The rumor mill got one right. Amazon just launched the instant streaming service for Prime subs. The service opens up “5,000 movies and TV show at no additional cost” to those who pay for the Amazon Prime membership. Yep, if you happen to have a free or even trial account, the content isn’t available for you. Sorry, fellow freeloaders, it’s time for us to pony up the $79.99 a year for access to the shows and 2-day shipping on your Amazon orders.
The service rolled out this morning and seems to work as advertised. Click the button and it starts playing. However, I can’t seem to dig up if the new Prime free streaming content is available on 3rd party boxes. It doesn’t show up on my TiVo or Roku yet. Chances are though these devices haven’t got the memo yet and an update will open the gate to the free garden.
So let’s do the math: Amazon Prime is $79.99 a year, which nets you 2-day shipping on Amazon orders and access to at least 5,000 streaming titles. That works out to $6.64 a month — or $1.35 less each month than Netflix.
Of course Netflix trumps Amazon on platform support, but Amazon is on major devices: Roku, TiVo, Google TV, many Blu-ray players and HDTVs from Vizio, Samsung and Panasonic. As long as these devices get access to the Prime content — and there’s really no reason to think they won’t eventually — Amazon Instant Video might be a good alternative to Netflix for many consumers. Is it a Netflix killer? Nope, but a content war is no doubt looming as the two companies ready their arms for all out war.
Update: Roku just sent over a note indicating that the service is in fact live on their boxes. Good news, but I still don’t see it. It’s probably my fault somehow… Press release below.
Update to the update: I got it to work on the Roku.
Roku Launches Just Announced Amazon Prime Instant Video Service
Roku customers who are also Amazon Prime Members can now enjoy unlimited, commercial free instant streaming of more than 5,000 movies and TV shows at no additional cost!
On Tuesday, February 22, 2011, Roku, Inc., maker of the top-selling and award-winning Roku streaming player, announced that Amazon’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) just launched Prime Instant Video service, which gives Amazon Prime customers access to over 5,000 movies and TV shows for free, is now available as part of the Amazon Instant Video channel on Roku. Customers can learn more about an Amazon Prime one-month free trial and start watching instantly at http://www.amazon.com/primevideos.
Amazon Prime members now have access to unlimited, commercial-free, instant streaming of more than 5,000 movies and TV shows via the Amazon Instant Video channel on Roku. This new Amazon Prime benefit is being added at no additional cost — Amazon Prime membership will continue to be $79 per year. The Prime Instant Video Service is part of the Amazon Instant Video channel already installed on all Roku players today. Simply click on the Amazon Instant Video channel on Roku and look for the Prime Instant Video tile. Follow the prompts to start enjoying free, unlimited streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows right on your TV via Roku.
The selection of videos available for instant streaming currently includes movies such as “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy, “Amadeus,” “Syriana,” and “Chariots of Fire,” noted documentaries such as “Food Inc.,” “March of the Penguins” and “Ken Burns’ National Parks,” plus TV shows, such as “Doctor Who,” “Farscape,” “Fawlty Towers” and children’s shows, such as “Arthur,” “Caillou,” “Super Why!” and “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
This new service is available today and will automatically appear inside the Amazon Instant Video channel already available on Roku.
Roku has a commitment to its customers to deliver the very best in value and content. Amazon is giving both its Amazon Prime customers and subsequently Roku customers tremendous added value with the new Prime Instant Video service and Roku couldn’t be more pleased to be offering this exciting new service on the day it is launched.