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Amazon Video: Prime Members Reap the Benefits of Offline Viewing
The advantages that come with an Amazon Prime membership haven't always been that impressive (See: Prime Day), but when I found out that Prime Instant Videos were now available for download, I had to check it out.
Expanding into Offline Territory
On Sept. 1, Amazon officially announced that it would be launching an Amazon Video app for offline viewing on a wide range of devices. Although I still prefer my good old HP laptop or Chromebook for extended video watching, it doesn’t hurt to have more options.
At the moment, I own a Samsung Galaxy S5 with Android 5.0 and a 50 Mbps/5 Mbps Wi-Fi Internet connection. It’s not the fastest on the market, but it gets the job done. It’s also been efficient for downloading apps and streaming video, so I didn’t expect any hold-ups for Amazon Video.
When I got started, I had to do a little digging to find the actual Amazon Video app itself. For some reason, it did not automatically come up in the Google Play store and I had to use my phone browser to find the app, but I was off to the races from there. It took no more than three minutes to download the app (including the time it took to log into Amazon, verify my account, etc.), and it was all free of charge.
The App: Loading, Downloading and Viewing
You would think that a video app such as this one would take some time to load, especially when you aren’t using the fastest Wi-Fi speed. However, I was impressed at how quickly it opened. Navigation is also a breeze, and any Amazon shopping app user will find it comfortable and familiar.
For starters, I decided to download the first episode of “The Tudors,” which was recommended to me by Amazon. The small “download” icon next to the episode title indicates that you can click to download the video onto your device. Once again, I was pleasantly surprised when Episode 1 was finished and ready to watch within about one minute.
In terms of playing the video, you get options to pause, fast forward 10 seconds, or rewind 10 seconds while you’re in viewing mode. Similar to using Prime Video on your Smart TV or laptop, you can also resume an episode later if you choose to stop in between.
Size and Quality
Luckily, Amazon thought ahead for its mobile device users who pay a heavy price for precious data every month. In the Amazon Video app’s settings, you can place a streaming limit on your device according to your data plan. Here are the options:
- Wi-Fi only: Watch video only when using a Wi-Fi connection.
- Good quality: Watch up to 120 minutes of video per 1 GB of your data plan.
- Better quality: Watch up to 60 minutes of video per 1 GB of your data plan.
- Best quality: Watch up to 30 minutes of video per 1 GB of your data plan.
Furthermore, Amazon also accounts for the quality of the videos you download according to your settings. Here are the choices:
- Best: Longer download times, uses more storage.
- Better. The "middle of the road" option.
- Good, shorter download times, uses less storage.
- Always Ask When Downloading.
Because I have an Android with removable (additional) storage and unlimited data with my service provider, some of these factors don’t have a big impact on me. However, if you don't have unlimited data or a of storage on your device, these are definitely factors to consider before you jump into the Amazon Video app.
The Bottom Line
Episode 1 of “The Tudors” streamed flawlessly on my device. Would I use the Amazon Video app again in the future? Absolutely. I’m already thinking about videos I want to download before I travel on my next vacation.
This brings me to my next point – travelers will undoubtedly receive the biggest benefit of Amazon Video. In general, anyone who has to go offline for extended periods of time will appreciate the opportunity to bring their favorite movies and shows along with them.
In terms of variety, everything from “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” to “The Wolf of Wall Street” can be downloaded for free. Shows, including “Veep,” “Girls,” and “True Blood,” are also in Amazon’s database.
If you aren’t a Prime member yet, Amazon Video proves that there’s more to it than just speedy shipping. A standard Prime membership begins at $99 per year.
Images courtesy of Amazon
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