There’s an interesting announcement on the Amazon front page today. They’ve inked a deal with FOX to include their content in the ‘free’ Prime instant video streaming service. Amazon Prime has traditionally been a $79 year service which gives members free two-day shipping on all Amazon purchases, which is worth it if you buy a lot from Amazon. (I’m been a Prime member for a long time now.) A while back they sweetened the deal by offering Prime members free video streaming for no additional cost. For the equivalent of about $6.58 a month, if they keep expanding the lineup of content like this Netflix had better start watching their back.
I took a screencap of the notice, but the meat is this:
I have big news for Amazon Prime members – we’ve just signed a deal with FOX to add a broad selection of movies and TV shows to our unlimited instant streaming service later this fall. The new additions from the FOX library include 24, Arrested Development, The X-Files, Ally McBeal, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and – available on digital video for the first time – The Wonder Years. We now have deals with CBS, NBCUniversal, Sony, and Warner Bros, and adding FOX will bring the total to more than 11,000 movies and TV shows available for unlimited instant streaming.
Since launching earlier this year, we have now doubled the number of titles available in Prime instant videos, and there’s still more to come. Prime membership remains $79 a year, and of course features our unlimited free two-day shipping on millions of products. Prime is one of the best values anywhere.
Prime instant videos can be played on more than 300 HDTVs, Blu-ray players, and set-top boxes.
Right now there are 2,940 entries available for Amazon Prime streaming, but a lot of those are actually complete seasons of TV series, so the number of individual items is much higher. The Tech of the Hub Blog did a comparison of streaming services in August, looking at Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, iTunes, Netflix, and Vudu. Netflix still has the content edge in numbers, but all content is not created equal and adding popular content gives a service more draw.
I do have a minor disappointment with this announcement, though it isn’t a new issue. The link in the announcement to“more than 300 HDTVs, Blu-ray players, and set-top boxes” in the announcement takes you to the Amazon Instant Video TVs and Devices page. On that page one of the entries is Compatible Digital Video Recorders – which are all TiVos, of course. But TiVo does not support Amazon streaming, only Amazon Instant Video downloads. So you cannot take advantage of the free Prime streams on TiVo, at least not yet. TiVo has said they’re working on an updated client to add streaming support, but we don’t have any word on when we might get that, and if it will be Premiere-only or if it will update older units as well. I hope no one is misled into thinking they’ll be able to access the stream from their TiVo today.