Amazon has finally brought its video-on-demand streaming service, Amazon Prime, to India. Including India, Amazon Prime Video is now available in more than 200 countries, making its global reach much higher than that of Netflix, which added 130 countries to its kitty back in January. India has suddenly become a hotbed for video streaming services, which now include both global and native streaming companies. With Amazon Prime in the fray, we now have two global streaming giants battling it out for the average Indian to binge watch over their newfound 4G connections and unlimited broadband plans. So without further ado, let’s see how Amazon Prime Video differs from Netflix at first look.
Right now the best part about Amazon Prime is its pricing. If you are an Amazon Prime member, not only can you enjoy exclusive deals and free deliveries on the ecommerce platform, you can also start using Amazon Prime Video right away. Amazon is offering a free 30-day trial for Prime, after which users of the service will be charged Rs. 499 per annum. This brings the monthly cost to Rs. 42. With the Prime subscription in your pocket, you can access Amazon Prime Videos on 3 screens at the same time. The price for Prime membership is set to go up to Rs. 999 per annum in the future and as of now, there are no separate pricing plans for varying streaming quality.
At first glance, Amazon Prime Video seems to have a bunch of recent Hindi movie titles such as Sultaan, Raaz Reboot, Shaandaar, Dil Dhadakne Do, etc. This is thanks to Amazon’s deal with Dharma Productions, T-Series and others. It even has a decent collection of English movies and Amazon exclusive TV shows, like the wildly popular auto show Grand Tour, award winning series Transparent, and more. The problem is that Netflix still takes the cake when it comes to content. It may have a limited amount of regional language content, but when it comes to original TV series, English movies and documentaries, Netflix is far superior to Amazon Prime Video. This could change as Amazon adds more titles to its catalogue. Remember, when Netflix launched its services in the country, it had an extremely limited content library, which only expanded subsequently with time.
Unlike what most news articles are telling you, the Amazon Prime Video app is hard to access. It’s all hunky dory for Android users, but iOS users in India can still not spot the app on the App Store. Now, this could be because of the recent App Store outage, which Apple says has been fixed now. When we tried downloading the Prime Video app on an iPhone 7, we could not find it in the app store. However, a link through the Amazon app directed us to an App Store download link of the same, thereby allowing us to download the app. Very Strange! Netflix on the other hand is easily available on the app store, sans any confusion.
While it’s too early to talk about the streaming quality of Amazon Prime Video, on initial impressions, it’s fairly poor. We tried streaming on Amazon Prime Video and Netflix simultaneously, using both a 4G connection and Wi-Fi. The results were starkly different. While Netflix took no time to start streaming, Amazon Prime Video took its own sweet 20-30 seconds to start the video stream. The quality of streaming on both services was set to high and HD, but Prime Video was nowhere near HD quality. Interestingly, the app settings on Prime Video show that it uses 5.8GB of data for 1 hour of streaming in high definition, while Netflix HD uses 3GB for the same duration. Both Amazon Prime Video and Netflix allow offline viewing of certain titles, but we are yet to test the download experience. We will do a more detailed analysis of Prime Video’s in comparison to services like Netflix and Hotstar in the near future, so stay tuned for that.