This Could Actually Replace Netflix

In the world of streaming, there's no doubt that Netflix reigns supreme. Its popular original content (House of Cards, Orange Is The New Black, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) has made it a strong competitor against traditional network TV and movie producers. And its straightforward experience makes it easy to lean back and watch episode after episode after episode.

But in recent years, Amazon has been hot on its trail with Golden Globe-winning programming such as Transparent and Mozart In The Jungle. And now, the e-commerce giant is posing an even bigger threat to Netflix: by launching a standalone streaming service.

If you've already got a Prime account, you're all set. You've been able to stream exclusive movies and TV shows with your $99 Prime subscription, which also includes free two-day shipping and other perks such as Prime Music.

But if you don't have Prime (or want to try saving some money), you've got two new options. You can subscribe to Amazon Video alone for $8.99 per month ($108 per year). And if you want Prime and Amazon Video, there's also a new monthly option that will cost $10.99 per month, or $132 annually.

If you're going to watch video and order things from Amazon all year round, the annual $99 Prime membership is clearly still the best deal. Why would you pay $8.99 per month ($108 per year) to get access to video when you could pay just $99 to get video and free two-day shipping? The only reason to subscribe to Amazon Video (or Amazon Prime) on a monthly basis is if you think you'll only want it for a few months of the year, and then will cancel it. Otherwise, you're overpaying.

But the big question is: Should you subscribe to Amazon Video if you already have a Netflix account? Or — should you subscribe to Amazon Video instead of Netflix? It depends. The most basic monthly Netflix membership is $1 less than Amazon Video, at $7.99, but the standard membership, which gives you access to HD and lets you have it open on multiple screens at the same time, costs $1 more than Amazon's, at $9.99 a month. (However, it's important to note that soon everyone will be paying a minimum of $9.99, thanks to an unfortunate price increase).

Ultimately, the decision comes down to the original content. Would you rather be watching Amazon's shows or Netflix's?

It's a call that's going to get tougher and tougher to make. Sure, Netflix has Frank Underwood, but Amazon is launching Woody Allen's first-ever TV series this year. Ugh, we may have just found one more binge-watching platform to sink our money into each month.
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