Battle of the Streaming Giants: A Comprehensive Comparison of Netflix and Amazon Prime
The competition between media streaming services is getting fierce these days. And each of them, from HBO Max and Disney Plus to Hulu and Peacock, brings a particular value, be it an affordable pricing plan or a vast amount of original shows. However, the two streaming giants – Netflix and Amazon Prime Video – are still ahead of them all in terms of popularity, content library sizes, and availability. But which one is better? Keep reading to find out!
Main criteria to compare Netflix and Amazon Prime
Before diving into our Netflix vs. Amazon Prime Video comparison, let’s figure out how to rate these streaming services to determine the winner. We decided to focus on the factors that have the most critical influence on the viewers’ experience:
- Popularity (number of subscribers)
- Content quality (number of original movies and shows and their popularity)
- Library size
- Supported devices
- Streaming experience
- Extra features (simultaneous streams, offline viewing option, and more)
- Availability (the number of countries where the services are available)
- Pricing plans
Note that the final choice still depends on your own tastes and interests. For instance, if you need a platform with a great selection of family and kids’ content, Disney Plus may be the best option. In turn, if you prefer quality documentaries over mainstream shows and movies, you may consider subscribing to Discovery Plus.
With that being said, let’s move on to our comparison.
Round 1. Popularity
Netflix was the very first of them all – back in 1998, it revolutionized the broadcast television and cinema industries with its subscription-based approach. And although many new players have emerged, Netflix still got it. In fact, it’s the largest streaming service to date, with over 230 million subscribers worldwide (with an increase of 1.75 million subscribers compared to the previous quarter).
However, Amazon Prime Video is looking over Netflix’s shoulder with nearly 200 million subscribers as of September 2022.
Both platforms are expected to reach over 250 million subscribers by 2027, remaining the two most popular video streaming services. But their main rival Disney Plus with over 150 million subscribers so far might even overtake them, according to some forecasts.
🏆 Who wins: Netflix
Round 2. Content quality
Clearly, the amount and quality of content is the key factor when comparing media streaming services. So, let’s see which of our today’s rivals has a better selection of titles. To determine it, we will look at their catalog sizes, the number of originals they offer, and the most popular movies and shows to watch on both platforms.
The Netflix content library is one of the most extensive and versatile. It covers nearly all genres and includes excellent options for every age group. Overall, Netflix owns over 15,000 titles. However, since every country has its own copyright and licensing agreements, the average local Netflix catalog contains approximately 7,000 to 7,500 movies and shows (for instance, Netflix UK provides access to 7,482 titles).
Amazon Prime also offers a decent amount of content for all audiences. And, unlike Netflix, it’s not only about movies and shows. A Prime Video subscription also covers some live sports events, including NFL, MLB, and NBA. As for the catalog size, it’s even more extensive in some countries, varying between 7,500 and 9,500 titles (for example, Prime Video UK has over 9,000 movies and shows).
🏆 Who wins: Draw
Exclusive and original content
Netflix is one of the main content providers these days. The service has over 1,500 originals to date, including Money Heist, Stranger Things, The Witcher, Bridgerton, and many more. Moreover, Netflix has dozens of award-winning movies and shows – the platform has earned 135 Emmys and 22 Oscars. Besides, the service exclusively owns many popular AMC shows, such as Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, How I Met Your Mother, and Supernatural.
Amazon Prime has produced significantly less original content (approximately 350 movies and series since the platform’s launch). The most famous Amazon originals include The Boys, Fleabag, Good Omens, Jack Ryan, and The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. The platform also has several award-winning shows and movies, including Manchester by the Sea and The Neon Demon. As for non-original exclusive content, you can stream some famous HBO and Nickelodeon shows (The Sopranos, Dora the Explorer, Six Feet Under, The Wire, and more) on Prime Video.
Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular Netflix and Prime originals so that you can determine the winner based on your personal taste.
Most popular Netflix shows
Here are the most viewed original series exclusively available on Netflix.
1. Stranger Things
The nostalgic vibe of the 80s, along with the Steven King, Steven Spielberg, and John Carpenter influence, and Millie Bobby Brown starring as a telekinetic kid – and here it comes, the most viewed English language show on Netflix. Stranger Things is a true phenomenon combining a fantastic cast with an incredible mix of horror, sci-fi, and mystery. The show’s 4th season currently has over 1.3 billion hours watched.
The main banger of 2022, Wednesday, is a relatively fresh Netflix hit created by Tim Burton. Wednesday Addams (Jenna Ortega) attends Nevermore Academy to explore her psychic ability and solve mysteries her parents faced years ago. At the beginning of 2023, Wednesday had over 1.2 billion hours watched.
3. Squid Game
This top-rated South Korean show, released in 2021, follows a group of financially desperate people participating in a deadly competition. While playing traditional children’s games, they get a chance to win a massive cash prize. But the stakes get higher, resulting in a series of brutal events. In March, Squid Game had over 1.6 billion hours watched – an absolute record for a non-English language show.
4. DAHMER (limited series)
Released in September 2022, this true crime show tells the story of Jeffrey Dahmer – one of the most notorious American serial killers. The show starring Evan Peters and Richard Jenkins reached an unexpected popularity, topping the Netflix charts for quite a while. In the first part of 2023, it had over 850 million views on the platform.
5. Money Heist
If Squid Game hadn’t broken all possible records, Money Heist would have become the most-viewed foreign show on Netflix. This breathtaking thriller explores the biggest heist in history, carefully prepared by “The Professor” (Alvaro Morte) and a group of skilled robbers.
Most popular Prime Video shows
Now, let’s look at the most popular original series produced by Amazon Prime Video. Note that Amazon doesn’t regularly reveal how many hours watched their shows have, this rate is based on the data available by the time this article is written.
1. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
Despite mixed reactions from viewers and critics, this long-anticipated Prime Video hit based on a classic fantasy trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien is the most viewed Amazon show of all time. The story develops quite slowly, but Middle-earth’s stunning atmosphere, amazing visuals, and great acting have already attracted millions of fans to screens.
This is another Amazon hit telling the story of Jack Reacher (Alan Ritchson) – a former US military falsely arrested for a murder. After the release, he helps the police in a rural Georgia town to investigate a conspiracy (while beating some bad guys along the way).
3. The Wheel of Time
While The Lord of the Rings is definitely the headliner on Amazon Prime, there is another noteworthy fantasy based on a bestselling novel by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. The show follows Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) – a member of a powerful organization, Aes Sedai, who teams up with five young men and women to save the world from pure evil.
4. The Boys
Prime Video has long been associated with The Boys – an extremely popular thrilling show that breaks the stereotypes of superheroes. Here, superpowered people aren’t valiant protectors – instead, they are powerful and cruel celebrities hiding many skeletons in their closets. As a result, we got a violent, provoking, and unpredictable series that earned a huge fanbase worldwide.
This trending Amazon show follows a secret group fighting against high-ranking Nazi officials in 1977 New York City. A young Jewish mathematician Jonah Heidelbaum (Logan Lerman) joins this diverse squad led by Meyer Offerman (Al Pacino) to prevent the emergence of the Fourth Reich.
Of course, both platforms offer a wide variety of amazing shows and movies for all tastes. But considering a significant advantage in the number of stunning originals, we are personally leaning towards the Netflix win in this round.
🏆 Who wins: Netflix
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Round 3. Supported devices
Netflix and Prime Video are compatible with most operating systems and devices, so you can choose the preferred way to watch the content of your choice. In particular, both platforms offer the following solutions:
- Web player for most browsers
- Mobile app for iOS and Android
- Desktop app for Windows (both) and macOS (Prime Video)
- Smart TV and Android TV support
- Streaming devices support, including Roku, Chromecast, Fire TV, and Apple TV
- Game console support, including Xbox and PlayStation
Here, it’s worth noting that Netflix doesn’t have an app for macOS. In contrast, Prime Video doesn’t provide a native solution for Apple TV, although you can use it via an iOS device.
🏆 Who wins: Draw
Round 4. Streaming experience quality
Both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video provide viewers with top-tier video quality ensuring an outstanding streaming experience. DVD files can stream HD at 720p and 1080p.
Also, both platforms provide a 4K Ultra HD video quality. However, while this feature is the default for Prime Video, you should upgrade to the Netflix Premium plan to enjoy your beloved content in 4K. The Basic and Standard Netflix plans are limited to 720p HD.
🏆 Who wins: Amazon Prime Video
Round 5. Extra features
Apart from a rich selection of titles and high video quality, both streaming services provide some additional features. Let’s look at them in more detail.
Netflix offers the following extra perks:
- Simultaneous streams (2 for Standard plan and 4 for Premium plan)
- Offline viewing is available for all devices connected within a subscription, excluding macOS.
- Parental control includes a security PIN and access levels from “little kids” to “all.”
- Dolby Atmos speaker system support is compatible with Apple TV, Xbox, Panasonic TV, Sony Bravia Android TV, and more.
- Personalization based on an advanced recommendation algorithm.
- Play Something allows you to play a random movie or show relevant to your preferences.
In contrast, here are some extras Amazon Prime Video has to offer:
- Simultaneous streams (3 devices for all plans).
- Offline viewing is available for all devices supporting a native app.
- Parental control includes security PINs for iOS, Android, and browsers.
- Amazon Watch Party lets you watch content together with family and friends and comment on it virtually.
- X-Ray allows for watching bonus content related to a particular movie or show (information about the cast, soundtrack, and so on) when pausing a video.
🏆 Who wins: Netflix
Round 6. Availability
Many popular streaming services, such as Hulu, Disney Plus, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and Voot, are currently available in a limited number of countries. It deprives many people of access to the desired content and causes inconvenience for frequent travelers.
But this is not the case for Netflix and Prime Video. Both platforms are available in over 190 countries worldwide. Some rare exceptions are China, North Korea, Russia, Iran, and Syria. But, as mentioned, the availability of particular titles varies depending on your location. Some Netflix and Amazon Prime shows and movies are geo-blocked in particular countries due to local regulations and copyright limitations. Luckily, there is a way out – more on that in a bit.
🏆 Who wins: Draw
Round 7. Pricing plans
Finally, let’s see who wins in the Netflix subscription vs Amazon Prime combat.
Netflix has recently lowered the price of its basic subscription plan to $6.99 per month. However, the deal has some significant downsides — it’s not ad-free and doesn’t provide access to the complete Netflix catalog and features. Therefore, you may need to consider choosing the Standard plan instead. All in all, here are the options available:
- Basic with ads – $6.99 (video quality up to 720p/HD)
- Basic – $9.99 (video quality up to 720p/HD)
- Standard – $15.49 (HD)
- Premium – $19.99 (HD and 4K Ultra HD)
Also, it’s worth noting that Netflix doesn’t offer a free trial anymore.
Amazon Prime Video, in turn, provides all the essential features and access to the entire library within the basic plan ($8.99 per month), which is also ad-free. Also, it has several add-ons that open up more streaming opportunities (these include Amazon Freevee, HBO Max, Discovery Plus, Starz, Showtime, CBS All Access, Paramount Plus, and Epix Now).
Here is how much the Amazon Prime Video subscription costs in 2023:
- Amazon Freevee – no charge
- Prime Video – $8.99 (4K Ultra HD)
- Amazon Prime – $14.99 per month or $139 per year (includes Prime Video, free Amazon shipping, and more)
Also, the service offers a 30-day free trial period for Amazon Prime membership.
🏆 Who wins: Amazon Prime Video
Netflix vs. Amazon Prime Video comparison. The round-up
Now that we’re done comparing the main Netflix vs. Prime features, benefits, and drawbacks, let’s provide a brief summary to decide the winner.
230+ million subscribers
200+ million subscribers
Nearly 7,000 - 7,500 titles per country
Nearly 7,500 - 9,500 titles per country
1,500+ originals, including Stranger Things, Bridgerton, Wednesday, Squid Game, and Money Heist
350+ originals, including The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, The Boys, Reacher, and The Wheel of Time
🚫 macOS (no native app)
✅ Game consoles
✅ Streaming devices
✅ Smart TV
✅ Apple TV
✅ Game consoles
✅ Streaming devices
✅ Smart TV
🚫 Apple TV (no native app)
750p HD (Basic and Standard)
4K Ultra HD (Premium)
4K Ultra HD
2 devices (Standard), 4 devices (Premium)
✅ Dolby Atmos speaker support
✅ Advanced personalization
✅ “Play Something” feature
✅ “Amazon Watch Party” feature
✅ “X-Ray” feature
Basic with ads – $6.99
Basic – $9.99
Standard – $15.49
Premium – $19.99
Amazon Freevee – for free
Prime Video – $8.99
Amazon Prime – $14.99 per month or $139 per year
As you can see, both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video provide a decent number of features and access to extensive content catalogs. Considering the aspects described above, none of today’s contestants has the edge. However, since the original and exclusive content quality is the most critical factor, we may assume that Netflix slightly outperforms Prime Video as a media streaming platform (while Amazon is out of competition when it comes to online retail and cloud services).
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FAQ: Netflix vs. Amazon Prime
Both streaming platforms have their pros and cons, so the choice is yours. Netflix offers more original and exclusive content, while Amazon Prime offers a better deal in terms of the Basc pricing plan’s value. Read this article to learn the main differences between these platforms and pick the one that suits you best.
Prime Video has several advantages compared to Netflix. It has some additional features, including Amazon Watch Party and X-Ray. Also, Amazon offers one of the best deals for its monthly subscription price, which also comes with multiple add-on options, such as live sports, HBO Max, Discovery Plus, and more. At the same time, Netflix offers more original content and a more personalized user experience. For more details, check out this article.
Both Amazon Prime and Netflix have quite extensive catalogs. The exact number of titles depends on your location. However, Netflix offers more original shows and movies and releases new content more frequently. Some of the most famous Netflix originals include Stranger Things, Wednesday, Money Heist, and Squid Game. In turn, the most popular Prime shows are The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, Reacher, The Boys, and The Wheel of Time. For more information, read this article.
Netflix is more popular than Amazon Prime in terms of the number of subscribers (it has over 230 million subscribers compared to over 200 viewers on Amazon). Besides, Netflix outperforms Prime Video in terms of the hours of original content available on the platform. Read this article to learn more.
The new Basic plan on Netflix is cheaper ($6.99 per month), but it’s not the best deal. It’s not ad-free and doesn’t include many features available with Standard and Premium Netflix plans. In contrast, Amazon Prime has a single membership plan ($8.99), which is ad-free and provides all main features, including 4K Ultra HD video quality. So when comparing Netflix vs. Amazon Prime price, the latter service offers a slightly better deal. Check out this article to learn more.
You don’t have to pay for a basic Prime Video membership plan with an Amazon Prime subscription. However, the add-ons offered on Prime Video (HBO Max, Discovery Plus, Showtime, and so on) come at extra cost.