Amazon Prime Video Review 2020
- Video downloads for offline viewing
- 4K Ultra HD videos
- Behind-the-scenes content
- Extra charges for most new shows and movies
- Lackluster included shows and movies
Data effective 12/19/19. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Bottom line: Rad backup, bad solo
Amazon Prime Video is an excellent perk for Amazon Prime members, thanks to its included movies, exclusive series, and 4K Ultra HD videos.
But if you’re not taking advantage of Amazon Prime’s free shipping and discounts, Prime Video simply doesn’t offer enough on its own to be worth the price.
Amazon Prime Video promotions
Prime Video doesn’t offer any of its own deals, but Amazon Prime does. An Amazon Prime subscription gets you savings on Amazon products, and getting Prime Video included is a nice entertainment bonus.
Amazon Prime offers some pretty sweet discounts for students and people with EBT or Medicaid cards. Check out these deals to save on your entertainment budget and your everyday shopping budget.
Amazon Prime Video Plans
Prime AnnualView Plan
Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Prime Annual and Prime Monthly both come with everything Prime:
- Prime Video
- Unlimited music streaming
- Unlimited photo storage
- Unlimited reading
- Free two-day shipping
- Free same-day delivery
If you’ve got the cash to put up for Prime Annual instead of Prime Monthly, you’ll save $36.88 per year. Either way, you’ll have access to a ton of exclusive savings when you shop Amazon.
You can also get Prime Video as a stand-alone service. With some 4K videos and up to three streams at once, Prime Video seems somewhere between Netflix’s Standard and Premium plans, which cost $12.99 and $15.99 per month respectively.
But numbers aren’t the whole story here. In our opinion, Prime Video’s included shows and movies tend to be staler and more outdated than Netflix’s or Hulu’s offerings.
Which is a nice way of saying Prime Video has more in common with the opened sleeve of saltine crackers in the back of your pantry than with the top streaming services.
You don’t have to take our word for it—check out Prime Video’s selection to see if it has everything you want. If you like going down a rabbit hole of old films, you might be in luck.
Amazon Prime Video shows
Prime Video has a few good hits, but new content comes slowly. And browsing can be a little discouraging because Amazon displays all the great new shows you could be watching if you paid extra to rent or buy rather than relying on included shows.
However, if you stream a lot of shows from premium channels like HBO®, Prime Video is an excellent hub for channel subscriptions. Sign up for premiums through Prime Video to watch premium shows in one place without switching between apps.
On-demand shows and movies
Included with your Prime Video membership is a wild mix of B-movies, arthouse films, and old gems. If you’re into the new and popular stuff, you’ll have to rent or buy most of those titles.
Despite that, you’ll probably find a few shows and movies to enjoy for free, like these titles:
- The Shawshank Redemption
- The Expanse
While Prime Video doesn’t have the vast Originals library that Netflix does, it’s got a few noteworthy shows. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel won eight awards in the 2018 Emmys, including one for Outstanding Comedy Series.
Along with The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, here are top Amazon Originals we think you should check out:
- The Grand Tour
- Sneaky Pete
Combine Amazon Prime Video with another streaming service
With Prime Video as your only streaming service, your streaming experience will be like oatmeal—filling but bland. Shake things up with the brown sugar and berries of streaming TV.
|Hulu + Live TV |
|Netflix is a go-to for fresh TV shows and movies, along with tons of original shows.||Hulu also has a bunch of currently airing shows—which you don’t have to pay more for.||Cut the cord with all of Hulu’s on-demand stuff plus cable TV channels streaming live.|
Amazon Prime Video specs and features
If you love streaming but miss the extra features you get with DVD and Blu-rays, Prime Video’s exclusive X-Ray feature will save you a trip to your local Redbox. It gives you access to deleted scenes, trivia, and more.
Prime Video also lets you download videos for offline viewing. You can also stream on up to three devices at once.
These are all impressive features for a streaming service, even if Prime Video’s shows don’t wow us.
Prime Video is the best friend of the family road trip. Depending on your location (Prime Video doesn’t specify where), you can download a total of 15 or 25 titles at a time.
We wish Prime Video was more transparent so we could tell you where you can find the illustrious 25-title download. But at least 15 downloads will still cover most people’s on-the-go needs.
You’ll be able to keep purchased videos downloaded as long as you like, but there are limits on some other video types:
- After downloading a rented video, you have 48 hours to finish watching it.
- You have 30 days to start watching a download Prime Video, and 48 hours to finish watching it.
But even considering that, it’s so convenient that you can load up your Fire tablet, Android, or iOS device with so many shows at one time.
So get downloading movies to keep your kids occupied and save the back of your bucket seat from bored, kicking feet.
|All Prime Video plans||3||Included|
You can play up to three shows at once on your Prime Video account, which means you can watch Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan while your kids aren’t arguing about whether they’ll watch Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood or Niko and the Sword of Light.
Although you can watch Prime Video on three devices at once, you can view the same video on up to two devices—as long as it’s Prime-included or purchased. Rentals and First Episode Free videos can play on only one device at a time.
Compatible streaming devices
While Prime Video is available on a wide variety of streaming devices, you won’t find its app on Chromecast. Amazon and Google have a hard time playing nice with each other—keep their feud in mind when you build your streaming service.
But don’t lose hope if you already stream with a Chromecast. You can still cast Prime Video from your Chrome browser or some older Android phones.
Amazon Prime Video quality
Unlike most streaming services, Prime Video offers select videos in 4K Ultra HD. This new, high-quality picture is four times better than HD.
But not all devices can play 4K, and you’ll need to have an internet download speed of at least 15 Mbps to support the large file size. Keep in mind that this uses a lot more data, too—you don’t want to go over your internet data cap.
Watching Seasons in HD on Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video user experience
While all that quality is excellent, finding a show to watch on Prime Video is a daunting task. It hits you with a bunch of recommendations first, and you have to scroll for a while to find specific genres.
Keep an eye out for shows with the white Prime tag in the top left corner. Those are shows included with your Prime Video membership—you have to pay extra to watch anything without that label.
There’s also the problem of just how many navigation bars you have to—well—navigate. Along with your regular Amazon shopping navigation, you’ve got two bars for Prime Video.
To top that off, each category on those bars takes you to an equally cluttered page without a lot of show variation. It’s like Prime Video knows it has only a few hits, so it tries to bury all the misses.
Prime Video’s interface is a bit cluttered for our taste.
The most helpful interface sections are “Kids” on the top bar and “Included with Prime” on the lower one. That last one shows you only options you don’t have to pay extra for, so you don’t break your heart with everything Prime Video is misses out on.
Have we mentioned that we don’t like that you have to pay extra for the good stuff on Prime Video? Ugh, it’s really just the worst.
Our final take
Prime Video is fine—it’s just a little boring. There’s not a lot there to pique your interest when your brain is mush after a long day.
All in all, Prime Video is a nice benefit of Amazon Prime and worth poking around if you’re bored with your other streaming services. But we don’t recommend it all on its own.
Amazon Prime Video FAQ
How much is Amazon Prime Video?
Amazon Prime Video costs $8.99 per month on its own. You could also get it as an Amazon Prime membership perk from Prime Monthly, which costs $12.99 per month, or Prime Annual, which costs $119.00 per year (approximately $9.92 per month).
How can I watch Amazon Prime Video on TV?
What is Prime Video Watch Party?
Watch Party is a new feature from Amazon Prime Video. When you use your computer to watch any video included with your Prime membership, you can invite up to 100 other Prime members to watch with you by sending them a link.
Watch Party is still in beta, so it might be a bit glitchy. But it’s a great idea for hanging out with friends and family. There’s even a chat feature so you can share your reactions to the movie’s big twist. No spoilers, please!