Online TV is taking over our lives. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says that sleep is his biggest competitor. And anyone who has stayed up four hours for “one more episode” will agree that he’s right.
Streaming TV is great for a cheap date or solo night in, but paying for too many streaming services will leave your wallet thin (not to mention a permanent butt mark on your couch). In general, I think it’s best to choose one streaming service and forgo the rest. That means I pay one less expense, plus I have more desire to side hustle rather than watch TV all day.
So which streaming service should you choose? Amazon Prime Video or Netflix? You may be surprised to learn that for me, Amazon Prime is the obvious answer.
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Who Has Better Selection?
I think it’s fair to say that both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have more TV footage than you can ever hope to watch in your entire lifetime. Honestly, the sheer volume of available watching material is almost silly. That said, I used InstantWatcher.com to figure out which streaming service had more content.
As of November 2017, Netflix had 4101 Movies and 2814 Seasons of TV shows. Amazon Prime has a mind boggling 36,412 Movies and 6133 Seasons of TV shows. It’s important to remember that a fair bit of the selection for both services is absolute crap.
For example, 31,066 of Amazon Prime’s movies are Not Rated. That means the movies are too old for rating or the are too small to merit going through the rating process. Just 897 Netflix movies are not rated.
Overall, I think that Amazon Prime edges out Netflix in terms of available selection, but Netflix curates their content a little bit better. In particular, Netflix seems to have more recent movie selections.
Do The Original Series Make The Service?
Both Amazon and Netflix are doubling down on their original series concepts. Netflix hit series include Master of None, Jessica Jones, Orange is the New Black, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and so many more.
Netflix is absolutely creating binge-worthy TV with just enough drama to keep you watching, but not so much that you feel stressed out while watching.
Amazon has made some inroads in the original series space. The Man in the High Castle is a true mind-bender, and Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle are both highly regarded. Amazon’s problem seems to be that they are creating a traditional TV watching experience rather than focusing on the strength of streaming. I’m sure that Amazon is doing everything in their power to change that right now.
In my opinion, Netflix dominates this category right now, but I’m not counting Amazon out. Amazon Prime Video is a core focus for cash-heavy Amazon, so they will be coming with firepower over the next few years.
What’s Easier To Stream?
Most new viewing devices (like Roku or Smart TVs) make it easy to stream any service, so you don’t need to pick between Amazon Prime or Netflix. However, some older devices don’t make it easy to stream Amazon Prime.
If you have an older device, you’ll may have to go with Netflix, but anyone with a device from the last couple of years should have easy access to either option. Right now Netflix has a slight edge, but Amazon will own the future.
Amazon is already making great inroads into the smart house technology, so you can bet that Amazon Prime Video will be way easier to access than any other streaming service in the future.
Who Has The Better Price?
If you’re a college student with a valid .edu address, you can pay just $49 per year for Amazon Prime. Everyone else needs to pay just $99 (or $10.99) per month for Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime customers can use three screens at the same time.
Netflix on the other hand, charges $7.99/month for a one screen option, $10.99/month for two screens (and HD access) and $13.99/month for 4 screens and Ultra HD access.
Since Prime Video also comes with free 2 day shipping for all Amazon products, plus sweet deals on subscription services, Amazon is the hand’s down winner in this category.
If You Had To Pick One…
It probably doesn’t come as a shock that the cheaper option wins out for me. I think Amazon Prime Video is an amazing service, and I’m thankful that it saves me from buying a $7.99/month Netflix membership.
I don’t think Amazon Prime Video is as entertaining as Netflix (at least not right now), but I’m okay with that. I would prefer to watch less TV rather than more. Amazon Prime Video has more than enough content to keep my mindless habits going strong, so I don’t see any need to rejoin Netflix any time soon.
Which one do you prefer and why?
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.