First take: Is Prime Video good?
Similar to Netflix and Hulu, Prime Video provides an extensive library of shows and movies for a low monthly price.
Unlike the other two services, though, Amazon Prime Video comes bundled with even more benefits that make it hands-down the best streaming entertainment bargain around. And that makes any complaints, such as the inability to sort what ends up being a massive watchlist, minor.
Prime Video deals and promotions
Just as with Netflix and Hulu, new Prime Video users get a free 30-day trial. It’s competitive, generous, and just long enough to get to know the service.
Also watch for discounts on premium add-ons during Amazon’s annual summer event, Prime Day, where Prime members get access to exclusive sales. This summer, we scored three months of Shudder at half-price.
Prime Video prices and packages
How much is Prime Video?
|Package||Price||Full Prime benefits|
|Amazon Prime month-to-month||$12.99/mo.||✓|
|Amazon Prime annual||$119/yr.||✓|
|Prime Student (monthly)||$6.49/mo.||✓|
|Prime Student (annual)||$59/yr.||✓|
|Amazon Prime EBT/Medicaid cardholders||$5.99/mo. (max. 4 yrs.)||✓|
|Prime Video only||$8.99/mo.||Twitch Prime only|
With six different plans, it’s easy to find one that fits your budget.
Five of these give you full Amazon Prime benefits. Prime Video is only one of these, along with Prime Reading and Prime Music, which offer unlimited free reading and listening, respectively. There’s also Twitch Prime for gamers, offering games, digital in-game loot, free 30-day channel subscriptions, and more.
Plus, you get Prime’s main benefit—free two-day shipping—along with exclusive discounts and promotions. Students and EBT/Medicaid cardholders get everything at a 35–50% discount.
If you want only Prime Video, that’s fine. You’ll save around one dollar per month, but you’ll miss out on all those Prime perks (except Twitch Prime). We’d suggest, if your budget allows it, paying the extra $11 a year. The additional benefits will pay for themselves many times over.
Combine streaming services and save
|Acacia TV||$6.99/mo.||7 days|
|ACORN TV||$4.99/mo.||7 days|
|Best of British Television||$3.99/mo.||7 days|
|Brown Sugar||$3.99/mo.||7 days|
|CBS All Access||$5.99/mo.||7 days|
|Comedy Central Now||$3.99/mo.||7 days|
|Daily Burn||$14.95/mo.||7 days|
|Dove Channel||$4.99/mo.||7 days|
|EROS NOW||$7.99/mo.||7 days|
|Grokker Yoga & Fitness||$6.99/mo.||7 days|
|Hallmark Movies Now||$5.99/mo.||7 days|
|Here TV||$7.99/mo.||7 days|
|HORROR TV||$1.99/mo||7 days|
|IFC Films Unlimited||$5.99/mo.||7 days|
|IMDbTV||Free, with ads||N/A|
|Inside Outside||$5.99/mo.||7 days|
|Kid Genius||$3.99/mo.||7 days|
|Lifetime Movie Club||$3.99/mo.||7 days|
|Miao Mi||$3.99/mo.||7 days|
|Monsters & Nightmares||$2.99/mo.||7 days|
|MotorTrend OnDemand||$4.99/mo.||7 days|
|MTV Hits||$5.99/mo.||7 days|
|NBA League Pass||$28.99/mo.||N/A|
|Pantaya (Español)||$5.99/mo.||7 days|
|PBS KIDS||$4.99/mo.||7 days|
|PBS Masterpiece||$5.99/mo.||7 days|
|Shout Factory TV||$2.99/mo.||7 days|
|Stingray Karaoke||$6.99/mo.||7 days|
|Strand Releasing||$4.99/mo.||7 days|
|Sundance Now||$6.99/mo.||7 days|
|True Crime Files||$3.99/mo.||7 days|
|Urban Movie Channel||$4.99/mo.||7 days|
|UP Faith & Family||$4.99/mo.||7 days|
|Best of British Television|
|CBS All Access|
|Comedy Central Now|
|Grokker Yoga & Fitness|
|Hallmark Movies Now|
|IFC Films Unlimited|
|Lifetime Movie Club|
|Monsters & Nightmares|
|NBA League Pass|
|Shout Factory TV|
|True Crime Files|
|Urban Movie Channel|
|UP Faith & Family|
|Free, with ads||N/A|
You have to love premium add-ons with a service like Prime Video. It’s like ordering a combination platter at a Mexican restaurant. Sure, the #9 is already a feast with a taco, cheese enchilada, flauta, and tostada. But, man, if you could add a chile relleno and a tamale, that’d be one satisfying meal. Now imagine if you had more options than you could, uh, imagine.
Prime Video advertises 100+ premium add-ons in what it calls “Amazon Channels.” It keeps things vague because networks are bound to come and go as licensing deals begin and end. And 100 is a big, juicy, safe number to promote.
That said, we counted dozens of other channels from all genres and for all walks of life. You know what that means? Custom channel combos.
The long list of affordable add-ons is a cord-cutter’s one-stop shopping dream. It enables us to do what we’ve all wanted to do for so, so long: pay only for the channels we want.
But it’s even better than that. Prime Video already provides a vast selection of quality shows and movies for one low price, and the ability to add specific channels at a bargain makes us drool. And the lack of a contract means that we can mix and match from month to month, consuming even more mind-rotting TV.
Prime Video original shows and movies
Where Prime lives up to its name.
|Popular original shows||Popular original movies|
All or Nothing
This Giant Beast That Is the Global Economy
Good Girls Revolt
The Last Tycoon
The Man in the High Castle
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
The Big Sick
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot
Elvis vs. Nixon
Last Flag Flying
The Lost City of Z
Manchester by the Sea
Look at that list—is it long enough for you? It could be longer since Amazon drops new original shows and movies like packages from drones. And the quality, especially with the series, is outstanding with standouts among standouts.
Leading these are award-winning comedy-dramas like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and the gender-twisting Transparent, which both have taken home Golden Globes and Primetime Emmy awards.
So, yes, Amazon’s shows are reliable critical darlings. Expect to fall in love with the darkly funny and big-hearted Patriot and Fleabag, as well as the superhero-satire comic book adaptation The Boys. Other well-reviewed series include the detective drama Bosch and One Mississippi, based on the life of comedian Tig Notaro.
On the film end, Amazon has almost as good a ratio of killer content. Perhaps its most notable title is the multiple Academy Award–winning Matt Damon drama Manchester by the Sea. There’s also the surprisingly good reboot of Dario Argento’s late-’70s horror film Suspiria, Jim Jarmusch’s Stooges doc Gimme Danger, and Idris Elba’s gritty crime drama Yardie. Again, the list could be longer.
Prime Video specs and features
We’ve used Prime Video for at least a decade. Apart from some small interface and watchlist complaints (read on), the service is reliably reliable. It’s also one of our favorites.
Three is the magic number.
|Package||Simultaneous streams||Offline viewing||Price|
|Amazon Prime month-to-month||3||✓||$12.99/mo.|
|Amazon Prime annual||3||✓||$119/yr.|
|Amazon Prime EBT/Medicaid cardholders||3||✓||$5.99/mo. (max. 4 years|
|Prime Student (monthly)||3||✓||$6.49/yr.|
|Prime Student (annual)||3||✓||$59/yr.|
|Prime Video only||3||✓||$8.99/mo.|
So you have, what, two TVs, plus a smartphone and PC for both parents and all 2.3 kids? That’s, like, 9.2 screens per household! What are you gonna do? Well, if the ‘rents did their job right, you’ll share. Prime Video’s three simultaneous streams should be enough to keep the peace in your house.
Downloading content for offline viewing, however, is restricted to Fire tablets and your smartphone’s Prime Video app, and only two devices at a time. Most shows and movies are available to download, though, and you can save up to 25 titles (depending on your location) to watch offline later. Amazon says you have 30 days to watch them and, once started, 48 hours to finish the program. (Don’t worry: you can always delete and re-download—and sometimes you don’t even have to do that.)
Incidentally, while traveling abroad recently, we noticed something interesting: the app would stream only Amazon Originals content while abroad. (You know—licensing issues.) Happily, we then saw that the non-original Prime shows and movies we downloaded before leaving the country still worked. Woo-hoo! Who said vacations were for seeing sights and strengthening relationships?
Monopolies: compatible with almost everything!
|Amazon Fire TV||✓|
|Amazon Fire tablet||✓|
|Android mobile devices||✓|
|iOS mobile devices||✓|
|LG TV Smart TVs (select models)||✓|
|Samsung Smart TVs (select models)||✓|
|Vizio SmartCast TV (select models)||✓|
|Windows 10 phones||✓|
Prime Video wouldn’t be an Amazon product if it weren’t trying to be all things to all people, so it works on just about every device. Nintendo fans will note that the Switch, Wii and Wii U aren’t among these.
We tested the Prime Video app on the Fire TV Stick, a 55-inch LG Smart TV, a laptop running Windows 10, a PC operating Windows 8.1, the Samsung Galaxy S8, and both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
Best streaming devices
Good, better, best—data saver for the rest.
|Setting||Data usage per hour of content||Resolution|
|Data Saver||0.14 GB||Might as well be watching Minecraft|
Prime Video app’s settings allow us to choose the quality of a stream or download according to how much data it will use. Each tier has a name—“Best,” “Better,” “Good,” and “Data Saver”—accompanied by an estimate of data usage per hour of content. This is helpful, but we want specific deets.
For that information, we had to call Prime Video support. The phone rep wasn’t able to immediately provide an answer, but they emailed the info within hours. “Best” is 1080p, “Better” is 720p, “Good” is standard definition (typically 480p), and “Data Saver” is sub-standard, pixelated blecch (our words).
Users may also control data consumption in the settings menu by choosing download and stream on Wi-Fi only, asking to be notified before downloading or streaming on mobile data, and turning off autoplay.
Having issues with your stream?
Having a ton of content is excellent, but not if it’s difficult to use. Thankfully, Prime Video’s interface is mostly intuitive. The complaints aren’t big ones—except when you wind up with too much content to sort through.
One great thing about Prime Video is that the interface is basically the same between PC and mobile. Those 10-second rewind/fast-forward buttons are handy no matter your device, but especially on mobile. You know, since it saves us from fat-fingering the status bar slider to try and land at a precise moment in our show.
Scrubbing through a program can be a bit frustrating on Xbox One until you get a feel for how to navigate it without going too far in one direction or the other.
The X-Ray feature deserves a mention, too. Have you ever stopped watching a show just to Google an actor’s name or find out who performs a particular song from the show? There’s no need with Prime. One click brings up all of that info so you can minimize distractions.
A general problem with streaming services is that a watchlist can grow into thousands of titles, with limited options to sort them. Prime Video’s list can be sorted by recent additions, alphabetically, shows vs. movies, or—on PC, whether it’s included on Prime or needs to be purchased.
It would be wonderful to be able to filter by genre and expiration date to avoid wasting time and forgetting to watch something before it leaves the service.
Final take: Is Prime Video worth it?
Again, Prime Video is easily the best bang for your streaming buck. There’s more content than you could watch in a lifetime, with more coming all the time. And with all those Prime benefits, it’s almost crazy not to subscribe. Oh, just do it already. You know you wanna.
Prime Video FAQ
How much does Amazon Prime cost?
Most users will likely choose to enroll in Amazon Prime annual membership, of which, Prime Video is one of several benefits. In that case, the yearly cost is $119—or just under $12 per month.
If you choose monthly billing, you’ll pay $12.99 a month. Students may enroll in Prime for $59 a year or $6.49a month. And EBT or Medicaid cardholders may qualify for up to four years of Amazon Prime at $5.99 per month. It’s also possible to subscribe to only Prime Video for $8.99 a month.
Is Amazon video included in Amazon Prime?
Yes. Prime Video is one of the main benefits of an Amazon Prime membership, along with Prime Reading, Prime Music, Twitch Prime, free two-day shipping, and many others.
How do I watch Amazon Prime on my computer?
Go to Amazon.com and sign in. Click on Prime Video (located to the right of the search bar), then click on any title to start streaming.
Can I watch Amazon Prime on TV?
There are several ways to watch Amazon Prime Video content on your television. The Prime Video app works with dozens of devices, including select models of smart TVs, gaming consoles, set-top boxes and others. And you may cast directly to your TV from your Chromecast, smartphone, or tablet.
Can I download Amazon Prime movies to my laptop?
No. It appears that Amazon intends for offline viewing to be an exclusively mobile activity. That said, you may download Prime Video content for offline viewing with a Fire tablet or via the Prime Video app on your iOS or Android smartphone.
Can I watch live TV on Amazon Prime Video?
Prime Video streams select NBA and NFL games, like Thursday Night Football, live.
Can you still try Amazon Prime Video for free?
Yes—you may sign up for a free 30-day trial of not just Prime Video, but a full Prime membership with all the bells and whistles.
Does Amazon Prime Video work with Chromecast?
Yes. You can cast Prime Video directly from your browser—no app required.
How many movies are available on Amazon Prime?
Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t release specific information on its catalog, but industry experts agree that it’s around 18,000.
Is there a way to access all Prime Video content while traveling?
Not all of it. If you’re traveling outside of the United State, Prime Video allows you to watch select Amazon Originals titles—but that’s all.
Does subscribing to add-on channels through Prime Video allow you to access the channel’s own app?
Not always. When you sign up for a premium add-on through Prime Video, you access the content through the Prime app. And if you have a problem with the service, you’ll need to contact Amazon’s customer support.
Does Prime Video offer classic TV shows?
Yes, tons. Everything from The Andy Griffith Show and The Beverly Hillbillies to Star Trek and The Three Stooges. You won’t be disappointed in this department.