's New Video Streaming Service: A Netflix Competitor?

It's free to those with Amazon Prime

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Look out Netflix, a new competitor is in your midst:'s new video streaming service launched today. Now Amazon Prime members, who already pay $79 a year for free two-day shipping, can stream 5,000 movies and television shows to a variety of Internet-ready devices for free. Several tech bloggers have already taken advantage of Amazon's one-month free trial for the streaming service, offering their take on whether Netflix should actually feel threatened.

  • Not Quite as Good, But Not Bad  After testing out the new Amazon service, Tim Stevens at Endgaget concludes that, "ultimately you can't be too harsh on a service that comes for 'free' and just makes an already tempting offering even more appealing, but ultimately Prime Instant Videos is actually quite good. No, the quality isn't quite as good as Netflix and you're going to have a hard time finding anything here that hasn't already been served up there, but now Amazon has another nice bonus to go along with all that two-day shipping."
  • Not Enough to Lure Loyal Netflix Users  "What will this mean for Netflix, which has a low-cost streaming subscription service of its own?" Asks Gigaom's Ryan Lawler. "Probably not much."  Lawler points out that Amazon's service offers only a quarter of the number of movies and shows available on Netflix, with a lot of overlap. "In other words, don't expect Netflix junkies to jump ship just to save a few bucks a year," he writes.
  • A Persuasive Offer  Allen Stern, on the other hand, writes at Center Networks that "while there aren't any true new releases, there is plenty to watch. I am seriously considering purchasing an Amazon Prime subscription."

  • Deal Might be Worth the Drawbacks's Sal Cangeloso points out that "Netflix's streaming-only account is $96/year so if you don’t mind the smaller selection offered by Amazon, you can get free shipping on all your goods and save $21 a year by going with Prime."
  • Amazon Has What it Takes to Compete  "It's not going to get anyone to stop subscribing to Netflix, or abandon any other on or offline video service they're already using," writes Peter Kafka at Media Memo. "Amazon certainly has the dollars and clout to compete" in this area, and "if it wants to push aggressively into Web video, it can. But for now, consider this a starting point, and not much more."
  • Amazon Needs a Better Hook  Jared Newman at Technologizer declares that "for now, it's just icing on top of Amazon's shipping service, and that's fine. Anyone who wants to compete with Netflix will need some kind of hook to compensate for an inferior library and smaller list of supported set-top boxes. Amazon's pairing of free shipping and streaming videos isn't the most logical match, but at least it's something different."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.