As a company, they’re one of the most successful in the world but that success has come at a price paid by the health and wellbeing of their workforce, the privacy of their customers and, arguably, the future livability of the planet. They’re a global juggernaut that constantly defies attempts by unions, regulators and governments to reign them in and headed up by a man so obscenely wealthy that he just can’t think of anything better way to spend his money on than hollowing out a mountain and turning it into a giant clock that rings once every ten thousand years.
Now, all that being said, the video streaming component of Amazon’s Prime service has improved by leaps and bounds since it first launched in Australia back in 2017. For many, Amazon Prime Video is never going to be Netflix-killer but it’s a sublime complement that delivers plenty of value at a great price.
There are so many things I hate Amazon but their streaming video service isn't one of them.
Sure, in the early years, Amazon’s original content efforts were something of a mixed-bag and their catalogue of licensed shows and films was almost a joke. You wouldn’t find many of the latest films, instead you’d find the kind of weird releases you’d expect to pull out of a bargain bin in your local JB Hi-Fi.
For a while there, Amazon felt like the streaming service equivalent of your local Civic Video. It was no Blockbuster and a far cry from the splendorous supply of shows, films and content found on Stan and Netflix. Early Amazon originals like Bosch and Sneaky Pete struggled to really stand out beyond the established pseudo-prestige template.
Nowadays, even Amazon’s bad original content - For example, Hunters and Carnival Row - is at least interesting and their good content is genuinely fantastic. Plenty of ink has been spilled about the merits of Fleabag but The Boys, Homecoming, Lore, The Marvelous Miss Maisel, Good Omens and Tales from The Loop all help give a compelling blend of depth, diversity and originality to Amazon’s original content lineup.
Netflix certainly has the volume but, these days, I feel much more interested and invested in what Amazon is doing in the streaming space. Thus far, the folks behind Prime Video have shown a good eye for quality and, following the acquisition of The Expanse, the company looks to be beefing up their original content lineup with more genre fare like the upcoming Lord of the Rings series and an adaptation of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time.
Amazon’s licensed library has also improved in recent years. You’re much more likely to find newer content on the platform than you used to. The addition of on-demand video titles via the Prime Video Store earlier this year has helped fill in some of the other gaps here.
Of course, the real kicker here is the price. At $6.99/month, Amazon Prime Video is cheaper than most of the competition. What’s more, that price doesn’t skimp on features like multiple streams like 4K and HDR and it hasn’t gone up since the service debuted.
While Amazon remains the worst, Amazon Prime Video just keeps getting better and better. If you’re looking to change up your second or ‘other’ streaming service amid the lockdowns and social distancing of 2020, it might be worth signing up for a free trial and giving Prime Video a try.