Amazon Announcement of Streaming Video upgrade to their popular Amazon Prime ProgramThere have been rumors for months that Amazon was going to sweeten their Amazon Prime Program by adding a streaming component and today, with a note on their homepage, Amazon has done just that.

Customers with Amazon Prime, which already provides them with free 2-day shipping or low cost express 1-shipping for a yearly fee, now get  free, unlimited, commercial free instant streaming of 5000 TV shows and movies. If you’re already a Amazon Prime member, this is a pretty sweet deal.  But what if you’re not?  How does Amazon’s Prime Program stack up to its biggest competitor, Netflix?

PRICE:

Neflix’s stream only account is $7.99 a month. There are no current discounts for paying yearly. Amazon charges $79 a year. That breaks down to $6.58 a month, but don’t forget the free or heavily discounted express shipping.  If you order from Amazon a few times a year, with most postal rates in the $8-$10 area, you’ll actually be doing pretty well.  But, there’s no monthly payment opportunity so if $79 isn’t in your budget, then this isn’t the option for you.

CONTENT:

Amazon only has 5000 TV shows and movies to offer (free streaming).  Granted, they could offer more in the future, and 5,000 sounds like a lot, but remember, these are not first-run movies, these are old favorites that you’ve likely seen before.  My own Netflix account is used mainly for documentaries and while Amazon has some in the new free-streaming section, and many of the popular ones, I think Netflix has more choices.  But, Amazon also has new releases that can be rented for an additional fee.  On Netflix the only current upgrade is to add the DVD alternative and then you have to deal with lists and the mail.

ACCESS:

You can access the streaming content directly through the Amazon site on your computer and can use many of the same devices used to stream Netflix. To find out if your current system is compatible with the new streaming Amazon Prime Program, visit their website.

FINAL RECOMMENDATIONS:

It depends on your needs. The nice thing is both services have a free one-month trial available so you can check it out.  But I would suggest that if you’re looking for a streaming account and don’t need the free/reduced shipping, then Netflix might be the better choice. But if you’re ok with less selection and being able to purchase any newer flixs at an additional cost, Amazon Prime is for you.
What am I going to do? I’m going to wait and see if Amazon takes off and if they sweeten the offerings.  Until them I’m staying with Netflix and will continue to keep my eye on Hulu Plus.

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