It would be great if unlimited, high-speed Wi-Fi access were everywhere—especially outside large metropolitan areas. And it would be even better if 4G cellular internet access were a commonplace—both in this country and around the world. Unfortunately, the reality is quite different. Slowdowns, connection drops, strict data limits, they’re all part of the daily reality of on-the-go internet use. As it is, the best tactic is to prepare well ahead and download a wealth of movies for offline use, and this article will teach you how to do it.
Netflix vs Amazon Video – Pricing
This gets a tad complicated so we’ve broken down the free trials available for each service, then laid out the various subcriptions options for both:
One point to get out there first of all is that both Netflix and Amazon Video offer free trials. Netflix gives you a free month while Amazon offers a 30-day free trial of its Prime membership.
Students can get a six-month trial of Amazon Prime. Just head over to the Amazon Student site to sign up.Try now: get you 30-day free trial with Netflix | Amazon Video
Subscription options – Amazon Prime
After you’ve drained the freebies dry, there are several plans available for each service. Amazon tends to big-up its £79/$99-a-year Prime service, which comes some added perks. Signing up to the annual membership also brings access to one-day delivery on millions of items, ad-free music streaming with Prime Music, unlimited photo storage, early access to Lightning Deals, and more. That’s great value if you’re a regular Amazon shopper as well as an Amazon media consumer.
Alternatively, you can sign up to the £7.99-per-month option, which brings all the benefits of Prime, including the one-day delivery and access to music streaming. Over the course of a year that means you’ll pay close to £96, though, so if you’re planning on sticking around for 12 months, you’re better off going for the £79 annual subscription. Make sure you cancel your Prime trial before it ends unless you’re happy to pay out for another year, though. Read that last sentence again – it’s important.
Not fussed about all that extra stuff? It’s also possible to treat Amazon Video as a stand-alone service. You’ll find that there’s a £5.99-a-month video-only subscription available in the Amazon accounts menu. This still doesn’t seem to be available in the US, though.
All subscription options allow you to watch stream up to three titles at the same time using the same Amazon account. However, you can stream the same title to no more than one device at a time.
It can all seem a bit confusing at first, so here’s a breakdown of the Amazon Prime Video subscriptions:
|Video only||Prime||Prime (annual)|
|Unlimited One-Day Delivery||No||Yes||Yes|
|Unlimited movies and TV shows||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Secure unlimited photo storage||No||Yes||Yes|
|Early access to Lightning Deals||No||Yes||Yes|
|Ad-free music streaming.||No||Yes||Yes|
|First month free||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Cancel any time||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Subscription options – Netflix
Netflix splits its subscription options into three options: basic, standard, and premium. The basic service costs £5.99 a month, which only allows for a single standard definition (SD) stream. We wouldn’t recommend it to anyone unless money is very tight.
A far better starting point is the £7.99 standard tier, which enables HD streaming and the use of two screens simultaneously – no 4K, though.
There’s also an £9.99 ‘premium’ tier, which enables four simultaneous streams using the same account, plus access to 4K definition on a steadily-growing range of titles. Of course, you’ll need a compatible 4K TV to use the latter.
Related: What is 4K and UHD?
None of these plans comes with any extra commitment – you can cancel at any time.
Here’s how the subscription options break down for Netflix:
|Monthly price after free month ends||£5.99||£7.99||£9.99|
|Ultra HD available||No||No||Yes|
|Screens you can watch on at the same time||1||2||4|
|Watch on your laptop, TV, phone and tablet||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Unlimited films and TV programmes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Cancel at any time||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|First month free||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Netflix vs Amazon Video – Which has the best films?
As of the time of writing, the UK version of Netflix has 4318 available films and TV series according to the New on Netflix UK website. Amazon Video UK has 22971 available films and TV series, as per the equivalent Amazon site.
These numbers vary slightly according to the third-party source you consult, so we only use this as an approximate guide, but Netflix appears to have an edge in terms of pure numbers here in the UK.
For both services, our American cousins have a much richer library of content to pick from – though we couldn’t get exact figures.
There is often surprisingly little overlap in these services’ film libraries, presumably because each works to get a certain degree of exclusivity, especially with titles it thinks might act as a draw for new subscribers.
Want to check the movie list out for yourself? Amazon offers its own library browser as part of the Amazon website, but Netflix doesn’t. As standard you can only check out the Netflix library if you login.
Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to check out the library. There are numerous sites that let you do so, several of which we’ve mentioned above. FlixSearch is another good universal one to check out.
Related: Netflix tips and tricks
One area where Amazon differs from Netflix is with movie and TV show rentals. Amazon Video isn’t just a pure all-you-can-eat video streaming service. There are also options to rent and buy titles, featuring some films and TV series that are a little bit newer than the core selection. Netflix, conversely, is a pure subscription service, with no extra charges to pay even if you wanted to.
While discovering more movies and TV episodes at your fingertips sounds like a good thing, more often than not we hear complaints from Prime Instant Video customers saying they searched for something and found it, only to discover it’s not included in their subscription.
It’s a strange matter of perception – Amazon actually gives you more choice than Netflix, but by mixing in standard rentals with ‘free’ content, it can feel like you’re being fleeced in comparison to Netflix’s more limited service.
Netflix vs Amazon Video – Which has the best TV shows?
The roll call of TV shows runs like the movie line-up. Once again, the US versions have a much better line-up than the UK side.
However, Amazon Video seems to have a wider array of UK curiosities than Netflix. Shows like Downton Abbey can be found on Amazon’s service but not on Netflix.
This disparity used to be a lot more marked, though. For example, Doctor Who used to feature on Instant Video but not Netflix. Now it’s on both, but strangely you’ll have to pay to rent anything other than season 7 on Amazon. And those UK curiosities are generally found towards the bottom of the “most popular’ lists, suggesting not all that many people are bothered.
As these streaming services develop, the biggest part of their appeal is becoming about shows bankrolled by the services themselves, rather than what golden oldies they have on their books.
Netflix started very boldly in this area, with exclusive shows that are “HBO-quality”. That means high-quality dramas with serious-ish themes, if you’re not familiar with the network.
Shows such as the House of Cards remake, Bloodline and, more recently, Narcos and Stranger Things can stand up to any show produced by one of the major TV networks, while Daredevil and Jessica Jones are building a gritty shared comicbook universe that’s way beyond anything made by The CW. On the less serious side, Netflix is also behind the animated comedy show BoJack Horseman, as well as achingly hip Aziz Ansari comedy Master of None, and the Judd Apatow-produced Love.
Amazon started off its original programming with a much lighter touch, but also made less of an impact, with comedy shows like Betas and Alpha House. However, it has stepped up its game considerably, and has taken a little more of a Netflix-like approach.
This arguably started with the high-quality comedy-drama Transparent, which previously won a Golden Globe award for best TV series (comedy/musical). More recently we’ve seen the acclaimed dystopia of The Man in the High Castle, and the perfectly-pitched ’80s nostalgia of comedy-drama Red Oaks.
Amazon takes a slightly less focused, more blunt-force approach to obtaining original content than Netflix. This can pay off spectacularly, such as with Amazon UK winning the right to show one of the hottest US dramas of the past year in Mr. Robot.
Amazon’s scattershot approach also sees it running a yearly pilot season, with viewers voting for the shows they want to see more of. It’s TV production by way of crowdsourcing, which sounds very modern indeed.
In terms of output it lacks a little finesse, as you might expect from such a ‘throw it at the wall and see what sticks’ method. It hasn’t produced as many Netflix-level classics as Amazon would have hoped for, but it does at least allow for some intriguing experimentation.
Amazon’s deep pocketed approach also saw it win the rights to produce a new car show from the former Top Gear presenters, which hit the service in the form of The Grand Tour in 2016.
Original programming is definitely where the battle between the two services is becoming more interesting. The Amazon approach is quite interesting and seemingly-experimental, but the Netflix Original name has become a more reliable seal of quality.
Netflix vs Amazon Video – Image quality
Netflix has been something of a pioneer in increasing sound and video quality in mainstream streaming. It now offers an awful lot of 1080p content with surround sound, while there are also 3D films for compatible devices and, if you sign up for the more expensive package, 4K video.
It started trialling 4K content as early as 2013, and now offers the most practical way to get 4K content on a TV. Not every single 4K TV’s Netflix app will support this higher resolution, though, so be sure to check this before getting too excited.
There are a number of 4K titles available on Netflix, including Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Marco Polo, House of Cards. On top of providing UHD films and TV shows, Netflix has also begun streaming content in HDR. Short for High Dynamic Range, HDR is set to be the big TV tech of the year. Head over to our ‘What is HDR?‘ guide for a full explanation of how the new technology works. In short, HDR refers to TVs that can produce a much wider array of colours, much brighter whites, and much deeper blacks than traditional screens. The result is a much more realistic and detailed image, providing you have an HDR-compatible TV.
In December 2014, Amazon announced it was adding a few 4K shows to its books. The selection is still relatively limited, but key shows are available at the higher quality, including Transparent, Bosch, Red Oaks, and Alpha House. It also offers a selection of movies in 4K.
What’s good about Amazon’s approach to 4K when compared to Netflix is that you don’t have to pay extra for the privilege. What’s more, Amazon was ahead of Netflix when it came to HDR content, releasing the first season of its original series Mozart in the Jungle in HDR. You also don’t have to pay extra for HDR with Amazon Prime Instant Video.
Related: Netflix 4K Ultra HD review
What is Amazon Prime?
Amazon Prime – or just ‘Prime’ – is a streaming video on demand (SVOD) service that is run by Amazon, the massive online retailer, probably most famously known in Australia for providing hard-to-find books and the Kindle e-reader. The service has actually been around in some form since 2006, but only in 2016 did Prime start to take off when it acquired rights to The Grand Tour, a show featuring former Top Gear hosts James May, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson. Now it has many shows and films to watch and competes with other streaming services in Australia, most notably Netflix and Stan.
- With Amazon Prime, you can stream content on three devices at once
- You can also download shows and watch on the Prime Video mobile app
- There is a free one-week trial, no contract, and you can cancel at any time
Is Amazon Prime available in Australia?
Yes, Prime is available in Australia. It has been since late 2016, when Amazon launched its 200-country service. Prime is now available in every country worldwide, with the exception of mainland China, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Crimea. We wonder if North Korea has its own streaming service…
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How can I watch Amazon Prime?
Like Netflix, Amazon Prime is web-based and is able to be watched on pretty much any device that can access the internet. Devices include:
- Apple TV
- Certain smart TVs
- Xbox One and PlayStation 4
- Smartphones, tablets and computers
- The Prime Video app is now available on Android and iOS (Apple) but does not seem to have a built-in Chromecast feature
Amazon’s ongoing rivalry with Google has meant that Amazon has historically been reluctant to support Google-built software and devices. However, it is still possible to use Chromecast through your PC or Mac and use the Chromecast feature through the Google Chrome web browser. This sounds confusing, but it can be simple; Google and Amazon aren’t the best of friends.
How much does Amazon Prime cost in Australia?
It may be available to watch in Australia, but Prime can only be purchased in US dollars, with prices starting at USD $2.99 a month for six months. After that, prices revert to the usual $5.99 a month.
At the time of writing, this equates to roughly $4 and then $8 in Australian dollars. However, as you are purchasing in another currency, your credit or debit card provider might charge a conversion rate or a lower exchange rate. Also consider that exchange rates can and do change all the time.
So, $4 for your first six months of Prime sounds pretty good. It’s even cheaper than Netflix Australia, and Stan, which start at $9.99 and $10 a month respectively. Even when prices revert to $8, it’s still cheaper. However, you might be wondering what you can actually get on Prime.
Stream movies, TV shows, live sport and more, exclusive to Telstra broadband customers.
Does Amazon Prime Australia have NFL games?
Yes. Amazon Prime and NFL announced its partnership in April 2017. Officially, Amazon now has the rights to 11 Thursday Night Football (TNF) games in the season (airing on Friday mornings Australian time). The NFL has said the games will be available worldwide.
- Amazon has extended its contract for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
- NFL is available for free for Twitch users, a live streaming video platform.
Amazon Prime will simulcast games also aired on the NBC and CBS networks. This comes after Amazon outbid Twitter in 2017, which previously had rights to streaming TNF games on the social network. Twitter’s games were streamed for free, but with Prime it’s behind the USD $2.99 paywall, unless you have a Twitch account.
How does Prime compare to Netflix and Stan?
As is becoming a theme for Australia, US streaming services frequently water down their products for the Australian market – Netflix and Prime included.
- Prime is much cheaper, from USD $2.99 a month, while Netflix and Stan start at AUD $9.99 and $10 respectively
However, the price simply reflects the amount of content available – especially in Australia. Currently, Netflix and Stan trump Prime in terms of catalogue size and arguably in the range of interesting content that people actually want to sit down and watch – not for the tenth time.
Prime has a range of originals much like Netflix, but the shows have not yet garnered enough of a name for themselves yet. Survey people on if they have heard of Orange is the New Black, or ‘I Love Dick’, and it’ll be interesting to see which one is more commonly known. We imagine it will be the former.
- The notable exception to this is The Grand Tour, which is an immensely popular show
- In fact, for some people it may be worth paying the AUD $4-odd price just to watch it
However, keep in mind you may be paying currency conversion fees on top of the exchange rate for the USD $2.99 face-value monthly fee. It will be interesting to see where Prime goes with this model, and whether consumers will be open to accepting these conversion fees from their credit card company or not. Right now, if you have to purchase only one streaming service, it’s hard to separate Netflix and Stan, while Prime lags behind a little, especially in Australia.
Downloading Movies Purchased Through iTunes
A year ago, the idea of watching movies purchased through iTunes or other digital platforms (like Google Play) on your Amazon Fire tablet was ridiculous. There’s no such thing as an iTunes application for your Fire tablet, after all, and most tech companies like to keep their entertainment locked into single platforms in order to keep you in their ecosystem. But this past October, Disney partnered with nearly every media studio and movie rental companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, and Vudu to make it easier than ever to share your movies between platforms.
Dubbed Movies Anywhere and based on the original Disney Movies Anywhere platform the media giant has been using for years, the service allows you to sync your library between Amazon, Google, Apple, and Vudu to keep all your movies together in a digital locker that is shared between platforms. So long as your film collection is made up of movies from partnered studios (which includes every big name outside of Paramount, who are considering joining the platform), signing up for a Movies Anywhere account will allow your films to sync between devices.
Head over to the Movies Anywhere site and create an account. Once your account is activated, you’ll be asked to sync as many of your media accounts as you can. To sync your iTunes library into your Amazon account, simply log into both platforms with your username and password, and you’ll see your library synced between both accounts. This means, for example, if you previously purchased movies on both iTunes and Amazon, you’ll see those films populate both within your iTunes account and within your Amazon account. You can sync all four accounts to make sure your cross-platform library appears between devices, and if you sync two or more accounts (as of writing), you’ll receive five free movies as a gift in your account, including The Lego Movie and Jason Bourne.
Once you’ve synced your library, you can either download the Movies Anywhere app on your tablet, or you can simply use the library option in your Videos tab to download your films for offline viewing. Because your synced library will appear as Amazon content, just follow the same steps provided above to download your movies for offline viewing. They’ll appear in the “Library” portion of your videos tab on the home screen, and can be saved indefinitely on your device.
Download Amazon Video Titles for Offline Use
Amazon Prime subscribers have it great. They get to enjoy fast, free shipping on over 50 million products, have instant access to millions of songs, movies, and TV shows, can read unlimited books and magazines, and have unrestricted access to audio books from Audible, and much more.
They can also download select movies and shows to watch offline through the Amazon Prime Video iOS app. To download Amazon Video titles, simply open any movie or TV show you find interesting and tap the Download option in the video details section. Downloaded movies and TV shows will have a check mark icon displayed in the video details section, and you’ll be able to find them in the Downloads section located in the Amazon Video menu. Downloaded video content can be played at any time even without internet access.
If you aren’t an Amazon Prime subscriber, you can sign up for a free Amazon Prime trial to see whether the service is worth your money.
Download Netflix Movies and TV Shows for Offline Use
Near the end of the last year, Netflix has finally allowed users to download movies and TV shows for offline use. They started with a smaller selection of content, including Orange is The New Black, Narcos, and The Crown, making more and more movies and TV shows available for download over time. Right now, the chances that your favorite comedy movie or action flick will support the offline mode are pretty high.
All smartphones, computers, and tablets running iOS 9.0 or later, Android 4.4.2 or later, and Windows 10 Version 1607 or later can download titles from Netflix to watch without an Internet connection. Titles that are available for download have a small download icon next to them, and they’re also conveniently located in the Available for Download section located in the Netflix menu. Downloaded titles appear in the My Downloads section of the app. To squeeze more movies onto a smaller SD card or flash memory, you can lower video quality from Higher to Standard.