Amazon Instant Video Takes Siege on Netflix to the iPad
Jason Mick & Brandon Hill
August 1, 2012 4:12 PM
But Airplay is still not support due to Apple's controlling ways
Amazon.com, Inc. (
) is stepping up its assault
, Inc. (
) and Hulu (multiple owners), announcing the availability of an Amazon Instant Video app on the Apple, Inc. (
Previously, Amazon had only offered
Prime Instant Video
via an app its
popular Kindle Fire
in the tablet space. But access to the iPad opens the door to tens of millions of users in the U.S. alone.
The streaming video service is part of Amazon's Prime service, which also includes the perk of free two-day shipping. Some books, including the popular Harry Potter septology are also available for free for subscribers. Prime is free to Kindle Fire purchasers for one month.
Amazon offers Instant Video for Sony Corp.'s (
) PlayStation 3 and for Microsoft Corp.'s (
) Xbox 360. It also is available as an app for Roku Corp.'s set-top boxes.
Like Netflix's iPad app, Amazon Instant Video for the iPad comes with an important limitation -- it doesn't work over AirPlay (audio streams are supported, but video isn’t, making it worthless for Amazon Instant Video), Apple's re-streaming solution that pushes video wirelessly from the iPad to an Apple TV. Thus you'll be stuck watching your iPad stream on the small screen.
This is due to Apple's decision to lock developers out of the AirPlay API. Some developers have rebelled against this restriction looking to reverse engineer the protocol, but have been subsequently smacked down by Apple [
The app itself is quite slick and video playback has proven to be rather smooth with decent quality (for a streaming service) over Wi-Fi. However, Amazon has left out any ability to search for titles from within the app itself. The easiest solution for users is to search for titles using Amazon.com and add them to your Watchlist, which is accessible from the iPad app.
Instant Video offers some advantages over Netflix. While it lacks as big a catalogue, it's slightly cheaper than Netflix's streaming video service or
, both of which are $96/year ($7.99 USD/month).
"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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