Thursday, October 18, 2012

Amazon Prime Review

When I got my Kindle Fire last month, I signed up for the free trial with Amazon Prime which has free instant streaming of videos.

'a', my 9 yr old son - LOVED IT! For me? it was an 'eh'. And I think that for the cost, it's too expensive for providing more cartoons to my son who could benefit from LESS tv addiction.

He did watch entire seasons of cartoons that were no longer broadcast on television over and over again.

Me? I enjoyed a few of the early seasons of Dr Who. There weren't many on there, but there were some of the good ones. I didn't find any movies that I hadn't already seen that I wanted to see. There weren't any current television shows that I had missed that were available. My list of want-to-see items was pretty short.

Using Amazon Prime with the Kindle Fire was so-so. Once we were able to pull up our watch list (which took navigating to Amazon, and a few more clicks on the web site than seemed appropriate, hence the so-so ranking)... we were able to select the episode we wanted to watch and enjoy it quite well. There was a place to get to the watch list quicker - but it wouldn't include the things you wanted to watch and hadn't started yet. And you couldn't add to it from there.

But it would pop up asking if we wanted to watch it with the right viewer (which of course, we did). It just would have been nice to have easier access to the watch list right from the device without navigating to the web first; which would then let the episode pop up with the right viewer in the first place. (yes, I consider this unfriendly user experience a negative).

You can't use the micro-USB to USB cord to plug the Kindle to the Digital TV to play the video on the television monitor... BUT you can buy a HDMI cable for the laptop. Since Amazon Prime works from any web enabled device, that means that I could have my laptop hooked up to the big screen for streaming television. So, I'll put this down as neither a negative nor a positive.

BUT - the vast majority of the movies and/or television shows that I watch on a regular basis aren't available without a long delay on Amazon Prime. This won't ever replace my cable service, no matter how much money it would save. Big negative.

Also, live streaming is free, but downloading the episodes to watch while offline? Not free. Not incredibly expensive - many of the shows/episodes were priced around $.99 - $2.49 each. Which is about the cost of a one or two-day RedBox rental... and you would own the episode to watch repeatedly. I was dissapointed that this was as expensive as it was though. My thought was that it would be useful to have some downloaded movies/television cartoons for my son to watch on long drives.  Also a negative.

I do love that once you get to the viewer you have the list of the seasons and/or episodes right there and it's dead easy to start the next episode. This ease of use meant my son didn't require a lot of assistance to get to watch what he wanted to watch - though he did need my help every time we had to find the watch list again and any time we wanted to add something to the watch list. Big positive.

For pricing, while it's at $80/year (which seems high because it's all paid at once) -- it's actually almost a bargain compared to Netflix and Hulu Plus (which at around $8/month - are $96/year). It comes with free shipping on all (I think all?) Amazon purchases for the year. As well as the ability to download one book-at-a-time from a specific library of digital books for free.

I'm planning on experimenting with Netflix and Hulu Plus (which both have free trials as well) to see if I have a preference between the three services I'm aware of.

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