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Watch Out Netflix, Amazon Streaming Video to Prime Users 218

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the optimus-would-be-proud dept.
ageoffri writes "Amazon has announced that they will include streaming with a subscription to Amazon Prime. The free 2 day shipping on a huge selection of products either sold directly by Amazon or fulfilled by Amazon is already worth the Prime cost. Now add in streaming that works out to just under $7/month and it gets better. Sure the selection isn't that great yet but this has the ability to really change the streaming market!"
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Watch Out Netflix, Amazon Streaming Video to Prime Users

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  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @05:43PM (#35284978)
    We're Amazon and we want to be everything to everybody!
    • I'd laugh, but Amazon is actually pretty good at being everything to everybody.
      • I wish they would get the Prime 2-day shipping back in order. I used that service a *lot* until last October they switched to Ensenda as the carrier in my area. Suddenly the few 2-day Prime packages that got delivered at all were coming in 1-2 weeks. The story is the same with the other obscure carriers A1, On-Trac, Lasership, etc. After a while I gave up and canceled my Prime membership. Why pay extra for 2-day shipping that comes in 1 to 2 weeks or not at all?

        Amazon needs to restore their Prime shipping p

        • They always use UPS for my packages. But it seems like every single CD I order arrives with a cracked case. I think it's because they ship them in padded envelopes. They used to use boxes. They do tend to arrive in 2 days or less though. And I see the streaming video actually works. I was watching Les Miserables.
        • by MoonBuggy (611105)

          What was their response on that one? I'm guessing they'd pin the blame (rightly) on the carrier, but from a customer satisfaction point of view it obviously matters that you get your package on time, not whose fault it is if you don't. Some services (Ryanair immediately spring to mind) can survive a reputation for being crap because they're really, really cheap; although that might be applicable to Amazon in general (but probably not, all things considered), it's certainly not applicable to a 'premium' serv

          • "What was their response on that one?"

            Amazon had a canned response for when a package was overdue a few days: "We are sorry to hear about your shipping problems, please wait 1 week and contact us again if the package has not arrived." One week later: "We are sorry to hear about your shipping problems, we can [send a replacement *or* the item is no longer in stock so we will refund it]. After this repeated over weeks and multiple packages, I decided it was not worth the hassle and canceled my Prime membershi

            • by MoonBuggy (611105)

              I'm not surprised you cancelled, in that case, although I am somewhat surprised that Amazon are treating their premium customers like they don't matter. I would've thought they'd be putting in more effort for people willing to prepay $80 on shipping alone.

        • by pyite (140350)

          I used that service a *lot* until last October they switched to Ensenda as the carrier in my area.

          They did the same thing with me. Overall, Ensenda was fine for some packages and a disaster for others. Makes sense if you read up on them. Your packages are basically delivered by a "man with a van." Unmarked vehicles show up and drop packages off. So, it's basically hit or miss. Especially if you get a driver who does't know your building (living in an apartment) and decides that not finding the building translates to "delivery attempted." So, whenever Ensenda screwed up, I was very vocal, as I never have

  • ... this doesn't apply to your free Prime membership.
  • by eln (21727) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @05:45PM (#35284996) Homepage
    So it's basically Netflix, with the exact same shortcomings of Netflix. I'd gladly pay at least twice what Netflix currently charges for streaming if I could get their entire collection that way. Unfortunately, the content providers haven't yet pulled their heads out of their asses and figured out that digital distribution is the future, so we're still stuck waiting for DVDs in the mail for most reasonably modern and/or highly rated content.

    As digital distribution becomes more ubiquitous, more and more people will turn to piracy unless the content providers start allowing more of their stuff to be streamed legally. Hopefully they'll figure that out instead of fighting streaming every step of the way.
    • by afidel (530433)
      Exact same, ha. Of the 460 SciFi TV seasons they have available only 60 are available through prime right now and most of those (42) are from the BBC. Big content really is shooting itself in the foot. As you point out if I want to watch a current tv series it's MUCH easier to go grab it off TPB or some other download site than it is for me to watch it electronically.
      • by jedidiah (1196)

        ...except BBC shows represent the most expensive ones out there.

        Most American shows are dirt cheap by comparison.

        After a couple of Classic Dr Who serials, the Prime pays for itself.

    • by tool462 (677306)

      Agreed. This is one of the biggest frustrations with the Netflix/Amazon Prime streaming. But as a silver lining, I have found a ton of really good older or obscure indie stuff that I never would have encountered any other way.

    • for me it is a free add on to a service I already pay for.

      Prime is a great deal for a lot of people because of the cheap shipping, now that I can get free movies, it is even better.

    • I'd gladly pay at least twice what Netflix currently charges for streaming if I could get their entire collection that way.

      Given that my current cable bill is over $50, I'd pay well over twice Netflix's regular rates if I could get their full catalog completely ad free and on demand. And I'd tell the cable company to keep their overpriced ad-supported content.

    • by Eryq (313869)

      Exact same shortcomings? No. Reportedly it works in Linux.

      And if it does, I'm kissing Netflix goodbye.

    • Unfortunately, the content providers haven't yet pulled their heads out of their asses and figured out that digital distribution is the future, so we're still stuck waiting for DVDs in the mail for most reasonably modern and/or highly rated content.

      That's because Hollywood hates the planet. Ignoring for a moment the inefficiency of shipping tiny plastic discs all over creation, it costs Netflix almost a dollar to round-trip a DVD vs. 10 cents for digital distribution. That money has to come from somewh

  • works in linux (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @05:46PM (#35285008)

    Not only works in Linux, but it works *well* in Linux.

    Netflix can eat it.

    • Re:works in linux (Score:5, Informative)

      by s0litaire (1205168) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @06:10PM (#35285276)

      I was pleasantly surprised it works on my Linux laptop ^_^

    • Use chrome with an nvidia 9000 series or better card and you get some nice vdpau exceleration as well.

    • That's great that it works well on Linux, but it seems like a trade-off. I prefer watching Netflix on Xbox. Also, I have never been a fan navigating through Amazon's clusterfuck of content. For example, I prefer Kindle apps for ebooks, but I dread going to their site to purchase ebooks. They have a habit of cramming too much content on a page and trying to tie in every section of their business that they possibly can: something I don't have to deal with when I order dvds or update my Netflix que. I think th
      • by Hatta (162192)

        How do you get Netflix on an Xbox?

        • by Rudolf (43885)

          How do you get Netflix on an Xbox?
          Sign up for the XBOX Live "Gold" membership, and NetFlix is one of the "Video Marketplace" entries.

           

  • by s0litaire (1205168) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @05:48PM (#35285034)

    I've a US Amazon.com Prime account. (currently a free trial!)

    Just finished watching the "Millennium trilogy" (Girl with..) series of movies
    Now starting on Farscape Series...

    Think I'd pay the fee for unlimited streaming (Works out at just over £4 a month...) ^_^

    • >>>"Millennium trilogy" (Girl with..) series of movies

      The what?
      Never heard of that.

      • by Mojofreem (556489)

        Based on the books by Steig Larsen ( http://www.amazon.com/Girl-Dragon-Tattoo-Millennium-Trilogy/dp/0307473473/ref=tmm_mmp_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1298415990&sr=8-4/ [amazon.com]).

        • Girl with the Dragon Tatoo
        • The girl who played with fire
        • The girl who kicked the hornets nest

        It's actually a rather good set of movies (haven't finished the third one yet), though it does have some disturbing content. It's in Swedish, with English subtitles. All three are currently available on Netflix streaming.

        I heard that they're planni

        • Amazon have all 3 in either subtitled or dubbed versions ^_^

        • by Tumbleweed (3706) *

          I heard that they're planning an Americanized Hollywood adaptation. I can only expect it to end up as awful and vile as "Point of No Return" was compared to "La Femme Nikita".

          Perhaps a bad assumption, considering who's making it - David Fincher (Social Network, Fight Club, Se73n, etc.), and who's in it: Daniel Craig, Robin Wright, Stellan Skaarsgard, Christopher Plummer, Joely Richardson, Goran Visnjic, Julian Sands. I wish he'd gone with Ellen Page for Lisbeth, but you can't have everything.

          It looks like he's intending to do a more faithful version of the book, rather than just doing a remake of the movies.

    • Never mind. Found it (below). Hard to believe that actress is in her 30s! So is the BBC Office better than the NBC Office???

      The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
      The Girl Who Played With Fire
      The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest

  • Not sure why others are not? I have hulu.com and syfy.com to watch my favorite shows, but never had a good source for cheap movies - except bittorrent.

    Now I can rent them for $7 a month PLUS get free shipping/priority shipping on all my books and games. Good deal. Makes me wonder how amazon can afford it?

    • Makes me wonder how amazon can afford it?

      I am pretty sure it goes something like this : we are the largest dvd seller, do us a price or we will jack the price of your product

      • by bsane (148894)

        As a recent Prime customer I can tell you it goes like this:

        I need to buy X. Usual brick and mortar vs online argument, except now I don't have to pay for fast shipping. Even paying 3.99 for overnight shipping you end up way ahead. In about a month I've switched to buying anything of consequence from amazon instead of from a store. I even bought computer equipment from amazon instead of from newegg for similar reasons. Basically my amazon spending increased 10x. Presumably they're not losing money by eating

  • It's not available on the Tivo yet, so for right now Netflix trumps it. Also the lack of DVDs being sent to me until all this crap about digital rights get figured out. Though the price is right for me, and I've already got Prime, so I can't complain too much. Hopefully this is just a taste of things to come.

  • but this has the ability to really change the streaming market!

    ...in the USA (and perhaps Canada?) There still isn't anything close to Netflix or this new Amazon service in Europe. Or at least not that I know of. There wasn't anything like it in Holland a few years back and there isn't now over here in Finland. :/

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      I hear tell of some torrent of bits that can be used over the series of tubes we call the internet when content creators fuck up like that.

      • by Dogtanian (588974)

        I hear tell of some torrent of bits that can be used over the series of tubes we call the internet when content creators fuck up like that.

        Perhaps, but that isn't "streaming" since you don't normally(?) get to see it until you have the lot.

    • it IS gonna change the Streaming market internationally!

      Since it does not check to see what country you are in when viewing the content, Just that you have a US Amazon account...

      You'll find more people like me (in the UK) signing up for the US service to get good/cheap streaming movies!!

    • by s7uar7 (746699)
      Amazon recently bought Lovefilm, the UK's equivalent of Netflix, and they have (very limited) streaming. With a bit of luck amazon.co.uk at least will introduce it.
    • That was my first though when I saw the title..."Lemme guess, US only?"

  • Works on Linux! (Score:4, Informative)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @06:01PM (#35285164)

    As a prime member this is great news. If they expand the available titles I plan on canceling netflix. I will make sure I tell them too. I also just streamed a show on my android phone.

  • I've checked Amazon for a few of the TV shows I'd like to get streamed on Netflix and Amazon doesn't have them for streaming either -- is there any reason to believe that Amazon will have a better streaming selection?

    • Probably not, since they're at the whims of the content providers. Given that exclusivity == $$$, even when the content is shite, don't expect the current situation to improve any time soon. Same situation as music. If an artist, label, or studip doesn't want digital downloads, checking different endpoint providers won't change the selection.

  • by ExileOnHoth (53325) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @06:14PM (#35285320)
    "Sure the selection isn't that great yet but this has the ability to really change the streaming market"

    Really? That sentence right there sums up why engineering types consistently fail to take on the big players in this market.

    I think you have it backwards: the "selection" is EVERYTHING. Until a company shows it can make the kind of content deals Apple can with the big content creators, it will fail to gain market share.

    The content is critical.
    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Apple still does not have subscription based streaming, so what are you talking about?
      $0.99 is fine if I want to own it, but to stream a tv show should be subscription or maybe $0.25 per episode.

      • I'm talking about paid digital video as a whole, not just "subscriptions" which would be an arbitrary line to draw.

        The point I'm making is these kinds of services only succeed in the marketplace when they have content deals in place with the big content providers. The story says: "this has the ability to really change the streaming market" -- I would argue that the market will go wherever the content deals are.

        Amazon knows this. I bet Amazon CAN put some big content deals in place. When that happens,
  • by Azureflare (645778) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @06:18PM (#35285346)

    It appears that Amazon has a collection of movies/tv shows that are free to stream, and a much larger collection that you must pay $3 to rent or $10 to buy (much like iTMS).

    The selection for free instant play seems rather small. In all honesty, this seems to be more a competitor for iTMS than Netflix. I don't pay anything extra to get dvds or stream from Netflix.

  • They just need to get an Android tablet out. Amazon is preparing an own App Store for Android, now they offer streaming... They're selling music anyway. The users are there, too. Amazon is in a perfect position to go into the mobile content/apps market and then it can deliver real goods, too. Actually both Google and Apple are *not* in a better position.

  • Many have commented how similar it is to Netflix selection. Did amazon happen to negotiate some deal or is amazon including some sort of rebranding agreement as a subset of their selection?

    I was thinking since Netflix uses Amazon as a hosting provider if some sort of agreement was struck..

  • by dbc (135354) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @06:27PM (#35285424)

    Amazon's distribution center in Reno can hit 90% of the population of Northern California overnight with *regular* UPS shipping. If you order for regular 5-7 day delivery, they pick, pack and label your parcel, and then let it age on a warehouse shelf for a few days. If you pay for overnight or Prime, they don't age it. Amazon Prime is a racket, a profit center, not free shipping.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      So what you are saying is they are willing to ship it to you faster if you pay more?
      Which is exactly what they say.

      Note that it is UPS that normally "ages" these packages. You can tell by checking its tracking information and seeing that UPS holds the package in one place for days.

    • That can't be right. When I lived in Reno, I would always order using the 5-7 day delivery and the only time it didn't arrive overnight was when the order was shipped from a different warehouse.
    • by farnsworth (558449) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @07:10PM (#35285794)

      Amazon's distribution center in Reno can hit 90% of the population of Northern California overnight with *regular* UPS shipping. If you order for regular 5-7 day delivery, they pick, pack and label your parcel, and then let it age on a warehouse shelf for a few days. If you pay for overnight or Prime, they don't age it. Amazon Prime is a racket, a profit center, not free shipping.

      It's not like there is a continuous flow of infinite-capacity trucks rolling by the warehouse 24/7. Both Amazon and the shipping company have to maximize shipment density and at the same time minimize delivery time. One way to do this is to create artificial segments of shipping via pricing. The customers who pay less get a less certain delivery window. The customers who pay more get priority on that night's truck (or however they work it). It's not like the trucks drive faster if you pay more. You are paying more for priority in the logistics chain, which is well worth it for some people.

      • by porges (58715)

        It depends on some raw facts that we don't quite have. If Amazon's non-Prime is "whenever we can get to it, but guaranteed within two weeks" or some such thing, that's one thing. But if the entire non-Prime model is, as the GP claims, "store it all for a week, then ship it as usual", that's another. You could catch up with a a boost and then everyone could be getting their Prime-like delivery for cheaper...

        unless the cost structure to Amazon is such that no, they couldn't, because if nobody was paying fo

    • Yea, just like the chip companies who disable cores/features for different chips to have a full range of product. You CAN think of it that way, you're just wrong when doing so.
    • Amazon's distribution center in Reno can hit 90% of the population of Northern California overnight with *regular* UPS shipping. If you order for regular 5-7 day delivery, they pick, pack and label your parcel, and then let it age on a warehouse shelf for a few days. If you pay for overnight or Prime, they don't age it. Amazon Prime is a racket, a profit center, not free shipping.

      I'm not in the least surprised by this. Many manufacturers "blemish" parts of their product line on purpose so that they can justify charging more for the premium ones.

    • Amazon's distribution center in Reno can hit 90% of the population of Northern California overnight with *regular* UPS shipping. If you order for regular 5-7 day delivery, they pick, pack and label your parcel, and then let it age on a warehouse shelf for a few days.

      Prime has been mostly switched over to USPS, from what I've read. No more 2-day shipping, except to the lucky few. USPS won't even deliver within 5 miles of my house, so it's a total non-starter for me. UPS does a great job.

    • Amazon's distribution center in Reno can hit 90% of the population of Northern California overnight with *regular* UPS shipping. If you order for regular 5-7 day delivery, they pick, pack and label your parcel, and then let it age on a warehouse shelf for a few days. If you pay for overnight or Prime, they don't age it. Amazon Prime is a racket, a profit center, not free shipping.

      And you base this on... what exactly? Sounds pretty hokey and anecdotal to me. I've never used Amazon Prime before, and when I order stuff from them, it almost always gets to me within two days, three at the most. I live in Atlanta, Georgia, which is a pretty major delivery hub for the southeast, so typically packages take a day to get from point A to a delivery hub close to point A and sometimes to the Atlanta regional hub, then a day to get either to me on the truck or to my local delivery center to be

  • Downside to Prime (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @06:27PM (#35285426)

    There are a couple of non-obvious downsides to paying for Amazon Prime.

    The first is that it can be a false economy - the expedited shipping is not free, you pay for it up front a year at a time. But since the extra cost is not accounted for in the price of each transaction it makes it harder to comparison shop - it becomes mentally easier to pay a higher price for an item at Amazon rather than purchase it elsewhere because the "total cost" appears to be lower.

    The second downside is more insidious - since you've paid up front, Amazon can hold your money hostage. I saw one case a few years ago where Amazon had a dispute with a bunch of fatwallet types - Amazon shipped out 20-30 different products to a couple of hundred customers at a very low price and then changed their mind about the price after the orders were delivered. They told the buyers that they could either return the products for a refund or pay the difference in a second charge to their credit cards. Amazon even went so far as to process those second charges without getting permission.

    The people who disputed the charge with their credit cards got the charges cancelled as they were never authorised in the first place. BUT Amazon then "froze" their accounts on their website. The people who had paid for Prime were SOL - sure they had the privilege of expedited shipping on any order for another ~10 months, they just couldn't place any orders. As far as I know, none of those people ever saw a penny of that Prime fee refunded.

    While I wasn't financially affected by the incident, seeing how Amazon handled it, I was convinced to never pay Amazon for their Prime service. It isn't a stretch to see Amazon pulling the same stunt with the video streaming - you can stream any video you pay for, but they won't actually let you pay for anything.

    FWIW, it also made me think twice about "deals" at Amazon - if they won't stand behind their own system's pricing info, how am I supposed to tell the difference between a promotional discount and a computer error?

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      You do pay for the shipping up front, but you are paying for 2 day shipping. Tjhat is normally more expensive so you need to compare to that. I paid $3 more for a monitor because I have amazon prime. For me the $3 and the $1 portion of amazon prime (I make at least 80 orders a year, office mates share my prime and pay me for it) was worth it and cheaper than the $7 three day shipping at the other vendor.

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        I live in Canada, so maybe things work different for Amazon here, but basically it's always been 2 day shipping here. Even if you get the free super saver shipping on orders over $39 it still only takes 2 days for the item to be delivered. It's not guaranteed 2 days, but it's effectively 2 days. Many times it's even 1 day. As long as they have the item in stock, and you live in a major city, you are going to get the item within maximum 3 days, Usually 2 days, and often 1 day. You could pay extra if yo
    • But since the extra cost is not accounted for in the price of each transaction it makes it harder to comparison shop - it becomes mentally easier to pay a higher price for an item at Amazon rather than purchase it elsewhere because the "total cost" appears to be lower.

      That's because you're doing it wrong. If you're already paying for Amazon Prime then the total cost actually is lower. The cost of Prime is a sunk cost. You don't get it back just because you bought less stuff from Amazon, so you don't use it when comparing prices.

      What makes it annoying (especially to competitors) is that it allows Amazon to scoop up all the high volume purchasers. If you buy enough stuff that a Prime subscription is cost effective then what Amazon is essentially doing is giving you a (ship

    • Re:Downside to Prime (Score:5, Informative)

      by KingSkippus (799657) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @09:00AM (#35289548) Homepage Journal

      The second downside is more insidious - since you've paid up front, Amazon can hold your money hostage. I saw one case a few years ago where Amazon had a dispute with a bunch of fatwallet types - Amazon shipped out 20-30 different products to a couple of hundred customers at a very low price and then changed their mind about the price after the orders were delivered. They told the buyers that they could either return the products for a refund or pay the difference in a second charge to their credit cards. Amazon even went so far as to process those second charges without getting permission.

      The people who disputed the charge with their credit cards got the charges cancelled as they were never authorised in the first place. BUT Amazon then "froze" their accounts on their website. The people who had paid for Prime were SOL - sure they had the privilege of expedited shipping on any order for another ~10 months, they just couldn't place any orders. As far as I know, none of those people ever saw a penny of that Prime fee refunded.

      I read the link you provided in your reply and then some. The "deal" the OP is referring to was a "buy one, get one of equal or lesser value free" offer, and was presented as such by Amazon. However, due to a glitch in their order processing system, it gave you credit multiple times for the lesser-priced of the items. The glitch was posted on a forum, and some people thought it would be clever to exploit the glitch. Reading the thread, apparently one guy ordered over $1,600 of DVDs for something like $25.

      Amazon didn't "change their mind about the price." The terms were posted on the site, and any reasonable person would have known that the deal did not entail getting $1,600's worth of DVDs for $25 because of a billing glitch. Amazon simply corrected a billing error after giving people who exploited the error a very reasonable time to return the DVDs (with shipping pre-paid) if they didn't want to be charged. Some of the exploiters chose not to, Amazon billed them per the text of the offer, and a bunch of them complained that they weren't able to bilk Amazon out of thousands of dollars.

      Those people were effectively trying to steal those DVDs as surely as if you knew a credit card processor at you local Best Buy is on the glitch and you thought you could get a new flat screen television for free. Personally, I'm glad Amazon didn't let them get away with it.

  • This is the same Amazon that caved to big brother. Why do business with them?

  • But Netflix works on my PS3 and Wii. Last I checked, I'd need a Windows PC to use Amazon streaming, and I don't need that kind of torture to watch Baby Mama.

    • But Netflix works on my PS3 and Wii. Last I checked, I'd need a Windows PC to use Amazon streaming, and I don't need that kind of torture to watch Baby Mama.

      But... but... but we're supposed to feel sorry for the people who intentionally decided to use a niche OS when they can't use a popular service that's easily accessible a number of other ways.

  • I paid $25 annually for Barnes & Noble's "Reader's Advantage" card, which provides free shipping PLUS a discount 10%. That alone has added up to like four Doctor Who DVDs :-)

  • by Danny Rathjens (8471) <slashdot2@@@rathjens...org> on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @09:28AM (#35289782)
    Only in the fairyland world of marketing is something claimed to be "free" when you are actually paying for it. Please don't fall for it. I'm paying $80/year for 2 day shipping on my orders. Adding the word "free" in there is absurd.

    Yes. I also round up prices ending in 9. ;)

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