Review was updated on 29th April, 2020
Amazon Prime may have started in Australia as just another video streaming provider. But now, having combined entertainment, shopping deals, free shipping and perks for a small monthly fee, Amazon is essential for anyone who shops, games or watches video online.
Amazon Prime Video Review
It’s been a long road to a full launch for Amazon and their Prime service in Australia. With Amazon’s flagship delivery service now sending packages across our wide, brown land, the next thing out of the Bezos stable is Amazon’s Prime Video service. While it lacks the head start of other streaming services, it continues to grow and expand its reach across multiple platforms, and there’s been a steady flow of content new and old – as well as some surprises.
From original series to plenty of your favourites, Amazon Prime Video certainly has some great content that can rival any of its competitors. So, is it time to jump on board and get a taste of what Amazon has to offer? Does it stack up to Netflix and Stan, two of Australia’s most well-established providers? With the streaming wars picking up, original content is all the rage – so how does Amazon rate? Aside from the video content, is the addition of Prime delivery enough to give it an advantage?
Picking a streaming provider is about so much more than just content – although for most of us, the provider with the best content will be the one that lands the killer blow. However, available devices, customer satisfaction and of course pricing are also crucially important. We’ve delved deep into Amazon’s offerings – so read on to see if it’s right for you!
In this Review
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What is Amazon Prime?
The most obvious aspect that makes Amazon Prime Video unique is the range of services you get from the company. While there are several top-class streaming services out there that rival Amazon for quality and range, none of the others can offer free delivery and shopping like Amazon can. Not only that, Amazon are a fair bit cheaper than their major competitors – which works out to be quite the saving over a year or more’s time. Plus, Amazon’s range of exclusive originals is constantly expanding – and includes some of the best new TV content.
Amazon Prime has a range of shows exclusive to its streaming service. Photo: Amazon Australia.
What shows are available?
So, we get it, Amazon is good. But what’s actually on the box? All in all, there are more than 1250 shows in the Amazon Prime Video library. While it’s impossible to give a complete list – we’ve provided a summary of the best Prime Originals and syndicated content offered by Amazon. One further advantage they have over other streaming services is that they’re gradually moving into sport, though no regular events are streamed yet.
Amazon Prime Original TV Shows
The Amazon Prime Originals have become a real feather in Amazon’s cap recently. Starting from a relatively small base, Amazon have gradually built up their library of Originals and syndicated content to include some excellent titles.
Amazon Prime Syndicated Content
Syndicated programs are popular current or past shows that Amazon Prime have bought the rights to – whether on an exclusive or shared basis.
What about sport on Amazon Prime Video?
Prime Video has been making some forays into sports streaming. As yet, the major offering is the NFL’s Thursday Night Football. With more and more set to come, Amazon is the perfect place for sports fans as well!
Compatible Devices and Apps
When considering the sheer reach and financial might of the company, it’s perhaps surprising that Amazon Prime Video’s launch in Australia was so underwhelming. In addition to having few Original or syndicated titles in the library, there were frequent compatibility issues. Fortunately for current users however, these have been overcome – with all reputable smart televisions, gaming consoles and of course other smart devices now Amazon Prime Video compatible.
When using with a computer or laptop, Amazon Prime Video will be able to operate with your standard web browser. When using a smart TV, you’ll be able to access through an app or by plugging in your Amazon Fire Stick. The Amazon Prime Video app will also be available for download on all recent iOS and Android devices.
How you use Amazon Prime depends on what you’re aiming to do.
- Shopping is best done online via a browser or through their mobile apps.
- Streaming movies and TV shows work flawlessly with most apps and devices, although you will most likely want a big screen to take advantage of their 4K streaming service.
- For ebooks, an e-reader is a must, as reading from your smartphone or laptop for any length of time can be a strain on your eyes.
- Twitch Prime is best accessed through a desktop, laptop or gaming console (it is a gaming service, after all!).
- Amazon Drive and Prime Photos, it depends on where you are. You can upload and view files and images from any device capable of opening the files involved.
For a full list of compatible devices, check out the table below.
Devices supported on Amazon Prime
– iOS devices: Yes – Prime Video app for iPhone, iPad & iPod touch
– Android devices: Yes – Prime Video app for Android phones and tablets
– Smart TVs: Yes – Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, LG, Vizio, TCL, Hisense, Philips, JVC, Konka, Insignia, Skyworth, Sharp, Changhong, Haier
– Set-top boxes: Yes – Comcast X1, Cox Contour, Dish Network, Nvidia Shield, Roku, Prime Video VR for Oculus, Tivo, Xiaomi
– Amazon Devices: Yes – Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Echo devices w/ screen, Fire tablets, Fire phone
– Gaming Consoles: Yes – Playstation 3, 4, & 5, and Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox 360
– Blu-ray players: Yes – Select LG, Panasonic, Samsung, and Sony models
– Google Chromecast: Yes – All models
– Apple TV: Yes – 3rd and 4th generation and Apple TV 4K
– Telstra TV: Yes – All models
– PC/Mac: Yes – Web browser only (Windows, Mac OS, Chrome OS, or Linux)
Amazon Prime Video features
What we’ve got here is unique in the world of streaming TV providers. Your monthly (or annual) fee gives you not only unlimited access to TV and movie streaming but also a bunch of other benefits that can represent incredible value if several of them are of use to you.
What are Amazon Prime’s Best Features?
Now that Amazon has its warehouse set up here and has ramped up its Australian shopping site to full operation, the shopping side of Prime comes into the picture at last.
Essentially, as a Prime member, you get treated like a VIP customer, with free “expedited” shipping on Prime-eligible items (which basically is almost everything directly sold from Amazon itself), free international shipping on orders from the “global store” over $49, and regular special deals and promotions (such as the annual “Prime Day”).
Delivery is handled, as it turns out, by Australia Post under a special arrangement with Amazon. We ordered a couple of Blu-ray discs late on a Sunday night and got a notification that they’d shipped on Monday evening. And before lunch on Tuesday, a parcel-laden postie was at the door with our movies. It was effectively next-day delivery – in this case, a full day earlier than Amazon’s promised delivery date. And as a Prime member, that warehouse-to-front-door delivery (which does offer tracking, by the way) didn’t cost a cent.
If you own a Kindle eBook reader this is a Prime benefit you’re going to enjoy – a rotating selection of around 1,000 books of all kinds for you to download and read at no extra cost. There’s a little bit of everything there – fiction of all persuasions, Lonely Planet travel guides, comics, kids’ books and more. Sure, there are no blockbusters here – if it’s those you’re after, there’s a separately available “Kindle Unlimited” subscription that gives you access to almost everything – but it’s a nice little side benefit to have. You can read these even if you don’t own a Kindle, by the way – just grab the free app for Windows, Mac, iOS or Android.
If you love your video games, you probably already visit Twitch regularly. But link your Twitch account to your Amazon Prime account and suddenly you’ll find Twitch offering you all sorts of free stuff – games as well as add-ons for them, for example. Every month there’s a batch of free games released that you can add to your Twitch account, and there have been some really good ones included so far. As a Prime member, you can also subscribe to your Twitch channel of choice for free each month, directly supporting your favourite creator or streamer.
Amazon Drive and Prime Photos
Not advertised much at all at the moment, you nevertheless can make use of these free cloud services. Amazon Drive gives you cloud storage space and the Prime Photos app can back up all your smartphone’s pics to the cloud. This makes it easy for you to keep your devices clear of clutter and browse your files and pics on demand. Just grab the apps from your app store of choice to sign in with your Amazon Prime account and get started.
Amazon Prime Video Plans and Pricing
Amazon Prime Video is remarkably cheap – both compared to its competitors and for what you get when you sign up. There are two options: a year’s membership for a one-off payment of $59, or for a regular payment of $6.99 per month. Those doing the maths at home will see that the savings on a yearly deal are potentially significant, although you won’t be provided the flexibility to cancel when you like – unlike of course the month to month deal. Overall, this is much cheaper than Amazon’s competitors – particularly when you remember that it also comes with a bunch of extra perks.
|Amazon Prime Account||$6.99/month|
|Prime Video, Prime Shopping, Prime Reading, Twitch Prime, Amazon Drive, Prime Photos|
Regardless of which plan you go for, the first 30 days are completely free – you can sign up right now and road-test the full service, and not pay a cent if you cancel before the end of the trial. With such an appealing price point, though, we’re betting the vast majority of subscribers will stay around for the long haul.
Last audited 23 February 2021
How’s the Amazon Prime Video user experience?
The apps and website are very easy to use, as you’d expect from a company that’s been around about as long as the internet. Just like streaming platforms Netflix and Stan, Amazon Prime Video sorts its content by genres, which should make it easier to find something to watch. It also has a Watchlist feature so you can tag movies and shows to watch later.
However, just like these other providers, Prime pads out its viewing choices by listing the same titles in different genre lists. Further, some of the content you might want to watch is only available to purchase, or is listed as “not available in your location”. Which feels like a bit of a tease. You pay money to access the service, then you have to pay extra to get access to certain shows and movies. Or wait until licensing magic happens, and Amazon Prime can stream these items to Australian audiences.
However, if you’re just signing up to see the big-name shows produced for Amazon Prime – the ones that are available in Australia, at least – then you won’t be disappointed.
To reach Amazon, you’ll need to visit their website and click on the “Help” button at the top right. Another way is on the “Contact Us” button at the bottom. If you want a more direct way to reach them, you can call Amazon’s 24/7 customer support team through their general help number at 1800 571 894. If your question is about an existing US-based Amazon account, you can also contact their US support at 0011 1 206 266 2992 (and if you use Skype to make that call it will be toll-free).
Amazon Prime Video Summary
We’ve long said that Amazon Prime Video was fantastic value and the more you use Amazon’s services the more value you’ll find. The free expedited shipping on just one product a month will more than pay for the monthly subscription, so in many ways, your Prime Video service just became far more valuable – because now it’s about more than just streaming video.
Prime Video remains the centrepiece of the service and the thing you’ll probably use the most often, but all the additional perks simply serve to sweeten the deal. Amazon being Amazon, everything you get with Prime – from streaming to shopping – are only going to get better over time, as more shows, movies, products and features are added. But whether you’re a streamer, shopper or both, the price right now makes Prime a clear winner.
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