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Amazon Video is not exactly like other video streaming services. While it’s available as a standalone service for $8.99 per month, most people likely interact with it as a benefit of Amazon Prime, which runs $119 per year. Also unlike its streaming competition, there’s pay content mixed in with the gratis stuff. It can be difficult (sometimes frustratingly so) to separate them, particularly when Prime Video offerings change monthly.
But that being said, Prime Video has much to offer and has quietly evolved into a premiere streaming service in and of itself, with top-notch originals such as Fleabag, Good Omens, and an impressive library of films.
Download for Viewing on the Go
Amazon Video was the first streaming giant to add video downloads in 2015. It’s ideal for long flights or commutes without Wi-Fi access; certain content is locked down geographically, so you might not be able to watch it overseas on Wi-Fi, even with a VPN service. Just hit the download button next to what you want to download. You can even put your device down, walk away, and it will alert you when the episode or movie has finished downloading in the background.
Keep in mind, there are some limitations with this feature. According to Amazon, “the time period you have to view a downloaded video while your device is offline varies by title.” Onscreen notifications will let you know when the viewing period is almost over or if you’ve downloaded the maximum amount of titles across all devices on your account.
Share Your Prime Membership
Amazon has cracked down on how generous Prime members can be with sharing their membership benefits; they can now share their benefits with one “adult,” as opposed to the previously allowed four (though four teens and four children can still be included). But Prime subscribers do still have the ability to share access to Amazon Video features, which can be used across multiple devices (Netflix, on the other hand, requires an additional fee for two or four screens, and Hulu only allows one-viewer accounts).
To share your Amazon Prime benefits, including Prime Video access, set up an Amazon Household and then select Add an Adult under Setup your Household now.
Set Parental Controls
Don’t want the little people in your house watching big people do bad make-believe things? You can set parental controls that will stop anyone without a special five-digit PIN from accessing certain ratings categories (as an added bonus, you can also stop any PIN-less people from making any unauthorized purchases). Go to Video Settings, click the Parental Controls tab, and create an Amazon Video PIN. Then scroll down to Viewing Restrictions and select a level. To limit purchases, select On for Pin on Purchases.
Get a Closer Look
Did you know Amazon owns IMDb? It’s true. Thanks to this, the X-Ray feature feeds viewers a steady stream of info about the actors, filmmakers, music, and assorted trivia in each scene. Just mouse-over or tap the screen while a video is playing
Closed captioning is a helpful feature for anyone, regardless of hearing ability. To enable it on the Amazon Video app, tap the closed captioning icon at the top right and turn captions on.
On the desktop, you can customize how captions look. Just click the captions chat bubble on the top right and select Subtitles Settings.
Turn Off Auto Play
With the Next Up feature, a little box comes up at the bottom corner of the screen at the end of a TV episode, letting you quickly start the next episode. To turn off Auto Play, go into Video Settings, click the Playback tab, and turn Auto Play off.
Watch for Free
If you don’t have Amazon Video or just want to supplement your selection, you can watch anything on IMDb Freedive for free (with ads). After signing in, all content is viewable in a browser; Apple TV; Fire TV; or the Prime Video app on mobile devices, smart TVs, and, Echo screen devices.
Change the Channels
Amazon Channels lets you add subscriptions to other streaming services to your Amazon account, from HBO and Showtime to Starz and CBS All Access. You still have to pay, but everything is accessible from one app. To find channels, go to the main menu for Prime Video and click the Channels tab.
Keep Up On What’s New
Amazon Video’s status as a side business is on display in the fact that it lacks a central communication hub like an official blog to let Prime subscribers know what new content is available. If you want to keep up with what’s new on Prime Video, you can follow the official @Prime VideoTwitter account or its original production arm, @Amazon_Studios.
This article originally published at PCMag