Amazon Prime Video is a streaming video service offered by Amazon as part of its Amazon Prime subscription service. With over 200 million subscribers globally, Amazon Prime Video has emerged as a major competitor in the streaming space alongside services like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+. This article provides an in-depth overview of Amazon Prime Video including its history, content library, features, devices, original programming, competitors, reception, statistics, and future outlook.
Amazon Prime Video originated in 2006 as Amazon Unbox, a digital video download service with a la carte pricing. In 2011, the service was rebranded as Amazon Instant Video and added access to Prime members as a free benefit. As uptake grew, Amazon continued enhancing its video catalog and capabilities. Major expansions included the launch of high-quality Prime Originals in 2013 and the introduction of the video-only Prime Video membership in 2016. In 2018, the service was fully renamed to Amazon Prime Video reflecting video as a core Prime offering. Today, Prime Video is available in over 200 countries and territories globally.
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Prime Video offers an extensive content library of movies, TV shows, and original programming. Content partners include major Hollywood studios like Paramount, Universal, and Warner Bros along with broadcast networks and cable channels. There is a broad selection across genres including comedy, drama, thriller, sci-fi, kids, and more. For licensed content, availability rotates monthly as new titles are added. Included are popular films and hit shows from the past and present.
A key advantage of Prime Video is its expansive slate of original movies, series, and kids programming only available to Prime members. Standout titles include The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, The Boys, Hunters, Fleabag, The Man in the High Castle, and The Wheel of Time. Top original films include The Big Sick, Manchester by the Sea, and The Tomorrow War. Amazon reportedly invests over $6 billion annually in original content as it builds out its library of exclusive programming.
Prime Video offers standard streaming capabilities like profiles, watch lists, ratings, reviews, and the option to download titles for offline viewing. Users can also manage data usage and video quality preferences from the settings menu. Unique features include X-Ray which provides character, actor, soundtrack, and trivia information overlapped on the video playback screen. The Amazon Prime Video Store allows purchasing or renting movies and shows not included with Prime at an additional fee.
Prime Video is accessible across a wide array of devices beyond just computers. Supported options include Fire TV streaming media devices, smart TVs, smartphones/tablets, game consoles like PS4 and Xbox One, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Blu-ray players, and more. This allows subscribers to watch Prime Video using their preferred devices whether at home or on-the-go. Offline downloads are available on iOS and Android mobile devices.
Major competitors in the streaming space include Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, Apple TV+, and Paramount+. Key differences are Prime Video’s integration with the Prime membership which features other benefits like free shipping. It also houses exclusive originals not available elsewhere. But consumers often use multiple services to access desired content. Disney+ and HBO Max offer programming from major networks like ABC, Fox, HBO, and Warner Bros in one place. Competition continues to intensify as more providers enter the market.
Reviews of Amazon Prime Video praise its large on-demand catalog, high-quality original programming, widespread device support, and value as part of the overall Prime subscription. Criticisms tend to focus on its less intuitive or visually appealing interface compared to Netflix or Disney+. Reviewers also note smaller overall TV show and movie libraries compared to some competitors, although this is steadily expanding. Overall reception remains positive and Prime Video is regarded as a top choice for cord-cutters seeking streaming entertainment.
Statistics and Milestones
Some key statistics and milestones for Prime Video:
- Over 200 million Prime Video subscribers worldwide as of 2021
- Launched in over 200 countries/territories, wider reach than competitors
- Accounts for roughly 30% of TV streaming time in the U.S.
- Generated over 25 million total views for top originals like The Boys
- First original series Betas and Alpha House launched in 2013
- Acquired exclusive rights to Thursday Night Football through 2022
- Viewing hours grew by 70% in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic
Amazon Prime Video appears poised for continued growth in the streaming industry by leveraging the ubiquitous Amazon Prime membership and brand name. Expanding its exclusive original programming and licensing buzzworthy movies will help drive engagement. Enhancing Prime Video features for discoverability and personalization can also improve the user experience. Offering a cost-effective standalone subscription not tied to Prime could expand its subscriber base further. While facing growing competition, Prime Video has the resources and reach to remain a top streaming choice thanks to Amazon’s continued investments in video content.
In conclusion, Amazon Prime Video has rapidly grown into one of the most popular streaming services through bundling with Prime, investing heavily in originals, and expanding device support. Though sometimes overshadowed by Netflix in the public sphere, Prime Video’s extensive on-demand catalog, marquee original series and films, and perks as part of the overall Prime ecosystem make it an appealing choice for those looking for quality entertainment. As Amazon pours money into new video content and refines the platform’s user experience, Prime Video appears poised to continue thriving in the increasingly competitive streaming landscape for years to come.
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Q: How much does Amazon Prime Video cost?
A: Amazon Prime Video is included with an Amazon Prime membership, which costs $14.99 per month or $139 annually. There is also a standalone Prime Video membership available for $8.99 per month.
Q: What devices support Amazon Prime Video?
A: Prime Video can be accessed on Fire TV, smart TVs, game consoles (PS4, Xbox One), iOS and Android mobile devices, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Blu-ray players, and web browsers. Offline downloads are available on mobile apps.
Q: How many TV shows and movies are available on Prime Video?
A: Prime Video has over 20,000 movies and TV shows in its streaming catalog. This includes licensed content from major studios and networks as well as Amazon original programming. The library expands monthly with new additions.
Q: What Amazon Prime Video originals are most popular?
A: Some of Prime Video’s biggest hits include The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Jack Ryan, The Boys, The Man in the High Castle, Fleabag, and Bosch. Their original movies include The Big Sick and Manchester by the Sea.
Q: Can you watch live TV on Amazon Prime Video?
A: No, unlike Hulu Live TV, Prime Video does not offer live television access. However, some Thursday Night Football games stream live exclusively on Prime Video.
Q: How does Amazon Prime Video compare to Netflix and Hulu?
A: Prime Video has a robust catalog, but less overall content than Netflix. It competes well on originals and device availability. Unlike Hulu, it does not have current season TV shows. But the added Prime benefits make it an attractive option.
Q: What internet speed do you need to stream Prime Video?
A: Amazon recommends a minimum 3 Mbps connection for standard definition quality and 25 Mbps for ultra HD. Faster speeds deliver better performance, especially for 4K streaming.