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Amazon Prime/Amazon Video

What is it?

Amazon Prime is a video on demand service. It offers films and television programmes, including original content.
You can access it on multiple devices including online via Amazon.co.uk, iOS and Android devices, PS4, Wii, Xbox, some smart TVs, as well as Amazon’s own products including Fire tablets and phones. 
Cost: you can rent individual films or TV shows (various fees), subscribe monthly (5.99) or annually as part of Amazon Prime (£79).

What they say

‘Enjoy unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows. Anywhere, anytime.’

What’s the reality?

A vast selection of movies and television from past and present, including original content for adults and children.

What parents need to know

Finding parental controls had us scratching our head. Typing ‘Amazon Prime parental controls’ into the search bar at the top of the page yielded a list of products that you could set parental controls on, not information on how to set them for viewing and using Amazon Prime content.

Going to the Amazon Prime landing page on the website when logged in didn’t offer up a direct link.

In the end, we clicked on Help at the bottom of the home page and then typed in ‘parental controls’.

Bingo!

To save you the trouble, here is a direct link.

Here, you find instructions on how to set up controls for both purchasing and viewing restrictions by creating a PIN code.

For purchasing restrictions, you can’t set restrictions centrally for all devices. The following have to be set on the individual devices themselves: Android devices; Fire phone; Fire tablets; Amazon Fire TV; Fire TV Stick; Xbox; Amazon Underground app for Android phones.

For more information about Fire phone parental controls, go to Set Up Parental Controls.

For more information about Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick parental controls, go to Set Up Parental Controls.

For more information about parental controls for Fire tablets, go to Fire & Kindle Support and select your device.

Viewing restrictions give you the option to block playback of videos by ratings. You can choose which ratings categories you’d like to restrict and on which of your registered devices you’d like these restrictions to apply. Log in and go to Amazon Video Settings and Devices.

When you have viewing restrictions on, a ‘lock’ symbol appears on videos with ratings in your restricted categories. If you try to watch them, you’re prompted to enter your Amazon Video PIN before playback can begin.

The pros

Amazon Prime offers excellent content and good quality streaming on lots of devices. If you choose an annual subscription, as well as free next day delivery on Amazon purchases, you also get access to an eLibrary of thousands of books, including children’s titles, and also Amazon Prime Music, which allows you to listen to thousands of tracks without adverts. 

The cons 

Setting up purchasing restrictions occasionally feels like you're on a particularly frustrating assault course. If your family accesses content on multiple devices, it could take some time to sort them all out. We’d set aside an evening and a large supply of snacks to get you through it. 

Parent Zone’s verdict

Be warned, having signed up for a year, we were slightly irritated to see that a lot of the movies we wanted to watch weren’t included in the package. But the breadth and quality of viewing on offer for all the family, plus the added extras of music and books, makes it very good value for money - but Amazon Prime loses stars for the confusing parental controls.