Earlier this week, Amazon said that its Instant Video service is now available on Apple's iPod Touch and iPhone. The news follows the launch of Amazon Instant Video on the Nintendo Wii U back on November 21, and the iPad on August 1, expanding Amazon's somewhat limited audience.
Amazon Instant Video can be served up in two ways: as purchase or rental options, and as part of the company's Amazon Prime service. With the latter subscription-based offering, customers are given access to a large library of movies and TV episodes. There's no monthly subscription – it's part of the Amazon Prime yearly fee.
Outside the Prime model, Amazon customers can purchase digital versions of their favorite movies and TV shows, and store them in Amazon's cloud. If they're not worthy of keeping indefinitely, customers can rent SD or HD versions for very little money. All digital media can be streamed, or downloaded and watched offline on a supported platform although rentals obviously expire after a certain time.
What may be hurting Amazon's streaming video efforts at this point is that very group of supported platforms. The device list is limited although the company's recent expansion now includes iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, the Wii U and a more. The expanding list is definitely getting better, but it's not moving fast enough to become a threat to Netflix and Google.
It shouldn't be a surprise that Amazon currently isn't offering an Instant Video app for Google's two Nexus tablets at the very least. The company is seemingly holding out in favor of the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD tablets. Even more, the company is completely ignoring the Android market save for its Kindle Fire devices even though they're based on Android.
As it stands now, Instant Video is supported on iOS, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, a huge long list of Internet-connected HDTVs, set-top boxes, Blu-ray players, DVRs and A/V receivers. The list isn't exactly short, but viewing on the go isn't exactly robust either. Amazon is losing customers to Google because Android, which currently commands the smartphone market, isn't supported. The fragmentation issue surrounding the Google platform doesn't help the lack of support either.
That said, it's somewhat understandable why Amazon is currently supporting the iPad, and now the iPod Touch and iPhone. Amazon customers can now stream or download Amazon Instant Video movies and TV episodes from their video library directly on their iOS device. The app also grants access to the more than 30,000 titles from Prime Instant Video available to Prime members.
"Our customers tell us they want the convenience of being able to watch all of their movies and TV episodes, wherever they are," said Anthony Bay, Amazon.com Vice President for Video. "Today we’re excited to extend our ‘buy once, enjoy everywhere’ approach to iPhone and iPod touch users, giving customers the chance to enjoy more than 140,000 titles from Amazon Instant Video and more than 30,000 titles from Prime Instant Video anytime, anywhere."
In addition to the Instant Video launch on Apple's devices, Amazon also announced that its Cloud Player is now available on Roku Instant Players. Customers can now stream their cloud-stored music to these set-top boxes after installing the app. Cloud Player is already available on Kindle Fire, Sonos Music Players, Android mobile devices, iPhone and iPod Touch, and now with Roku.
"We’re excited to bring Cloud Player to Roku, one of the most popular and best-selling streaming entertainment platforms. Cloud Player music customers can now use Roku to listen to their music through their home entertainment systems," said Steve Boom, Vice President of Music at Amazon. "Our goal is to make it easy for everyone to enjoy their entire music library anywhere they are–whether on the go or in the comfort of their homes – and Cloud Player on Roku does just that."