Amazon Prime Video. The name may be quite the mouthful, but it might just be one of the easiest entries into on-demand TV.
Why? The service is free for Amazon Prime members (if you have free delivery, you probably have Prime), and all the shows are available through the Amazon website, so if you’ve used it for shopping then the service will be familiar.
Amazon is investing heavily in original TV series, and the service has an extensive archive of movies and TV shows to watch.
Film and Tv streaming is just one of the many benefits of being a Prime member, as well as next-day delivery and access to exclusive deals on Prime Day.
But before jumping into a subscription, what do you need to know? Here’s a quick guide to what Amazon Prime Video is, how much it costs, what subscribers can watch and how to sign up below.
How much does Amazon Prime Video cost in the UK?
Prime membership costs £7.99 per month if you go for a monthly subscription.
However, you can also opt for an annual subscription costing £79 per year, which works out at £6.58 per month.
If you are sure you only want to use Amazon’s video service, there is a separate membership just for Amazon Prime Video that costs £5.99 per month. However, that subscription does not include any of the other services. See all the available plans here.
If you want to see what the service is like before paying for it, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial.
What do you get with Amazon Prime?
Amazon Prime, of course, comes with all the films and TV shows included in Prime Video – but so much more.
The big draw for shoppers will be free next-day delivery on millions of eligible items, with no need for a minimum purchase amount. However, that’s not all – Prime members get access to exclusive deals, as well as 30mins early access to Amazon’s popular lighting deals, including on key sales dates such as Black Friday.
This culminates with Prime Day, a two-day sales extravaganza exclusively for Prime members – with deals so good the event often outsells Black Friday for the shopping site. Previous deals have included 20 per cent off Amazon devices, 30 per cent off Amazon Everyday Essentials, several months of Amazon’s services for as little as 99p, and huge savings on tech.
Prime Day has been confirmed for 13th and 14th October this year – so sign up for a 30 day free trial of Amazon Prime to access the deals.
That’s not all, however – subscribers get access to Prime Music, which includes over 2 million ad-free songs, as well as access to a rotating selection of eBooks and magazines with Prime Reading. Oh, and Prime Members also get unlimited photo storage and try before you buy with Prime Wardrobe. Phew.
What is Amazon Prime Video?
Prime Video is a streaming TV and movie service from online shopping company Amazon. Launched in 2014, it allows Prime members to watch TV via an internet connection, without having to download. If you’re using a tablet or mobile device, you can also download episodes to watch later – handy if you’re a binge-watching commuter.
You don’t buy individual series or films on Amazon Prime Video. Instead, you pay a monthly subscription which gives you access to a whole library of programmes to watch. Any programme that is included in the membership will have a Prime symbol over the image in search results (see screenshot below).
Confusingly, there’s also a service called Amazon Video (not Prime), which is essentially an online video rental/buying service like iTunes. With this service, you pay for individual TV episodes, whole series or movies, and can either download and keep them or rent them for a limited period.
What can I watch on Amazon Prime Video?
Netflix‘s original series may have made the most noise early on, but Amazon has scored some surprising successes too with original TV series not available anywhere else.
The biggest shows on Amazon Prime Video include…
- Starring David Tennant, Michael Sheen, and many many more big names, Good Omens is an adaptation of the Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett fantasy novel of the same name.
- Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevigne star in high-budget fantasy series Carnival Row.
- Winner of three golden globes awards, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel is a 1950s-set show following a New York housewife who discovers she has a knack for stand-up comedy.
- Sharp US comedy drama Transparent, the first ever online series to win a Golden Globe in 2014.
- Critically-acclaimed time-travelling drama Outlander.
- The Grand Tour. Clarkson, Hammond and May are the unlikely poster boys for Amazon Prime Video.
- The Boys. Starring Karl Urban, the show follows a band of vigilantes goes up against a group of corrupt superheroes.
- John Krasinski plays a CIA analyst in spy thriller Jack Ryan.
- Utopia. An American remake of the acclaimed British show starring John Cusack and Rainn Wilson.
- Patrick Stewart returns to his most iconic role in Star Trek: Picard.
- Hunters. A stylish thriller following Nazi hunters in the 1970s with Al Pacino.
- Anthony Horowitz’s teenage spy books get a second adaptation in Alex Rider.
- Hanna is a television remake of the 2011 Saoirse Ronan film.
- Critically acclaimed Thomas Jane sci-fi The Expanse.
- VR comedy Upload from The Office US showrunner Greg Daniels.
With a big budget Lord of the Rings TV series slowly building too, Amazon is not short of prestige TV.
What else can I watch on Amazon Prime Video?
As well as the TV shows listed above, there is an extensive film library with a host of award winners and blockbusters available to stream.
The streaming service has also signed a deal with film studio Lionsgate for exclusive first window streaming rights. This means movies such as Angel Has Fallen, Rambo: Last Blood, Knives Out, Midway, Bombshell, and The Personal History of David Copperfield will be available to watch on Amazon before their competitors, such as Netflix (who were previously partnered with Lionsgate).
The streaming service is also investing heavily in live sports rights. The US Open was streamed live online in the UK on Prime Video in 2018, and from the 2019 season a certain number of Premier League football matches will air exclusively on Amazon.
Expect more to come in this field, including sports documentaries such as All or Nothing and more live sports rights deals as they become available.
What are Amazon Prime Video Channels?
In May 2017, Amazon launched its new TV service Amazon Channels in the UK. The new service gives Amazon Prime subscribers the chance to pick and choose from over 40 different premium channels, from Discovery and Eurosport to classic movie channel MGM and Scandidrama channel Nordic Noir and Beyond.
Instead of paying for large TV bundles full of channels you’re not interested in, Amazon Channels aims to give you the chance to pick the channels you actually want to watch.
How to sign up to Amazon Prime Video
To sign up as a new member, go to the Amazon Prime page, pick a membership plan that suits you and enter your details. Remember, you can start a free trial to check out what’s available first.
Like Netflix, it is possible to share your subscription with other people. By linking up different Amazon accounts into an Amazon ‘Household’, you can share benefits such as free delivery and free streaming.
You keep your own personal account (so you can watch shows at your own pace), but can share all the benefits (and therefore costs) between members of the same ‘household’. Find out more here.
How to watch Amazon Prime Video
After signing up, you can start watching from thousands of movies and TV shows on your computer, phone, tablet, games console or supported TV. Start searching for shows and movies here.
If you’re watching on the go, the Prime Video app is worth downloading. If you want to watch on your TV, find out more about which devices are supported and how to set up here.
Prime Video is designed for streaming, but many shows are available to download and watch offline. This is useful when you’re travelling or when you know you’re not going to have internet access.
Amazon Channels is not included in your standard Prime Video membership. Instead, each channel comes with its own small monthly cost. Sports channels such as Eurosport are particularly highly valued as they feature live events that aren’t available elsewhere. If you think that Sky or BT contracts are too expensive, this service could well be worth exploring.
Are there any good alternatives to Amazon Prime Video?
Read our guide to Netflix, and check back for more information on every on-demand TV service currently available.
Sign up for Amazon Prime for £7.99 a month with a 30-day free trial. Check out our lists of the best Amazon Prime series and best Amazon Prime movies, and for more tech news check out our Technology section