Amazon Launches Streaming App for iPad, Goes After Netflix and Hulu

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

Looks like the streaming entertainment war is heating up once again.  Only 24 hours after Apple updated Apple TVs with access to Hulu+, Amazon announces a new iPad App which will bring free streaming to Amazon Prime customers, and video on demand to non prime customers.  The move is thought to be a direct broadside to Netflix, which is still recovering from losing not only a vast portion of their library when Starz left, but also members who abandoned their service in favor of other options like Amazon Prime.

With Amazon Instant Video, watch thousands of titles available from Prime Instant Video at no additional cost with an Amazon Prime membership and over 120,000 videos (available for purchase or rent) from the Amazon Instant Video store by installing the Amazon Instant Video app… Start watching a video on an iPad and Whispersync technology automatically syncs your place between devices, allowing videos to be resumed from where you left off on a Kindle Fire, PS3, PC, Mac, or hundreds of models of connected TVs and Blu-ray players. – Amazon Instant Video iTunes Page

I bet you didn’t even know that Amazon had a streaming video service, and even if you knew that you could rent or buy digital downloads of movies and TV shows on demand, you may not have known that you could enjoy them for free with an Amazon Prime membership.  Prime is Amazon’s fast shipping service which provides for unlimited, two-day shipping of purchases at Amazon.com.  The cost of the membership is $79 a year, which is a deal if you buy stuff regularly from the eCommerce site.

But in an effort to sweeten the pot, Amazon also provided for free streaming of over 120,000 video titles at no additional cost, as well as a free digital library services through the Kindle Reader of more than 100 current and former New York Times Bestsellers with no due dates.  That’s a great deal.

But it wasn’t until today that users could easily watch streaming video through their iPads.  Thru Amazon Instant Video, users can:

* Stream thousands of titles available from Prime Instant Video at no additional cost with a Prime membership, or watch over 120,000 videos available from the Amazon Instant Video on Demand store
* Download purchased and rented videos from Your Video Library
*Shop over 120,000 videos available from the Amazon Instant Video store
*Add videos to your Watchlist from a PC, Mac, or Kindle Fire for later viewing on your iPad
*Subscribe to a TV Season Pass by visiting Amazon and episodes will automatically be available on your iPad the day after they air
*Start watching on your iPad, and resume watching right where you left off on a Kindle Fire, PS3, PC, Mac, or hundreds of models of connected TVs and Blu-ray players with Amazon Whispersync technology.

Netflix users may appreciate that the Instant Video interface looks familiar.  That may be by design, as it will make it easier for them to look for favorite videos to watch.  But some are complaining that it’s missing a simple keyword search feature which would allow users to go straight to the video they want to watch.   Additionally, users complain that there’s no in-app purchasing option, so those who prefer ala carte viewing have to rent from a computer, or go into Safari browser to make their purchase before having the title available in the app.  That’s probably due to Apple taking a piece of the pie if an in-app purchase is made and Amazon seeking to avoid it.  We’re betting though that future updates will eliminate at least that shortcoming.

With 120,000 titles, this new App is HUGE and makes that $80 a year membership fee even more attractive.

Source – CNet

 

About James DeRuvo

James has a multi-faceted career that spans radio, film and publishing. A writer about the technology in the video industry for nearly 20 years, James is also an award winning film director, having garnered a Telly Award for his short film Searching for Inspiration. He's also worked as a producer of many talk radio programs in Los Angeles with topics ranging from entertainment to travel to technology.

Comments

  1. Hunter says:

    Honestly, I feel like all of these Video On Demand services are the same. Once I have picked through their catalogues for interesting things to watch, I am left with thousands and thousands of shows and movies that I will never watch. Personally, nothing beats the randomness of live TV but it hasn’t always been the most portable forms of entertainment until now. I just picked up a Sling Adapter for my DISH DVR so I can stream Live TV and DVR content just about anywhere I go. This comes in particularly handy as my DISH work schedule has a tendency to change weekly and I never know if I will be home for my favorite show. That really isn’t an issue now that I have my TV with me in my iPad.

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