Amazon Instant Video Stories September 7, 2015

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Waiting for offline Netflix viewing? The company thinks you can’t handle it …

If you, like me, have been wondering when Netflix is finally going to get around to allowing offline viewing, so we can stock up our tablet when traveling, the answer would appear to be: not anytime soon. When Gizmodo asked the company why, when Amazon Instant Video does so, a company spokesman gave the unconvincing reply that it thinks we can’t handle the awesome complexity of clicking a download button.

According to Neil Hunt, Netflix’s Chief Product Officer, Netflix users won’t be able to handle the complexity the added choice will bring […]

“Undoubtedly it adds considerable complexity to your life with Amazon Prime – you have to remember that you want to download this thing. It’s not going to be instant, you have to have the right storage on your device, you have to manage it, and I’m just not sure people are actually that compelled to do that, and that it’s worth providing that level of complexity.”

There’s also the content owners who may not have stipulated that their content can be downloaded. Hunt didn’t discuss that but its likely a big concern.

There is some small hope of being able to view Netflix content when traveling, says Hunt.

As an example, what if we can put Netflix in a rack box that essentially contains all of Netflix content that you could imagine putting in an airplane server, right along with our existing offerings? That for me is a more interesting thing; can we make Netflix work on a plane, can we make it work on a train, in hotels?

But that seems to me a ridiculous way to offer a half-assed solution, and it’s merely an idea, not a plan.

Hunt did make one good point: not all of Amazon’s content is available for downloading, and it can be frustrating when one show is and another isn’t. Amazon already has enough issues with its seemingly-random selection of videos available to Prime members on desktop but not mobile, mobile but not desktop or only for purchase.

But with Netflix increasingly focusing on producing exclusive content, it could at least make a decent start by offering its own shows available for downloading.

Amazon Instant Video Stories December 2, 2014

Google’s diminutive and cheap Chromecast is making strong headway against its competitors according to a report today by Parks Associates. Priced at $35 but now going for just over $20, the dongle, which is controlled by Apps on iOS and Android devices rather than a traditional remote has passed the almost forgotten Apple TV and is closing in on the king of streamers, the Roku.  Roku and AppleTV represented two thirds of the market last year but with entrants like Chromecast and Amazon’s Fire TV/Stick, the two dropped to around half the market.

The research finds Roku is still the leading brand with 29% of sales, but Google Chromecast (20%) has supplanted Apple TV (17%) in second place. New entrant Amazon Fire TV is in fourth place with 10%. Consumer content choices are also increasing, with Showtime and Sony planning to launch their own OTT video services to compete with Netflix and HBO.

“Nearly 50% of video content that U.S. consumers watch on a TV set is non-linear, up from 38% in 2010, and it is already the majority for people 18-44,” said Barbara Kraus, Director, Research, Parks Associates. “The market is changing rapidly to account for these new digital media habits. Roku now offers a streaming stick, and Amazon’s Fire TV streaming stick leaves Apple as the only top player without a stick product in the streaming media device category.”

Sticks are where it is at it would seem. Conversely, Google’s Nexus Player, introduced in October, has yet to make a blip but it might also show up in results next year.

Amazon Instant Video Stories September 9, 2014

Amazon seems to have finally accepted that access to Amazon Instant Video still isn’t going to make anyone want to buy a Fire Phone. As of today, Amazon Prime members in the U.S. can watch Instant Video on any Android device using the updated Amazon app.

Prime members in the US can stream unlimited Prime Instant Video from inside the Amazon app using the Prime Instant Video player, including HBO shows The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, Six Feet Under, and The Wire …

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Everyone can use an Echo Dot: Just $50!

Amazon Instant Video Stories September 8, 2014

Is the Amazon Fire Phone simmering out? Recent estimates reached by The Guardian pegged the device at having sold less than 35,000 units and today Amazon and AT&T are bringing down the price to 99¢ on a two year contract less than two months after launch. The device was previously priced at $199 for 32GB with a two year commitment, which many observed was a rather high price point for a not-so-remarkable handset mostly differentiated by its 3D effect and Amazon Prime services… expand full story

Amazon Instant Video Stories February 21, 2014

Amazon’s TV box, which the company is believed to have been working on for around a year, is to be launched next month, according to unnamed content distribution sources cited by re/code. It had originally been expected to be launched in time for last year’s holiday sales.

People I’ve talked to who are partnering with Amazon believe the company is aiming for a March rollout […]

Sources tell me Amazon’s box will be powered by Google’s Android operating system, which is also not a surprise — Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets use a “forked” version of Android …  expand full story

Amazon Instant Video Stories October 3, 2013

This morning  we reported that Amazon had trademarked FireTube, and the trademark could serve as a name for the company’s long-rumored TV product. Now, the WSJ follows up by claiming said device is on Amazon’s roadmap for the holiday season. Here are some of the details on the device:

  • Will compete with the Roku and Apple TV
  • Will stream Amazon Prime content
  • Will run third-party media apps and gaming content
  • Amazon is working on a dedicated remote for the device, but it could also be controlled via smartphone/tablet apps

Of course, the device could be shelved at the last minute, but given the uptake in reports about an Amazon TV device, today’s trademark discovery, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s want to expand his company’s hardware portfolio, it seems likely that the device truly is in the imminent Amazon product pipeline.

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