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An Amazon Prime subscription isn't just about shopping. It also comes with other perks, including access to a host of TV shows and movies through one of the best streaming services around in Amazon Prime Video. There are some original series you won’t find elsewhere, alongside older classics, and all sorts of movies.
While Prime Video is similar to other streaming services, it does have a few unique quirks and some handy features. These Prime Video tips and tricks will help you find the content you want, configure the app, and master Amazon’s streaming service so you can get the most for your money.
How to set up an Amazon Prime Video profile
Prime Video is tied to your Amazon account and it doesn’t offer profile creation in the same way that services like Netflix or Disney+ do. Instead, you can create a household that allows you to add one other adult Amazon account to your family group and also create profiles for your teens (13 to 17 years old) or children (under 12).
To do this, log into your Amazon account, select Your Account and look for Amazon Household—listed under Shopping Programs and Rentals. Once set up, you can log in under different profiles and access Prime Video. If you want to set age restrictions and other limitations, skip down to our parental controls tip below.
How to find your favorite videos
While Prime Video organizes titles into different lists, it’s not a great streaming service for browsing. You’ll get lists such as Recently Added and Most Popular Movies and you’ll find genre categories like horror or comedy. Unfortunately, many of these lists have duplicates in them, and Amazon also mixes in premium titles that demand a separate fee with free ones that are included in your Prime subscription.
Look for a Prime banner at the top left of shows or movies to identify what is free to stream as part of your subscription. To filter out paid content, choose Included with Prime from the drop-down list in your browser or use the Free to Me toggle at the top right in the mobile app.
You can use the search option in Prime Video to look for titles, actors, characters, or genres. There are also some useful fixed categories like Amazon Originals, New Releases, Sports, and 4K UHD, which are accessible from the drop-down Categories list in your web browser or via the Find option in the mobile app.
Amazon Prime Video is quite good at recommending content based on what you’ve already watched. Simply watching things is going to inform the recommendation engine and should improve what you see listed in Movies We Think You’ll Like. You will also sometimes see lists based on a single movie you’ve watched. If you’re using Prime Video in your browser you can also select Prime Video Explorer from the Categories drop-down, add some favorites, and get recommendations based on them.
How to check and set video quality
If you’re using the Prime Video mobile app or an Amazon Fire TV device, you can choose the video quality. In the mobile app, tap My Stuff at the bottom right, then the settings cog at the top right, and pick Stream & Download. You can set the streaming quality and download quality separately. You can choose from Data Saver, Good, Better, and Best. These range from 0.14 GB per hour all the way up to 1.82 GB per hour. For the mobile app, there’s also an option to turn on the highest quality when connected to WiFi.
For those watching on a PC or laptop, a settings cog will appear at the top right when you play a movie or TV show; click on it to select video quality.
For devices like smart TVs and laptops, Prime Video determines the streaming quality based on your device and the bandwidth available. This means the quality will drop automatically if your internet connection isn't fast or stable enough.
How to download content to watch offline
It’s easy to download movies and TV shows with Prime Video, but it’s only an option in the mobile app for smartphones and tablets. Sadly, as with most streaming services, there’s no way to download video on laptops or desktop computers.
With the mobile app, simply pick the show or movie you want and look for the download icon, which is a downward arrow. For TV shows, you’ll get the option to download the whole season, but you can also scroll down to pick individual episodes. To find your downloaded content when you’re offline, simply tap My Stuff at the bottom right and check the Downloads tab.
How to build a watchlist
To avoid wasting hours browsing every time you want something new to watch, you can build a custom list. Every TV show or movie you select has a plus icon next to it that you can tap to add it to your watchlist. To find it later, choose My Stuff and then Watchlist. You can filter your watchlist by recently added, A-Z, or Z-A, and you can see movies and TV shows separately.
How to edit your watch history
There may be times when you want to delete an outlying show or movie from your watch history. Maybe it's an outlier that's screwing up the algorithm, or maybe you'd simply like to erase the evidence of your reality TV addiction. Whatever your motivation, it’s easy to do, but you will have to log into Prime Video in a web browser.
Click on Settings, then Watch History and View Watch History to open a new tab listing everything you’ve watched. You can click Hide This to remove entries or you can tick the box on the right labeled “I prefer not to use this for recommendations." You can also rate any videos out of five stars.
How to turn off autoplay
By default, when you’re watching a TV show on Prime Video, the next episode will start automatically when the current one ends. You can turn this off by going to Settings and toggling off Auto Play. If you’re viewing in your browser, look at the top right for Settings then choose the Playback tab to find the Auto Play option. If you’re using the mobile app, it can be found via My Stuff and the settings cog icon.
How to set parental controls
If you've got kids, you'll want to set up parental controls for Prime Video— not only because some movies and TV shows are not suitable for younger kids, but also because Amazon mixes in purchased content with the freebies, which could be a recipe for disaster for click-happy kids.
From your web browser, click Settings at the top right and choose Parental Controls. If you’re using the mobile app, tap My Stuff at the bottom left, followed by the Settings cog at the top right, then Parental Controls.
The first thing is to set a PIN that your kids don't know. It’s a good idea to turn on PIN on Purchase so they can’t accidentally (or deviously) buy content without your permission. You should also take a look at Viewing Restrictions where you can set different age restrictions and decide which devices they should apply to.
How to customize subtitles
You can turn subtitles on or off and change the look of them quite easily in Prime Video. In the mobile app, tap on the screen when your chosen content is playing and choose the speech bubble icon at the top right. This same speech bubble icon is also accessible when you move your mouse on a computer or press up on a smart TV remote. When you turn subtitles on, you’ll see the option Subtitle Settings appear; tap it to change the size and format of your subtitles.
For a deeper set of customization tools with Prime Video in your browser, go to Settings and choose the Subtitles tab, then go down to the bottom and look for the Edit option next to your presets. This allows you to change colors, fonts, size, edges, and opacity. Just make sure you save your edits when you’re done.
How to find extras with X-Ray
One of the best features in Amazon Prime Video is X-Ray. If you’ve ever been watching a movie and wondered which familiar face is playing the bad guy or what that catchy song is, X-Ray is your friend.
In the mobile app or in your browser you’ll find the X-Ray option in the top right when you’re playing a movie or TV show. Select it, and you’ll see information on the cast and maybe the title of the song that’s playing.
On most smart TVs you can access X-Ray by pressing down on the remote. For some TV shows and movies, you’ll also get access to trivia and bonus content. These tips should help you maximize your Amazon Prime Video experience for a smooth ride—and keep your kids from putting you in the poor house, too.