I've been thinking about getting my own Amazon Prime account so I can take advantage of Amazon's VOD service. I was just wondering how the library, quality and speed was comparative to other streaming services?
The library's extremely poor. It's no substitute for Netflix. Almost all the shows that's on Prime Instant is also on Netflix. If you're planning on getting a Prime account just for Prime Instant, then I'd save the money and get a Netflix streaming account instead. I've watched 1.5 movies (the 0.5 was a bad documentary) with Amazon's service with Instant streaming. The on demand movies that you can rent/buy, however, is awesome, since the Roku doesn't have Vudu, On Demand is the closest thing you'll get and they'll get shows and movies within a reasonable amount of time after release.
In terms of quality, it's not as good as Netflix, but good enough. There's some graining and artifacting, but it's not terrible. Depending on your internet connection, you might not get the HD versions of your videos. In fact, all the videos I purchased last year were credited back to me because the HD versions didn't play.
Amazon is a great companion to netflix. We never have quality issues with the service and use the rental service once in a while when netflix is missing what we want. I will also add that although the library is lacking, it has dramatically improved in the six months or so we have had it.
I will say, though, that we have had a Prime account merely for the free shipping on most items for years, and have saved tons of money on shipping. So, if you do a lot of Amazon purchasing of Prime eligible items, it will pay for itself in a few months. If you already have Prime for that reason, then it may be worth just using the Amazon Prime free streaming if it has enough of the kind of stuff you want to watch anyway. Most of the stuff I have been watching on Netflix lately is on Prime and I could probably get away with just using it and dropping Netflix. The main reason I still keep Netflix, though, is the advantage of being up bounce around between devices and pick up where I left off in whatever I was watching. I do sometimes watch Netflix on my 3DS or Photon while eating lunch at work, which I could not do with Prime streaming. If you only watch in front of your TV anyway, and won't miss the resume feature, it is at least worth checking out.
I wil add that you should should check how your equipment handles Amazon VOD. I have a TiVo HD and it does not support Amazon VOD, even though it does support Amazon video downloads. Any titles I planned to stream to the TiVo have actually had to be downloaded, which somewhat defeats the purpose of getting the streaming service. For that reason I didn't renew after the 30-day trial and stuck to streaming Netflix on the TiVo instead, and downloading the occasional Amazon title a la carte.
Prime is now getting to the point where its coming close to Netflix in content, but it's the rental service that's great for us, most of the shows we watch are on Hulu plus already but there are a few like "The Walking Dead" and since we cut the cord from cable this service is handy for picking up the cable slack. Also since these comments started Amazon VOD has changed there interface and it seems some of the background work for the streaming I had a lot of the choppy playback people spoke about before but over the last 2 or 3 weeks since the new interface its been much better.
My problem with Netflix is that they are no longer stocking some of the things I want. I have them mostly for BD, but do stream some titles. It's getting better and better.
The problem is that they just don't get some titles, in particular BBC nature shows. I like to see them before I buy them. They never got Madagascar on BD and Amazon charged over $20 for a single disk,. I waited until I saw it on Amazon Streaming for $7. I figured it was worth a try and as others have mentioned it's good enough. I'd still rather have the bd from Netflix.
Now I own this video for the life of Amazon, how long is that?
I got one of those Planet Earth HD from Amazon Unbox, though it's not the same as the VOD. If the quality is the same though, then I would say it's not as high of a quality or resolution as Netflix. Oh wait, it does stream on my Sony dash instead of downloading like Unbox and the quality still isn't the compare to Netflix. It's good but not the best.