Amazon great at selling “stuff” but has terrible streaming service user interface

Shortly after SXSW 2020 Amazon redirected the page to Ike’s dog page (see: Afterthoughts on SXSW 2020, er, Going To The Dogs)

Amen on the following article from

The main problem with Amazon Prime Video is that it was so clearly developed as an offshoot of the main Amazon Prime retail website, rather than a TV platform in its own right.

Everything wrong with Amazon Prime Video | TechRadar

We watched more movies on Amazon Prime in 2019 than any other streaming service. In 2020, Netflix is leading. HBO Max could soon roll into the #2 spot in 2021 (maybe not enough time since they didn’t launch until May 2020), as they have a lot of great movies we want to watch/rewatch but we must switch from Roku on the TV to Chromecast input (argh!).

Netflix has one of the best UI (User Interface). It’s not quite as good as Roku, but it’s very close. I love what they’ve done with the “What’s Hot” section making it easy for me to see what is coming soon, what has newly been added and what’s most popular via their daily Top 10 list.

My favorite categories at any streaming service are “currently watching”, “coming soon”, “recently added” and “leaving soon.” These are the primary streaming channel staples. Tell me what’s coming, what’s been added and what I have limited time left to watch before it’s rotated out.

Some of these streaming services are good about highlighting this information and others make you dig for it. To varying degrees.

Perhaps Amazon’s biggest problems is they try and blend way too much information into the interface. We don’t need to see, by default, movies and TV shows on VOD and on premium channels mixed with “included with Prime Video” titles. Yes, there is a way to filter and show only those titles. Also, when you click to view more in a category it looks just like the rest of Amazon … that you’re about to buy a physical product (sometimes you actually are).

That’s what Amazon ultimately wants us to do: buy more stuff. Buy it, so they can ship it.

What are your favorite sections?


5 thoughts on “Amazon great at selling “stuff” but has terrible streaming service user interface

  1. yes! Amazon’s UI is awful.
    I use Netflix the most at the moment, the Coming Soon section is perfect to let me plan what reviews and things I have coming up. And The What’s Hot page sometimes jogs my memory if I miss or forget about something.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, is it just me or does Netflix get rid of that “What’s Hot” section sometimes and replace it with something else? It seems like that has disappeared more than a few times in place of something else(?)


  2. I guess that the secret drop-down press preview/screeners you get on Netflix could become something subscribers pay for access to in the future; another tier to charge for. Amazon’s star rating system, print selection, subtitling and frequestly wrong information about films are frankly awful, and the jumbling of films is ridiculous; as I wrote about the other day, ‘If you liked Cobra, you’ll like Erin Brockovich’ Amazon should show that they take this game seriously and make some effort to guide viewers to good content IMHO.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amazon Fire Stick sometimes makes my personal ‘Watchlist’ hard to find. Hey, dudes, “Do you think I want to see your suggestions more than my own?” You’re wrong.

    I do not have your broad experience with various streaming UI, but my perception is they are all bad, starting with the “thumbnail” experience rather than sortable text listings. The VCR-package “thumbnail” look mostly has text too small to read on a 50-inch TV screen from 12 feet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What nobody has figured out yet is letting me organize the movies the way *I* want to organize them. Let me dictate how to sort and organize types of movies. Yes, that’s wayyyyy too techie for most people to want to bother with, but if I could setup a template to group genres in a certain order (my favorite genres) and layout the watchlist by priority, not just alpha sort, oh man, that would so much better organize the interface.

      Templates are a crazy good idea with websites and they would work with TV, but they will probably never, ever give that kind of power to the end user because they can sell this space — it’s eyeball area — and that’s what is frustrating. If somebody designs a more geek-friendly template system, I know that many would love that. There was a time I though Roku might go there but they (too) quickly realized the money they could make by selling all the space in front of them. I want them to make money, sure, but give me some ability to customize how I want to view the menu. Nobody wants to do that, so to your guess that they all are bad, that much is true, however some menus are less bad than others..

      Liked by 1 person

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