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Better Business Bureau

Is Amazon Prime A Strong Competitor To Satellite TV Service?

Satellite TV Vs Amazon Prime

For nearly two decades, has been the leading online book retailer in the world. Over the last few years, Amazon has expanded their content to include magazines, movies, housewares and other retail products. With the advent of broadband internet connections, the Seattle-based company has become a leader in online content delivery through their line of Kindle e-reader products. The online retail giant now offers its Amazon Prime membership service to its streaming video customers. The new service has drawn the attention of some traditional TV consumers, including satellite TV subscribers looking at other options.

How Does Satellite TV Work?

The satellite TV service provider (e.g. Dish Network, DirecTV) receives content from the various broadcast and cable channels, then sends a signal to a satellite in geosynchronous orbit above the earth. A dish attached to the outside of the house picks up the satellite signal and sends it to a set-top box. The box decodes the signal and sends the images and sounds to the television receiver. The system relies on an uninterrupted line-of-sight between the orbiting satellite and the receiving dish.

How Does Amazon Prime Work?

Amazon Prime is a membership service that provides to its customers. For a small annual fee, Amazon Prime members can view streaming content on their desktop computer, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Subscribers can also view media on a Kindle HD or any other Kindle device enabled for viewing video content.

Features And Channels

Satellite TV services offer live programming on numerous channels, as well as on-demand programming, pay-per-view events and, with some additional equipment, digital video recording (DVR). Satellite customers can also gain exclusive access to live sporting events and in-depth coverage of major sports, including packages such as NFL Sunday Ticket and NASCAR HotPass. Although Amazon Prime does not offer live programming, the service does allow viewers to stream recent shows and hit movies to their preferred devices.

Costs And Contracts

Monthly satellite TV subscription services can range from as low as $20 to well over $100, depending on the channel packages and extra features the subscriber chooses. Users also have additional costs for either renting or purchasing the satellite dish and set-top box, as well as the DVR and high-definition (HD) conversion box and cables. In contrast, Amazon Prime does not require any additional equipment for its annual subscription rate of $79. However, some content is not available as part of the subscription fee and requires a separate purchase.

Additional Services

In addition to the streaming content, Amazon Prime members are eligible for additional discounts through other facets of the online retailer. Amazon Prime subscribers can get free standard shipping (5-8 days) on qualifying orders exceeding $25, as well as free two-day shipping and discounts on overnight shipping. Members can also borrow books from Kindle's Lending Library at not additional charge.


Customers who plan their routines around the prime-time TV schedule would do well to take advantage of the regularity and reliability of a satellite TV service. For those who prefer to watch their TV shows on their schedule and on multiple devices, Amazon Prime is a suitable choice.