Both bring filmed entertainment to your television, computer, or mobile device over the Internet.
But which one offers the most for the money?Video selection
Despite being a relatively new offering, Amazon Instant Video offers plenty of movies and television shows for you to watch. You can even watch television shows the day after they air. And Amazon Studios brings original content to customers as well, operating in a way that lets people submit their own script and (if enough people like it) see it turned into a finished product.
But Netflix's selection is great as well, host to over 75,000 movies and TV titles. It's also established itself as a home for original content with its show "House of Cards," and hasn't been shy about its intentions to keep making new shows in the future.
Sure, Amazon's got new shows the day after they air that you can purchase or rent individually, but Netflix's selection is still ample enough for us to consider it better. And when you throw in the (quite good) original content, it seals the deal.
The bottom line: NetflixPrice
Netflix's streaming service is a flat $7.99 per month for unlimited consumption.
Amazon Instant Video operates on an a la carte system – you pay per rental. However, Amazon Prime subscribers who pay $79 a year for free two-day shipping get unlimited access to a many of the movies and TV shows as part of that fee. If you're an Amazon warrior, always buying physical and digital goods from the company, then $79 a year for free fast shipping as well as a sizeable streaming video library might be a great deal for you.
We don't like the idea of paying per title too much and would much rather know that we could watch as much of anything that we want without breaking the bank. So Netflix wins this round based on price.
The bottom line: NetflixApps and devices
Both services have clearly gone out of their way to be as accessible as possible, with no shortage of app availability and device integration. Amazon Instant Video and Netflix are readily available on iPhones, iPads, Kindle Fire, Roku, and several Smart TVs and Blu-Ray players. Netflix is the only one of the two to make it onto the Apple TV so far.
If you have an Apple TV, opt for Netflix. Otherwise the two are equal in terms of availability.
The bottom line: Tie, unless you have Apple TV.The Verdict
If you were forced to make the choice between one of these two services, go with Netflix.
Amazon Instant Video is only most beneficial to people already plugged in to the Amazon ecosystem. If you're an avid internet shopper or can't put down your Kindle Fire, having the video service in such close proximity to what you're already doing is a great convenience.
Netflix's entire focus is on delivering as much cool and entertaining content to your living room or mobile device. Let them focus on doing this one thing well while you burn through your queue of movies, knowing that you'll never have to pay any sort of charge for "overusing" the service.
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