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Streaming movies and TV shows is the new norm, we’re able to access nearlyany film or series we want anywhere there is internet access. As this pastime has grown in popularity so too have number of content providers there are to choose from.
The two front-runners in this industry are Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant, formerly LoveFilm Instant.
At first glance these two services look extremely similar; this makes choosing between them very difficult. Each has its loyal fans, who will defend their chosen provider interminably. Today, we’ll discuss the advantages and downfalls of each aiming to help you to pick your side in the grudge match of Netflix vs Amazon Prime.
The thing that influences most of the decisions we make is how much will it cost? Unfortunately the prices between the services don’t vary that drastically. Netflix costs £5.99 a month, although this is set to increase in the next few months. Amazon Prime Instant currently comes in at £5.99 a month also. Customers who pay £79 a year to be an Amazon Prime member not only get, among other things, free next day delivery on Amazon purchases, but they will also get the instant service for free.
Both providers offer customers a one-month free trial of their services. This means that, cost wise, there is nothing between them.
Let’s look at what you get for your money. Amazon claims to have 50,000 titles to choose from compared to Netflix (somewhat measly) 10,000 titles. It seems that Amazon would be the obvious choice. But, when we examined these numbers more carefully we found that Amazon count each episode of a series as one unit. This means that each episode of a thirteen part series is included in these numbers, making these numbers misleading to say the least.
Broken down into film and TV titles we found that Netflix comes out on top with 6,916 film titles available and 3,613 TV titles. Amazon Prime on the other had has a disappointing 2,452 film titles and only 936 TV titles, this is far from the 50,000 they boast. In these terms it is seems the choice is obvious. It is possible, of course, that Netflix has filled its virtual shelves with TV flops and cinematic failures.
Let’s examine the content further.
Amazon Prime has recently brokered a deal with HBO, in which they have secured exclusive rights to all of their TV shows; these include The Wire, Game of Thrones, and Veep. Unfortunately for those outside of the US, this is an American only deal, as SKY own most of HBOs programing rights in the UK. Let’s not despair though, we’re still able to view these TV series via Amazon’s rent or buy digitally option, in which, for an extra cost, we can watch those film or TV series that Amazon cannot include in its catalogue. Amazon are creating their own programs too, giving subscribers the ability to vote for which pilots they wish to see made into full series.
Netflix does not offer this additional rent or buy service, but they have seen great success in their own original series, which include Emmy award winning series House of Cards, as well as Orange is the New Black. They claim the money made from their hike in subscription costs will enable them to create more programing of this kind.
Both services compete to sign contracts with various program and filmmakers, meaning it is unlikely that you will find the same content on both providers. Although TV series appear on these services shortly after they have been released on DVD and Blu-ray, you will have to wait considerably longer for most films to appear on the sites.
The waiting time from a movie being shown at the theatre to being available to view on sites such as these, is on average two years. There are exceptions to this rule, Netflix recently showed The Hobbit – Return of Smaug far before its competitors. Usually though, the films available are not at all current. If you’re looking to keep up with blockbusters, then these services may not be for you.
The interfaces of each site don’t vary that drastically. It’s reasonably easy to search for content and browse suggested titles using both services. Amazon Prime does allow three devices to stream content simultaneously, whilst Netflix only allows two. For larger families Netflix allows up to four devices to steam, at an extra cost.
The benefit of Netflix is that it allows users to set up different profiles. This means that unlike Amazon Instant, you won’t be bombarded with suggestions of children’s shows and movies. Speaking of which, Netflix allows parents to set up a child-friendly profile, which restricts the content available to young eyes.
Netflix does have a downside that may cause to be a deal breaker for some. Unlike other streaming providers, Netflix doesn’t tell you when a series is being deleted. This means halfway through a gripping series the content may be removed, leaving you on teetering on that cliff hanger until the DVD arrives.
Both Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant are available on most media platforms including Smart TVs, Games Consoles, and Blu-ray players. Unfortunately Amazon Prime Instant is not compatible with Android devices. It’s hard not to find Amazon’s decision to bypass Android puzzling, considering 70 percent of devices brought in the UK run on the Google developed operating system. Not to mention the OS’s position of being the most popular mobile OS globally.
Ultimately, it comes down to what programmes you like to watch. With Amazon Prime holding the market on HBO’s, and Netflix securing those of AMC the decision will usually resolves to which channel makes your favourite shows.
Alternatively you could follow the crowd. Netflix subscribers are reaching the 36 million mark whist Amazon Prime are still at 20 million. Before you pick a side, be sure to make use of the one month free trial both providers offer.
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