Ten years ago, you had a TV choice: satellite or cable. Today, companies like Netflix, Apple, and Amazon provide additional choices. Amazon’s Prime is relatively new to the streaming scene. So new that you might be trying to decide if Amazon can hit the streaming thing out of the park too – after all, the company does have a lot of success in other endeavors. Amazon Prime is a subscription service that will cost $79 yearly. Apple TV is an a la carte type of option. Apple TV shows and movies range in price, but tend to average around $6 per rental (48 hour rental).
Show and Movie Selection
Selection is the most important part of choosing a streaming service. You would think that Amazon has a better selection than Apple. And you’d be right. Apple offers up more than 800 movie and program selections. Amazon Prime currently offers a disputed number. When first released, Amazon told press that Prime users would have access to more than 17k movies and shows. Users have since reported that number to be around 2k. Still, 2k isn’t bad -- if those thousands of options are actually worth the price.
Amazon’s current lineup includes every show and movie you’d want it to include. But there’s a slight catch. Most new shows and movies can only be had for an additional cost. If you want to watch a new TV show, for example, you might pay $1.99 for that show – on top of your $79 membership. Apple, on the other hand, doesn’t charge a membership fee. You will pay every time with Apple (for movies and shows), but that cost remains the same.
Even though Amazon offers thousands of show and movie options, many new releases aren’t readily available – unless, of course, you purchase that new movie or show. Apple TV, on the other hand, tends to offer almost everything that’s new. Even better, you can watch previews of movies that are still in theaters when using Apple TV.
Apple TV is easy to use. All you have to do is scroll through each section (Movies, Previews, Radio…) to find what you want. Then, just hit the menu button to select a show or movie, watch a two-minute preview clip (to see if it’s what you want), and you will be on your way. Amazon’s setup is a bit different. The problem with searching through Amazon is finding what you’re looking for. When you search, you will gain results from Amazon’s entire inventory. So, you could look for “Mad Men,” and wind up clicking on the DVD release for purchase instead of just a show or two. Amazon’s interface definitely needs work. But, how do the two really add up when it comes to cost – because, let’s face it, cost is what’s really important here.
At $79 per year plus two rented shows per month (at $1.99), the total for having access to Amazon Prime’s lineup would be $10.58 per month. If you were to rent two shows on Apple TV, that cost would be $6 per month (at $2.99 per show). Of course, you have to factor in the $99 cost of the Apple box, but that’s a one-time fee. If you’re wondering how Amazon Prime compares to Netflix cost-wise, Netflix Instant costs $7.99 per month ($95.88 per year). You’ll have to test out all three services in order to really compare, but Amazon’s Prime still seems to come up short.