Amazon Prime video is a popular video streaming service and one many people are likely to already be familiar with. Especially considering Amazon makes it available to a number of its customers for free.
However, if you are new to Prime Video, then it might be worth taking a moment to consider the service and irrespective of whether you are a paying Amazon Prime member or not.
What devices does Prime Video support?
Prime Video is available on a number of different devices and platforms although not all devices on a platform are necessarily supported.
The best example of this is Android TV as Prime Video is available on some Android TV devices but not all. Those that do have natural access to Prime Video will typically come with the Android TV app pre-installed. If the app does not appear on your Android TV device's interface, then chances are good the device is not currently supported.
Outside of Android TV, Prime Video is available on most Android smartphones by downloading the dedicated app from the Google Play Store.
As to be expected, Amazon’s own Fire OS platform is probably the best-supported overall with Prime Video available on all Fire TV products, as well as the new Echo Show.
In addition, owners of various smart TVs, Blu-ray players, set-top boxes (including Roku, Comcast Xfinity and TiVo), and game consoles (PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, Wii and Wii U) will also find they can access Prime Video from the interface.
Most of the devices above, as well as PCs and laptops can additionally access Prime Video via most major web browsers.
How much does Prime Video cost?
Prime Video is a no-commitment streaming service that provides unlimited access to its content for a set monthly or annual fee. As this is a no-commitment service you are free to cancel at any time.
Prime Video includes a number of shows and movies from various networks and channels as well as a large selection of independent and lesser-known titles. Amazon also has its own “Amazon Studios” business which produces its own “Original” content that’s only available through Prime Video. This includes shows such as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Jack Ryan, The Grand Tour, and The Man In The High Castle, as well as movies including Manchester By The Sea.
The prices listed below are specific to the US and will differ if accessing the service in international markets. At present, Amazon Video is available in more than 200 countries, worldwide.
Included with Amazon Prime
If you are an Amazon Prime member in general then you can already access Prime Video for free. The service is bundled in with the yearly price as one of the many perks of opting for an Amazon subscription.
If you have yet to sign up to Amazon Prime, then in addition to Prime Video you will also get free 2-day shipping on all Prime-related purchases on Amazon -- this is the main reason most people opt for an Amazon subscription service -- as well as access to Prime Music, Twitch Prime, Prime Reading, and Amazon Photos. This is in addition to various other shopping-related benefits including extra discounts when shopping through Whole Foods Market.
If subscribed to on a yearly basis, Amazon Prime membership in 2019 costs $119. This is by far the cheapest solution in the long-term as it works out to be around $9.92 per month. For less than $10, and with all the benefits on offer, including Prime Video, this is a solid package deal.
Otherwise, consumers can opt for a monthly subscription which comes in at $12.99 per month. The monthly option does not differ in terms of what you get for the money so all of the same benefits, including full access to Prime Video are included. You just pay more over the course of the year with the collective total for 12 months coming in at around $156.
If you happen to be a student then you are in luck as Amazon also offers a Prime Student membership which comes with all of the same benefits, including Prime Video but at a greatly reduced price. Prime Student membership costs $59 when paid yearly (roughly $5 a month) or $6.49 if subscribed to on a monthly basis.
Pros: Free if you are already a Prime member. Signing up to this subscription gives you far more than just video streaming. Wide selection of content and access points.
Cons: Expensive if you only want video streaming. No Prime Video account sharing. Android TV not fully supported yet.
Standalone Prime Video
Although the full Prime membership is the best deal overall considering the added value you get, not everyone will need or want to pay for those additional benefits. If that’s you, then you can also opt to subscribe to just Prime Video.
A standalone Prime Video membership is not any different to the full Prime membership-included version with the same features and benefits on offer. However, this is a much more affordable option without the added benefit baggage as Amazon only charges $8.99 per month for the standalone version.
Amazon does not offer the option to subscribe to Prime Video yearly so you have to subscribe on a monthly basis although this will likely suit those who are not looking for the full package.
Pros: Cheap compared to other streaming services. Does not require you to pay for more than you need. Same wide selection of content and access points.
Cons: No Prime Video account sharing. Android TV not fully supported yet.
Prime Video is a little different to the rest
Unlike Hulu and Netflix, Prime Video also doubles as a digital rental store in the same way that Vudu or Google Play Movies does. So with Prime Video you are gaining the option to rent or buy movies as well as consume content through the on-demand side.
It should be noted a Prime Video membership is not required to rent or buy titles, but is more something that’s available through the app to any and all users with an Amazon account, paid or otherwise.
Another feature that sets Prime Video apart from Hulu (the on-demand plans) and Netflix is the option to subscribe to premium networks and channels. Amazon calls them “Amazon Channels” and these can be added at an additional monthly cost.
Amazon offers quite a large selection of Channels to choose from and too many to list here, but to highlight some of the most common ones, Amazon offers CBS (from $5.99 per month), Cinemax ($9.99 per month), HBO ($14.99 per month), SHOWTIME ($10.99 per month), and Starz ($8.99 per month).
All of the Amazon Channels are available with a limited-time free trial (usually seven-days).
Unlike the general rent and purchase options, Amazon Channels does require an active Prime Video membership.
Amazon Prime Video is a great option for those looking for more of an all-in-one solution as it is effectively a media center where you can watch the included with Prime content for free as well as rental or purchased content. You can also subscribe to many premium networks which makes it a great and cheap option for those looking to cut the cord.
The biggest downside with Prime Video is it is only made available on an individual account basis. You cannot create different accounts to use with Prime Video and the service is locked to the payer’s account. This means it is not a great option for families. Yes, you can install the app on a family-accessed device and everyone in the household will be able to take advantage of the content, but there’s no individual playlists, collections, or recommended content.
In spite of this, Amazon does at least provide the option for three simultaneous streams so although content is not individually curated, it can be used by more than one household member at the same time - as long as the three devices are signed in to the payer’s Amazon Prime account.
Considering Prime Video is offered as a free option with a full Prime membership, if you are a Prime member then there’s no reason why you should not be taking advantage of the service. For free, it is a great option to supplement your existing streaming solutions.
If you are not a Prime member, then at $8.99 per month it still stands up reasonably well against the likes of Hulu. Arguably, it is also competitive with Netflix as although many might consider the content on Netflix to be better, you are not subject to the same playback quality limitations that are in effect with Netflix's comparable $8.99 “Basic” plan. Also, the Basic plan from Netflix only lets you stream on one device at a time.
Try for free
Those who are already Prime members don’t have the option of a free trial as they are already able to access the service for free on a permanent basis.
However, those considering signing up to just Prime Video are able to take advantage of a one month free trial which provides full and unlimited access to the service with the exception of Amazon Channels although they too can be accessed via a one-week free trial at the same time.
Prime Video does require a payment option to be provided during the sign up process and automatic billing is in effect. The free trial begins as soon as the sign up process is complete and the first payment will be automatically billed and collected on the same day of the following month.
This is a no-commitment trial so consumers are able to cancel at any point during the trial period and continue to access Prime Video for the remainder of the trial.