Netflix Alternatives — 17 July 2013

Amazon.com is known best for their wide selection of books and music, but Amazon Prime is quickly becoming a contender in the field of streaming movies and television shows. It is most popular among viewers who appreciate its side benefits, such as free shipping of orders. However, people who have no interest in these little perks often choose Amazon Prime over its competitors.

Price: One of the main reasons to choose Amazon Prime is its price. At $79 US per year for unlimited streaming, it is a bargain for the on-demand viewer.

Countries: Amazon Prime is currently available only in the United States, although some people in other countries use a VPN to get a US IP address and thus have access to the movies and television shows that Prime offers. This is considered a violation of Amazon’s terms of use, so it is not suggested.

Platforms: Amazon Prime can be viewed on both Apple and PC computers, as well as the Kindle. All major game consoles, including the Xbox, Wii, and Playstation 3 allow streaming of Amazon Prime media. Apple products such as the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad are also compatible. However, Android tablets are not. HDTVs made after 2010 support Amazon Prime streaming almost all of the time, although one should ask the manufacturer before buying. Blu-ray players, Tivo, and a variety of streaming media players also are compatible with Amazon Prime.

Commercials: Amazon Prime does not have any commercials, which is rare in the world of streaming media.

Selection: Whether a customer is pleased by the selection at Amazon Prime will depend on his or her unique tastes. Amazon Prime has been successful in becoming the sole free streaming site for several popular television shows such as Downton Abbey, Fringe, and The West Wing. Over 3000 movies are available, although newly released blockbuster movies cannot usually be viewed for free. Many popular miniseries and television shows are available shortly after they are released on television, and almost all can be viewed at the end of the season. In addition, Amazon is in the process of producing five original television programs for live streaming, including a comedy with John Goodman.

primescreenshotFinal Thoughts: Amazon Prime is currently a good deal, but it is improving all the time. A recent deal with Viacom will remove all of the media giant’s shows from other streaming companies and place them solely with Amazon Prime. This includes popular children’s shows, which will appeal to families, and a variety of new programming that was previously either not available to stream or available only on another streaming site.

One of the unique aspects of Amazon Prime is that it does not suggest television shows and movies based on things that viewers have enjoyed before. Thus, people need to browse the catalog for new favorites and search for their favorite genres. However, many find the recommendations on other streaming devices to be annoying and inaccurate, so Amazon Prime may be a welcome change to a large portion of viewers. In addition, Amazon allowed users to make lists of favorite things that can viewed by others and used as a source of suggestions.

Another major complaint (and also a source of praise) about Amazon is that there are just so many options. When searching for a movie, a variety of items including books and other random items will be given. In addition, many movies and television shows are available in a variety of formats and definitions, which means more choices. While this may add seconds to a search, it also allows viewers to tailor their experience. While not all of the movies on Amazon are free through Prime, it is very easy to tell the difference so that there is no need to worry about accidentally ordering paid content.

Overall Rating: 8.2/10

Website: www.amazon.com/prime

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