Amazon Video

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Amazon Video
Type of site
Headquarters United States
Area served Worldwide (excluding Mainland China, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Crimea)
Industry Internet
Subsidiaries Video Direct
Alexa rank Decrease 7 (As of 6 August 2016)
Registration Required
Launched September 7, 2006; 10 years ago (2006-09-07)
Current status Active

Amazon Video is an Internet video on demand service that is developed, owned and operated by It offers television shows and films for rental or purchase and as part of Amazon's Prime subscription, selected titles can be viewed exclusively to full Prime or Prime Video members, in which video membership allows viewing without full Prime. Like competitors, Amazon has pursued a number of exclusive content deals to differentiate its service, including a multi-year licensing deal with HBO in the United States.[1]

Launched on 7 September 2006 as Amazon Unbox in the United States, the service grew with its expanding library, and added the Prime Video membership with the development of Prime. It was then renamed as Amazon Instant Video on Demand. After acquiring the local streaming and DVD-by-mail service LoveFilm in 2011, Prime Video was added to Prime in the United Kingdom, Germany and Austria in 2014, a move that angered some Prime UK members as the bundling was nonnegotiable with a 61% increase in subscription fee.[2]

In the UK, Germany and Austria, Prime Video has been available on a monthly subscription of £5.99 or €7.99 per month, continuing the plan of LoveFilm Instant.[3] The service was previously available in Norway, Denmark and Sweden in 2012, but was discontinued in 2013.[4] In 18 April 2016, Amazon split Prime Video from Amazon Prime in the US for $8.99/m[5] The service also hosts Amazon Original content alongside titles on Video as well.

On 14 December 2016, Amazon Video launched worldwide (except for Mainland China, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Crimea) expanding its reach beyond US, UK, Germany, Austria and Japan. Among the new territories, the service was included with Prime in Belgium, Canada, France, India, Italy and Spain while for all other countries it was made available for a monthly promotional price of $/€2.99 per month for the first six months and $/€5.99 per month thereafter. [6][7]


The service debuted on September 7, 2006 as Amazon Unbox in the United States.[8] On September 4, 2008, the service was renamed Amazon Video on Demand. The Unbox name still refers to the local program,[9][10] which as of August 2014 is no longer available for downloading purchased instant videos. On February 22, 2011, the service rebranded as Amazon Instant Video and added access to 5,000 movies and TV shows for Amazon Prime members.[11][12] 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.[13] 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.[14]

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.[15][16] 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.[17]

On July 30, 2015, Amazon announced that they had hired Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May to produce an untitled motoring show for Amazon Prime Video that would later be named The Grand Tour. Neither Jeff Bezos nor had stated how much Clarkson, Hammond, or May are being paid to produce the programme via their production company W. Chump & Sons, but Jeff Bezos stated that the deal was "very expensive, but worth it".[18] The budget for the show has not officially been announced, but Andy Wilman, the former executive producer of Top Gear stated that each episode would have a budget of around £4.5 million, nine times larger than Top Gear's budget.[19] Also in July, Amazon announced plans to expand the service into India.[20]

In September 2015 the word "Instant" was dropped from its title in the US, and it was renamed simply Amazon Video.[21] In November 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon was pursuing streaming rights to U.S. professional sports leagues to further differentiate the service.[22][23][24]

Amazon announced in November 2016 that it planned to stream The Grand Tour globally, which led to speculation over whether the full Amazon Video service would begin a wider international rollout to compete with Netflix.[25][26] On December 14, 2016, Amazon Video expanded into 200 additional countries.[27][citation needed]

In January 2017, Amazon announced the first branded on-demand subscription service for Amazon Channels, the company's streaming partners program. The channel, Anime Strike, will feature more than 1,000 series episodes and movies for a $4.99 per month subscription fee.[28]


Video quality[edit]

Depending on the device, Amazon supports up to 4K (UHD) and High Dynamic Range (HDR) streaming. UHD/HDR rolled out with its original content.[29] Other titles support 1080p (HD) streaming with 5.1 Dolby Digital or Dolby Digital Plus audio. For titles 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 is available worldwide (except for Mainland China, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Crimea).[6][7] Initially it was available only to residents of the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and Austria,[30][31] causing customers living outside Amazon Video's available countries to increasingly use VPN to get around the geographical restrictions.[32]

Customers of Amazon Video can stream on the web using an HTML5 player (supported in Chrome, IE11 and Microsoft Edge). In Firefox and Safari, only Microsoft Silverlight[33] is supported.

Amazon video is available on Amazon's "Fire" devices, smart phones, tablets, PCs, and various TVs, Blu-ray players and consoles with a broadband connection. TVs supporting the service include LG, Panasonic, Samsung, and Sony. Sony TVs supporting Android TV include the Amazon Video app. Consoles supporting Amazon Video include recent PlayStation, Xbox, Wii and Wii U.

On October 1, 2015, Amazon announced that Chromecast and Apple TV products were banned from sale on its online marketplace effective October 29, 2015. Amazon argued that this was to reduce "customer confusion", as these devices do not support the Amazon Video ecosystem.[34]


Manufacturer Product Type Quality Notes Ref
Video Audio Kindle Fire Tablet 1080p Up to Dolby Atmos support
Fire Phone Smartphone 1080p N/A Discontinued on Amazon website
Fire TV Digital media player Up to 4K Up to Dolby Digital 7.1 support [35]
Fire TV Stick Up to 1080p
Apple Inc. iPhone Smartphone Up to 1080p N/A
iPad Tablet Up to 4K Up to loudspeaker support [36][37]
Apple TV Digital media player 1080p N/A Compatible with an iOS device in AirPlay, does not yet have application itself
Google Android Mobile operating system Varies Application available on Google Play. Varies through device and version. [38]
LG 2010+ models Smart television Only select 2010 LG Smart TV and Blu-ray player models and up
Microsoft Xbox 360 Home video game console Up to 1080p Up to Dolby Digital 5.1 support May vary depending on console specifications and models
Xbox One Up to 1080p 7.1 surround sound support
Nintendo Wii 480i N/A
Wii U 720p 5.1 Linear PCM

Analog stereo

DSi Handheld game console N/A N/A Any model
3DS nHD Stereo
2DS nHD Mono
Roku Roku Digital media player Up to 1080p HDMI out [40]
Roku 2 Up to 1080p
Roku LT Up to 720p
Roku 3 Up to 1080p
Roku 4 Up to 4K
Samsung 2010+ models Smart television Varies Only select 2010 Samsung Smart TV and Blu-ray player models and up
Sony BRAVIA 2015+Android TV Up to 4K Up to Dolby Digital 7.1 [41]
PlayStation 3 Home video game console 1080p LCPM Dolby Digital 5.1 [42]
PlayStation 4 1080p|HDMI N/A [39]
PlayStation Vita Handheld game console nHD Stereo
PlayStation TV Microconsole HDMI out 2-channel LCPM

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ Lythe, Ruth (February 26, 2014). "Amazon Prime customers angered at unwanted upgrade as internet giant hikes cost of subscription by £30 a year". Daily Mail. 
  3. ^ Amazon Prime, Prime is Fast Delivery and More, Looking for the Prime Video Monthly Membership? "After your free trial, Prime Video is just £5.99/month. You can cancel your membership at any time". Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  4. ^ Lawler, Ryan. "Amazon's LOVEFiLM Pulls Its Subscription DVD And Streaming Service Out Of Scandinavia". TechCrunch. 
  5. ^ Video streaming race heats up, Amazon now offers its Prime Video service independent of Prime subscription for $8.99/mo 9 to 5 Mac, April 18, 2016
  6. ^ a b "Amazon - Press Room - Press Release". Retrieved 14 December 2016. 
  7. ^ a b "Amazon Prime Video Live in India; Value for Your Money at Rs 499". TheQuint.Com. Retrieved 14 December 2016. 
  8. ^ " Investor Relations: Press Release". 
  9. ^ "Amazon Media Room: News Release". 
  10. ^ " Help: Amazon Instant Video". 
  11. ^ Christina Warren2011-02-22 12:45:05 UTC (2011-02-22). "HANDS ON: Amazon's Prime Instant Video". Retrieved 2013-11-27. 
  12. ^ "Amazon Media Room: Press Releases". 
  13. ^ Bloomberg News. September 4, 2012. "Amazon Adds Movies to Streaming Service in New Challenge to Netflix."
  14. ^ "Amazon's Original Series "Alpha House" Debuts Friday". The Motley Fool. Associated Press. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  15. ^ "Amazon takes on Netflix with rebrand of LoveFilm video-on-demand service". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  16. ^ Mance, Henry (21 February 2014). "Amazon finds less passionate name for Lovefilm streaming service". Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  17. ^ "AMAZON.COM ANNOUNCES FOURTH QUARTER SALES UP 15% TO $29.33 BILLION" (XBRL). United Securities and Exchange Commission. January 29, 2015.  line feed character in |publisher= at position 7 (help)
  18. ^ "Amazon boss says Jeremy Clarkson's Top Gear follow-on show 'expensive but worth it'". The Guardian. The Guardian. Retrieved 16 August 2015. 
  19. ^ "Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May's new Amazon Prime show has an absolutely insane budget". Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  20. ^ "Amazon readies $5 billion chest for bigger play in India, to launch subscription-based ecommerce services". Economic Times. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  21. ^ Soper, Taylor. "Amazon drops 'Instant' from 'Instant Video,' streamlining its streaming brand". GeekWire. Retrieved 5 September 2015. 
  22. ^ Spangler, Todd (November 21, 2016). "Amazon Wants Live-Streaming Sports Rights for Prime Video, but What Will It Really Be Able to Secure?". Variety. Retrieved November 23, 2016. 
  23. ^ Shalini, Ramachandran (November 22, 2016). "Amazon Explores Possible Premium Sports Package With Prime Membership: Has held talks for live game rights with leagues including NBA, MLB, NFL and MLS". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 23, 2016. 
  24. ^ Crum, Rex (November 22, 2016). "Biz Break: Amazon's looking at adding live sports to Prime video service". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved November 23, 2016. 
  25. ^ "Amazon Prime Video is finally going global to give Netflix some serious competition". TechCrunch. Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  26. ^ Ingram, Matthew (November 18, 2016). "Amazon Is Gunning for Netflix With Global Launch of Prime Video". Fortune Magazine. Retrieved December 9, 2016. 
  27. ^ "Amazon Takes Video Streaming Service Global in Challenge to Netflix". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 27 December 2016. 
  28. ^ Spangler, Todd (2017-01-12). "Amazon Launches Anime Channel for $5 Per Month, Its First Branded Subscription Channel". Variety. Retrieved 2017-01-13. 
  29. ^ Edwards, Luke. "Amazon is going 4K and bringing Prime Instant Video to Android". Pocket-lint. 
  30. ^ Patrick, Nick. "Where Can You Get Amazon Prime Video?". Stream Sidekick. 
  31. ^ Filme und Serien kaufen, Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  32. ^ "Amazon Prime Video Not Available In Your Country? Here's How To Get It". Retrieved 2016-08-23. 
  33. ^ Amazon Plans an Online Store for Movies and TV Shows
  34. ^ "Amazon Will Ban Sale of Apple, Google Video-Streaming Devices". Bloomberg News. October 1, 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  35. ^ "Amazon Fire TV". 
  36. ^ "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. 
  37. ^ "What are the production costs for Top Gear?". Quora. 
  38. ^ Amazon Brings Prime Instant Video To All Android Phones In US, UK And Germany. Sep 9, 2014 Sarah Perez
  39. ^ a b Lardinois, Frederic. May 29, 2012. "Amazon Instant Video Comes to Xbox 360."
  40. ^ Roku. "Roku - Streaming TV & Media Player". Roku. 
  41. ^ "Sony Electronics Offers Extensive 4K Ultra HD Home Entertainment Solutions with New 2015 TV Lineup". 
  42. ^ Buser, Jack (April 3, 2012). "PS3: The First Console to Offer Amazon Instant Video". Retrieved June 15, 2012. 

1. By Spencer Soper :


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