Nexflix versus Amazon Prime: which is right for your wallet?

Times are a-changing when it comes to watching movies and TV shows at home. Gone are the days of driving to your locally-owned video rental store and picking up a VHS tape. DVDs are even on their way out. Additionally, with the magic of the internet, we can watch our favorite flicks from the comforts of our living room (or wherever our internet-connected device may be) with just the click of a button.

If you’re not a fan of paying the high rental fee of, say, $4.99 to watch one film via your cable company’s on-demand portal, then you’re the perfect person for a streaming service. Pay one low monthly fee and stream unlimited movies and TV shows from their library on your internet-connected device. Netflix and Amazon Prime are two streaming options that we’ll compare here.

Netflix overview 

Netflix has been around the block when it comes to movies and TV shows. The company started in 1997 initially only offering DVD-by-mail services. In 2007, it added the streaming feature to its service. Streaming was their after-thought, and after-thoughts often accompany low quality. Its streaming service is certainly not low quality though, especially in terms of its usability and convenience.

How does it work? Sign up online at and pay $7.99 per month for the ability to stream unlimited TV shows and movies from the Netflix library. You must have a supported internet-connected device (many game consoles, internet TVs, and mobile devices are supported). Your viewing experience is limited to only one thing: Netflix’s streaming library. Not all shows and movies are available to be streamed. Your chances of watching what you want are significantly increased if you opt-in for the DVD-by-mail add-on service, which comes with an additional monthly fee and gives you access to a larger library of titles.

Amazon Prime

Amazon is like Netflix in that video streaming was an after-thought. The company began in 1994 as an online marketplace. Today, a service called Amazon Instant Video is available. Unlimited streaming of thousands of titles has been added for subscribers to Amazon Prime, a subscription service that gives free two-day shipping on eligible purchases from

How does it work? Sign up for Amazon Prime for $79 per year. You’ll get unlimited streaming access to thousands of movie and TV titles (supported device required), and access to a larger library of streaming titles that you can rent on-demand for an additional per-title fee. You’ll also get the benefits of free two-day shipping on all eligible purchases from There’s also a benefit of access to an e-book library service. 

Which one is better?

Here’s a breakdown of each service so you can decide which is best for you.



Amazon Prime Instant Video

Cost of basic streaming

$7.99/month (which is 95.88/year)


Additional Titles

Access to additional titles via DVD service (additional $7.99/month)

Access to additional titles via streaming (additional per-title rental fee)

Additional benefits


Free two day shipping on eligible purchases at, access to e-book library

When considering only the cost of the basic streaming service, Amazon wins, giving a $16.88 per year savings. Access to the larger library, though, makes the cost comparison more involved. With Netflix, you’ll spend an additional $7.99 per month (or $95.88 per year) for unlimited one-dvd-out-at-a-time access. The question here is: Would you rent enough titles via Amazon’s pay-per-title rental fee in a year to surpass this additional Netflix fee? If your rentals cost an average of, say, $4.99 on Amazon, you’d need to rent 24 additional titles in a year to surpass the combined $95.88 per year add-on and $16.88 per year difference in the streaming-only price.

Summary of a cost-only comparison

For the person who’s content with a limited streaming library and perhaps the occasional rental of an additional title, Amazon is the winner. The cost-per-year is cheaper (since you wouldn’t be renting a minimum of 24 additional titles).

For the power movie and TV watcher who must have access to the most movies and shows possible, Netflix is the winner. The cost-per-year is cheaper (since you’d be renting a minimum of 24 titles).