Amazon Launches Video Streaming Service for Prime Members

By Cindy Waxer February 22, 2011

Move over, Netflix. has just launched its own video-streaming business – provided you’re an Amazon Prime member.

At no additional cost, Amazon Prime members, who pay $79 per year as it is, can receive unlimited, commercial-free, instant streaming of more than 5,000 movies and TV shows.

"Millions of Amazon Prime members already enjoy the convenience of free Two-Day Shipping," said Robbie Schwietzer, vice president of Amazon Prime, in a statement. "Adding unlimited instant access to thousands of movies and TV shows at no additional cost is a great way to give members even more value for their $79 annual Amazon Prime membership."

Movies and TV shows included with an Amazon Prime membership can be watched instantly on Macs, PCs and nearly 200 models of Internet-connected TVs, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes that are compatible with Amazon Instant Video.

There are the usual suspects to choose from: videos available for instant streaming include "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" trilogy, "Amadeus," "Syriana," and "Chariots of Fire," noted documentaries such as "Food Inc.," "March of the Penguins" and "Ken Burns' National Parks," plus TV shows, such as "Doctor Who," "Farscape," "Fawlty Towers" and children's shows, such as "Arthur," "Caillou," "Super Why!" and "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."

Streaming video isn’t the only way Amazon is trying to expand its services. Last month, the e-tailing behemoth launched Kindle Singles, a service available at that features well-researched selections of writing that are between 5,000 and 30,000 words. Works range from an elaborate bank heist in “Lifted” to Congolese rebel camps in “The Invisible Enemy,” to author Jodi Picoult’s depiction of a family in “Leaving Home.”

"The response to our announcement of Singles has been great," said Russ Grandinetti, vice president of Kindle Content, in a statement. "This first set of Singles was selected by our team of editors, and includes works by Rich Cohen, Darin Strauss, Ian Ayres, and the first-ever books published by TED. We think customers will be riveted by these stories that can take them to a Swedish bank heist or to the Mexican border town of Juarez, or to consider a new way to think about happiness."

Available to both Kindle device and app users, and priced between $0.99 and $4.99, the first set of Kindle Singles include original reporting, essays, memoirs and fiction. Amazon plans to frequently launch many more Kindle Singles over time.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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