|Subsidiary of Amazon.com|
|United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Austria|
|Initial release||September 7, 2006|
Sony, Panasonic, LG, Samsung, Vizio
Amazon Video (formerly Amazon Instant Video; prior to which it was Amazon Unbox and later 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, Germany and Austria. It offers television shows and films for rental or purchase. As part of Amazon's Prime Video service, selected titles are offered for free to customers with either a Prime Video or full Amazon Prime subscription. Like competitors, Amazon has pursued a number of exclusive content deals to differentiate its service, including a multi-year licensing deal with content provider HBO in the United States.
Following the acquisition of LoveFilm in 2011, Prime Video was added to Amazon Prime in the UK, Germany and Austria in 2014, a move that angered some UK Amazon Prime members as the bundling was non-negotiable with a 61% increase in the subscription fee.
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 subscription plan of LoveFilm Instant. In April 18, 2016, Amazon announced that Prime Video would also be available independent of Amazon Prime in the US for $8.99 per month. The service is planned to expand into India. The service was previously available in Norway, Denmark and Sweden from 2012 to 2013.
The US service debuted on September 7, 2006, as Amazon Unbox. On September 4, 2008, the service was renamed Amazon Video on Demand. The Unbox name still refers to the locally installed player, 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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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 Amazon.com 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".  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.  The new show is reportedly set to air in the latter half 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.
In May 2016 Amazon is launching a new video service called "Amazon Video Direct." The new service entices professional video creators to upload their videos to Amazon, where they will be displayed on the Amazon Video site alongside studio-created TV shows and movies. The videos will be viewable by "all Amazon customers" via an ad-supported model, shown to Amazon Prime Video subscribers (presumably without ads) or available as a one-time rental or purchase. The service is launching in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan.
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, PlayStation 4, the Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii, Wii U, and mobile devices like the iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, Kindle Fire tablets and the Fire Phone. The service is also available through streaming devices such as Roku and Amazon's Fire TV. Amazon Video's app for iOS devices is compatible with Apple TV via AirPlay.
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.
Amazon Video is currently only available to residents of the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and Austria. 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 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, Amazon announced that Google 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.
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2. By GREG BENSINGER : http://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-ups-the-ante-on-streaming-video-1460944802