When it comes to instant video watching online you’ve really got two big choices, Amazon or Netflix. Yes there are other options but these two are the big ones really, the others are just there trying to compete and play catch up really, it’s only a mater of time before they disappear altogether I think. I loved Netflix at one point but I’ve become increasing unhappy with them as they just keep changing things for the worse it seems. I do the majority of my watching on my computer and sometimes on my PS3 and very rarely on my phone or tablet. Amazon Prime is what I would call a work in progress and it seems to be getting better and better while Netflix is going down hill with all of these so called improvements that really aren’t. At the present time I have both Amazon Prime Instant Video and Netflix Instant Video and I’m really thinking of dropping Netflix but maybe just not quite yet. I did have Netflix with the DVD/Blu-ray option up until they raised the prices, then I dropped as really I was getting like maybe one of two movies per month sent to me and it just wasn’t worth the cost.
So I’ve compiled a list of pros and cons and just observations of both Amazon and Netflix that are really in no order, just more of a random thing as I thought of them or as I noticed them. It’s a list, a big list with my comments about them.
We’ll start off with Netflix Instant Video (this has nothing to do with the physical rentals, just instant videos as Amazon has)
-Horrible interface – The new and ‘wonderful’ interface is just horrible, it’s not computer friendly at all. There was nothing wrong with the old way, but Netflix wants the interface to be more mobile and TV friendly and who cares about the PC user right?! When they changed the interface and posted about it on the Netflix blog they hit the 5000 comment limit and had to stop taking comments, it closed at 5000 limit, 99% of them were complaints but Netflix didn’t listen at all.
-Horrible slow scrolling – Yes more about the interface… Slow scrolling to browse shows (I have 19 things in my queue right now and it takes 7 seconds to scroll to the end to see them all. Can you imagine if I had say 30 things in my queue?). Staring at the slow scrolling gives me a headache, I have to switch to the grid view. Seriously if I watch it scroll across the page slowly then stop it seems to me that the page is still moving, it’s disconcerting and doing it many times makes my head hurt. It seems to take more time now to find a movie than it did with the original interface.
-Suggestion system is weird at times – Really? What does Analyze That have to do with River Monsters or any nature style documentary?! Nothing at all… This is a constant thing that makes no sense at all. This goes for both the ‘More Like’ and the ‘Because you watched’ sections. Right now it says ‘Because you watched Star Trek: the next Generation’ and there are things listed like Frasier, and Murder She Wrote, Cheers and Keeping Up Appearances (a goofy BBC show about a woman and her husband). To me none of those have nothing at all to do with Star Trek… but I could be wrong…
-Keeps changing interface – Where’s My Instant Queue?! They keep changing things and not for the better. What happened to my Instant Queue ? Well it’s gone because Netflix says so, and it’s now replaced with ‘Your List’ and then I just noticed it changed again. The ‘You List’ was at the top of the page, but now it’s the third row down below Top 10 For Me and Popular on Netflix. It seems that Netflix is saying that my list of movies that I want to watch just isn’t that important anymore. Really? I want to see those movies but you want me to watch what you want me to watch?!
-No more Instant Queue list – See above, this goes with that (it just needed repeating..) Still though it makes no sense that the Instant Queue is gone but yet they still have that stupid ‘Taste Profile’ at the top of the page where the Instant Queue was listed.
-Automatically starts next episode, can be annoying if not paying attention – This drives me nuts, it automatically starts the next episode, many times I’ve walked away during the credits and the next episode is playing and I’ve missed a part of it. This really only happened in the beginning when they added this ‘feature’ but now I have to stop playing or pause or go back to browsing so it doesn’t happen. Why can’t it just be there waiting for me to start it when I’m ready?!
-Error n8156-6013 – This error is probably the most complained about error and it has to do with SilverLight and DRM sadly. I haven’t seen it lately thankfully, but there was a point I couldn’t go a week without seeing it at least once. (it does seem they’ve finally acknowledged it after years of people complaining as I see Netflix actually has their own support page for it, but for years it was the users fault)
-Price is $7.99 per month or $95.88 per year – Pricing for instant video is much more than Amazon and if you figure it what else you get with Amazon Prime, then Netflix truly isn’t worth it really
-Many times TV Show seasons are out of order – I’ve ran into this many times, they list them in what appears to be their proper order but they really aren’t and it gets confusing if you start watching them. I’ve also run across times when the show listed is not the show playing.
-Sometimes there are missing episodes in TV seasons - This is just stupid, why put it up at all if you can’t get the whole season?! What’s the point? Go to watch something and it’s not all there.
-Blaming the customer for the errors – This drives me nuts, I’m sure all of you have gotten errors from time and time and the way the error message is worded is that it’s always somehow the customer’s fault. it’s a problem with your connection, your computer or whatever, but it’s your fault, it’s never Netflix’s fault. You can go on twitter and see everyone complaining when there is an outage, but yet it’s still the users fault and it’s Netflix’s fault. Why?
-Does have Android and iOS apps – yes amazingly Netflix has both Android and iOS apps so you can watch either or on the go.
Now it’s time for Amazon and yes this list is bigger, but it’s not all bad of course. It’s things I’ve noticed both good and bad and some things that most would consider trivial.
-Lack of preview on video searching/seeking – This just bothers me, there’s no preview when searching or seeking on Amazon. The below pictures show Netflix on the left and Amazon on the right, there’s no previews for Amazon. Yes it’s not a big thing, but it’s a nice feature to have.
-Lots of movies not available in HD on computer to watch but yet I can watch TV shows in HD ?!?! – Why can’t I watch movies in HD? I can watch TV shows in HD but not movies?! Really that makes no sense at all. I can do it on Netflix, but apparently Amazon doesn’t want you to watch HD on your computer and they only want you to use another device.
-Would be nice if they fully separated Prime watching and paid – I’ll be watching a TV show and go to the next season and only to find that if I want to watch it I have to pay for it. I would like there to be an option for just showing Prime eligible shows and movies.
-No Android app – I don’t see why Amazon doesn’t have an Android app. I can understand them wanting you to use their tablet, but it’s plain silly really that you can’t use the service on any Android device.
-Connections are spotty – I’ve got Verizon FIOS and it’s fast, I have the 75/35 plan and I know my connection is fine, but yet on Amazon the quality goes up and down all the time.
-Descriptions could be better or at least there – There’s just no description on most things in the detail list view. I guess they just expect you to know what the movie is.
-Amazon grid view – was just added yesterday or today really for me, but it’s just pictures and no descriptions. If you hover over something all it does it make it bigger and pop out but no descriptions?! You have to click through to see what the movie or TV how is about, it’s an extra step that’s not needed or wanted.
-Need spellcheck or grammar check for movie/tv descriptions – Below are just three quick examples of errors I found on one page. There are plenty more where that came from.
-No alphabetical browsing – This makes no sense as to what reason there is to not be able to list movies in alphabetical order? Netflix does it a-z or z-a.
-Sorting system is weird, like Netflix subgenre better - I don’t get the Amazon subgenre thing, ‘Horror & Rough’ is a sub-category of Horror, I mean what is that? They’re all like that, just oddly named sub-categories that don’t make much sense.
-Must write review to add star rating – Netflix has the star rating system and yes it’s not perfect, but I can rate something without having to write a review of it. Amazon makes you write a review before you can rate something. Why?
-Price: $79 per year which comes out to $6.58 per month and you get 2 day free shipping and Kindle owners get free books to borrow (1 per month, but still it’s free or included). Amazon Prime Instant Video is a much better choice when it comes to pricing and what you get.
-Missing thumbnails for some things – This is both for general browsing and for your instant watch list, the thumbnails are broken. Sure it doesn’t affect the actual show but the thumbnails are nice to see. Many times I won’t be familiar with a title, but I’ll see an actor on the cover picture that I know and end up watching it.
-Video finder is great but lacks grid view, but at least it’s not the slow scrolling like Netflix. When you click on a category you’re greeted with what looks like scrolling but it isn’t you press the arrow and it basically turns the page, no scrolling yay!
-I Like the videos expiring soon search option – this is just awesome I think, the videos expiring list is great so I can know when something will disappear from the watch list. Netflix just makes them go away without any real warning.
-Censored anime?! – Yes I like Anime, but what’s the point of having it censored? Anime isn’t just cartoons, they do things differently on the other side of the world than we do here, but I think we can handle the uncensored versions.
-Should list whether it’s subtitles or dubbed or what language – this doesn’t just apply to anime, but movies and TV shows as well. Netflix has dubbed and subbed labeled and language like the picture above shows, or at least it does usually, but Amazon has no such labels that I’ve seen.
-No sort by rating, only PG or G sorting in Video Finder – I’m an adult I think at 41 years old and I do like watching R rated movies so why can’t I sort them out?!
-Would be nice if there was a ‘next episode’ option while watching as Netflix has – For Amazon you have to go back to the browsing if you’re in full screen mode to access the next video, Netflix is nice in that you can just play the next video when the credits start rolling. On Amazon it just sites at a black or blank screen
-Clearly labeled HD shows – I love how Amazon clearly labels all the HD material, something Netflix doesn’t do. Netflix has it listed for HD but only on the main description page and it’s kind of hidden really.
If Amazon changes some things around a bit I’ll most surely end up just dropping Netflix altogether but as it stands I can’t do that yet. I like HD movies and TV, I think everyone does but right now I can’t watch movies in HD on my computer on Amazon for whatever unknown reason. Both services have their pros and cons, neither is perfect, but Amazon seems to be changing things for the better while Netflix is changing things for the worse.
Which do you like better? Have you dropped one for the other?
To me Amazon is the better deal, it’s cheaper and plus you get free 2 day shipping on a lot of stuff in their catalog, but it’s not perfect sadly, but if they keep doing what they’re doing it could be…