Saturday morning, an odd thing happened for some Amazon users. Some Prime members had access to a new part of Amazon’s website for a few hours. That section detailed how their Prime membership includes access to streaming movies and TV shows. Specifically:
“Your Amazon Prime membership now includes unlimited, commercial-free instant streaming of 5,000 movies and TV shows at no additional cost”
Sounds a lot like Netflix. Doesn’t it?
Someone had the wherewithal to capture screenshots, which Endgaget published Saturday afternoon. These show some of the selections available, how the “watch, rent, buy” options would work, and some details on how the video streaming works.
The “Watch” option is available only to Amazon Prime members, who can stream these movies free of charge and at will. The “Rent” option allows for a 3-day rental window for non-Prime members to rent and stream the movie as often as they’d like for three days – most for around $4. The buy option buys the DVD.
Amazon has been rumored to be working on this for some time now and with the apparently accidental rollout of their video streaming site, it’s now an obvious reality about to happen. Several domains such as “primeinstantvideos.com” and similar variations have been purchased by DPReview, a business entity of Amazon’s.
So Netflix could have some competition coming soon. Prime memberships are currently $79/year while the cheapest Netflix membership works out to $95.88/year, so this could trigger something of a price and content war. Which would also be refreshing.