Pump up Prime!
October 4, 2012 9:41 AM   Subscribe

Mom just gave me a $100 Amazon gift card for my birthday. I'm thinking of taking the Amazon Prime plunge. But, I already have Netflix and am very happy with that. "Fringe" is my main reason for wanting Prime and even though it would save me money over renting the show, I wonder if there is other Prime exclusive content to help push me over the edge.

I'm also concerned that I plunk the $79 for Prime and then Netflix acquires "Fringe." Anybody know what the likelihood of that would be? Splurging opportunities like this are rare for me lately so I don't want to waste it.

Finally, if I were to enjoy Prime immensely and find the overlap with Netflix enough to consider dropping Netflix, what *Netflix* exclusives would I miss?

I haven't been able to get a good side-by-side of "Netflix: Yes, Prime: No" -- if anybody knows of a site like that please speak up!
posted by Infinity_8 to Media & Arts (27 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Do you buy things online? Because the only reason I use Prime (I have the student trial) is the free 2-day shipping on so many things. LOoooove it, plus it's saved me a ton of money on textbooks because I can get them last minute instead buying from the school bookstore, which is much pricier.
posted by DoubleLune at 9:45 AM on October 4, 2012 [5 favorites]

Prime's biggest benefit is the free 2 day shipping, in my opinion. And if you read, the free lending of ebooks.
posted by royalsong at 9:46 AM on October 4, 2012

The free 2-day shipping (or 3.99 overnight) is awesome. If you have a Kindle, there's also the Kindle Lending Library where you can read ebooks for free.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 9:46 AM on October 4, 2012

For me personally, the biggest perk of Prime would be getting stuff shipped to me in two days for free and without having to have a minimum order.

I have considered Prime for this reason alone, and didn't even know they had TV shows available.

And I just found this; may be helpful to you. (Thanks, edit window!)
posted by phunniemee at 9:46 AM on October 4, 2012

Response by poster: Folks, thanks, I'm aware of the free shipping. I've been frustrated by that during my previous trial period -- seems the things I buy usually aren't Prime-eligible. And I'm aware of the Kindle books and would certainly take advantage of that (I already do most of my Kindle reading free via my public library, though.)

So this really is about the streaming, for me. We don't have cable, or money to buy things on Amazon :)
posted by Infinity_8 at 9:50 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

We have Prime for other reasons, but I'm a little disappointed in the streaming video. It's really hard to search for things you'd want to watch (ditto with eBooks, FWIW); the navigation is not nearly as intuitive or good at suggesting things you might like as the Netflix is. "West Wing" is exclusively on Prime at the moment; you might enjoy that if you haven't already seen it.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:53 AM on October 4, 2012

To me, Amazon Prime is a shipping service. I have had it since 2006 before there was any streaming content or Kindle lending library. $79 per year for unlimited 2-day shipping was enough for me in 2006, and the new services just increase the value.

Get this: in Japan, sometime you can have Prime eligible items shipped to you the day you order.

Do this: Prime has a month-long free trial. Load up your cart with item purchases on your gift card, and then get free two-day shipping on your Prime trial.
posted by Tanizaki at 9:53 AM on October 4, 2012

Best answer: Netflix and Fox have become very cozy recently. And at the same time: the Amazon exclusive for Fringe was only to last the summer.

BUT still networks are weird about their big shows. Alias didn't get season 1 on Netflix until like, the other day.

I think if I were strapped for cash, I would find other ways to watch Fringe. (Up to and including totally legit means, like finding a buddy who's willing to pay for iTunes at their house!)
posted by RJ Reynolds at 9:57 AM on October 4, 2012

Also keep in mind that you can share your prime membership with other amazon using family members. I think that they have to all be within the same household, however.

I haven't done an exhaustive comparison, but my impression with the Prime instant watch offerings compared to Netflix was that Prime had a better selection of TV and Netflix had a better selection of movies.

We are currently watching the new Dr Who series and Fringe with Amazon Prime. We plan to resubscribe to Prime.
posted by nickerbocker at 9:58 AM on October 4, 2012

I have Prime and find it lacking in the streaming department. Could just be my taste, though.
posted by cooker girl at 9:59 AM on October 4, 2012

I don't think Amazon Prime overlaps Netflix enough. Most things on Amazon Prime are on Netflix, but the reverse is certainly not true. I don't really find that the streaming alone is worth the Prime membership (I use it for the shipping). A lot of more recent seasons of shows are not included. What types of films and shows do you watch?

Here's a list of all the Prime Eligible video.
posted by bluefly at 9:59 AM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

There is a free one-month trial for Prime, and I'm sure you could watch all four seasons of Fringe within the month -- but it sounds like you have already taken part in the trial, so someone else in your household might have to get an account.
posted by kate blank at 10:00 AM on October 4, 2012

Oh yeah, there is also an option on the left-hand-side of the Amazon page to only show items with "Prime Shipping" options. Not sure if that will help you at all, but I use that a lot when looking for stuff.
posted by nickerbocker at 10:00 AM on October 4, 2012

Best answer: Be aware that the streaming selections available in Netflix and Amazon Prime often change.

This recent article at PCMag does some point-by-point comparison you may be interested in. You can jump to the conclusion, which is that Amazon Prime is more bang-for-buck if you take advantage of the other Prime benefits, but the author prefers Netflix for selection and other reasons.

(I'd note that she's wrong about Netflix's closed captioning only being available on computers. I stream Netflix on a PS3 and can use captions.)

Last time I compared Netflix and Prime, I stuck with Netflix.
posted by Boxenmacher at 10:03 AM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks, all -- I think I'll take the plunge, watch Fringe and experiment with increasing my Amazon purchase profile. Surely there's something on there that I buy regularly which will become more Amazon-attractive if I have Prime. I've heard of that happening.
posted by Infinity_8 at 10:12 AM on October 4, 2012

Best answer: Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it appears you can't use a gift card to purchase a Prime membership. Sucks since it's such an awesome service.
posted by Rewind at 10:15 AM on October 4, 2012

Are you a student? Or do you still have a working academic (.edu) email address? Then you can get Amazon Prime Student for only $39.
posted by bluefly at 10:16 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I also have Netflix.. when I discovered Amazon's Super Saver Shipping that gives you free shipping on most orders over $25, I convinced myself I didn't need Prime. But I'm more patient than you may be.
posted by el_yucateco at 10:17 AM on October 4, 2012

You can, however, sell gift cards online. Here's a recent AskMe.
posted by griphus at 10:17 AM on October 4, 2012

Be aware - if you use a Wii to watch Netflix, they are not able to access Amazon video. This was very annoying to me when I discovered it.
posted by SMPA at 10:27 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you're a Dr. Who fan, some of the transition special episodes for David Tenant to Matt Smith are on Prime, but not Netflix.
posted by Atreides at 10:46 AM on October 4, 2012

We have both Prime and Netflix. I think there have been maybe two occasions ever when we wanted to watch something streaming, and it wasn't on netflix, and it was on Amazon prime. (More often than not, lately, it's not on either one.)

The free shipping is great -- and has changed our shopping habits substantially -- but if all you're interested in is the video streaming I wouldn't bother.
posted by ook at 10:51 AM on October 4, 2012

One reason I use Prime is that I have a crappy internet connection and it will stream and Netflix won't. If it does get interrupted it's FAR less annoying on Prime. The selection isn't as good though.
posted by fshgrl at 12:08 PM on October 4, 2012

I dig the documentaries on Prime, and the TV movies you can't find anywhere else. search-ability is also better than, say, HULU.
posted by Mertonian at 3:05 PM on October 4, 2012

I think the gift card restriction may only apply to non-Amazon gift cards.
posted by thewumpusisdead at 3:25 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just a note about Prime - you are allowed to share the benefits (although not the streaming or lending library, just the shipping) with up to 4 members of your family. Each person has their own account and own wishlists/etc, but share the shipping benefit. This is an awesome deal that not enough people know about.
posted by getawaysticks at 11:55 AM on October 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

I personally have had success buying TV seasons on DVD used (half.com, ebay, whatever), watching them, and then selling them for around the same price I bought them. That's what I did with Season 4 Fringe because disc 1 was on "Very Long Wait" with Netflix for weeks, and I had had enough of that.
posted by iguanapolitico at 9:01 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

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