Amazon launches 'free' instant video streaming service for Prime members

With Netflix proving that a streaming video model can be a very successful one, it's been expected for some time that Amazon would join the market with its own instant streaming service. Today the book/video/grocery/everything e-tailer flicked the switch on Amazon Instant Video, and it's free - so long as you pay the yearly membership fee to be a Prime member.

As Engadget points out, existing paid Prime members (no love for free members such as students) now have access to around 5000 pieces of streaming content with both movies and TV shows included. Users still wishing to watch content for use on, say a mobile device, still have that option to either rent or buy it though that obviously incurs a fee.

So just how free is 'free'? Well you'll be needing the aforementioned Amazon Prime membership which will set you back $79 a year, though if you use Amazon as much as we do then the chances are you'll recoup that quick enough, considering Prime also gives you free 2-day shipping in the US. 

The real downside here though is the fact this is only available to US customers. No streaming-goodness for international readers amongst you, which considering there is no Netflix either probably shouldn't be a surprise. Nevertheless, it still breaks our little hearts.

I guess we can't miss what we never had!

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17 Comments

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Sure it has already been posted but...

This only applies to paid Amazon Prime members. If you are Prime member only as a guest of a Paid Prime member, you don't get the free streaming.

As a guest of another Amazon Prime member you already receive:

* FREE Two-Day Shipping with no minimum order size
* One-Day Shipping for $3.99/item

Upgrade to a paid Amazon Prime membership for $79/year to also get:

* Unlimited, commercial-free, instant streaming of 5,000 movies and TV shows


So to the person in the other Amazon Prime free instant streaming video article that said they would get it free because there a student was wrong. Sorry. (Don't feel like finding the older article plus no one would even look at it anyway)

"no love for free members such as students"

hahaha. I am one of the free ones. Now just get this on X360, Wii, and PS3 app and this will make Hulu plus' paid subscription with ads model look silly

Just checked out the list on my account, other then Red Vs Blue collections, the movies/shows are close to same as netflix, if not older. The main reason i can see this actually taking off is its being inclided in Amazon Prime

I wonder if their selection is any better then Netflix? I would love to see Netflix get some competition, so they'll add more movies and better movies.

notta said,
I wonder if their selection is any better then Netflix? I would love to see Netflix get some competition, so they'll add more movies and better movies.

agreed

I would also like to see them get things quicker. I know it's up to the TV studios and not Netflix... but if they had some competition, then maybe Netflix would be willing bend to their demands.

Either way, in a competitive market the consumer is the winner :-D

I am using it now and there is not really that many TV shows and Movies. I am still using it and the quality of the stream seems to be good. The fact that I can get my 2-day shipping with Prime is stilll a good dea though.

I've got prime as I order so much stuff from amazon, this would make it an absolute bonus if it were in the UK as well

Yep, so far the offering for instant video via Prime subscription is beyond bad...

I buy VoD on amazon, and I would sign up for Prime if their whole VOD collection was available but this is so far a ridiculous offer.

Odd that its available to US when the majority of the content for TV is from the BBC... also its only available to the Primary Prime holder (you can add up to 4 other users, none of them are eligible to stream for free)

jerzdawg said,
Odd that its available to US when the majority of the content for TV is from the BBC... also its only available to the Primary Prime holder (you can add up to 4 other users, none of them are eligible to stream for free)

It is all about licensing. Media companies are willing to license in the US where there is an established market. They are going to hold out in others until they figure out how to monetize.