Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
Amazon Prime has been a great place to stream movies and TV shows for quite a while, and its $99 annual price tag actually makes it a fantastic deal for all of the other great things you get. Amazon recently added about 30 TV channels that you can subscribe to for an additional monthly fee, but are they worth subscribing to? Here are eight that could be worth your time and money.
A Quick Note
Obviously, everyone is going to have different opinions on whether a channel is worth subscribing to. And because the shows and movies on offer aren’t always the same as subscribing to these channels outside of Amazon Prime, they might be a better deal elsewhere. One way to find out is to take advantage of each channel’s free trial; most offer at least two weeks of free watching.
Showtime ($8.99 / month)
Showtime is probably the biggest name on the list of new Amazon streaming channels, and rightfully so. It gives you access to big-name shows like Homeland, Penny Dreadful, Ray Donovan, and Secret Diary of a Call Girl. You’ll also get access to both new and classic movies such Paddington, Sling Blade, Pulp Fiction, E.T., and The Giver.
The channel also offers sports, sports talk shows, comedy specials, and a solid selection of documentaries. For less than $10 a month after a 30-day free trial, this is one of the best value packages when it comes to Amazon Prime TV subscriptions. Others may have more than the 570 movies and shows that Showtime does, but this channel has some of the best choices.
Starz ($8.99 / month)
Starz doesn’t offer quite as many popular original series as Showtime, but shows like Outlander, Ash vs. Evil Dead, and Black Sails will appeal to a lot of viewers. This channel also offers a lot of classic TV shows, including The A-Team; Magnum, P.I.; Diff’rent Strokes, Gunsmoke, and Sam Neill’s In Cold Blood.
Where this channel shines is in its movie selection, from newer entries like Inside Out, Ant-Man, and Big Hero 6 to classics like The Shawshank Redemption, Schindler’s List, Total Recall, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. $9 per month for all 840 movies and shows isn’t bad at all.
Tribeca Shortlist ($4.99 / month)
Browsing through all of the available selections on Amazon Prime or Netflix can take a long time, and if you’ve been a subscriber to either for more than a few months, you know that there’s a lot of really terrible stuff available. Tribeca Shortlist curates the best options for you, creating a list of “handpicked award-winning films, indie gems, and legendary classics.”
Film critics from the Tribeca Film Festival choose and discuss their favorite films, from Groundhog Day to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Not all of the films have corresponding discussions, but there’s a great selection of gems here, like Crash, Hannibal, The Great Escape, City of God, and Persepolis. The 306 movies and critic discussions here are a great deal for the price.
SundanceNow Doc Club ($6.99 / month)
Another film-festival-focused subscription, Doc Club collects award-winning documentaries in one convenient place for documentary fiends. You’ll find a lot of the movies you’ve heard of, but haven’t watched yet: Food, Inc.; Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room; Freakonomics: The Movie; and The Thin Blue Line.
Doc Club also includes some SundanceNow series, and you can choose from a wide variety of categories if you’re looking for a specific kind of documentary. This one will be tough to beat if you’re looking for non-fiction films on Amazon Prime, as you know that each of the 373 documentaries here is of high quality.
IndieFlix Shorts ($2.99 / month)
If you’re into short films, this is the channel you need. For less than the cost of a Starbucks coffee every month, you’ll get access to over 1,000 short films from over 50 countries. Short film is a unique art form, and if you’re into it, IndieFlix Shorts will help you get your fix.
No matter what kind of film you’re looking for, from comedy to mystery to documentary to post-apocalyptic, you can find it in this channel. And as it’s priced at just $2.99-per-month, you don’t have to give up a whole lot to add this one to your budget.
Comedy Central Stand-Up Plus ($3.99 / month)
Netflix and Amazon Prime both have some stand-up comedies available, but if you want the best of the best, you’ll need this subscription to Comedy Central. It features big name comedians including Amy Schumer, Daniel Tosh, Tracy Morgan, Joe Rogan, Bo Burnham, and Carlos Mencia.
There are also a number of stand-up series, including Dave Attell’s Comedy Underground and John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show. With 78 items, this channel doesn’t have as much content as many of the other options, but it’s likely to get better pretty quickly, and the cheap price makes it a tempting option.
Shudder ($4.99 / month)
“[C]urated by horror aficionados devoted to all varieties of horror,” Shudder has a wide variety of horror movies and thrillers to suit just about any taste. From classics like The Hills Have Eyes, Day of the Dead, Hellraiser, and Deadly Blessing to modern hits like Let the Right One In, V/H/S, and Antichrist, you’ll find a great selection of horror movies on Shudder.
There’s an entire section full of horror comedy movies, a few horror documentaries, and a few movies classified as Gothic Horror, all of which might appeal to those with tastes for something slightly out of the ordinary when it comes to horror films (and there have to be a few horror movies for geeks hidden in there somewhere). The 290 movies included in this subscription should appeal to just about every horror fan.
CONtv ($4.99 / month)
This is a subscription channel from Comic-Con, one of the greatest geek conventions of all time. The list of movies and shows is as intriguing as the concept. The best part about CONtv is that you never know just what you’ll find; Comic-Con workshops, interviews with celebrities, cosplay Q&As, movies like Titanic 2 and Street Fighter Alpha, shows like America’s 60 Greatest Unsolved Crimes & Mysteries, The Adventures of Super Mario Bros 3, The Legend of Zelda, and Digimon, and a great list of 70s and 80s B-movies all feature.
Science fiction, fantasy, anime, horror, comedy, mystery… it’s all there. The best way to get an idea of what’s on this channel is to just go browse the 780 movies, shows, and con experiences for yourself. There really isn’t any good way to describe it.
Add TV Channels to Amazon Prime
At $99 per year, Amazon Prime is already a great deal. And if you want to get more out of Amazon Prime Video, spending $5 or $10 per month on one of these channels is a great way to do it. You might have to budget out your online subscriptions, but if you can swing the few dollars, it should be well worth it.
If you need one more reason to stick with Amazon Prime, check out these Amazon Originals.