Netflix vs. Amazon Prime Instant Video

Netflix is about to get pretty expensive on 9/1/2011 and I’ve been searching for some alternatives and Amazon Prime is back in the picture.

Amazon Prime Instant Video has seamless Xbox extender integration that allows you to play movies instantly on the Xbox. Just tried it. Movie was 2% downloaded, and it said ready to watch. Walked to living room, started Xbox and was watching a high quality (no variable rate Netflix stutter or mice teeth) a minute later. The only install was a Amazon Unbox service that runs on the PC that automatically starts downloading anything you order (which is free with prime) even when the order comes from another device – say your mobile. Amazon quality is roughly similar to a DVD (when taking into account their advanced encoding vs. DVD – so a tie with Netflix DVD’s at home) and certainly better than some of those lower Netflix streaming rates for instant.

I have a pretty heavy Netflix account (3 d’s at a time) that goes to over $25/mo in September. Even if I put the Netflix account on hold for 3 months and “get by” with Prime, it pays for Prime for the year. One thing that complicates that though is a couple of kids in College that are using Netflix, and Prime extended family members only receive shipping benefits – not video. Sticking with the Netflix account but dropping to the $8 streaming only version may be the way to go there.

What about selection? Prime is currently saying 6000 instant videos available, and Netflix says 70,000. OK, that one certainly goes to Netflix. But I took a look at what I have watched recently and found that most of it was available on Prime, but the obscure stuff only on Netflix.

So, it looks like I’m going to have to switch in the next few weeks, Amazon Prime has my vote. I can live with the selection loss while a Netflix reduction happily pays for my Prime account chock full of 2 day shipping and free video.