Amazon Prime Instant Video review

It's not quite as brilliant as Netflix but there's still a lot to like about Amazon Prime Instant Video

Amazon Prime Instant Video review
Amazon Prime Instant Video is great for movies and kids shows

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Amazon Prime Instant Video has improved immeasurably over the last year or so. The interfaces on both its apps and browser pages are more intuitive and more visually-pleasing too.

They're still not quite on a par with Netflix's easy-access setup, but Amazon is definitely learning.

One issue though is that it is still hellbent on trying to sell you the content that you've already signed up to for free.

Want to watch the Tyler Durden-y Mr. Robot? Well, you can stream the entire first season for free. Gratis. Nothing to pay whatsoever. Though obviously it also gives you the option buy each individual episode or the entire series should you wish.

Amazon Video

It can get rather confusing in the app too, when you're searching for something, as to whether the results that it's offering up are part of your Prime subscription or whether you're going to have to spend a little more cash for the privilege.

But when it's providing a glimpse into the future of TV with both its HDR streaming and pilot seasons - where it provides pilot episodes of programs to gauge audience opinion - Amazon Prime Instant Video proves it's really taking the streaming game seriously.

Pilot Season

We liked

There is an impressive amount of content available, all as part of the Prime membership fee. You even get access to its HDR and Ultra HD content for no extra cost. Well, so long as you're one of the few with compatible TV hardware anyways.

It's also got a better selection of movie content than Netflix, though its rival has a more diverse range of TV shows.

The layout of its browser screen has been seriously improved and is much more user-friendly than before. The app can still be a little confusing, as it consistently mixes Prime and pay-to-view content.

But the mobile app does now offer offline viewing, which is a definite bonus for Amazon's video service and something which does make it stand out.

We disliked

The fact that Amazon is first and foremost a retailer is something you are regularly reminded of when using the Instant Video service. Searching for a movie or show will always bring up the option for you to buy as well as the option to stream for free.

There is also an issue when looking for the Ultra HD content too. It doesn't package the HD and 4K content together, so if you search for Orphan Black, for example, you need to specifically select the one with a tiny 'UHD' symbol over the corner of the image. Unlike Netflix where it figures out what your network can handle and delivers the highest bitrate content it can.

It's also a shame that it locks you into a full 12-month contract without the option to take a monthly Prime Instant Video subscription out separately to the Amazon Prime membership itself.

Amazon app


The more I use Prime Instant Video the more impressed I've become with it. The fact that it is trialling new features, new technologies and new shows ahead of the competition, and putting a huge amount of cash into creating its own content, makes it a very close second to Netflix's streaming giant.

And while it is still just about trailing its closest rival the gap is definitely closing.

It's also growing harder and harder for everyone else to contend with the quality bundle Amazon's Prime subscription is as a whole. It's not just about the video now and still it costs only a little more than a year's worth of Netflix's lowest subscription option.