Amazon Instant Video for iPad, a new app from the online retail giant, enables Amazon members to stream and rent movies-on-demand instantly.
Amazon have released a new app, Amazon Instant Video for iPad, which allows Amazon members to rent and purchase movies and TV shows directly from the Amazon website to their iPads. Regular Amazon members have access to over 120,000 movies and TV shows available to rent or buy, while Amazon Prime members have the added bonus of being able to access a selection of these titles for free.
Amazon Instant Video comes with all the benefits of Amazon’s Whispersync technology: once you’ve downloaded a movie, you can start watching it on your iPad, then pick up where you left off on another device that supports Amazon Instant Video. The service also allows users to download rented or purchased movies, and watch them when they are offline. Users who pay the $79 per year Amazon Prime membership can download around 17,000 titles at no extra cost.
The service first became available in 2011 as a feature on the Kindle Fire, desktop computers, TiVo and other online TV services. The only downside to using it on the iPad is that you can’t actually purchase or rent content through the app: you need to access your Amazon account through a browser, and download the content there before it is available on your iPad. This system is similar to the way the Amazon Kindle app works – users must download books to their account through a desktop or mobile browser before they can access them on their iPad.
This somewhat major flaw is due to the fact that Apple take a 30% commission from all in-app sales. For a mega-retailer like Amazon, that amounts to a lot of cash. So Amazon get around the issue by allowing users to view content through their iOS apps, but not download. An Amazon representative told online tech magazine CNET: “new videos can be rented or purchased from Amazon Instant Video on the Web, including Safari on the iPad.”
Despite its drawbacks, Amazon’s Instant Video service is set to be a key competitor to other streaming services like Netflix, especially given the latter’s somewhat limited catalogue.
Amazon Instant Video is available now through the App Store.