Amazon – Easy Alternatives

Let’s get the ball rolling in this by talking about the easy ones and get those out of the. Because there are certainly some Amazon alternatives that are glaringly obvious.

Amazon Video Alternatives

So this is probably the easiest thing to find an alternative to. Amazon Prime has its own streaming service, but it clearly is not a focus, it’s more of an add-on. The reason I say this is because the Originals are sub-par and they don’t get a ton of third-party support either. However, Amazon does have deals with HBO & BBC to show their older backlogs, although neither of these is all encompassing. (As an example, they don’t have the very excellent Coupling TV series that ran on BBC from 2000 to 2004, they do have Downton Abbey.)

I do strongly suggest Netflix as the primary alternative. There’s actually a lot of duplication for what third-parties show on both, so for the third-party stuff, you don’t lose much by going to Netflix. Netflix even has a lot of BBC shows, my favorite being IT Crowd. They don’t have much from HBO, instead they tend to pick up Showtime series such as Dexter or Californiacation. And then there is obviously the originals. Netflix, realizing that they will be losing third-parties sooner than later, has more originals pretty much than all other streamers combined. Though there is a lot of give and take in quality these days. (Their early shows are still top notch and worth watching.)

Hulu, I feel, is a strong compliment to Netflix, though their advertisements on a paid service continues to bamboozle me. Still, they tend to pick up most shows off most networks, both old and new. They partner with NBC, ABC, and Fox, so there’s just a lot there. Like Amazon, their originals are fairly weak overall, even with the Handmaid’s Tale. And also like Amazon, they do offer add-ons like Showtime or HBO or even live TV.

If you absolutely must have HBO shows, HBO Go is out there. I don’t suggest it though. They have great originals and a good backlog, but the cost for what you get is actually quite terrible compared to the other 3.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention that, if you don’t mind ads, a lot of networks now just put their current stuff out on their websites for free. For instance, you can watch The Daily Show and South Park on Comedy Central’s website, or The Flash on The CW’s website. It’s actually surprising how much is free out there these days.

Video’s Ugly Step Child

Perhaps the one area of Amazon Video that is more difficult to cut out is Twitch. If you don’t watch Video Game Streams, then this isn’t a problem. But I do, so it is. Twitch is a juggernaut in the streaming realm, and they get stronger every year. And truthfully, I don’t have a great solution to it because of things like Overwatch League being exclusive to Twitch.

But I’ll give it a go all the same. My overall suggestion on replacement is to use Mixer.com instead. Why? First, I do think they are trying to come up with ways to innovate the streaming space in positive ways, and for the most part it works. They have low latency, their recent addition of paying out streamers for certain levels of “sparks” earning gives a solid way for streamers to monetize without costing viewers a dime works a lot better than anything Twitch has, and the interactivity can be pretty cool if used correctly. They also do A LOT to help streamers get noticed, they have several channels that randomly host, they feature smaller channels, and they even have an “up and coming” section. These are great for newbs.

Youtube also has been trying to enter the streaming space. And they also have low latency. I think they tend to give preference to live streams in search results too which helps. But, it is ridiculously difficult now to get and maintain partnerships as a new streamer, and they have fewer avenues of monetization even if you get there. Their interface is also just terrible. Pretty  much the only place that it is easy to find just random streams is by using there gaming app. Which is VERY specific and not overly casual friendly, especially if you are on the PC. I rate their interface as a whole similar to Amazon Video’s… a lot of clutter and hard to find what you are looking for. Odd for a search engine company that prides itself in its simple interface.

Mixer has flaws though which stop it from being better than Twitch in the first place. One, it just doesn’t have the traffic. That is not just viewers, that is streamers as well. They are kind of in a paradox here though, they can’t get viewers because they can’t get streamers because they can’t get viewers. It’s hard to be in that position. It also doesn’t have the plug-in support or the clear path to Partner that Twitch has. Twitch also has more avenues to earning money (bit purchasing and ties to amazon come to mind). Also, for some reason, the only way you can watch Mixer on TV is via Xbox One. No app that supports Roku, Fire Stick, or Chromecast. No app on PS4 or Swtich. It’s odd.

Still, as weird as it is to say… Mixer is the clear underdog. And I say that is weird because it’s Microsoft. The company that got the title of stock worth the most back from Apple. But in the competition of Google vs Amazon vs Microsoft… Microsoft feels like the clear underdog to me. And I want to support underdogs where it is worth it and I think Mixer has a lot going for it.

As an aside. I recently started Streaming on Mixer. So head on over to www.mixer.com/Razakius to hang with me sometime!

Pet Supplies

This one seems obvious to me, but maybe it isn’t to everyone else. But Chewy has made quite the name for themselves recently and have quietly carved out a chunk of Amazon’s business. For months, I have already been using Chewy primarily for all my pet needs. I buy cat toys, litter and food (both dry and wet). From Chewy, and I actually order pretty frequently because cats go through things fast.

Truthfully, I’m not entirely sure why I’ve moved to Chewy but I have, and so has all my friends, and looking at the recycling bin when I’m throwing out my boxes, a lot of others have as well. Both Amazon & Chewy have similar prices on their goods. Both give discounts if you subscribe. Chewy gives free shipping at $49 and it is 1-2 day shipping. You can get these things next day with Prime but at $25 you get free 3-5 day shipping.

I will say, $49 is a lot more difficult to attain than you might think. I usually hit like $43 with a huge bag of litter and 2 boxes of wetfood and then am struggling to figure out what to add to get the free shipping. The downside, I feel, with Chewy is that the boxes are heavy! They very rarely split those $49+ boxes, so you are lugging these huge boxes around, I have never ordered pet supplies from Amazon, but I am sure they have the same issue.

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