Media analysts are very strange people. In a market where competition drives creativity and uniqueness, they are quick to downplay certain companies yet promote others as revolutionary and breakthrough before they even launch, or better yet, when they weren't doing too well and relaunch. Spotify is an example of the former and the new and improved Amazon Prime is an example of the latter.
Prime was a service where you could buy pretty much any and everything with free two day shipping to anywhere in the US. We're talking things from soup cans to nuts and bolts, and it included a lot of the Amazon.com inventory. All of this was available to any interested consumer for an annual rate of $79 per year, similar to Sam's Club or Costco's membership packages.
Amazon Prime is now looking to enter into the video streaming market at a time where Netflix is doing more and more good for themselves and Hulu can't seem to catch a break. The relaunched Prime service is looking to go right after Netflix with over 5,000 shows and movies for its customers. Also, the added video streaming options won't cost existing Prime members any more money, which means the price of the service is $20 cheaper than the lowest Netflix plan.
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Amazon Prime is pretty much an expansion of the Amazon Instant Video program. However, it will now be adding the ability of streaming its content to Macs and select set-top boxes. We've expected this for a while and received a huge hint when Prime customers saw movies appear on their shopping pages.
Amazon says there is a lot of hardware that is going to support the service, like Blu-ray players and Internet-connected TVs but the most important is the availability of Prime on the Roku.
The catch here is that the option for family members to be added to a Prime account to order and ship goods won't allow for them to watch videos as well and is limited to the main account holder only. Amazon Student accounts won't have access to the videos either.
Overall there is a decent selection to choose from for a price that's lower than the leading competitor. Some videos aren't in HD, however, and that's something you should look out for. If you already have a Prime account, this is something you're going to want to take advantage of, but I don't feel that the Netflix subscriber should cancel their membership and jump ship just yet, unless they are looking to buy a lot of things online and ship them all around the country for nothing. The selection is going to obviously get better, but only time will tell if the service will be able to sustain as a free add-on for existing Prime members or if they will add a stand-alone package to tack on to new or existing customers.