Amazon Jumps in to Stream(ing) with new iPad app
Requirements – you have to have an id set up with Amazon, an iPad, and if you want to stream videos for free, a Prime account.
I’m already a Prime member because of the shipping discounts I receive when purchasing items on Amazon. Around Christmas time, the free 2 day shipping on many items adds up to a lot of savings quickly so I’m able to justify the annual expense. When they first came out with the free streaming for Prime members, I was pretty excited until I saw what was available. Plus, I don’t really watch a lot of programming on my computer. Watching on my Phone or iPad or even streaming to my TV is preferred. Since I didn’t have the right connected devices to use one of those options, I stepped away from the Prime streaming option.
Today, I’m stepping back in – the content seems to have expanded and now I can steam to my iPad. The only downside is that I have to be connected to Amazon’s servers for the free Prime content. This won’t work for me on a long road trip but it does work for streaming at home. With the kids content, it would be nice if Amazon offered an iPhone/iPod touch version – since my kids have those devices but can’t watch this content, this reduces the usefulness of the application.
Amazon not only offers the Prime streaming but also allows for digital purchases and rentals. These can be accessed on your device and downloaded for viewing offline. So, this may help me in the aforementioned long road trip situation.
Sign up for Amazon Prime
The iPad application itself is pretty simple – You fire it up, log in with your Amazon id, and select a video to watch. On my WiFi connection it worked flawlessly. You can also select videos to watch/stream later by adding them to your watch list. On the downside, I could not find a way to search for content. There was no way that I could find to search for actors, genres, titles or anything like that. Amazon provides some sort criteria, but other than Movies vs TV I couldn’t select my own criteria.
Also, it appears that I can stream the Amazon streamed content from my iPad to my Apple TV for the ‘big screen’ viewing experience. I haven’t tested this out yet but the icon shows up as if the function is available. I will check this later and update the post. [Update: only the sound goes through to the AppleTV, no video]
It’ll be interesting to see if this helps drive up Prime subscribers or rental/purchase revenue. At the very least it gives us consumers another option for viewing content on the iPad There’s no word yet on plans for an official Android version but I have to assume that’s in the works.
All in all - I would give the iPad app 4 out of 5 stars.
The application is solid and worked without much effort on my part. The content has improved and the free streaming is included in a fee I already pay. To raise my rating, I would suggest the following improvements – Access via iPhone/iPod Touch, more content, more Search criteria.