Last May I signed my Mom up for Amazon Prime. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Prime is a service from Amazon.com that gives enrollees FREE two day shipping on their Amazon purchases, rental of one FREE Kindle book a month, and access to the Amazon Instant Video library. The annual fee for this service is $79, or about $6.58 a month.
My mom loves Prime and now that The Bride and I are in our new place we joined. After the trial ended we signed up for a full year, we have yet to try the free kindle service, but we love the free shipping and the Amazon Instant video.
I am particularly impressed by Amazon Instant Video. I access this service through my Xbox 360, the set up was simple and the interface is easy to use. For years I had used Neflix steaming and I found the layout to be too cluttered. I would often scroll past the genre I was looking for and have to keep clicking until it came back around. Amazon’s streaming is clean and easy. The Bride and I have started watching “Under the Dome,” we are half way into the season and everything has gone off without a hitch. The picture quality is good and many of the shows and movies come with 5.1 surround sound.
For me the Amazon Instant Video experience has been superior to Netflix in every way with one exception, selection. Netflix is still the king when it comes to title availability. Amazon is no slouch and I am sure they are doing everything they can to close the gap, but as it stands they are still behind the Red Envelope.
From a price stand point, Amazon will cost you $79 for its service, plus the added benefit of FREE kindle books and FREE two day shipping. For just the streaming Netflix will cost you about $8 a month or $96 a year. You save $17 a year with Amazon. This is where I stand right now. I have Amazon Instant Video and a subscription to the Netflix 2 disc Bluray plan, it costs me about $16.00 a month.
If I dropped Neflix all together and used that money to rent films on Amazon I could watch 3-4 of them a month. I am an avid movie watcher and for me this just isn’t enough. Netflix still holds the edge in that regard, particularly with TV shows. To rent a season of a show on Amazon is very expensive. Netflix allows me to rent the series, one disc at a time, for very little cost.
Amazon is gaining the edge on streaming, but as it stands Netflix holds a slight edge. Things can change fast, if Netflix raised its prices or if Amazon expanded it library in a meaningful way that could tip the balance. Is Amazon Instant Video a Netflix killer? Not yet, but that could change pretty quickly.