With its end goal seeming to be to become your hub for everything in your life, Amazon this year launched a hub for streaming services it supports known as Amazon Channels.
Amazon Channels is a collection of video services within a service (Amazon Prime Video) that’s within another service (Amazon Prime). It sounds complicated, but you’ll get the hang of it.
In short, binge watchers looking to cut through the noise of their myriad apps – not to mention folks who want the premium cable channel TV shows and movies without a cable bill – listen up.
That's especially for those who might want to incorporate Channels into their Amazon Prime Day deals plans.
What is Amazon Channels?
While Amazon Channels is positioned like a streaming service in the same way its own Amazon Prime Video is, this is more a collection of services than anything. You see, Amazon Channels exists within Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service as a hub for all of the third-party streaming services Amazon offers through the aforementioned streaming service.
Amazon Channels collects and aggregates all of the streaming services Amazon supports into one page on the Amazon website and its Fire devices, offering new and old members to subscribe to or access those services, respectively, through Amazon.
The result is something that looks like Netflix in what it surfaces and recommends, but includes content from any of the 100-plus “channels” you’ve subscribed to through Amazon Prime Video.
What does Amazon Channels cost?
Nothing! Well, there is a catch. Amazon Channels costs nothing on its own, but is only accessible to Amazon Prime (or solely Prime Video) subscribers. This is yet another benefit to subscribing to Amazon’s paid service for guaranteed two-day shipping on all eligible orders.
How much does Amazon Prime cost? On an annual basis, you can enjoy Amazon Prime for $99 or £79 (about AU$130, but not yet available). Monthly, you can have Amazon Prime for $9.99 or £7.99 (about AU$13.16).
If you don’t care about ordering things online and getting them quickly in addition to your complimentary Amazon Prime Video service and free unlimited photo storage, then paying for just that service and nothing else costs $8.99, £5.99 or AU$5.99 a month. This service cannot be paid for annually.
But, wait: there’s yet another catch. If you want to access a “channel” or service within Amazon Channels that you’d normally have to pay extra to access elsewhere, you still need to pay. For instance, to get HBO Go through Amazon Channels, you’ll still need to pay $14.99 or £9.50 (not available in Australia) a month, only tacked onto your Amazon Prime subscription rather than directly to HBO or through your cable provider.
Mind, however, that we might see these channels enjoy discounts as part of the upcoming Amazon Prime Day deals bonanza.
How does Amazon Channels work?
Simply put, Amazon Channels exists on the Amazon Video section of the website as an aggregate of all the third-party services that Amazon Video now supports. From there, Amazon Channels curates those channels into genre and mood collections, as well as allows you to subscribe right then and there to new channels.
Each new Channel subscription offers a free, 7-day trial, after which the bill will be automatically tacked onto your Amazon Prime subscription bill if you don’t cancel beforehand. Subscription prices range wildly, with the most expensive being, unsurprisingly, HBO Go.
Once you choose a video to watch through Amazon Channels on your web browser, it will play through Amazon’s own video player. On Amazon’s devices, it would open the relative app to said service to play the video.
Why should I use Amazon Channels?
If you primarily use Amazon services and devices to get your streaming content already, then Channels is a fine way to expand your repertoire of streaming apps.
This is especially the case if you refuse to pay your cable company for cable TV access and thus any additional channels or services therein … but still totally pay them for internet.
What are the best Amazon Channels so far?
We thought you’d never ask. Here are the best Amazon Channels available in the US so far (and no, neither Netflix nor Hulu are included):
- Comedy Central Stand-up
- Sundance Now
- Tribeca Shortlist
And here are the best Amazon Channels available in the UK so far (again, neither Netflix nor Hulu are included):
- BFI Player+
- ITV Hub+