9 ways to get the most out of Prime Video

Extra channels, parental controls, and, uh... x-ray vision?

When you sign up for an Amazon Prime membership, one of the benefits, besides faster deliveries, is the Prime Video streaming service: a Netflix-style, on-demand library packed with movies and TV shows.

The service is reliable and easy to use, but if you scratch beneath the surface, you’ll uncover features you may have never known existed. To save you a bit of time, though, we’ve gathered some of our favorites right here.

1. Watch on the go without draining your data

Streaming quality
Adjust the balance between streaming quality and data usage. David Nield

It takes a little planning, but if you’re watching via the Prime Video apps for Android or iOS, you can save your cellular data by downloading episodes and movies to your phone ahead of time. Only “selected titles” can be downloaded, though, depending on licensing rights. While using your home or office Wi-Fi, just find the download buttons next to content that can be saved to your device and tap them to start the process. Find them later by navigating to Downloads in the app’s menu.

If you haven’t planned ahead or have watched all your downloads, you can still save data. Open the app’s Settings page, tap Streaming & Downloading, then Streaming Quality. Pick one of the available options, depending on how you want to balance video resolution with data usage.

2. Plan what you want to watch next

Prime Video gives you a lot of stuff to watch, from original shows to classic movies of yesteryear. One way to keep track of what you’ve already seen and what you want to watch next is the built-in watchlist feature.

You’ll find it displayed prominently inside the Prime Video mobile apps and on the web—click or tap on any title and you’ll see an Add to Watchlist button. To get back to everything you’ve saved, click Your Watchlist on the web or tap Watchlist on the mobile apps. Once there, you can start streaming or, if you’re having second thoughts, delete something from your list.

3. Customize on-screen subtitles

Prime Video subtitles
Perhaps the only time AaAaAaAaAaAaAaAaAa is helpful. David Nield

Whether you have trouble hearing or want to watch something quietly while everyone else is asleep, subtitles can help. Tap or click the subtitles button (a rectangular speech bubble icon, top left corner) during playback to turn subtitles on or off.

If you’re watching on the web, you can select Subtitles Settings to change how the captions appear on screen. The pop-up dialog box that comes next will let you adjust the size and the color of the text, while displaying a preview underneath the box as you make adjustments.

4. Add extra channels

Need more to watch? You can sign up for on-demand content from HBO, Starz, Showtime, CBS and more. Prices vary depending on the channel, but most offer a free trial. The big omissions are Netflix and Hulu, which aren’t available through Amazon Channels.

You’ll see Channel categories appear as you browse Prime Video on the web and on mobile, and if you tap or click through you can go through the steps to sign up. To find a full list of the channels you’ve signed up for, go to your subscriptions list on the Prime Video website.

5. Use “X-Ray” vision

Prime Video X-Ray
Get it? You see through the movie. David Nield

X-Ray is an incredibly useful Prime Video feature that offers a ton of information about whatever you’re watching. Just hit pause and X-Ray will pop up, showing details including the actors on screen or the name of the song being played.

Tap or click View All to see a lot more information about what’s on screen. You can scroll through the cast, the characters, a list of scenes, and even trivia about what you’re watching. The data comes from the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), which Amazon also owns.

6. Control your binge watching

Most of us enjoy a binge watching session from time to time, but if you want to try to limit the number of hours you’re spending in front of Prime Video, you can turn the autoplay feature off. It won’t exactly stop you from binging, but it does mean the next episode of your show won’t start playing automatically.

To do so, head to the Prime Video settings page online and choose Playback to find the Auto Play toggle switch. In the mobile apps, you won’t need to open a Playback tab—the Auto Play option is right there on the main settings screen.

7. Manage what your children watch

Age ratings
Parental controls: for adults only. David Nield

The Prime Video apps on mobile and web include various parental control features that let you keep track of what your kids are watching and block any inappropriate material. To use them, you’ll need to set up a master PIN code via the Parental Controls option on the Prime Video settings page.

Once you’ve done that, choose Viewing Restrictions from the same Parental Controls menu. It’s possible to set restrictions based on age ratings, and on specific devices (so you can carry on watching Fleabag on your laptop while the kids stick to Dora the Explorer on their tablets).

8. Find content more easily

It’s worth getting familiar with the best ways to navigate around Prime Video so you’re always able to find something to watch. Try scrolling down through the Movies or TV tabs to see categories like action and comedy, for instance. You can also search for a title or type of content, then filter your results through the left-hand menu online or the Filter button on mobile.

If you’re watching Prime Video on a Fire TV device, you can search using your voice as well, which is easier than trying to tap out a title with a remote control. Press the microphone button on the remote, speak out your request, and a list of matches will appear on screen.

9. Check what’s new

JustWatch
JustWatch shows you what’s just been added to Prime Video. David Nield

In the never-ending quest to find something to watch, you might want to see movies and TV shows that have recently been added to the Prime Video platform, especially if you’ve been a subscriber for years and have already consumed most of the older content.

Scroll through the Movies and TV tabs and you should see Recently Added sections appear. You can also use a third-party service like JustWatch, which aggregates content across numerous streaming services. On JustWatch, you can click the New tab, then Amazon Prime Video, to see newly added shows and films, with the most recent at the top.