Just a week ago, Amazon announced that streaming movies would be free for all Amazon Prime members. In a bid to challenge Netflix in the online movie streaming world, Amazon debuted with roughly 5,000 titles, as stated on their website. I have been a Netflix subscriber for the past few years, and use the streaming option daily. I am also an Amazon Prime member, so I have been testing the Amazon streaming option for the last week. Here is an in depth review and comparison among the two options.
On Amazon’s site, it states they have roughly 5,000 movies and television shows. While taking a closer look, it seems there are 1,710 movie titles and 479 TV shows, for a total of 2,189. Some of the movies are duplicates. For example “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (English Dubbed)” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (English subbed)” are clearly the same movie, but listed as two separate titles. Also, I am assuming they are referring to each episode of a TV show as a “title”, thus allowing them to state 5,000 titles.
On Netflix’s site, Netflix does not state how many titles they have, but after some quick Googling, it should be around 17,000 titles (as shown on HackingNetflix.com). That is three times the current offering of Amazon.
In order to truly test this, I created a nerdy litmus test. I went onto one of my favorite sites, RottenTomatoes, and used their DVD finder with some filters to create a generic Action movie list. You can see the image of the movies to the left. There are ten popular, action movies. Below, you can see whether Netflix or Amazon carry this movie as a streaming title.
|Close Encounters of the Third Kind||Yes||No|
|The Bridge on the River Kwai||No||No|
|Conan the Barbarian||No||No|
Amazon: 0/10 (really Amazon? Really??)
This is easy:
If you look at it only by price, the clear winner is Amazon. However, there are a lot of other factors to consider. For example, Amazon gives you free 2 day shipping on all Prime purchases with this membership. That could add up to a lot. Netflix has three times the number of streams as Amazon. That would make their subscription worth it as well.
Netflix can be accessed via many 3rd party apps and devices. You can watch videos on your computer, iPhone, iPad, Android phone, Wii, PS3, Xbox (with Xbox live membership), Roku, Tivo, streaming players, blu-ray players, internet tvs, and some home theater systems. You name it, it can probably stream Netflix.
Amazon can only be accessed via your computer, Android phone, internet TVs, Roku, and soon Tivo.
Netflix is able to stream 1080p video, granted your device supports it and your internet is fast enough to deliver this. Amazon streams in 720p. To the common video viewer, they may not see a difference. However, to geeks like me (and koberay), you will definitely see a difference.
Subtitles vs Dubbed
I have to include this in here, because this is my biggest gripe against Netflix. I wish Netflix would list out whether a movie is subbed vs being dubbed. I, personally, hate dubbed movies and shows. I feel dubbing takes away the original, raw emotion caught on film. With that said, I always watch foreign films in their original language with subtitles. The problem with Netflix is that you cannot tell which movies are subbed vs dubbed. You have to play the movie in order to figure it out. Amazon, however, has separated dubbed and subbed videos, as mentioned above with “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. This is a great feature on Amazon that I feel Netflix needs to adopt.
Recommendations & Ratings
Amazon has nothing. Period. They have other users’ ratings on the movies, but that is not necessarily how I would rate the movie. What I like about Netflix is that it, through it’s complicated algorithm, suggests a rating that it thinks I will choose, based on my previous ratings and ratings of other users on similar movies. This way, Netflix can recommend movies for me that I’ve never heard of, but will enjoy. Amazon doesn’t have a recommending engine. I feel they slapped a bunch of movies on a page and force you to sort though them to find one that you may possibly like.
WINNER: NETFLIX (hands down)
In the end, based on just a streaming perspective, Netflix is the winner. Their robust video catalog, in addition to their integrations with 3rd party devices, makes them the Goliath of the industry. In order for Amazon to compete, Amazon definitely needs to heavily increase their titles and UI of their system. If things progress like it has in the past few years, the video streaming industry will be in for some interesting times within the next few years.