SVG Icons

Amazon Prime Video Review 2021: Prices, Plans, and More

Amazon’s Prime Video is a great membership perk, but can it stand (and stream) alone? Find out in our expert review.

Best value (on-demand streaming)

Price: $12.99/mo. ($119.00/yr.)
Features: 25,000+ movies and TV shows

What is Amazon Prime Video?

Prime Video is an on-demand streaming TV service owned and operated by mega-merchant Amazon. It also offers some live sports programming (like NFL football, NBA basketball, and PGA golf), and it has a growing slate of in-house original TV shows and movies (like award winners The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Sound of Metal).

More than anything, Prime Video is a deep-stocked warehouse of current and classic TV and movie acquisitions. Access to over 25,000 movies and TV series is included with a $12.99 a month (or $119.00 a year) Amazon Prime membership.

Is Amazon Prime Video good?

Prime Video is the best perk of being an Amazon Prime member. We see you, AmazonFresh and two-day shipping, but 25,000 movies and TV shows is just tastier. And Amazon originals like Them and The Expanse? We call good on Prime Video, though a little less so when considering it as a standalone, no-Prime-membership service at $8.99 a month.

Prime Video’s still-small stable of original content can’t compete with Netflix’s sheer quantity of shows and movies. It also doesn’t have the immediacy of Hulu, which streams many TV shows the day after they’re broadcast elsewhere.

Still, there’s plenty to love about Prime Video, especially if you’re a movie buff who’s a sucker for ’80s marathons (aren’t we all?).

Amazon Prime Video pros and cons

Pros

  • Included with Amazon Prime membership
  • Over 25,000 movies and TV shows

Cons

  • Limited original content
  • Less essential as a standalone service

Amazon Prime Video free trials and deals

Amazon Prime gives you a 30-day free membership trial, which means you also have a month to try out Prime Video. If you’re interested in only Prime Video, the same 30-day trial also applies.

Amazon Prime Video plans and pricing

Price Video Streams Details
$12.99/mo. or $119/yr. 1080p, 4K 3 View plan
$8.99/mo. 1080p, 4K 3 View plan

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Amazon Prime Video vs. the competition

Price Video Streams Details
$8.99–$12.99/mo. 1080p, 4K 3 View plans
$8.99–$15.99/mo. 1080p, 4K 1–4 View plans
$5.99–11.99/mo. 1080p, 4K 2 View plans
$6.99/mo. 1080p, 4K 4 View plans
$14.99/mo. 1080p, 4K 3 View plans
$4.99/mo. 1080p, 4K 6 View plans
$5.99–$9.99/mo. 1080p 2 View plans
Free–$9.99/mo. 1080p, 4K 3 View plans
$4.99–$6.99/mo. 1080p, 4K 4 View plans

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Prime Video falls somewhere in the middle of the competition in price and content—Netflix has more of its own shows, HBO Max is pricier, and Hulu has buzzier originals. But can any of the others also deliver a Ninja air fryer to your door within 48 hours? Amazon Prime membership combined with Prime Video is an all-inclusive entertainment package that’s tough to beat

Amazon Prime Video TV shows and movies

TV shows and movies

Prime Video carries three kinds of content: free, original (also free), and shows and movies to rent or purchase.

Of all Prime Video’s categories, the most popular is “Included with Prime.” This means you won’t have to pay extra to watch a TV series or movie (it’s also indicated by a blue “Prime” tab on the preview image).

Additional charge shows and movies from the Prime Video rental store are labeled with a yellow “$” tab and can range from $2 to $20 per TV episode or full movie. Most newly released videos on demand fall under this category, with Amazon-owned movies (like Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse) excluded.

Original TV shows and movies

Prime Video’s original lineup of TV series and movies isn’t quite as fat as Netflix’s or Hulu’s, but it’s growing steadily in quantity and critical acclaim. Shows like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Boys, and The Expanse, and movies like Sound of Metal, I’m Your Woman, and Coming 2 America prove Prime Video can go toe-to-toe creatively with the other services.

Coming soon . . . Watch out for our upcoming What to Watch on Amazon Prime Video guide for more Prime Video originals and acquired TV shows and movies by signing up for email newsletter.

Channel add-ons

There are over 100 channel add-ons available through Prime Video, ranging from familiar premiums like HBO, SHOWTIME, and STARZ to niche channels like BBC Select, PBS Masterpiece, and Hallmark Movies Now.

Some add-on channels, such as the martial-arts centric Hi-Yah!, go for as little as $2.99 a month, while HBO (Prime Video hasn’t yet switched to HBO Max) costs the same $14.99 a month as it does on cable or satellite. Read about all the options in our Amazon Prime Video Add-Ons guide.

Sports

Prime Video is now the streaming home to the NFL’s Thursday Night Football, which is included in the basic subscription—again, always look for the blue Prime tab. Off the gridiron and into the sand, AVP pro beach volleyball games are also included with Prime Video.

You can also watch live MLB baseball (MLB.TV), NBA basketball (NBA TV, NBA League Pass), PGA golf (PGA Tour Live), and CBS Sports (Paramount+) through Prime Video Channels for additional monthly fees.

Combine Amazon Prime Video with another service

Need more streaming goodness than Prime Video? Try adding one of these streaming services to your app arsenal.

Swipe Left to See All →
YouTube TV
$64.99/mo.
Paramount+
$5.99–$9.99/mo.
HBO Max
$14.99/mo.
CableTV.com’s favorite live TV streaming service, with over 100 live TV channels and unlimited DVR space for $64.99 a month.Over 30,000 TV shows and 650 movies from MTV, Comedy Central, CBS, and more, plus originals like Star Trek: Picard.Get everything from HBO, as well as HBO Max Originals like The Flight Attendant and Search Party, for $14.99 a month.


Amazon Prime Video specs and features

Prime Video’s on-screen guide is comparable to other on-demand streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, but one of our favorite Prime Video features is its exclusive X-Ray function, which displays information about the movie or TV show you’re currently watching. It identifies actors in any given scene, provides trivia and soundtrack information, and more with a single remote click. It’s handy for those “I know that guy—what’s he been in?” moments.

Amazon Prime Video simultaneous streams

Plan
Prime Video
Streams
3

Prime Video allows up to three simultaneous streams, which is pretty standard with most streaming services. It also offers offline downloads for unconnected viewing, allowing up to 25 downloads per Prime Video account with 30 days to watch.

You can also create up to five user profiles within Prime Video and set up parental controls based on content ratings with a PIN number. Even though it’s a cartoon, you probably don’t want the kiddies watching Prime Video’s ultra-violent superhero original Invincible.

Amazon Prime Video supported devices

Device
Amazon Fire Cube, Stick, TV
Android phones, tablets
Android TV
Apple TV (4th gen.)
Apple TV 4K
Chromecast, Chromecast with Google TV
Echo Show
iPhone, iPad
LG TVs (select models)
Nintendo Switch
NVIDIA SHIELD Pro TV
PC, Mac web browsers
PlayStation 3, 4, 5
Roku Ultra, Express, Premiere, Stick, TV
Samsung TVs (select models)
TiVo Stream
Wii
Xbox One
Prime Video

Data effective as of post date.

With the exception of Nintendo devices, your streaming gadget of choice is likely compatible with Prime Video. Amazon’s Fire TV devices work exceptionally well with Prime Video, as it’s literally what they were created to stream. Looks like corporate synergy pays off.

Amazon Prime Video video and audio quality

Prime Video streams at 1080p HD, with some original TV shows and movies in 4K, HDR, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision. It’s not consistent from show to show, though: Prime Video’s hit Bosch is available in HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision, while Carnival Row is available in HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Atmos.

Amazon Prime Video's Carnival Row

As long as your internet connection is solid and fast, Amazon Prime Video’s picture quality is reliably pristine. Prime Video recommends at least 5 Mbps to get that quality; we recommend 25 Mbps at minimum for buffer-free streaming.

Amazon Prime Video Originals menu

Audio-wise, Prime Video supports Dolby 5.1 digital surround sound for most of its original movies and TV shows, and Dolby Atmos on a small portion of content. For the majority of programming on Prime Video, however, sound output is the standard 2.0 stereo offered by all other streaming services.

Final take: Is Amazon Prime Video worth it?

If you’re an Amazon Prime member, Prime Video is an excellent streaming addition to your app lineup—if you aren’t already using it, why not? That’s like passing on a free dessert with your entrée, or at least those “extra” fries in the bottom of the takeout bag.

For non-Prime members, the standalone $8.99 a month service might not be quite as essential as a Netflix or Hulu subscription. Prime Video’s original series and movies are high quality but few, and you can get its premium channels and rental movies for the same prices elsewhere.

But, now that Prime Video is the exclusive streaming home to NFL Thursday Night Football, and the mega-budgeted Lord of the Rings original series is set to arrive later in 2021, we think the streamer might become a whole lot more essential soon.

Amazon Prime Video FAQ

Is Prime Video included with Amazon Prime membership?

Access to Prime Video is included at no extra charge with an Amazon Prime membership.

How much does Amazon Prime Video cost?

Access to Prime Video is included with Amazon Prime membership, which costs $12.99 a month or $119.00 a year.. For non-Prime members, Prime Video is available as a standalone streaming service for $8.99 a month.

How much do Amazon Prime Video movie rentals cost?

Movie rentals through Prime Video can range from as low as $2.99 for older releases to as much as $19.99 for recent theatrical releases.

Don't miss an update

Stay updated on the latest products and services anytime anywhere.