Seeing the news of Amazon Prime Video introducing ads into its existing subscription tier has made me realize the value of a service that has no advertisements mid-stream — but it’s also made me reminisce on of how things used to be.
I’ve always been oddly proud of the fact that I’ve never paid for a cable or satellite TV subscription service in the UK, such as Sky. For those unaware, you would have a satellite dish installed somewhere on the outside of your home, and there would be a set-top box connected to your TV.
With that set up, you could browse hundreds of channels, including those offered by Sky. Having this as part of your living room setup was a common thing in the 2000s, but I always avoided it. The high monthly cost was a big factor, as it could reach £60 (the equivalent of $80) when choosing certain channel packages.
Yet it was the ads that always put me off more than anything.
These felt like ten minutes apiece between shows, so I’d wait until shows like LOST and Heroes were made available on iTunes — a one-off fee for an uninterrupted episode was worth waiting for.
So once streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video arrived, I signed up as I was keen to have a library that I could watch with no ad interruptions. In recent years though, that’s become a slippery slope, with Netflix introducing ad supported tiers, and soon, Prime Video will be inserting them into a plan I already pay for.
I’d still like to keep the overarching Amazon Prime package as my wife and I use it for next-day delivery when we do our weekly shopping — but these ads have otherwise put me off from using its included video service for the foreseeable future. Now, Amazon’s poor decision is steering me more towards using Apple TV Plus for movies and TV shows from now on.
On Her Majesty’s Streaming Service
Like many during 2020, my wife and I used a lot of streaming services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic while the United Kingdom was in lockdown. It was then that we would watch multiple seasons of reality shows, such as Bar Rescue, Iron Chef, and Masterchef Australia. We would watch some movies on the service, but those sessions would be few and far between.
Fast-forward to 2022, and the James Bond franchise would arrive on the service, thanks to Amazon buying MGM — keepers of the series since its debut in 1962. This made the service even more valuable to me, as I’ve always loved watching the films.
But when I saw that Amazon would be taking inspiration from Netflix by bringing ads to the service, my appreciation for Prime Video dwindled fast. In its post, Amazon justified this by saying, "..to continue investing in compelling content and keep increasing that investment over a long period of time." Yet I believe there's more to it than that.
No ads are a big part of why users feel happy to pay £8.99 / $9.99 a month for the Prime Video portion of Prime (when bought separately from the over-arching Prime subscription), so to pay an additional £2.99 / $2.99 simply feels wrong. When you look at the price comparisons between Apple TV Plus and Prime Video, where Apple is £8.99 / $9.99 a month, and Prime Video is £11.99 / $12.99 a month with the additional fee, Apple’s service is even more appealing.
I'm essentially going to be paying for an ad-subscription from February 5, and the principle of that just feels wrong to me.
Because of this, I’m looking into canceling Prime Video and putting my money into Apple TV Plus soon. I’m currently on a three-month trial thanks to buying my iPhone 15 Pro Max in September, which came with this offer. After activating it in late October, it’s due to run out at the end of this month — but I’m already planning on subscribing to it for the whole year.
Apple TV Plus to the future
My wife and I are late bloomers to Apple TV Plus, but we’ve already dipped our toes into For All Mankind and Severance, and they’re simply glorious. They’re similar to having Pringles — once you have/watch one, you just can't stop.
There are also some incredible documentaries that you need to watch. Louis Armstrong’s 'Black & Blues' is a great attempt by director Sacha Jenkins to discover how the saxophone musician made an impact around the world. Actor Michael J. Fox’s ‘Still’ documentary is one of the best in the genre I’ve ever seen — if only for this one scene that effortlessly weaves into filming Back to the Future, one of my favorite movies.
All of the content that’s currently available to watch on Apple’s service is also enhanced by watching it through its TV app. This was given a makeover in December 2023 to make it better to browse the shows you’ve previously watched and bought, and it’s a great experience if you own an Apple TV 4K. My wife and I love it — and it’s replaced the smart features of the LG TV we own.
I should mention, however, that these companies with streaming services are constantly battling for my attention, and they're trying to justify it by adding more services like gaming — Grand Theft Auto on Netflix is a great example of this.
Granted, Amazon Prime offers a bunch of services for £8.99 / $14.99. You get Deliveroo Plus, which is a food delivery service in the UK. You can access Amazon Music, have one-day delivery, unlimited photo storage, and games with Prime Gaming — there's a lot for that price.
Again, though, it's the principle. If Amazon wants to put ads into its other services, like it will be doing with Prime Video, there's nothing to stop it from doing that. There's also the fact that these prices are very confusing. In the U.S. you pay almost double what UK customers get — but for $8.99, you'll have Prime Video with ads, unless you pay an additional $2.99 to get rid of said ads.
Apple, however, is offering video and nothing else for £8.99 / $8.99, and that's why I'm going to pay for this instead of Prime Video. It's to the point, it says what it offers on the tin, and, there are no ads.
It’s because of all of these factors that I want to cancel Prime Video. Serving up ads to a subscription I’ve been paying for over four years is wrong — so I’m taking my money elsewhere to Apple TV Plus in February, and I’ve got no regrets.
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Daryl is iMore's Features Editor, overseeing long-form and in-depth articles and op-eds. Daryl loves using his experience as both a journalist and Apple fan to tell stories about Apple's products and its community, from the apps we use everyday to the products that have been long forgotten in the Cupertino archives.
Previously Software & Downloads Writer at TechRadar, and Deputy Editor at StealthOptional, he's also written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', which tells the story of the beginnings of Lara Croft and the series' early development. He's also written for many other publications including WIRED, MacFormat, Bloody Disgusting, VGC, GamesRadar, Nintendo Life, VRV Blog, The Loop Magazine, SUPER JUMP, Gizmodo, Film Stories, TopTenReviews, Miketendo64 and Daily Star.
That’s funny because I just cancelled my AppleTV+ subscription in Canada because they increased their monthly fees from $8.99 - $12.99.Reply
That’s a $4 increase that I can’t justify paying as their content doesn’t justify me paying $12.99