Operating System

Netflix On the Go for the First Time Ever

Netflix: everyone’s favorite source for TV shows and movies–old classics, new favorites, even new versions of old classics. It’s incredibly convenient to have an entire library of videos to watch–at least until you find yourself watching Friends at 2 am the night before an exam. The only inconvenient thing about Netflix? It’s only available as a streaming service.

Until now.

On November 30th, 2016, Netflix announced that it would, for the first time, make select movies and TV shows available for download. This feature has been a long time coming, and people have been calling for it for a long time. Some competitors have had it already. Amazon Prime, for example, has allowed Prime members to download Prime videos to Amazon devices for at least two years.

Netflix is, as far as I can tell, being pretty generous about the download feature. It’s going to be available for members of both the lower-priced subscription and the higher-priced subscription–they aren’t using it to bait users into paying for the more expensive subscription. Also, Netflix is including movies and shows that aren’t Netflix originals–crowd-pleasers such as Parks and Rec or Sixteen Candles.

Of course, everything has a limitation. Netflix’s is the actual quality of the picture. The shows and movies currently available for download have two options: a lower-quality, faster-download option, and a higher-quality, slower-download option. The catch is that the higher quality isn’t as good as the highest quality stream. The other limitation is, of course, the actual movies and shows that are available for download. The selection is currently still very limited; items such as Friends and Bob’s Burgers aren’t available. Netflix did state that more shows are forthcoming.

The conclusion? Netflix has made a step in the right direction, but they’ve still left room for improvement.

Operating System

Amazon Prime: An Analysis

Amazon Prime: How it can Work for You

Amazon Prime is essentially Premium Amazon, and it comes with a variety of services. The full price of Prime is $10.99/month; but students get a 6-month free trial (which is pretty generous for free trial times) and then a 50% discount to the subscription price.


Amazon Prime Shipping, aka The Reason Everyone Gets Prime

If you’ve ever used Amazon, you’ve probably seen the little Prime symbol, probably accompanied by the words “free two-day shipping for Prime members.” Needless to say, this service is a fantastic bargain, especially when, say, you lose your headphones and have to order a new pair.

This is probably the Prime feature that lures the most customers in, mostly because it’s the easiest to find; the other features are a lot more hidden. Unless you pay for music or movies or TV shows AND buy them from Amazon, you probably won’t run into the other features as much. Regardless, free two-day shipping is an integral part of the Amazon experience, and, if you’re lucky, you may run into a few items with free one-day shipping, or even free same-day pickup.


Amazon Prime Video, aka The Thing People Find After Getting Prime

Amazon Video is probably the second most popular Prime feature. This is Amazon’s way of competing with Netflix; they have Amazon original TV shows, and a moderate selection of movies and regular TV shows.

One of the interesting features that Amazon implemented is that every so often they will make pilot episodes available to watch and then Prime members can vote for which show they want Amazon to make. This is called the Amazon Pilot Season, and I personally find it to be one of the most interesting features Amazon has implemented, as it allows the viewers to be more involved with the process, and it keeps the shows’ futures in the hands of the customers, to some extent.

Another unique feature of Amazon Video is how Amazon pairs it with their devices. If you have a Kindle Fire, you can actually download Prime movies and TV show episodes to watch offline. Of course, the Kindle Fire as a tablet has its own flaws, but this feature in and of itself is pretty cool.


Amazon Prime Music, aka The Hidden Gem of Prime

As Prime Video is Amazon’s Netflix competitor, Prime Music is Amazon’s Spotify competitor. While Prime Music doesn’t have as extensive a selection as Spotify does, I have found that it actually has a few songs that Spotify doesn’t. Also, I have personally found that Amazon’s app tends to work better than Spotify’s; the shuffle seems to actually shuffle your music around more, and the albums are alphabetized by album title, as opposed to artist, as Spotify has it.


Amazon Prime Reading, aka Amazon’s Library Feature

This feature is great for any avid reader who is looking for something new to read without breaking the bank, or anyone who wants to get into reading. This feature provides a decent amount of books for free to Prime subscribers; of course, you have to either have a Kindle, or the Kindle app installed on your phone, computer or tablet, and the book selection isn’t always the best. However, it’s still a great way to discover new titles or jump in to reading without paying tons of money for books.


Amazon Prime Pantry, aka Get Food Delivered to Campus

This feature isn’t really as much of a benefit to college students, unless you find yourself drowning in instant ramen cups. Essentially, Prime Pantry allows subscribers to purchase food items in normal sizes, as opposed to the bulk sizes that non-subscribers are limited to. I know I would personally prefer the bulk sizes, but sometimes you don’t need to pick up twelve boxes of tissues and carry them back to your dorm.


Amazon Prime Photos, aka Just When You Thought Prime Couldn’t Have Any More Features

Finally, Amazon Prime has a separate app, much like its Music app, for photo storage. Because, technically, you are a paying customer, you get unlimited storage, and you can have the app automatically back up every picture on your device. You can also arrange your pictures into albums, or share them with people, or put them in what Amazon calls the “Family Vault.”

The Family Vault is a place where you and your family members can, if you so choose, share your photos with one another. You can add all of your photos or pick and choose which ones you want to share. This is a great feature for parents who love to see their kid’s photos and want the opportunity to use said pictures in photo albums or other places.

Prime Photos also has a face tagging system where it automatically separates photos out by a person’s face, and you can rename this semi-album–this allows you to view all pictures of one person at any time. There is also a feature to hide photos and videos, so they can only be accessed from the “Hidden Photos and Videos” folder.


So is it worth it?

In my opinion, Amazon Prime is 100% worth it. For one thing, the 6 free months are a great deal and a great way to try out the features for yourself. For another, $5.50 a month really isn’t very much to pay, if you consider all the features you get with that money. It’s less than a dollar per service! What a great deal!