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Prime Video Channels Not The Same As Prime Video: Differences Explained

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Prime Video and Prime Video Channels are similar, but they are not the same. More importantly, having a Prime Video subscription doesn’t mean that a subscriber can watch any of the Prime Video channels for free. At the same time, a Prime Video subscription is a requirement to use Amazon’s Prime Video Channels service.

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Amazon offers a variety of different products and services for consumers to choose from, and its video business is no different. For those that just want to watch the latest Amazon Originals, a Prime Video subscription is enough. For those that want to watch Amazon Originals, and take advantage of the other benefits, including free shipping on purchases, there’s Amazon Prime.

Prime Video Channels is something completely different and is Amazon’s take on a channel store. Subscription shoppers can sign up to any of the channels available using just their Amazon account. This not only makes it easier to manage multiple subscriptions, as they’re all in the same place, but somewhat guarantees there’s won’t be any device support issues, due to the services being accessed with the Prime Video app.

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Put simply, Prime Video and Prime Video Channels are both video streaming services. While one is a subscription service that unlocks access to a selection of shows and movies, the other is a subscription store where additional subscriptions can be purchased on an a la carte basis. In fact, Prime Video could actually be considered a channel.

Prime Video doesn’t include free channels

Having a Prime Video subscription doesn’t mean that a subscriber can watch any of the channels available through Prime Video Channels. These channels are separate subscriptions that require an additional monthly payment. How much exactly will depend on the individual service. For example, subscribing to Paramount Plus through Prime Video costs $9.99 per month, while a Shudder subscription costs just $5.99 per month.

Shudder Prime Video Channel
Shudder via Prime Video Channels

At the same time, a Prime Video subscription, or Prime membership, is required to actually subscribe to any of these channels. For any homes that are not currently signed up to Amazon Prime or Prime Video, they cannot subscribe to any of the channels either. Instead, those consumers will need to either sign up for Prime or sign up to Prime Video first, or consider signing up to the subscription service (channel) in another way, such as signing up directly through the website.

The difference between Prime Video and Prime Video Channels is very similar to the difference between Apple TV Plus and Apple TV Channels. That said, Apple does allow its customers to sign up to its channels without the need for an Apple TV Plus subscription. In contrast, a Prime Video subscription is a requirement to sign up to any of the channels available through Prime Video.

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Fewer options with Prime Video Channels

In some cases, skipping on Prime Video Channels and going direct may actually work out cheaper, or at least provide a home with more options. For example, the Paramount Plus website also offers a $4.99 ad-supported subscription tier that’s unavailable when signing up through Prime Video Channels. Even though this is a ‘with ads’ plan, it is $5 cheaper than the ad-free plan that both Paramount Plus and Prime Video Channels offers.

Many streaming services also offer an annual plan that can help to lower the cost over a 12-month period. In comparison, there’s no option to sign up on a yearly basis through Prime Video Channels. All channel subscriptions are sold on a monthly basis, and excluding any limited-time deals, cost full price. As an example, an annual plan costs $56.99 per year through Shudder, which works out to be around $4.75 per month on average. That’s $1.25 cheaper per month than the monthly plan sold by Shudder and Prime Video Channels.

Shudder annual plan
Shudder annual plan

In spite of the lack of options, the ability to sign up to a third-party subscription through Prime Video is a quick and easy way to expand a home’s access to additional streaming services and videos, and this is the main reason to consider signing up to any of these channels. While consumers may find cheaper prices elsewhere, Amazon takes care of the subscription by removing the need for users to sign up for a separate account and download additional apps on their devices.

Of course, this also does mean that if and when a consumer decides they no longer want access to the Prime Video channel, they will need to manually cancel the subscription directly through Prime Video and not through the service the subscription is for.

Prime video vs Prime Video Channels: summary

Prime Video and Prime Video Channels are related, but they are not the same. The main difference between the two is that Prime Video is a single subscription while Prime Video Channels is a store where multiple additional subscriptions can be purchased. In many ways, Prime Video itself can be considered a channel, albeit one that’s not available to purchase through Prime Video Channels.

Even though a Prime Video subscription is required to use Prime Video Channels, having Prime Video doesn’t automatically provide access to these channels. Instead, they have to be purchased as separate subscriptions with the monthly price dependent on the individual service. When the time comes, these subscriptions also need to be canceled via Prime Video.

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Whether it is best to sign up to a subscription through Prime Video or directly will depend on the needs of the subscriber. It is possible that consumers will find better deals and/or more options when subscribing to a service directly, but Prime Video Channels takes away some of the hassles of streaming, including having to create new accounts and worry about device support.

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John Finn

By John Finn

John started Streaming Better to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingbetter.com or on Twitter

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