If you pay for an Amazon Prime subscription, then you already have access to Prime Video; if not, then it's one of the biggest and best streaming services that only sees competition from Netflix in terms of its subscriber count.
There's a constant influx of new movies and shows on Prime Video all the time; 2024 alone has brought us the likes of Expats, Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Zorro, with many more anticipated shows like The Boys season 4, Citadel season 2 and the eventual return of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power season 2. Plus it frequently gets other shows, with a wide range of third-party content both new and old.
Prime Video is looking at a change early in 2024. While it's previously offered ad-free streaming (unlike its free sister service Freevee), at some point next year it'll be airing commercials during your shows (unless you opt for the ad-free plan, more information on that below).
Prime Video can also be quite confusing: its library consists of videos that are free to Prime subscribers, as well as some that are free to everyone (via Amazon's ad-supported service FreeVee), some that you have to be a Prime subscriber and pay for to watch (like Prime Video Channels) and some that you have to buy or rent separately. So it can be a little hard to get your head around the streaming service's offerings.
We'll clear things up for you though, with our full guide to Amazon's Prime Video.
What is Prime Video? Is it free with Amazon Prime?
Prime Video is the umbrella term for all things video on Amazon. Search for something to watch within Amazon and you'll see the words (and logo) for Prime Video.
Lots of the movies and TV on Prime Video, including Originals, requires Amazon Prime. That's the company's subscription service which, among other things, gets you free shipping, access to Prime Music, Prime Reading and Prime Gaming, and a lot more.
You don't need a subscription to Amazon Prime to watch videos on Amazon. You can just rent, or buy, any available movie or show that Amazon has, including new blockbusters and little-known indie films. You'll be watching it through Prime Video. It's just not free, is all.
The easiest way to understand what you get for free and what you have to pay for is to look for the Prime logo on a video thumbnail. If it's got the logo, it's free with a Prime subscription.
There's also more that's free for anyone to watch — FreeVee, formerly known as IMDB TV, has loads of TV shows and movies that are free, with ads scattered throughout.
Prime Video also offers some live sports and live music streams in certain countries, like the US, though it's not something offered in every region.
And for some videos, you have to pay even more. These are channels, optional extra subscription services which offer access to loads of extra movies and TV shows.
How much does Prime Video cost?
What, exactly, does Prime Video cost? Well, it depends where you are...
- US: $14.99 (monthly) / $139 (annually)
- UK: £8.99 (monthly) / £95 (annually)
That's the minimum price, at least, but you can pay more to watch more... or less.
When we say 'more', we're referring to Prime Video channels. These are optional expansions to Prime Video which add more videos for extra monthly fees; some are standard streaming services that you can fold into Prime, others are exclusive to Amazon's platform. Popular ones include Paramount Plus, Mubi and Shudder.
So why would you pay to watch less? Well, that's because Prime Video contains commercials or adverts by default. However you can pay $2.99 each month to Go Ad-Free, as Amazon calls it, and drop the ads.
What are Prime Video channels?
Prime Video Channels also can sound a little confusing. All it is, really, is a bunch of add-ons that you can subscribe to from within Amazon Prime. There are a number of niche channels — from horror to kids' stuff, romance to indie films, and a bunch of international offerings too. (Channel availability varies by region).
One extremely popular example of this is BritBox, which serves up the best British shows for a global audience. Like every other Prime Video Channel, you subscribe to BritBox via Prime Video Channels and Amazon handles all the billing via the details on your Amazon account. And then you watch it from within Prime Video itself, without having to track down any additional apps.
One thing to note — as the name implies, you'll need an Amazon Prime membership before you can sign up and watch any of these additional channels, as they are additions to your basic Prime Video package.
After that, it's just a matter of making your through the dozens and dozens of available services to find something that tickles your fancy. Here's just a few of the Channels you might want to consider picking up:
- Acorn TV
- BFI Player
- Brown Sugar
- Curzon Film
- Hallmark Movies
- PBS Kids
- PBS Masterpiece
- Stand-Up Karaoke
- Sundance Now
- Sports Illustrated TV
That really is just the tip of the iceberg — the entire list is way too long to publish here. The best thing you can do is just hop on over to the Amazon Prime Video Channels section and flip through it yourself.
Find something you want to check out, subscribe (most come with the option of a free trial), and then pay a monthly subscription once that runs out.
What countries is Prime Video available in?
Prime Video is available worldwide in more than 200 countries, so there's a solid chance that you'll be able to check it out wherever you are as long as you have access to a compatible device.
What you can watch in a particular country may vary, however. That's pretty standard, of course — a movie that's available in one place won't always be available in all regions.
What can you watch on Prime Video?
The short version here is that you can watch what feels like just about anything and everything on Prime Video. OK, maybe not everything. Some exclusive shows, like Loki — which lives on Disney Plus — aren't available on Prime Video, obviously.
On the other hand, you can rent or purchase Marvel movies to stream on Prime Video, even though they're also available as part of a Disney Plus subscription. Otherwise, go nuts. This is Amazon, after all.
You don't properly appreciate just how much video content Amazon has at its disposal. Between all the free stuff you can watch on Amazon Prime Video, or all the stuff you could rent or buy long before it hits the free end of things — there's more than enough video to last a lifetime.
Aside from library content that's available to all Prime members, the streamer has also developed a strong slate of Amazon Originals to suit any appetite. Here are just a select few:
- The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
- The Wheel of Time
- The Boys
- The Terminal List
- Backstage with Katherine Ryan
- Clarkson's Farm
- The Expanse
- Outer Range
- The Wilds
- My Policeman
How to download the Prime Video app
If you're reading this article on your phone or tablet, you might be looking to download the Prime Video app so you can sign up or stream. Since Amazon has loads of apps for its various services, you're looking for one just called 'Prime Video'.
You can find the app on the App Store here, for iPhones or iPads, or the Play Store here for Android phones and tablets. For some devices, like Amazon's own Fire tablets, the Prime Video streaming service should come pre-installed.
Get the What to Watch Newsletter
The latest updates, reviews and unmissable series to watch and more!