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Amazon Prime Video: Everything you need to know

Amazon Prime Video gives you access to a ton of channels, including premium channels, as well as some compelling originals.

 

Phil West

 

John-Michael Bond

Services

Published May 27, 2020   Updated May 27, 2021, 7:15 pm CDT

Amazon Prime is about more than just shopping. If you have Prime Video, either by itself or as part of an Amazon Prime account, you know it’s got great original shows and movies and access to a whole lot more via its channel choices.

You can, in fact, access everything Showtime and HBO offers through Amazon Prime Video, and still check out Amazon’s originals on the same platform.

If you’re already getting Amazon Prime for shopping purposes, Prime Video is an incredible added bonus. But if you’re still on the fence about whether to make Jeff Bezos even richer, read on. Here’s what we’ll cover:

 


 WATCH: 19 Best Movies on Amazon Prime


How much is Amazon Prime Video?

The answer to this question’s a little more complicated than it would appear. If you’re just getting Amazon Prime Video by itself, it’s a flat $8.99 monthly rate.

But Amazon Prime subscribers get Prime Video as part of that account. You can pay for Amazon Prime either monthly, $12.99 a month, or all at once, for $119 a year.

The latter price seems hefty as one lump sum—especially since it will annually come out of the bank account or card of your choice as one $119 charge—but it works out to be just pennies more than you’d pay for just Prime Video.

What does Amazon Prime get you? Access to tons of reading material and streaming music, free two-day shipping on products purchased through Amazon, and a number of perks if you shop at Whole Foods.

And, if you’re a college student, you can get a Prime Student account and get Prime benefits for just $59 a year.

 


 

What is there to watch on Prime Video?

While Amazon’s monolithic size raises concerns about everything from its facial recognition technology to its business practices, it’s a boon for streaming fans. Simply put, Amazon has poured an absurd amount of money into getting rights for streaming content.

Even before it bought MGM for $9 billion in 2021 the company took its streaming library very seriously. While Netflix floods itself with original productions, Prime still has a lot of great Hollywood movies.

From modern blockbusters like The Gemini Man or Arrival to beloved classics like The Saint, Prime feels like a Blockbuster store. That philosophy extends to its genre selections. It has deep catalogs of horror, action, sci-fi, fantasy, western, and thrillers.

Whether you like obscure b-horror, Hallmark romances, PG-13 comedy, or lost 90s erotic thrillers there’s no genre you can throw at Prime and end up empty-handed. And good lord we didn’t even mention the documentaries yet.

It’s just as good for TV. You’ll find tons of classic sitcoms, from Cheers to Grounded for Life to Mad About You. Binge-watch entire shows like Boston Legal, Unsolved Mysteries, The Practice, House, or Downton Abby. Or check out one of its great original series, which we’ll get to in a minute.

Are there any add-on channels?

First, let’s talk about the channels. A lot of the premier channel add-ons you’d look for in a streaming service, like Showtime, HBO, and Starz, live here, as do other big SVODs like CBS All Access and Shudder.

If you want quality kids’ programming, look no further than Noggin and PBS Kids. Families looking for cartoons and shows appealing to slightly older kids, there’s Boomerang and Nick Hits.

Looking for quality highbrow entertainment? Check out PBS Masterpieces or go across the pond for Acorn TV and Britbox. If you’re feeling cheesy and romantic, perhaps Hallmark Movies Now or Pixl will fit the bill.

There’s also plenty to laugh about. In addition to comedy movies and shows galore, Amazon delves into the occasional standup special, including Jimmy O. Yang’s new Good Time, joining Jim Gaffigan’s Quality Time and Anna Wetturland’s My Mama Is a Human and So Am I.


 WATCH: 11 Best Amazon Prime Original Series


Amazon Originals

In addition to the original programming you can access through the platform from other networks—Game of Thrones from HBO, Shameless from Showtime, Power from Starz—Amazon’s corraled some impressive talent for its own set of original shows and movies.

While there are so many that they’ve inspired a whole Daily Dot roundup, here are just as notable titles to check out:

  • The Boys: Move over Watchmen, take a seat Dark Knight, there’s a new face of gritty comic book stories. Set in a world where superheroes are power-drunk monsters, The Boys follows a secret group tasked with bringing them down. Brutal in its violence and humor, The Boys is a delight.
  • Late Night: This film, penned by Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project), and puts her alongside Emma Thompson, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance. Thompson plays a longtime late-night talk show host in need of a revamp, and Kaling’s the writer hired to deliver.
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Now three seasons deep, this comedy and drama series from Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino follows the rise of a female comedian in late 1950s and early 1960s New York City.
  • Bosch: Though a crime drama about a detective who does things his own way might not seem so original, Bosch successfully provides a fresh, compelling take on the genre. It’s the longest-running Amazon Original show, debuting in 2015, with its final season released in February 2020.
  • Homecoming: Julia Roberts stars in this psychological thriller based around a mysterious U.S. government facility helping soldiers transition back to civilian life. Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail was behind transforming the original Gimlet podcast of this show into the Amazon version.

What devices can I watch on?

Amazon Prime Video works with a variety of devices.

Amazon Fire TVAndroidiOS
Apple TVChromecastRoku
Nvidia ShieldXBox One Playstation 3 and 4
Smart TVsBlu-Ray PlayersTivo

 


Can I watch Amazon Prime Video on multiple screens?

You can watch up to three screens simultaneously on Amazon Prime Video, with one catch: You can only have a single title playing on two screens at the same time.


Amazon Prime Video vs. The Competition

Prime Video vs. Hulu

Amazon Prime Video is something of a hybrid service, providing original programming, access to a number of channels, and movies. Hulu’s similar, especially with its forays into original programming with shows like The Great, Little Fires Everywhere, and The Handmaid’s Tale.

Both services have access to lots of movies, though to get to comparable titles, Amazon Prime Video subscribers might need to grab an add-on channel like Showtime or HBO.

The main difference between the two, though, is the Live TV option that Hulu offers, bringing the news, entertainment, and sports options of streaming packages like Sling and Fubo.

Hulu with Live TV gives you a streaming service plus an expansive library of content, though it does increase Hulu’s comparable pricing with Amazon Prime Video into the $54.99 to $60.99 range. (Plus, Hulu doesn’t provide free two-day shipping.)

Prime Video vs. Netflix

Both services started lives delivering entertainment to people’s front doors and are now staples in the streaming universe thanks to the access they give customers to a number of movies and TV shows.

While Netflix is a little pricier in its higher tiers, it does have a great selection available on a wide variety of devices. It does also provide the advantage of downloadable content, which is useful in those spots where you can’t get a wi-fi signal.

Netflix also has some great original series like Dead to Me, Ozark, and Stranger Things, and its 2020 documentary series Tiger King crossed over into both popular culture and the news cycle.


Is Amazon Prime Video worth it?

There are a few facets to this question. If you’re thinking about Amazon Prime Video as a standalone service streaming movies and shows, it offers considerable choices.

It can take you down the path of paying for other channels or renting or buying individual movies and show episodes, and you may determine that one flat fee for Netflix or Hulu is preferable to navigating Amazon Prime Video.

However, if you’re thinking about Amazon Prime Video as an extension of Amazon Prime, and you’re already on board with the advantages being a Prime member brings you, it’s a no-brainer.

Chances are, if you’re paying from Amazon Prime, you’re factoring in the time saved shopping online vs. running out to stores and scanning shelves.

But even if you have no use for an Amazon Prime membership, it is worth considering signing up for a stand-alone Prime Video account. This is a truly incredible streaming experience.


 WATCH: 10 Best Documentaries on Amazon Prime


How to sign up for Amazon Prime Video

If you want to sign up for Amazon Prime, and get Amazon Prime Video as part of that, it’s a simple process:

  1. Go to the Amazon Prime sign-up page.
  2. Click on the “Try Prime” button.
  3. Existing Prime members will be asked to sign in and prompted to enter your username and password. If you don’t have an Amazon account, you’ll be prompted to make one.

You don’t need a Prime account to use Prime Video however. Users who want Amazon Prime Video similar process:

  1. Go to the Amazon Prime Video sign-up page.
  2. Click on the “Start Your 30-Day Free Trial” button.
  3. As with Amazon Prime, you’ll be prompted to either sign in to your existing account or create a new account. Once you’re signed in, you’ll be transported to the Prime Video landing page.

You will need to link each device you want with Amazon Prime Video; the process includes entering a five to six-digit code you’ll receive as you work through the steps.

Amazon Prime Video Guides

What’s New on Amazon Prime Video
The best Movies on Amazon Prime Video
Best Shows on Amazon Prime Video
Best Original Shows on Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video Genre Guides

4K MoviesLGBTQ
AnimeMartial Arts Films
Bollywood FilmsSad Movies
Comedy MoviesSci-Fi Movies
DocumentariesSerial Killer Movies
Horror MoviesSexy Movies
Kids MoviesThrillers

amazon prime video
Monthly (Prime
Video only)
$8.99
Annually (w/
Amazon Prime
subscription)
$119
Annual (w/
Prime Student
subscription)
$59

Live TV Service Guides

AT&T TV NOW CBS All AccessFubo TV
Hulu with Live TVPhiloPluto TV
Sling TVVidgoYouTube TV

Entertainment Channel Guides

A&EAMCAnimal Planet
BBC AmericaBETBravo
Cartoon NetworkComedy CentralDiscovery Channel
Disney ChannelDisney XDE!
Food NetworkFreeformFX
FXXHallmark ChannelHGTV
History ChannelIFCLifetime
MTVNat GeoNickelodeon
Nick JrParamount NetworkScience Channel
SundanceSYFYTBS
TLCTravel ChannelTruTV
TNTTV LandUSA
VH1WillowThe Weather Channel

Streaming Device Guides

Amazon FireApple TVAndroid
ChromecastiOSPlaystation
RokuSmart TVsXBox

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*First Published: May 27, 2020, 11:18 am CDT