Netflix has long been the leader in streaming services, but with the emergence of Amazon Prime monthly, and a rise in Netflix’s monthly fee, are they still your best option?
To find out which service is the best for you, both in terms of content and pricing, I did an in-depth comparison of Netflix and Amazon Prime.
The results? Well, they may surprise you.
Netflix offers monthly service for $9.99 a month. Service includes new, old and original TV programming, documentaries and select movies.
You can have up to 5 user profiles on one account at no extra charge, and can stream on 4 devices simultaneously for an additional $2 ($11.99 a month).
That means 4 profiles can stream different programming at the same time- no interruptions.
You can also add unlimited monthly DVD’s for an additional $4.99-$11.99 a month, giving you access to the newest releases.
$4.99 (Starter) lets you take out 1 DVD at a time, 2 DVD’s in total for the month; $7.99 (Standard) & $11.99 (Premium) let you have unlimited DVD’s for the month, with 1 DVD at a time for Standard & 2 DVD’s out at the same time for Premium.
Yes, the whole getting the DVD’s in the mail and sending them back is a bit annoying, but it is free and turn-around time is 3 days between DVD’s.
So, if you get the basic $9.99 package with the Standard DVD option, it will cost you $17.98 monthly.
At its highest package (basic service + multiple users + Premium DVD), it will run you $23.98 a month.
Not a bad deal, especially when you look at Amazon’s pricing system.
Amazon now offers a monthly subscription service for Prime Video for $8.99, no Prime membership required.
If you want a Prime membership, you get Prime Video included; Prime membership costs $99 a year, or $10.99 a month ($131.88 for 12 months).
Service for Prime Video monthly includes old, new and original TV shows, documentaries and new and old movies.
If you get the full Prime membership, you also get 2-day shipping and access to books, games and other materials.
Sounds great, and it is, except most new content and even some older content, must be paid for in addition to the monthly fee.
Pricing varies: new movies, like “The Revenant,” cost $5.99 per movie and TV shows can go from $1.99 per episode to $3.99 per episode, like with “Game of Thrones”.
TV shows can also be bought by season for a reduced rate. For instance, “The Walking Dead,” season 6 costs $1.99 per episode (SD), but you can buy the Season Pass for $26.99.
At 16 episodes, buying individually will cost you $31.84, so the Pass saves you roughly $5 ($4.85 to be exact).
So, if you watch 3 new movies and do Prime Video monthly, it will cost you roughly $26.96 ($8.99 + $17.97), more than a month’s service of Netflix with the Premium DVD package.
If you do a full season of a show like “The Walking Dead,” it will cost you $35.98 for the month ($8.99 + $26.99).
Even if you eliminate the monthly Prime fee and have the full membership, it still is costly to use Amazon.
For instance, 5 TV episodes, at $1.99 each, plus 2 new movies at $5.99 each costs $21.93.
That’s almost the same as a Premium Netflix subscription, where content is unlimited.
Plus, let’s be real: if you are watching the current season of any show you are watching 12-15 episodes on average, not 5, which brings you back to a season pass, which will cost you at the very least $21.99.
For those reasons, when it comes to pricing, Netflix is still the smarter option.
Now when it comes to service and content, that’s where things get a bit trickier.
Service & Content
As far as service goes, Amazon has the upper hand because service is instant across the board, but you pay a steep price for that convenience and access.
Whether you watch the latest flick or an old sitcom, with Amazon you just click and watch.
With Netflix, you have to wait to see a majority of the movies via DVD and current programming is limited.
DVD delivery is quick, but you can’t just stream and watch in most cases, which is a bit inconvenient.
Same goes for content. Amazon has the current season of any TV shows available instantly, whereas Netflix doesn’t.
Want to watch last night’s “Marvel: Agents of Shield?” Just click, pay and watch with Prime Video.
With Netflix, the current season is not available until around 3 months after it ends.
For example, season 6 of “The Walking Dead” just finished on April 3rd; it is expected to be available sometime in August.
That leaves fans with no choice but to wait if they want to catch up, although in reality it isn’t much different than fans who are waiting now until October for season 7.
The difference though, is that you aren’t watching when everyone else is and have to try to avoid spoilers while it’s airing.
To me, that is a small price to pay when you consider the money you save.
Plus, Netflix has so many TV shows to binge, most users don’t mind the wait.
Finally, when it comes to content both offer original programming, so there is a wide variety to choose from and it is really a matter of personal preference.
Netflix’s offerings lean towards reboots of fan favorites, like the new “Fuller House” and the “Gilmore Girls” revival, which is coming this fall.
Amazon’s original programming includes “Transparent,” which has won several awards, and the critically acclaimed “Mozart in the Jungle.”
Bottom line? Overall, Amazon has more current content and faster service, but it comes at a price.
Their monthly subscription fee may be lower, but the additional charges for a majority of their content makes them an expensive choice for anyone on a budget.
Netflix has a lot of great content at no extra charge, making binge watching much more affordable and giving you the better value for your dollar.
Plus, if you have cable, you don’t need to wait, or pay, for the most current season of your favorite TV show, giving Netflix a distinctive edge.
Netflix is the winner in my mind when it comes to which streaming service is the best one, at least for now.
What do you think? Are you #teamNetflix or #teamAmazon?
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