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Posted by Margaret
on Jan 19th 2016

Review of film streaming services (Netflix vs Amazon Prime Video)

Chris New our Systems Programmer and movie buff reviews film streaming services.

I am a keen movie watcher, but finding time to go to the Cinema can sometimes be a struggle as I have two young children, a hectic social life, oh and work! So for the last few years I have had a subscription to all three of the major movie streaming/rental services. Why have all three?

Since they did a deal with for exclusivity on Apple TV (now expired) Netflix has been the streaming service of choice for most. They have a great selection of TV box sets (including cult shows such as Doctor Who) and the largest library of films. The TV box-sets tend to stay available for a long time so you have plenty of time to catch up on your favourite episodes. There’s strong mix of current and old films available and the rotation of films is fairly frequent, so the content always feels fresh. They also have an excellent “Kids” section with parental controls so I feel happy to hand over the remote to my kids and let them choose what to watch. Netflix also offer exclusive content you won’t find anywhere else.

Amazon Instant
Available on Android TVs and now as a downloadable App for Apple TV, Amazon Instant has a great selection of old and new films with a monthly rotation of what is available for free with your “Prime” subscription. You can however, find just about any film if you are willing to pay a little extra to digitally rent or buy it. The “Prime” TV box-set offering isn’t as good as Netflix, but you do have the same facility to rent or buy. In 2014, Amazon began producing their own content some of which is good; for example Red Oaks, the retro '80 series. And of course for 'Petrol Heads' it will be Amazon that streams the new version of Top Gear! It also has key TV series such as Downton Abbey and Ashes to Ashes. My children particularly enjoy the children’s TV series that they offer. Unlike Netflix, parental controls can be a bit challenging so I tend to supervise the choice of programming for my kids.

LoveFilm by Post
Choose a film or TV box-set on-line, it gets delivered to your door and you return it when you’re done. There is a massive selection thanks to Amazon having bought the service, and you can “rent” as many DVD’s or Blu-ray’s as you like. The only drawback is that you have to wait for the disk. It also seems that Amazon are driving the price up in an attempt to push people towards the streaming service.

With libraries that are comparable in size, if not completely overlapping, similar pricing and interface, and both offering 4k image quality there is not much between them. That said I do the majority of my viewing through Netflix as do my kids, but in our house they all get a good workout. I pay specifically for Netflix, but as I have an Amazon Prime account Amazon Instant is included and LoveFilm is only a small additional cost on the Amazon Prime subscription. So my advice is simple: go for all. This gives me the best access to the widest available content. Oh and the wife and kids are happy........

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