Amazon Video

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"Unbox" redirects here. For the computer science term relating to data structures, see Object type (object-oriented programming) § Unboxing. For the unpacking of new products, see Unboxing.
Amazon Video
Subsidiary of
Industry Electronic commerce
Area served
United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Austria
Amazon Video
Initial release September 7, 2006
Development status Active
Operating system

Desktop/Mobile OS:
Streaming via web browser, Android, iOS, Fire OS Set-top boxes & Consoles:
Amazon Fire TV, Roku, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii, Wii U

TV's and Blu-Ray Players:
Sony, Panasonic, LG, Samsung, Vizio
Type Digital distribution

Amazon Video (Japanese: Amazon ビデオ), or Amazon Instant Video (formerly Amazon Unbox and Amazon Video On Demand in the US, and Lovefilm Instant in Europe), is an Internet video on demand (VOD) service by Amazon in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Austria, Germany and soon India.[1] It offers television shows and films for rental or purchase. Selected titles are offered for free to customers with an Amazon Prime subscription, a move that angered some UK consumers when it was bundled with a non-negotiable 61% increase in the subscription fee.[2] Like competitors, Amazon has pursued a number of exclusive content deals to differentiate its service. Most recently, Amazon reached a multi-year licensing deal with content provider HBO.[3]


The US service debuted on September 7, 2006, as Amazon Unbox.[4] On September 4, 2008, the service was renamed Amazon Video on Demand. The Unbox name still refers to the locally installed player,[5][6] which as of August 2014 is no longer available for downloading purchased instant videos. On February 22, 2011, Amazon rebranded as Amazon Instant Video and added access to 5,000 movies and TV shows for Amazon Prime members.[7][8] On September 4, 2012, Amazon signed a deal with pay-TV channel Epix to feature movies on their streaming service, in a move to rival their competitor Netflix.[9] Additionally, in November 2013, Amazon premiered the comedies Alpha House and Betas, which are original series available exclusively online via the Prime Instant Video service. Amazon offered the first three episodes of both series at once for free, with each subsequent episode released weekly thereafter for Prime members.[10]

In February 2014, Amazon announced that the streaming service of its UK subsidiary LoveFilm would be folded into the Instant Video service on 26 February 2014.[11][12] In January 2015, Transparent became the first show produced by Amazon Studios to win a major award and the first series from a streaming video service to win the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy.[13]

On July 30, 2015, Amazon officially announced that they had hired Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May to produce a 3 series long car programme for Amazon Prime Video. Jeff Bezos or have not stated how much Jeremy, James, or Richard are being paid to produce the programme, but Jeff Bezos stated that the deal was "very expensive, but worth it". [14] The budget for the show has not officially been announced, but Andy Wilman, the late executive producer of Top Gear stated that each episode would have a budget of around £4.5 million, 9x larger than Top Gear's budget. [15] The new show is reportedly set to air in the Autumn of 2016.

In September 2015 the word "Instant" was dropped from its title in the US, and it was re-branded simply as Amazon Video.[16]


Amazon Video is available on numerous compatible devices. This includes a number of smart TVs and Blu-ray players such as 2010 or later Samsung and LG models, as well as consoles like the PlayStation 3,[17] PlayStation 4, the Xbox 360,[18] Xbox One, Wii, Wii U, and mobile devices like the iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets,[19] Kindle Fire tablets and the Fire Phone. The service is also available through streaming devices such as Roku[20] (except in UK) and Amazon's Fire TV.[21] Amazon Video's app for iOS devices is compatible with Apple TV via AirPlay.[22][23]

Video quality[edit]

Depending on the device, Amazon supports up to 1080p (HD) streaming with 5.1 Dolby Digital or Dolby Digital Plus audio. For titles that are only available for purchase (and not included in a customer's Amazon Prime subscription), the HD option is often offered at an additional price. Amazon Video supports 4K (UHD) and High Dynamic Range (HDR) streaming, beginning with its original content.[24]


Amazon Video is currently only available to residents of the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and Austria.[25] Customers of Amazon Video can stream on the web using an HTML5 player supported in the Chrome, IE11 and Microsoft Edge browsers, or using Microsoft Silverlight[26] in Firefox.

Use on various TVs, Blu-ray players and consoles (including Panasonic, LG, Samsung and other TVs) requires a broadband connection. Amazon Video is also available on recent PlayStation, Xbox, Wii and Wii U video game consoles.

On October 1, 2015, it was announced memo that Amazon would pull Google Chromecast and Apple TV products from its online marketplace, and ban its sale by all merchants effective October 29, 2015. Amazon argued that this was to reduce "customer confusion", as these devices do not support the Amazon Video ecosystem.[27]

Points of Differentiation[edit]

  • Many titles are also available for rental or purchase, often hours after broadcast on TV. This contrasts with subscription-only based providers like Netflix, where customers may need to wait several months or more to view content.
  • In addition to shows from mainstream networks (CBS, FOX, and NBC), Amazon Video sells television series from the BBC, MTV, BRAVO, and the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS). Amazon also sells more obscure television series such as Giant Robo (also known as Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot), a 1960s Japanese television show popular in the U.S. in the early 1970s.
  • Beginning with the 2007–08 television season, Amazon Video became the exclusive provider of NBC content, replacing iTunes as the delivery mechanism for these shows.[28] NBC Universal later signed a new distribution agreement with Apple starting with the 2008–09 season and started distributing some of its shows for free on Hulu.


TV Passes purchased in the middle of a television season require the purchase of all previous episodes of the current season. Further, TV Passes are restricted to a season and the user isn't notified when new seasons become available, so the user must find out through other means when the new season starts and then manually order it.

Amazon does not support WebM for VP8 support with streaming of Prime HD movie content on computers, but it is available on some devices.

Although many movies and TV shows have built-in support for multiple languages for audio and for subtitles, as of August 2014, Amazon Video does not provide alternative audio for any of their movies or shows for rent or sale.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Amazon readies $5 billion chest for bigger play in India, to launch subscription-based ecommerce services". Economic Times. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  2. ^ Ruth Lythe (February 26, 2014). "Amazon Prime customers angered at unwanted upgrade as internet giant hikes cost of subscription by £30 a year". Daily Mail. 
  3. ^ Kleinman, Alexis (2014-04-23). "Amazon Prime Just Got Way Better With A Ton Of Old HBO Shows". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  4. ^ " Investor Relations: Press Release". 
  5. ^ "Amazon Media Room: News Release". 
  6. ^ " Help: Amazon Instant Video". 
  7. ^ Christina Warren2011-02-22 12:45:05 UTC (2011-02-22). "HANDS ON: Amazon's Prime Instant Video". Retrieved 2013-11-27. 
  8. ^ "Amazon Media Room: Press Releases". 
  9. ^ Bloomberg News. September 4, 2012. "Amazon Adds Movies to Streaming Service in New Challenge to Netflix."
  10. ^ "Amazon's Original Series "Alpha House" Debuts Friday". The Motley Fool. Associated Press. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  11. ^ "Amazon takes on Netflix with rebrand of LoveFilm video-on-demand service". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  12. ^ Mance, Henry (21 February 2014). "Amazon finds less passionate name for Lovefilm streaming service". Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  13. ^ "AMAZON.COM ANNOUNCES FOURTH QUARTER SALES UP 15% TO $29.33 BILLION" (XBRL). United States Securities and Exchange Commission. January 29, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Amazon boss says Jeremy Clarkson's Top Gear follow-on show 'expensive but worth it'". The Guardian. The Guardian. Retrieved 16 August 2015. 
  15. ^ "Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May’s new Amazon Prime show has an absolutely insane budget". Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  16. ^ Soper, Taylor. "Amazon drops ‘Instant’ from ‘Instant Video,’ streamlining its streaming brand". GeekWire. Retrieved 5 September 2015. 
  17. ^ Jack Buser (April 3, 2012). "PS3: The First Console to Offer Amazon Instant Video". Retrieved June 15, 2012. 
  18. ^ Lardinois, Frederic. May 29, 2012. "Amazon Instant Video Comes to Xbox 360."
  19. ^ Amazon Brings Prime Instant Video To All Android Phones In US, UK And Germany. Sep 9, 2014 Sarah Perez
  20. ^ Roku. "Roku - Streaming TV & Media Player". Roku. 
  21. ^ "Amazon Fire TV". 
  22. ^ "Amazon’s Instant Video iOS app now lets you stream to Apple TV via AirPlay — Tech News and Analysis". 2013-09-17. Retrieved 2013-11-27. 
  23. ^ "What are the production costs for Top Gear?". Quora. 
  24. ^ Luke Edwards. "Amazon is going 4K and bringing Prime Instant Video to Android". Pocket-lint. 
  25. ^ Nick Patrick. "Where Can You Get Amazon Prime Video?". Stream Sidekick. 
  26. ^ Amazon Plans an Online Store for Movies and TV Shows
  27. ^ "Amazon Will Ban Sale of Apple, Google Video-Streaming Devices". Bloomberg News. October 1, 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  28. ^

External links[edit]