While Netflix is still pretty clearly the leader when it comes to over-the-top subscription streaming video services, Amazon Prime is not too far behind at this point. In the last few years, Amazon has been making solid efforts to combat Netflix in the compelling original series department, and has also introduced the Amazon Channels feature. With a seeming aim of making Amazon Prime the central video hub for its users, Amazon Channels allows customers to subscribe to additional streaming services through their Amazon account, and then access all the additional content offered by these add-on services through the main Amazon Prime Video interface.
While competing streaming giants like Netflix and Hulu obviously aren’t participating in Amazon Channels, quite a few worthwhile services have opted to take part thus far. Just some of the add-on subscriptions Prime members can sign-up for include premium cable outlets Showtime and Starz, NBC’s comedy-centered SeeSo, the horror fan-targeted Shudder, and multiple other small channels focusing on things like indie films, kids shows, cult movies, and classic TV shows.
As if all of the above options weren’t enough, Variety reports that Amazon Channels has just landed one of the remaining big kahunas of streaming: HBO. Amazon Prime’s HBO offering is priced at the same $14.99 per month rate as standalone service HBO Now, and features all of the same content. Additionally, HBO has brought sister premium cable channel Cinemax along for the ride.
Unlike HBO, Cinemax does not currently offer a standalone streaming service, and usually still requires a cable subscription – or a subscription to an online TV provider like Sling TV or Playstation Vue – to access. Now Prime members can add Cinemax to their roster for $9.99 per month, $5 less than the cost of adding Cinemax to a Playstation Vue bundle package.
While these are certainly good options to have – especially for those without cable who want to subscribe to Cinemax – there is an important thing Amazon Prime users should consider before signing up for HBO. Any HBO shows, specials, TV movies, etc., more than three years old are already all available at no extra cost as part of the main Amazon Prime Video offering, thanks to a deal made a few years back between the two companies. Thus, if one doesn’t care about watching the latest HBO shows, it might not be worth the extra money per month. However, those wanting to stay current on their Game of Thrones and/or Westworld viewing could certainly do worse.