Which Video Streaming Service is Best?

Only one video-streaming service comes out on top when comparing selection, convenience and cost. Find out which service earned the number one spot from Consumer Reports.

Choosing a video-streaming service that’s a good fit for you is no easy task.

At first glance, Amazon Prime Instant Video and Netflix may look similar, with their multitude of screens displaying their television shows and movies.

But according to Consumer Reports, one service came out on top once it broke down and ranked the selection, extras, cost and convenience offered by Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video.

Here’s how the competition stacked up:

  • Selection:. While Amazon Prime offers more than 17,000 standard- and high-definition movies and TV series, compared to Netflix’s 10,000, Amazon lagged behind in HD videos, offering 3,500 selections to Netflix’s 7,500. Amazon Prime score: 1.3 (out of 5). Netflix score: 2.0.
  • Extras: Both Netflix and Amazon Prime have original shows. But Amazon thoroughly bests Netflix in the “extras” category with its free two-day shipping option, free music streaming, unlimited photo storage and Kindle lending library. Amazon Prime score: 5. Netflix score: 2.
  • Convenience: CR found that 88 percent of the 130 CR-tested TVs, Blu-ray players, and stand-alone streaming devices (like a Roku or Amazon Fire Stick) had the Netflix app installed. In comparison, just 68 percent of those items had Amazon service built in. “[Netflix] streaming comprised 35 percent of all peak-time U.S. and Canadian Internet traffic … vs. Amazon Instant Video’s 3 percent,” CR said. Amazon Prime score: 2.5. Netflix score: 5.
  • Cost: An Amazon Prime membership is $99. A standard Netflix plans runs $108 per year. CR said both are a good deal. Amazon Prime score: 5. Netflix score: 5.

Netflix squeaked by Amazon Prime Instant Video with an overall score of 3.5, compared to Amazon’s 3.4. CR said the two streaming services are actually pretty equal.

If your primary interest is watching high-definition movies and TV series, Netflix should be your first choice. If you’d rather have greater choice but in standard definition, and you swoon at the thought of goodies such as free shipping, music downloads, and photo storage, Amazon Prime may be a better bet.

I have both Netflix and Amazon Prime. I use Amazon Prime more for its new release movie offerings, but those come at an additional cost to the annual Prime membership. I love the Netflix kids’ section. It has a great selection of shows and movies that my kids love.

Which streaming service is your favorite? Share your experiences below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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