We mentioned that this was coming earlier, but today Amazon flipped the switch on their new streaming video service, offered free to Amazon Prime members. The library is still small (5,000 compared to about 20,000 available for streaming from Netflix), but is a nice bonus for Prime members and an added enticement for others to join the service. The primary intention of Amazon Prime is to provide expedited shipping (2 day service) for a flat yearly rate of $79. If you order a lot from Amazon, and prefer not to wait, it can be a pretty good deal and particularly helpful around the holidays. Now with TV and movies thrown into the bargain, it becomes even more tempting, especially for people who don’t belong to Netflix.
The initial video offerings are a mix of old and new films and a number of TV shows, most of which are available on Netflix streaming. Selections include “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy, “Eyes Wide Shut”, “Fawlty Towers” and “Doctor Who”. You can stream to your PC or Mac, or a number of streaming-friendly TVs and devices such as Roku and Google TV. Unfortunately, this is a U.S. only offering at the moment.
If Amazon can grow their catalog, they could become a more serious competitor to Netflix, as they offer both streaming videos and the expedited shipping, at a lower cost than the Netflix streaming-only plan. What do you think – can you see leaving Netflix for Amazon, if the offerings grow?