Like most, I do a bit of shopping online. Amazon is one of the premier Internet websites for finding nearly anything and everything you want to buy, and they get a fair bit of business from me on a monthly basis. I’m a frugal guy, so when I’m offered upgraded shipping options, I usually pass and opt for the free shipping, even though it takes a few more days to arrive. For those of you who shop Amazon like me, you’re probably familiar with the Amazon Prime offer: free 2-day shipping on every order for a yearly price of $79.99. After purchasing a rather weighty item and seeing the steep cost for 2-day shipping, I decided to take the plunge and opt in.
I should note that recently, Amazon raised the yearly fee of Prime to $99 per year. I was fortunate to have opted in at the lower price point a month previous to the increase in price, and even at the higher price, I’m convinced that Amazon Prime is a great deal. With the amount of purchases I make through Amazon, the free 2-day shipping alone is worth the cost. Even with the cost at $99 per year, that breaks down to $8.25 per month, and that’s less than the cost of your average 2-day shipment. If you buy one thing a month you’re getting your money’s worth. Buying big and heavy items? You can save a lot of money using Prime. However, the thing that hooked me into a Prime subscription had nothing to do with saving money on shipping. It has everything to do with streaming video.
There are quite a few options for viewing Amazon Instant Video, with dedicated apps for iPad, iPhone, Android, and more. Of course, you can watch on any computer with a web browser, and now more and more “connected” devices are introducing Amazon Instant Video as one of the many options available to users. I currently use my Xbox360 to view content on my home theater, but the Wii, Wii U, and Sony Playstation 3 and 4 all feature Amazon Instant Video as an option. Smart TVs from LG, Samsung, Sony, Vizio, and others have this as an option as well, as do a myriad of Blu-Ray players from many of the same manufacturers. Needless to say, support for this streaming platform is becoming commonplace; just check the device specs for compatibility.
Being a Netflix customer, I’m used to their streaming video offerings. They are fantastic for binging on TV shows but their selection of films leaves a little to be desired, with new releases arriving much later than their release dates on disc. When I checked out the offerings for Amazon Prime, I was pleasantly surprised to find that their movies are much more current when it comes to new releases. There are also a good number of other TV series that Netflix doesn’t feature available to Prime subscribers. Just last week, HBO announced that they’ve made available a great number of their older series on Amazon Instant Video. For those with no HBO subscription, Amazon Prime now brings these gems to a connected device near you, which makes that $8.25 monthly cost even sweeter.