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Cutting Cable: Netflix or Amazon Prime

Updated on December 29, 2013

Cutting Cable

As we head in to the new year, many people will be setting resolutions to improve their lifestyles and one of the most popular resolutions made each year is how to save money.

With advances in technology and online TV streaming on internet, cutting out your monthly cable bill is an easy way to cut your costs and save money without feeling like you're cutting back or sacrificing your current lifestyle.

There are many places you can stream TV shows on the internet and all for free. There are now many popular movies on youtube and google videos as well as many great documentary websites where you can watch movies for free.

But what about TV shows? If you are looking for the best place to stream popular TV shows, two of the most popular streaming websites are Netflix and Amazon Prime.

We will take a look at what each has to offer and compare costs to find out which program is best for you.


The Netflix website became popular years ago for their "in the mail" video rental service. For a monthly fee, you would be given access to their large selection of movies. By logging on to their website you would choose the movies that you wanted to view and put them in to a movie que. Depending on your monthly plan, you could choose to have one or more movies mailed to you and delivered in your mailbox. After viewing the movie, you would mail back the DVD. Another movie would be shipped to you after you'd returned the previous movie.

For me, Netflix was a welcome change from needing to head out to the movie store each time I wanted to watch a flick. I was constantly late returning movies which always incurred a fee and sometimes I wouldn't even get around to watching the movie! Netflix solved all my problems because there were no late fees and I could keep each movie as long as I needed to. I also loved just walking out to the mailbox to return the movie, so simple! Finding a new movie in my mailbox was also pretty neat. (Anytime I receive mail that isn't bills, I'm overjoyed.)

Once I moved to Costa Rica, I could no longer take advantage of Netflix's movie in the mail service but I did switch over to the online streaming option. Each month for a small fee, I have unlimited access to the movies, documentaries and TV shows on the Netflix website. I do not watch a lot of TV so this is perfect for the times when I do.

The selection on Netflix streaming is not as good as the mail service movie selection. They do not have a lot of the newer movies available for streaming. One good thing is that Netflix is always changing and adding to the selection of movies that are available for streaming. There are many movies that I've never seen so for me, it seems there are unlimited choices however, for someone who watches a lot of movies and likes current movies - Netlfix online streaming may seem limited.

I will say that they do have a large selection of TV programs and many of them they have multiple seasons. Since I have not had cable TV in almost five years there are many TV shows that I have never seen. I am now able to check out some of the popular TV shows that everyone talks about.

Netflix Cost

The Netflix online streaming monthly fee is currently $7.99. That works out to less then $100 for the year.

When compared to the cost of cable packages these days - committing to a year's worth of online streaming instead of cable could save you quite a bit of money. I have friends who's cable bills are hundreds of dollars each month.

If you live in the US you can also upgrade your service to receive the movies in the mail. This will ensure that you get to watch those new releases and for the few days between movies, you will have the online streaming service.

Another good thing about the Netflix online streaming service is that you can use it separately on each computer in your home. Recently, Netflix added a "user" feature which allows each person in the family to customize their online streaming.

Overall, I really enjoy Netflix. It's a great, low cost alternative to cable and one of my favorite online streaming, money saving websites.

Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime is another online streaming website which is similar to Netflix. For a yearly fee of $79 you can stream unlimited movies, documentaries and TV shows to your computer.

The Amazon Prime selection is different then what you will find on Netflix. There is some overlap, but on either site you will find movies and shows that the other doesn't offer. For this reason, I know many people who use both Netflix and Amazon Prime. Even if you were to sign up for both websites your monthly cost would come in less then $15 which is still a big savings compared to cable.

Like Netflix, Amazon Prime doesn't offer that many new release movie titles and they don't offer the new release mail service movie rental like Netflix - however, they do offer other services which give an extra added value to the membership, especially if you shop on Amazon or you own a Kindle reader.

Kindle Fire

Kindle Fire HDX 7", HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 32 GB - Includes Special Offers (Previous Generation - 3rd)
Kindle Fire HDX 7", HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 32 GB - Includes Special Offers (Previous Generation - 3rd)
In addition to Free Two-Day Shipping, Prime members can stream tens of thousands of Prime Instant Video titles at no additional cost, over half of which can be downloaded to the latest generation of Kindle Fire tablets.

Extra Amazon Prime Benefits

Along with access to Amazon's unlimited online streaming when you become an Amazon Prime member, you will also receive free 2 day shipping on eligible items as well as other shipping upgrades on the Amazon website. Almost everyone I know shops on Amazon, so this can be a great benefit.

For book lovers and Kindle owners, Amazon Prime Membership gives you access to their Kindle Lending Library which features over 350,000 titles, including many New York Times bestsellers.

The books borrowed have no due date and can be delivered directly to Kindle devices registered to your Amazon account. If you've ever purchased a Kindle book from Amazon, you can take advantage of this and if you haven't yet - this would be the perfect time to start!

For someone who reads a lot, the savings here can really add up! Kindle books do cost less then a tangible book but they still cost money. Public libraries are great for loaning free books but if you enjoy reading on your Kindle the Amazon Prime package is a great value. (Many people I know purchase it just for their Kindle.)

The one draw back here is that you can only borrow one book at a time from the Lending Library. Personally, I usually have a few different books that I'm reading at one time - but I use this service even if it's just to get every other book that I read for free! You can keep the books as long as you need it and there are no late fees.

There are not many bookstores in Costa Rica and it's really hard to find books here written in English so my Kindle has now become the only way I read books. The Amazon Prime membership has helped me to save quite a bit of money. I can tell you that I use my Prime Membership for the Kindle Library far more often then I use it to watch movies and TV.

30 Free Trial Amazon Prime

The Amazon Prime membership is $79 for the year. This works out to be even less then Netlfix each month and you get the added extras. If you are considering giving up cable, this is one program you might want to try out.

Amazon Prime is a service that is still relatively unknown to a lot of people so for a limited time, Amazon is giving away free 30 day trial memberships. During the trial you will get access to the unlimited streaming, extra Amazon shipping as well as the Kindle Lending Library.

Visit the link below and get started!

30 Day Free Amazon Prime Trial

Amazon Prime Membership

What's Your Favorite?

Which online streaming site do you use?

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