Amazon Prime Instant Video is a premium video streaming service created by the Amazon.com company. For a flat fee, a subscriber gains access to the service as part of a bundle that includes priority shipping for a majority of items on their website. Like many of their competitors, Amazon Prime Instant Video (referred to from this point on as the acronym APIV) uses geo-blocking to restrict viewing. Geo-blocking means that the service is not supported outside of the geographic region the subscriber is in. If you wanted access to APIV outside of the five countries the service is offered in, you would need a paid subscription to the service and a good VPN. Coming up, we have some great thoughts on which ones to choose.
First launched in the US in 2006, APIV has gone through several iterations. The service started as Amazon Unbox, and was renamed Amazon Video on Demand in 2008. In 2011, the service was renamed again to it’s current name, Amazon Prime Instant Video. With this renaming, Amazon.com added access to 5000 movies and shows. In an effort to rival their biggest competitor, Netflix, Amazon signed a deal with Epix.com to feature movies on APIV, and in 2013 started producing original content.
Amazon Prime Instant Video members have exclustive access to original series like Bosch, Alpha House, Mozart in the Jungle, and Transparent. They have also produced several programs for children including Annedroids, Creative Galaxy, Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street, and Tumble Leaf. Amazon will be adding Hand of God, Just Add Magic, The New Yorker Presents, and Red Oaks to their list of original series this year.
Currently, APIV is only available in five countries. Those countries are the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Austria, and Germany. Again, if you are traveling outside the US or if you do not live in one of those countries, you would need a VPN service and a paid subscription. Despite the small number of libraries to connect to, the content in those libraries is massive.
Amazon Prime Instant Video reports over 17,000 titles for the US market. That is almost double the number of titles on Netflix. The question is, do you prefer a huge variety of things to watch over image quality? Of the 17k titles, a rough estimate states that only 2,000 or so are in High Definition for APIV vs. the over 7,000 High Definition titles for Netflix. Of course, these numbers are different depending on which region you are connecting to, and there is more content added regularly. There is a trade off in the two services, but according to Consumer Reports, both are pretty equivalent.
Pricing for Amazon Prime is different for the five countries and APIV is available as part of the bundle for all of them. When you convert these numbers in to a common currency, It becomes clear very quickly who has the best rates in this equation. Here is a brief list of most of them.
- USA = $99 a year for regular, $49 a year for a student membership
- Austria = €49 a year
- Germany = €49 a year
- UK = £79 a year
So, a VPN service is a must whether you are traveling outside of these zones, have moved outside these zones, or just want uninhibited access to the five markets. There are many choices online for VPN services, but which one should you choose? Our list above includes some splendid recommendations for you. These services all have custom clients, so all you would have to do is select the country you wish, and connect.