It looks like Amazon will be joining the likes of Netflix and Hulu in bring video streaming content to the public. Whats the difference between this and the competition? The price, their isn’t any. Amazon will be delivering an ad supported video streaming service for free. This is a big departure from the Netflix and Hulu model, which charge a monthly subscription to use their services. As it stands the only way to get Amazon Instant Video service is with an Amazon Prime membership. Their has been no mention of what potential benefits Prime members will get when their exclusive service goes free. One would hope that a membership would mean no ads. That isn’t always the case. Hulu, for instance, still uses ads on it’s TV shows despite charging a monthly fee. It would be disappointing to say the least to have Prime members lose their exclusivity to a service and be subject to watching ads on a service that they already had ad free.
Amazon isn’t just stopping at a video streaming service, they are also developing their own set top box. This box will come in direct competition with devices like the Roku, Apple TV and Chromecast. This is rather puzzling because the whole point of making this service free is to make money off of the ads. Right now their is no news on whether or not their streaming service will be available for other mobile devices. As it stands, Amazon Instant Video is available on Kindles, select TV’s, Bluray players and game consoles. Adding their own set top box defeats the purpose of getting their services out to the public. What they should be doing is allowing Android, iOS and Windows to have full access to their services. Youtube is one of the largest, ad driven, money making services available today and is available on almost all devices. Google didn’t have to create a special piece of hardware to let people use it. Amazon should follow suit and not hand pick which devices people can and can not use.
I also don’t see the average consumer purchasing a set top box just to use Amazon services. The last thing people want to do is add to their entertainment center. The beauty of the Chromecast is it’s size and portability. If they do make it, the size should be no bigger than the Apple TV.