Amazon has sent out invites to select press to attend an Amazon Video event next week in New York City. Aside from the rumored Amazon Video set-top box, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the company will also launch a free, ad-supported video service that'll be paired up with the device that will allow customers to watch television shows and music videos gratis.
It should be noted that this isn't Amazon taking its current video product and making it free--rather, it would likely be a small subset. All of the Amazon original series, and anything specifically licensed. The company would likely still keep the best stuff for Amazon Prime customers.
What do you think? Would an inexpensive set-top box with free streaming content be enough to get you to buy one?
Amazon has announced that the cost of Amazon Prime will be increasing to $99 per year this morning (up from $79 per year,) the first time the service has seen a price increase since it launched nine years ago. The company cites increased fuel and transportation costs, alongside increased usage by Prime members, as the reason for the price bump.
Despite the price increase, Amazon Prime is still a fantastic service, introduced back in 2005, that provided unlimited free two-day shipping for millions of items, alongside Prime Instant Video, and the Kindle Owners' Lending Library. When broken down, the monthly cost goes from about $6.58 up to $8.25 per month, making the cost 26 cents more than the price of a monthly Netflix streaming membership.
The price increase goes into effect on April 17th, so if you aren't yet a Prime member, you can lock in the lower rate now.
If you're an Amazon Prime member, does the price increase turn you off from keeping your subscription?
We wanted to highlight one of the services we love in our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide: ShopRunner. We're big fans of shopping at Amazon due to the benefits of Amazon Prime with free two-day shipping. However, sometimes you want to shop at another store online that may offer a better deal than Amazon, but you're used to not paying for shipping. That's where ShopRunner comes in. ShopRunner is a members-only service for online shoppers that provides unique benefits across hundreds of the best online stores.
ShopRunner's members save time and money with benefits including free 2-day shipping with no minimum order, free and easy return shipping, exclusive member offers, and easy 2-click check out. Participating stores include places like MacMall, Toys "R" Us, Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, GNC, American Eagle Outfitters, Drugstore.com, Blue Nile and hundreds of others.
You can get a ShopRunner membership and save on your holiday shopping for $79 for one year--the same price as Amazon Prime, but you can use it for hundreds of other online stores as previously mentioned.
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Amazon has announced that it's Instant Video service has secured exclusive rights to Downton Abbey, the same day that Netflix exclusive House of Cards went live. Season 3 of the popular show will debut on Amazon Prime Instant Video on June 18th. The first two seasons are available on Hulu and Netflix, but will be removed later this year. Season 4 (and 5, if produced) will maintain Amazon exclusivity.
It's fun to sit back and observe the battle between Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, but we have to wonder what this does for customers. If you want to be able to watch shows that are exclusive to different services, then you need to be a subscriber to all of them. Not super-expensive at about $25 per month, but it's still a substantial jump over just choosing one service for $8 per month and sticking with it.
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Amazon Prime is the best deal in tech, and now Amazon aims to make it's two-day shipping, Kindle Lending Library, and instant movie and television streaming service a bit more accessible with an alternate price structure. Amazon customers now have the option of paying $7.99 per month for a Prime membership, which some may find more palatable compared to the yearly $79 lump sum pricing. Obviously, paying for a year up front offers a 20% savings, but we're sure many will opt for the monthly payment interval. Some are calling this a direct shot at Netflix and Hulu, each of which also offer instant streaming of television and movies, however, both lack any sort of shipping option (or retail store,) or monthly ebook lending library.
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Amazon has announced yet another video sponsorship for Prime Instant Video, this time with premium cable network Epix. The partnership will bring over 3,000 movies from the likes of Lionsgate, Paramount, and MGM to Amazon's streaming offering, including movies like The Avengers, The Hunger Games, Thor, and more. Amazon and Epix have announced that this is a multi-year licensing deal. Amazon Prime Instant Video is available as one of many perks of the $79 per year Amazon Prime membership. The Epix titles will be available 90 days after they appear on Epix VOD. Netflix had previously held an exclusive license for Epix content, which has now expired.
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Amazon has announced a deal with NBCUniversal that brings even more video content to its Prime Instant Video streaming offering. Hundreds of new episodes of plenty of different shows are now part of Amazon Prime Instant Video including Battlestar Galactica, Parks and Recreation, Friday Night Lights, Heroes, Parenthood, and many more. Amazon Prime members can access Instant Video from their PC, Mac, Kindle Fire, iPad, Roku, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360. The service also recently added hundreds of offerings from both Paramount and MGM.
Today Amazon has released its long-awaited Instant Video iPad app on Apple's App Store. If you're an Amazon Prime member, this means that you have access to the entire Prime Instant Video catalog, but anyone can access purchased content on-demand as well. We've been playing with it this morning, and it works just as you'd expect it to, with badges indicating which pieces of content are available for free to Prime members.
One nice bonus is that the app supports AirPlay, essentially bringing Amazon Instant Video to your Apple TV. Sure, it's not built-in like Netflix or the newly-added Hulu Plus, but it still allows you to enjoy Amazon's streaming catalog on your television if you own an Apple TV. You can download the free Amazon Instant Video app now.
Amazon has just announced a new partnership with MGM Studios that's set to bring hundreds of additional TV and movie classics to Amazon Prime Instant Video. This includes such hits as The Silence of the Lambs, Species, Rain Man, Stargate, and The Terminator. This brings the total of Amazon's offerings to over 18,000 movies and television episodes that you can stream to your Xbox 360 and other devices, all included in the price of your Amazon Prime membership.
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Amazon continues to make its Amazon Prime service more enticing today with the announcement that it's added hundreds more movies to its Instant Video streaming video catalog thanks to an agreement with Paramount. Starting today, you can watch movies like Mission Impossible III, Nacho Libre, Star Trek, The Italian Job, and more if you're a Prime member.