Online content streaming services is fast gaining popularity in India. Presented below is a comparison between the 3 most well-known streaming services in India, i.e., Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar, and Netflix.
- Amazon Prime Video: It offers a variety of films and shows, including original content via the Amazon Original Series which include Mozart in the Jungle, The Grand Tour, Hand of God, The Beginning of Everything, and The Man in the High Castle, etc. Regional and local content is also available and categorized as Bollywood, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Marathi, and others. The regional content is not as diverse or extensive as English language shows and movies, but they are easy to access.
- Netflix: Users can choose from a wide selection movies and TV shows. The main selling point of this streaming service is Netflix Originals. You can choose from different kinds of top quality original content, including House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Jessica Jones, etc. Netflix also offers great Marvel shows. Local/regional content is not as large or diverse as the English language options, though it has been gradually increasing. This section is however very unorganized; other than Bollywood, there is no other categorization on the basis of region or language. Thus, users will have to make that added effort if they are searching for specific regional content.
- Hotstar: The content offered is not as many as that available in Netflix or Prime Video. Most of the movies and shows it provides are usually available on cable television. However, Hotstar offers a more diverse range of entertainment as compared to its competitors. Hotstar Originals currently has shows like Bol Viru Bol, On Air With AIB, CinePlay, and Tanhaiyan. Users will also have access to HBO Originals, including popular shows like Game of Thrones, Sex and the City, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Westworld, Silicon Valley, and The Newsroom. Hotstar is also the only streaming service that offers sports content; users can see live matches, great videos of different global sports tournaments, highlights, etc. With regards to local content, users will have access to different channels like Star Plus, Star World, Asianet, Channel V, Star Vijay, Star Jalsha, Life OK, and Star Utsav, as well as varied sports channels.
Apps and Web User Interface
- Amazon Prime Video: The top part has options to directly go to specific movies or shows, check profile, or search for content. A carousel is present below it which has all featured shows and movies. Below is a list of the shows that you have already watched. Scroll down to get information categorized into sections such as trending, latest TV shows and movies, new content, languages, and genres, etc. Click on specific content or hover mouse over it to get details about it.
- Netflix: The home page of Netflix is not as clean as Prime Video. It has lots of animation and switch effects which occur during user interaction. The top part will have a carousel or static banner with content about TV shows as well as categorization of different content which promotes ease of access. The top also has a search bar, Kids-mode changeover, and options for checking account and profile details. Scroll down and you get information about varied shows and movies that are recommended by Netflix as per your viewing habits. There is also a separate section for movies and shows that you did not watch fully; access it and resume watching from where you stopped. Hover the mouse over any content to know its details.
- Hotstar: It has the cleanest user interface with no effects or animations. The top bar has options to look through content, a carousel with featured content, and access to account and profile information. There is also a separate section that allows you to resume/finish an incompletely watched show or movie. Another section offers recommendations of content that you may like. Click on any content to know its details.
User Interface of content playback
- Amazon Prime Video: The UI is clean and comes with usual options like time seek, pause/play, and on/off subtitles, etc. Users can change the quality of the video whenever they like. Toggles allow quickly fast forwarding or rewinding the current content by ten seconds. X-Ray is a unique feature of Prime Video; you may use it to get information about actors in a specific scene currently playing. When the actor appears on screen, all you have to do is click the X-Ray feature option for detailed info.
- Netflix: The playback user interface is easy to use and quite clean. There is a time bar which shows the duration of movie/show that you have completed watching and the time remaining. Options for indexing episodes of specific series, pause/play, disable/enable subtitles, skip episode, full-screen mode are also available. Users may chose and set a video setting of their preference, but it cannot be changed when watching a film or a show. The streaming quality automatically changes as per internet connection and the plan.
- Hotstar: The UI is really simple and there no fancy options. There are options for time seek, adjust video quality, 10 second rewind shortcut, full-screen mode, off/on subtitles, and volume control.
Offline option for content download
- Netflix: Users can download select content from Netflix for offline viewing. This option is however available only on the app. You may go to ‘Available for Download’ category to easily search and download content. Go to settings and choose the location and video quality for download.
- Amazon Prime Video: Download option in Prime Video is also available only on its app. It does not have any specific category where such content can be easily found. Users need to separately look for content that are available for offline viewing download. Go to settings to select the location for download and to set the video quality, which has options of a preset for all download and ask during each download. As compared to Netflix, Prime Video takes a lot more time to begin the download process. Also, the downloaded content is available only for a specific period of time and later gets automatically deleted.
- Hotstar: Download feature is available only on app and that too only for free content. Even premium members do not have the option of download for premium content. Users need to search for non-premium content that can be downloaded. No settings are available on app with regards to download option. Users need to select the preferred options of download before starting the process.
- Amazon Prime Video: It is available on web browser and on iOS and Android smartphones only. It can also be accessed from varied smart TVs and the Amazon Fire Stick.
- Netflix: It has the widest range of availability across varied platforms. Users can access it through web browser, Smart TVs, and Android, iOS, and Windows apps.
- Hotstar: It is available for viewing via web browser and on iOS and Android smartphones
Plans and Pricing
- Amazon Prime Video: It is available for INR 499 per year. The plan supports up to 3 screens and includes all Prime membership benefits available on its e-commerce portal.
- Netflix: It has 3 plans which cost INR 500, INR 650, and INR 800 per month. The first one supports only one screen with standard quality content; the second one supports 2 screens with HD quality content; while the third plan supports up to four screens in Ultra HD and HD video quality.
- Hotstar: It is available for INR 199 per month. Premium content can be accessed with the paid plan. Most of the content can be streamed for free only on the app. Free content is supported on multiple screens, but premium content supports just 1 screen.