Amazon (Stock Quote: AMZN) has long offered the option to get free two-day shipping on thousands of items when you pay $79 a year ($6.58 a month) for its Amazon Prime service. It was a good deal if you ordered a ton of stuff from Amazon, but it got a lot better when Amazon introduced unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows for Prime members without adding anything to the annual fee. Unlike Hulu Plus, the videos are all commercial free, though the list of devices that allow for streaming to your TV is limited to Roku and Internet-enabled TV sets. There’s also a more limited selection than Netflix: While Amazon’s instant video has a library of 90,000 titles, only 5,000 of them are free for subscribers to the unlimited plan.
Yes, the company Netflix nearly killed has had to adapt to survive, and a quick look at its website shows the company’s new emphasis on DVDs by mail and streaming. If you want to get DVDs by mail, there’s an $11.99 a month plan that allows you to have one DVD out at a time, $4 more than the comparable Netflix plan. If you want to have two DVDs out at a time it will cost you $16.99 a month (versus $11.99 for the same plan from Netflix). The company justifies this extra cost by touting the fact that it gets new releases 28 days before Netflix or Redbox, so if you like to get DVD releases the day they come out, we suppose this is the better option. The company also offers an OnDemand service that works through your computer, mobile device, Internet-enabled TV or compatible DVR box. Rather than a monthly fee, you’ll pay around $3.99 to rent each new release, so unless you’re only renting one DVD a month, the Netflix streaming plan is the better option.
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