The last year or two with Netflix has been great. Instant streaming on our Wii has been awesome for kid shows, movies, and tv episodes. But Netfilx’s recent price increase have got me wondering what else is out there. As far as traditional DVD by mail services Netflix is still better in price and availability of titles. But the streaming has some decent competition with Amazon Prime and Hulu.
When Amazon Prime was announced they only had 5,000 titles available for instant streaming (compared to Netflix’s 20,000). Amazon recently announced another 2,000 titles available bringing their total to 8,000. Now this isn’t as impressive as Netflix’s 20K, but even at 20K Netflix had a large number of videos that weren’t available for instant streaming (but they still had more than I could ever watch).
Benefits to Amazon Prime
- Low cost – at only $79 a year (with the huge bonus of free 2nd day shipping on all Amazon orders)
- Access to rent 80,000 shows and movies at a pay per view prices instead of Netflix one DVD at a time
- New streaming device will work for Amazon, TED, and Hulu (thus making up for lack of selection).
- As Netflix signs new deals they open the way for Amazon (a cash machine) to buy the same contracts with Netflix doing all the work.
Downsides to Amazon Prime
- Limited on their device support (Currently no XBOX, Boxee, Tivo, Wii, Smartphongs, or others)
- Limited Titles (Less than half of the title’s Netflix supports and there are rumors Amazon is counting each episode of a tv show as a title, thus inflating their true title count)
- User interface isn’t as good as Netfilx. No movie queues. No recommended movies.
Bridging the Gap… ROKU
In order to make the switch I’ll need to get a new supported device.. the ROKU (see details). This will allow me to stream movies and tv shows from Amazon Prime straight to my TV. It also supports a large number of free and paid tv and internet radio services (like Pandora).
The Final Call
Writing this review made me a little less sure about making the switch. The up front cost of 158 ($79 for Prime and $79 for the Roku box) could be a costly experiment and I could end up staying with Netflix once I see first hand what Prime is like. On the other hand it’s not a total loss because I’ll get 2nd shipping from Amazon and we’ll have another TV with instant streaming.
So maybe everything isn’t as cut and dry as I first thought.