When most people think about Amazon’s Prime subscription service, I imagine most think about the free two day shipping. And that’s cool, because that’s a huge benefit and one that we use almost daily.
With Prime you also get Prime Music which is getting better every month. For anyone using a paid music subscription service like Pandora or Spotify, you might want to take a look at what you can get with Prime Music. I decided the Prime service was good enough for most of my needs, so I saved $10/month by cancelling Spotify and that $10 a month now pays for my Prime subscription for the whole year.
With Prime, you get free books, photo storage, and exclusive access to sales events too. But the real beauty of the service in my opinion as a cord cutter is the Amazon Prime Video service.
If you’ve followed this site, you know that I subscribe to Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Video for the majority of our family’s programming. What I’m starting to realize is that of the three, Amazon Video is the one we are spending more time with. This is a distinct change from the past few years. Why is that I wondered? Well, as you dive in, you start to uncover some areas in which Amazon Prime Video really shines next to the competition.
Off line Media Access. I made this the number one point because I think this may be the most important differentiator. If you use Netflix or Hulu you have to be connected to the Internet. They are streaming only services, not download. With Amazon Prime Video did you know that you can download the content to your portable device to watch later, say on a plane or on a car ride? (this applies to much of the content catalog, but there are a few exceptions where download rights aren’t in place yet).
I had no idea. It’s simple to do. Just browse for your content, choose download and while it might take a moment for the transfer, soon that content is ready for offline viewing. One small catch is that once you start playback you must complete the playback within 48 hours (time frame differs between some content). But I haven’t had one instance yet of that being a problem.
This completely changed the way I approach air travel. Now I keep a list of shows and movies saved on my iPad (via the Prime Music App) and have plenty to choose from whenever I need them. You also don’t have to rely on spotty streaming service if you’re staying in a hotel. Playback is instant, and it saves your location if you stop and resume later. Offline viewing is a huge benefit of Prime Video.
Really Good Original Programming. I downloaded the pilot episode of the Amazon original series Mad Dogs, and was blown away. How come no one is talking about this show? After the pilot I was hooked, and holy crap was it a wild ride.
- Bosch: a detective/crime drama
- Hand of God
- Man in the High Castle: what if the Axis powers won WWII?
- Mozart in the Jungle
- Transparent: Emmy award winner
- Creative Galaxy: animation
- Tumble Leaf: stop motion
Woody Allen is making a new 6 part series for Amazon. I know the other services have some great exclusive content too. Hulu is lucky to have scored “11.22.63.” But Amazon is giving me plenty of options on a broad range of really compelling content that’s worth exploring.
X-Ray for Movies & TV. As I watched more content on Amazon Prime Video, I quickly discovered that while a scene is playing you can tap the screen and get a list of all the actors, with headshots, who are in that scene. You can also use it to identify music in the show.
This works because Amazon owns IMDb. I had no idea, but what a great viewing experience. I’ve written about these new rich experiences that Internet-enabled content provides before. Kind of like the Superbowl or other sporting events, where you can have a plethora of information about the game right at your fingertips, or even live Twitter feeds to gauge fan reactions to the play action.
Add On Services: It’s worth a quick mention that a few years ago, a cable TV subscription was required to gain access to premium programming from HBO and Showtime. But not anymore. HBO has HBO Go that finals unbundles that service from the reigns of the cable companies. With Amazon Prime Video you can add on Showtime ($8.99/month), Starz ($8.99/month) and Comedy Central ($3.99/month).
Broadcast TV is in big trouble here, folks. They used to be the only game in town. But their hands are tied in terms of adding new features and advanced functionality. All while the competition is blazing forward with the latest technology and consumer adoption patterns.
All the more reason to ditch and switch now.
That’s a quick overview of some of the things I really like about Amazon Prime Video. You can browse all the programming on Prime Video here. Let me know what you think about Prime and the other streaming services in the comments below.