Amazon has just launched its free Instant Video iPad app, giving users access to more than 120,000 videos from the retailer’s online video store. Though, as always, Apple is making things difficult by forcing users to go outside the app to actually rent or purchase videos.
The application is free for iPad owners and gives both Amazon Prime and non-Prime users the ability to purchase or rent videos, however the latter must pay the rental or purchase fee for each individual piece of content. With free content available for Prime members, Amazon is undoubtedly hoping to attract more users to its $79 a month Prime service.
Users can either stream movies or TV shows to view online or download videos to watch offline. Similar to the Netflix queue, Amazon’s Watchlist allows users to add their favorite movies, while also displaying a list of featured movies and TV shows for all ages. With the company’s Whispersync feature, users can begin a video on the iPad and continue watching where they left off on a Kindle Fire, Mac, PC, or any other compatible devices.
The layout of Amazon’s Instant Video app offers several rows of thumbnails from each video, with a tap of a movie’s image displaying its length, customer rating and a brief summary, a design almost identical to the Netflix app. Tapping on a TV series displays the same information, as well as links to each season and show, so users can find specific episodes.
To avoid Apple’s 30% stake of every in-app purchase, Amazon opted for payments to be made via a Web browser, which means users must navigate to Amazon’s Instant Video Store, where they can choose the movies and TV shows they want and pay for them online. After doing so, the purchased videos will appear in the iPad app, available to either stream or download.
A result of this limitation is that users cannot search for titles specifically in the app, having to visit the online store to do so. Users can still see which videos are in their Watchlist and play content already purchased.
With a library housing more than 120,000 videos, the Amazon Instant Video app for the iPad could attract some Netflix users who can’t always find their favorite movies or TV shows available for streaming.