Tag Archives: amazon video

Offline Amazon Video Prime Viewing… Mind The Small Print

a.com_logo_RGBIn a move that will surely set the news blog replicators afire, Amazon announced that they are allowing Amazon Prime Video viewers download Prime videos to their iOS and Android devices for offline viewing.

This is, quite frankly, an awesome move and a game changer for the cord cutting set. Portable devices are a big part of our lives now and being able to take video with us provides real value. Kudos to Amazon for the change.

Ah, Yes, The Fine Print

48-hr-noticeNow that all the great applause for Amazon’s bold step forward in streaming video is handled, there’s a few details to discuss. Some fine print, if you will. Only some videos will be available for download because of contracts, agreements, and lawyerly business stuff.

And, wait. What is this? Is this a caution that you can only wander away from the internet for 48 hrs after starting a show before the video becomes unavailable? It could be… Best watch it in a timely way if you plan to wander away from the precious, precious internet for an extended period of time.

Additionally, only 25 videos may be downloaded at a time and downloaded videos need to be watched within 30 days of downloading.

      

The Test Drive

Finally, to take this downloading trick for a test drive. After grabbing the updated Amazon Instant Video app to my iPad, I fire it up and get treated with the new feature disclaimer.

 

 

Intro Screen

Amazon provides easy access to indicate which shows you want to download via buttons added to their show selection. For TV shows, they use the cute download icon following each episode.

TV-Show-Download

Downloading An Amazon Instant Video TV Show – Just Click The Button

For movies, the Download button is very clear. That said, I ding Amazon for inconsistent GUI queues. The same icon or button should be used in both cases.

Amazon Instant Video - Downloading A Movie

Downloading An Amazon Instant Video Movie – Just Click The Other Button

Now the rub comes in finding your downloaded content. That wasn’t so easy. Select your library using the bottom menu clicks. Use the Refine button in the upper-right hand corner to select “On Device” instead of “Cloud.” You’ll now be able to see (and delete) downloaded content.

Finding Download Shows So Very Complicated

Finding Downloaded Amazon Instant Video Shows Is So Very Complicated For A Humble Cloud Watcher

For the curious, the 1 hr and 14 minute episode of Band Of Brothers took about 1.2 GB to store. This should help drive storage demand on tablets. Video quality shows compression artifacts on the HBO introduction white noise but was otherwise solid and crisp looking.

Well Done Amazon

As I mentioned before, I got to hand it to Amazon for the game changer. I think the app GUI could use some polish, but that does not in any way diminish the added value they’ve just brought to Amazon Prime. Netflix, your move.

Spotlight On Amazon Instant Video

Amazon Instant Video & Amazon Prime

The Amazon Instant Video service provides streaming video service to a variety of platforms. Amazon provides first run TV shows, new movies, and subscription access (Netflix style) with it’s Amazon Prime service.

Video Price
First Run TV
(per episode)
$0.99 – $1.99
First Run Movie Rent $3.99
First Run Movie Buy $9.99 – $14.99
Subscription Service $79 / year

For TV series, buying the whole season is discounted. The Amazon Prime subscription service also includes free 2-day shipping from Amazon. It has less selection than Netflix, but costs less.

Places To Watch Amazon Instant Video

Amazon Instant Video is well supported across several playback platforms. What’s notably lacking is support for smartphones. This includes devices like Android phones and the Apple family (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and Apple TV). On PCs and Macs, Amazon allows videos to be downloaded for Offline viewing. For several platforms, using PlayOn can allow Amazon Instant Video to play on the device.

PlayBack Device Amazon Instant Video
PC YES
Android Devices no
iOS Devices no
Roku (TV) YES
Playstation 3 (TV) no
XBox 360 (TV) no
Wii (TV) no
Blue-ray Players YES
HDTVs YES

Amazon Instant Video Bitrates

Amazon uses the MPEG4 Part 10 video codec, H.264, for streaming to most devices. Amazon has been kind to post the streaming data rates for set top box applications.

High Def Audio Quality Bandwidth
1 HR TV Show Size
720p Better Audio 5.1 Surround 2.9 Mbps 1.3 GB
720p Baseline Stereo 2.8 Mbps 1.25 GB
Standard Def Audio Quality Bandwidth 1 HR TV Show Size
High Quality 480p Stereo 1.3 Mbps 0.6 GB
Medium Quality 480p Stereo 996 Kbps 0.45 GB
Low Quality 480p Stereo 664 Kbps 0.3 GB
Low Quality 240p Stereo 348 Kbps 0.15 GB

Before using Amazon Instant Video, check that your internet provider gives enough bandwidth to get the video quality you’re expecting.

Amazon Instant Video Conclusions

The Good: Amazon Instant Video is a reasonable service and one of the easiest paths to getting current TV shows to your TV. Amazon Prime’s video access is a nice bonus for folks who enjoy Amazon’s premium shipping service.

The Bad: Amazon’s device support is a bit lacking, especially in the smart phone arena. If Amazon improves their device compatibility, it’ll go a long ways to pulling up their video service.

How To Pay Less For iTunes Videos

If you’re using iTunes videos to ditch the cable company, it’s always great to pay a bit less for it. One strategy to do that is to pick up iTunes gift cards for a discount and have the credit in reserve for when you’re Jonesin’ for your next video fix. But how to do it? Say hello to Granny.

What is Gift Card Granny?

So, how does Gift Card Granny work? Well, let’s ask Granny:

Gift Card Granny is a gift card marketplace site that connects buyers and sellers of discounted gift cards. We don’t ship or sell any gift cards ourselves… instead, we do the research for you. There are literally thousands of different sites where you can buy and sell gift cards. Our staff works hard to find out which brokers have the very best deal of the day on each specific card – and we list the different deals for you to choose from. If you like the price on the card you see, you can click on a link and you’ll go directly to the broker’s site. If you decide to buy it from that broker –  they will send it to you with no taxes and no shipping fees.

So, Granny helps people locate gift cards sold online and get them at below face value. Excellent. But who are the sellers?

Gift Card Granny pulls information from different gift card resellers (Card Pool, Gift Card Castle, GiftCards.com, Plastic Jungle, and Giftah to name a few) as well as eBay. Each seller has different gift cards that they buy and sell, making it hard to find what you’re looking for. Granny aggregates together all the information about how much is available on various gift cards and the size of the discount. The dedicated gift-card websites have been around a while and have a loyal following. Ebay is, well, Ebay.

What Can You Save On iTunes Gift Cards?

I have now purchased iTunes gift cards from two places, Plastic Jungle and Gift Card Castle. For Plastic Jungle, it was $25 for $23.xx (7% off). The gift card arrived as an e-mail with a code in it. I logged into iTunes, entered the code, and my iTunes account was credited $25. Gift Card Castle sent me a $25 gift card for $22.50 (10% off). I had to wait for it to be mailed, but, once it arrived, I used the same process to enter the code and get iTunes account credit. Overall, it was very satisfying to get anything Apple at a discount.

One thing i did notice is that, occasionally, Granny isn’t up to date. The 10% off Gift Card Castle one was not indexed by Granny. I just happened to be wandering through and found a good deal.

What About Amazon Instant Video Discounts?

One last thing to mention is that while Granny will index Amazon gift cards, the only ones that turn up are on Ebay. This is because Amazon only sells “electronic” gift cards. I have not been brave enough to wander onto Ebay and take a chance with this. For the other dedicated sellers, they have clear methods to resolve disputes. I’m going to stick with them for now.

If you have bought gift cards on Ebay and had it work out, please leave a comment.