Pros / There are no commercials.
Cons / The search function’s results aren’t precise and include titles you have to pay extra for.
Verdict / Amazon Prime Video is a great value with acclaimed original content and access to a lot of popular TV shows and movies.
Signing up for Amazon Prime Video alone is affordable, and you get a 30-day free trial to decide if you want to stick around. One really convenient aspect of Amazon is if the title you’re looking for isn’t available for streaming, you can buy or rent it. There’s a lot of content to look through, but if you can’t find what you want, you can rent or buy it. If you don’t want certain members of your household making purchases with your card or viewing certain content, you can set up parental controls. While Amazon’s original content is always up to date, we couldn’t find any TV shows currently playing on cable with episodes through Amazon.
During the free trial period we discovered we had access to Amazon Prime’s awesome free two-day shipping on qualifying products. Once your trial period is up though, the website’s information page says you don’t get access to Amazon Prime benefits with a Prime Video membership alone. You can, however, pay more for an all-encompassing Prime membership and get free two-day shipping, Prime Video, Prime Music and the Kindle lending library. This is a great deal we’d recommend if you find yourself doing a lot of your shopping through Amazon.
This service doesn’t make personalized recommendations and instead leaves you to browse yourself. You can even browse by channel, something other sites like Netflix don’t allow. This makes for a nice transition from cable to streaming, but you have to pay to watch content from each channel. Depending on the channel, you can sometimes purchase one episode at a time if you’d prefer avoiding a subscription. This is the same for many movie titles; they appear available until you hover your cursor over them, at which time you find out you’ll need to pay an additional fee to watch the movie through HBO, Starz, Showtime, etc.
You can also search by genre or title, but our reviewers found this a little frustrating, as the search results include options you have to pay extra for. The design of the page is also very busy making it hard to find the Prime Video link from the Amazon homepage. On the other hand, our reviewers said they didn’t have to wait for any video to load. They also really liked the mobile app and the fact that on the desktop version, the overlay screen that pops up shows you who is in the title you’re watching. While the screen is unique and informative, some reviewers also felt it was too distracting and took too long to disappear. One tester also didn’t like using Amazon Prime Video through a Roku because she couldn’t select which episode of a TV show she wanted to watch. Using data collected from six testers, we gave Amazon Prime Video a B- grade for ease of use.
Following in the footsteps of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video has original content including the acclaimed “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Transparent.” As you’re browsing, you can add shows to your Watchlist to easily find later. There is also a “skip” button similar to Netflix, which means you can skip a TV show’s intro and get right to the show. All of these great features along with Amazon Prime perks make this the best value out there for streaming TV shows and movies.