popular game consoles. Little features, such as changing the look of subtitles, really make the experience more customized.
Amazon Prime Video is a good service for binge-watchers. With its vast library of free and streamable content, you can start that show everyone talks about and finally be in the know. For the most part, you should have no problem finding what you're looking for while using this service.
The user experience of watching videos through Amazon's site on a computer is not preferable. The site is too busy and detracts from your streaming TV show. We prefer the ease of use that comes with watching it on a device, like a PS3 or Roku, with an Amazon Prime Video app.
One way this service falls short of Netflix is in personalized profiles. Amazon’s streaming service doesn’t allow for creating multiple profiles for members of our household with different viewing habits and tastes.
Help & Support
You don't become an online powerhouse like Amazon by providing lousy customer service. Although Amazon Instant Video is a straightforward operation, there are times when you'll need to get someone on the phone to help you through a technical issue. This is rare, but it does happen.
Amazon provides multiple avenues for getting technical assistance. The phone number is easy to find, and call wait times are shorter than we expected. The company also provides a number of online resources you can use to resolve your issue, such as user forums and live chat.
Amazon is an online mega-brand that has a reputation of providing customer satisfaction. While some Prime members may only pay the yearly fee to cut shipping costs, they would be missing out on a great selection of quality, streaming television shows included at the same cost. The exclusive and original content, mixed with the ability to purchase or rent titles if you're impatient, make Amazon Prime Video one of the best internet TV sites around.