Netflix vs. Amazon Prime Video: Which Is Better?
Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are two of the biggest names in streaming—but can they realistically replace your cable subscription? And which one is more worth your money?
We’ll compare pricing, features, and content for Netflix and Amazon Prime, and then declare which of these streaming titans you should go with.
Data current as of 4/6/18. Prices and features subject to change.
Jump to the following sections:
1. Subscription Price
Amazon Prime: You can get lots of extra perks with your subscription.
- Prime Video offers only Prime’s video streaming features, and it costs $8.99 per month.
- Prime Monthly gets customers all the benefits of Amazon Prime, including video streaming and free two-day shipping. It costs $12.99 per month.
- Prime Yearly is the same as Prime Monthly but billed on an annual basis instead. It’s $99.00 per year, which is about $50.00 cheaper than Prime Monthly over the course of twelve months.
How easy is it to cancel your Amazon Prime subscription?
Amazon Prime customers can change or cancel their subscriptions at any time. If you do cancel, your services will continue until your paid time runs out. For example, if you paid for a year membership up-front and cancelled after three months, you could still use the benefits for those remaining nine months.
What other services do you get with Amazon Prime?
- Free 2-day and discounted 1-day shipping
- Free same-day shipping in select areas
- Unlimited photo storage in the cloud
- Amazon Prime Music streaming service
- Prime Reading book-borrowing service
Netflix: You pay for the quality of content you want.
Netflix offers a few subscription options and pricing tiers. This allows customers to get only the features they need without paying for things they won’t use. Here’s a rundown of what you can expect from each option:
|Price||$7.99 per month||$10.99 per month||$13.99 per month|
|4K Ultra HD Streaming||No||No||Yes|
|Number of Simultaneous Devices||1||2||4|
Netflix offers a one-month free trial on any of its tiers, so new customers can test-drive the service and see if it’s something they want to shell out cash for every month. And since there’s no contract or long-term commitment with Netflix, cancellation is a breeze. You can log in to cancel your subscription any time you want.
2. Content Availability
Amazon Prime: There’s plenty of family-oriented content.
Amazon has a wide selection of content, including an ever-expanding collection of original shows. While it doesn’t boast quite the same amount as Netflix, it’s growing. The selection also tends to rotate less often, which could be a big deal for some long-term users.
However, Amazon does beat out Netflix in children’s programming. Because of its licensing deals with Viacom (the company that owns Comedy Central and Nickelodeon), Amazon has a wide selection of comedies and kid shows. Netflix has made strides with recent original releases like Llama Llama, but Amazon Prime still has the lead. So, if you’re looking for a streaming service that’ll suit the whole family, Amazon Prime just might be it.
The Best TV Shows and Movies on Amazon Right Now
- The Tick
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
- The Sopranos
- Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
- Dora the Explorer
Netflix: There’s an unbeatable selection of popular content.
Netflix generally offers the best content selection of any streaming provider, with more movies, TV shows, and original content than any other. Its original content is among the best of any streaming provider (but more on that later).
The biggest issue with Netflix’s selection is that non-original content tends to rotate out fairly frequently. While new shows are added often, it can be frustrating to have a favorite show removed from the lineup when you’re in the middle of watching it—it happened to us recently with It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
The Best TV Shows and Movies on Netflix Right Now
- The Godfather
- The Office
- Stranger Things
- Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
- Better Call Saul
- Despicable Me 3
- The Good Place
- Planet Earth
3. Original Content
Amazon Originals: You might discover some up-and-coming favorites.
Amazon has greatly expanded its original content lately, and several shows have become both fan and critic favorites.
Other popular Amazon Prime Originals:
Netflix Originals: Netflix is hard to beat when it comes to original content.
Netflix was one of the first streaming providers to produce its own original content, and it remains one of the best choices for great shows you won’t find anywhere else.
Other popular Netflix Originals:
4. Streaming Quality
Amazon Prime: You don’t have to pay extra for high-quality video.
Amazon Prime offers both 1080p Full HD and 4K Ultra HD resolutions for streaming, as well as HDR video support. Unlike Netflix, both 1080p and 4K are included in the same package price. In other words, you don’t have to pay extra for 4K video, which is great. Considering how popular 4K is becoming, we predict it will likely become an expected standard in all plans.
In terms of audio quality, Amazon offers Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 surround sound, which outputs sound to five channels: left, right, center, left surround, and right surround. This is a standard surround-sound protocol, but it’s still nice to see here.
What devices does Amazon Prime Video work with?
According to Amazon, Prime Video works on these devices:
- Smart TVs
- Blu-ray players
- Set-top boxes (Roku, Google TV, TiVo, NVIDIA SHIELD)
- Amazon Fire TVs
- Fire TV Sticks
- Game consoles (PlayStation, Xbox, Wii)
- Android devices (Prime Video app for Android phones and tablets)
- iOS devices (Prime Video app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch)
- Amazon Fire phones
- Amazon Fire tablets
Netflix: High-quality streaming comes at a price.
Netflix offers 1080p and 4K Ultra HD video quality, but there’s a catch—you have to pay for it. Netflix’s various service tiers are primarily differentiated by two things: how many devices you can watch Netflix on at once (called simultaneous streams) and what maximum resolution you can stream in.
- Basic: $7.99 per month (standard definition only)
- Standard: $10.99 per month (up to 1080p Full HD)
- Premium: $13.99 per month (up to 4K Ultra HD)
When it comes to audio, Netflix slightly one-ups Amazon Prime Video by offering up to Dolby 7.1 surround sound on select content. Dolby 7.1 takes 5.1 surround sound and adds two additional side speakers to give your audio greater dimension.
What devices does Netflix work with?
Netflix has been around a while, and it works on pretty much any smart device you can think of at this point. The company provides an extremely thorough page detailing all the devices you can stream on if you want to check it out, but rest assured that if you have a device and want to watch Netflix on it, there’s a really good chance you can.
5. Features and User Interface
Amazon Prime: It features easy-to-use categories with side-scrolling and robust parental controls.
Amazon Prime Video features a familiar interface with side-scrolling categories for content. You can dive deeper into a genre or search for specific titles if you already know what you want. The service will also make recommendations based on your viewing history.
Prime Video lets you select titles for offline viewing so you can watch without an internet connection. And, in keeping with its family-oriented theme, Amazon features robust parental controls to limit what your kids can watch.
Netflix: You can create separate accounts for kids.
If it weren’t for the branding, you might get Prime Video and Netflix mixed up—the user interfaces are almost identical. The Netflix home page features recommendations and genres, with side-scrolling thumbnails for various titles. The specifics of the interface vary slightly depending on which device you’re streaming on, but they all follow a similar theme.
Netflix also allows offline viewing of select titles and provides strong parental controls, including the ability to set up a separate kid profile that shows only age-appropriate content.
Netflix also offers an impressive seventeen languages for viewing and subtitles, though not every title is available in every language. Here are some included options:
6. The Verdict
Our recommendation is to get both if you can. Every streamer should have a Netflix subscription—the original content is too good to pass up—and Amazon Prime comes with so many additional benefits that it’s a no-brainer for modern life. Plus, Amazon’s up-and-coming original content is excellent and promising for the future.
Subscribing to both services gets you each one’s unique benefits without settling, and if you add their monthly subscriptions to a fast internet package, you’re still likely to come in under the cost of a cable subscription. When you consider that you’d also miss out on a tremendous amount of original content and past episodes of popular shows with just a cable subscription, cable doesn’t look so great.
Ready to get started? Both services offer free trials, so you can experience what it would be like to cut the cord without any of the commitment.
If you need a faster internet connection for smoother streaming with less buffering, check out what internet packages are available in your area.
Author - Dave Schafer
Dave has written professionally for tech companies and consumer technology sites for nearly five years, with a special focus on TV and internet. He uses his industry expertise to help readers at HighSpeedInternet.com get the most out of their services. No matter the project, he prefers his coffee black (the stronger, the better).