There’s an ongoing debate online about whether Netflix or Amazon Instant Video is better.

Since many are budget minded these days and have cut cable expenses or have limited going out to the theaters, it’s a good question.

Technology has progressed so much that you can watch video without renting DVDs anymore.

Instant video streaming has taken over the market and has made watching movies and TV shows more affordable and easily accessible.

I have both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video so I’ll share my experiences with each.

1. Cost

Netflix = $7.99/mo. streaming only (cost could go up soon)

Amazon Instant Video = $8.25/mo. ($99/year) Price is bundled with Amazon Prime membership benefits including Free 2 day shipping, which is $99/year. There is no option to pay month-to-month like Netflix.

The price went up from $79/year to $99/year on March 20, 2014. But for some shows and movies, you have to pay to watch them.

Netflix is the winner here. Although there was news in January that the price may go up.

2. Availability of Shows

Netflix – All the shows featured on Netflix are included in the monthly fee. They have a wide variety and selection of TV shows and movies.

However, you have to wait until the full season is shown on TV to see it on Netflix. Sometimes that’s a year later.

Amazon Instant Video – Current seasons and episodes of TV shows are available here. But you have to pay extra to watch them.

Current episodes are available the day after it is aired on TV. You can buy a TV pass to see the entire season or pay per episode.

This is what I don’t like about Amazon Instant Video. If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll be tempted to buy the TV shows or movies that are featured.

Plus, if you don’t put a password restriction on purchases, your kids may accidentally “buy” content that you didn’t know about and rack up charges.

With Netflix, everything you see is included in the fee. You can watch any show or movie as much as you want without being charged extra.

3. Sharing with Family Members

Netflix – Up to 2 devices at the same time, can upgrade to up to 4 devices for $11.99/mo.

Amazon Instant Video – Up to 2 devices at the same time

We have the $11.99/mo plan because my husband, daughter, father-in-law, and nephew share our plan. That’s 5 of us.

It’s not often that all 5 of us watch at the same time. Usually it’s 3 of us at the same time.

4. Privacy

Netflix – I really like that Netflix has profiles. That means if you’re sharing an account like we do, each person has their own profile.

When each person opens Netflix, he or she selects their profile and “logs” into their account. Then no one else will see what shows you are watching.

You can also continue watching where you left off without anyone else interfering with your shows.

This is an important feature if you have kids because you don’t want your kids to see the what you’re watching, shows that may be inappropriate for their age. You also don’t want your kids to accidentally click on those shows!

When my daughter logs into her profile, she just sees children’s shows available.

Amazon Instant Video – No profiles

Netflix is the winner here. Profiles are a necessity if you share your account with others, especially kids.

5. Exclusive Content

Netflix – House of Cards, Arrested Development Season 4, Orange is the New Black, and many more

Amazon Instant Video – Downton Abbey, Veronica Mars, Suits, and many more.

I like Netflix the best when it comes to the entire package with cost, staying within budget, privacy, content, and available shows. Although it is limited in certain ways, the most important thing is not having to spend extra to watch shows.