Netflix and Amazon Prime are the two powerhouses of online movie and TV streaming. They both contain and produce a huge number of shows between them, with distinct libraries that between them give you pretty much all the viewing you need.
But, for those of you who can only pick one, which is better? Here we look at several factors comparing Netflix and Amazon Prime – price, TV and movie catalogs, and accessibility, among other things – and help you decide which one to get.
Netflix vs. Amazon Prime Movies and TV
Probably the most important thing to compare is the actual size and quality of both services’ catalogs of movies and TV. After all, if you’re not interested in what’s offered, then it’s not worth paying for.
If this were a pure numbers game, then Amazon Prime would be the winner, with a total of 53,000 movies available to watch on its service (as of April 2020, according to Instant Watcher). Netflix, by contrast, only has 3432.
But the numbers don’t tell the full story. Out of Prime’s 53,000 movies, 46,000 of them are “Not Rated,” which often means that a film is too obscure to have received ratings from the MPAA. It can also mean that a given movie was too explicit for the censors, but that’s relatively rare on Prime, and there is much – to put it mildly – low-quality filler on Amazon Prime. Netflix doesn’t have a single unrated movie in its catalog, which suggests there’s a little more quality control going on there.
Amazon Prime also has over 13,000 seasons of TV to Netflix’s 2795, but when it comes to famous shows, it’s pretty neck-and-neck. Amazon Prime has shows like The Sopranos, Star Trek: Picard, Undone, The Boys, Futurama and Fleabag. Netflix, meanwhile, has Stranger Things, Ozark, BoJack Horseman, Feel Good, Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad, Tiger King, Community, and more.
The lists really go on on both sides, with tons of great content old and new. Prime Video also has a growing library of sports content. It’s small for now, but for sports fans, it’s something worth keeping an eye on in the future.
So ignore the numbers. There’s quality on both sides here. While it’s largely a matter of personal taste, for me Netflix’s collection edges out that of Prime in terms of both quality movies and TV. Prime Video does have a huge and high-quality rental library going for it, but you don’t actually need to be a subscriber to access that.
But – and this is a big “but” – Amazon Prime Video can come with quite a few added benefits …
Netflix vs. Amazon Prime Price
With Netflix, the payment model is pretty simple. There are three tiers of Netflix price plans, and they’re listed below.
It’s not a bad value for what you get. With Amazon Prime, on the one hand you can access the Prime Video library for $8.99 a month. Alternatively, for $12.99 a month (or $119 a year), you get the full Amazon Prime subscription, which includes superfast Amazon Prime delivery, access to a large library of eBooks with Kindle Unlimited, Twitch Prime (which often includes free games) and Prime Music (a solid Spotify-like music streaming service).
Amazon Prime Video really works out to be a great value for the money as part of a broader Amazon Prime subscription. If, however, you’re not likely to use those extra Prime benefits, then Netflix’s catalog is arguably better, and for just a dollar more a month, you get full HD quality streaming.
Netflix vs. Amazon Prime Accessibility
Here’s the thing: Netflix is so rampantly popular that the app is often ready-baked into smart TVs, streaming sticks and games consoles, with many TV remotes even featuring a dedicated “Netflix” button to jump straight to it. The Amazon Prime Video app is also pretty ubiquitous, though some older models of smart TV don’t have the app.
In terms of browsing libraries, neither service makes it terribly convenient to search by genre, which would be welcome. Netflix just about edges it by having a search bar where you can type in films, genres or actors you’re looking for, while Prime Video for the most part makes you scroll until you find the genre you’re looking for.
Who’s the Winner?
In terms of a quality collection of TV and video, for me Netflix steals the show, as it continues to produce award-winning TV shows and movies. Prime Video has its share of top-quality stuff, too, and a bigger library, but Netflix’s smaller selection feels more curated.
If, however, you’re a regular Amazon shopper, then the fact that Prime Video comes with a Prime subscription that includes so many extra benefits – from music-streaming, to eBooks, to next-day or even same-day online shopping deliveries – then a full Prime subscription for just about the same price as Netflix is a no-brainer.
If you are interested in Disney Plus instead of Amazon Prime Video, check out our comparison of Netflix vs. Disney Plus and see which is better. Want to watch Netflix or other video platforms together with friends online? Read our list of the best sites and tools for this.