Prime expanded in UK with Lovefilm rebranding, price hike
Amazon is re-branding its Lovefilm video-streaming service in the United Kingdom to Amazon Prime Instant Video, at the same time as combining it with the existing Prime delivery subscription and Kindle Lending Library. The move, which will see customers able to use both services for one payment, brings Amazon UK in line with what is offered to users in the United States.
Filming in 4K resolution could lead to 4K Amazon Instant Video streaming
Amazon Studios will be shooting all of its 2014 original programming in 4K-resolution, including all pilots and series, for Amazon Instant Video and LoveFilm. The switch to recording in the higher 3840x2160 resolution will allow for the retailer's streaming services to offer content that caters to owners of Ultra HD televisions, a group that has been struggling to find media for the high-resolution format.
Amazon brings video streaming service to Japan
Amazon has now opened up the Japanese version of its Instant Video streaming service, it was revealed today. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the new service features more than 26,000 imported movie and television offerings. Rentals for the service start at 100 yen (about $0.98).
Amazon Instant Video, Lovefilm users to help judge shows
Amazon is allowing its customers to view new television shows on its streaming services in the US and the UK, in order to decide which to create into a full series. The 14 pilot shows, created by subsidiary Amazon Studios, can be watched on Amazon Instant Video and Lovefilm, with the retailer hoping to use viewer comments to influence its choice of which shows get a full 13-episode season commission.
Amazon adds X-Ray functionality to popular TV shows
Amazon has updated the X-Ray feature of its Instant Video service to now include television shows. The update will allow users to view IMDB information for individual episodes of programs, including the names of actors, what other shows they have appeared in, and other similar content. Expanding what the company has done to movies in the last six months since the feature's launch, X-Ray is available to use for a number of popular TV shows on the Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD, and the Amazon Instant Video app on the Wii U.
More original content to hit streaming services
Netflix and Amazon are working on more exclusive programming for their respective streaming services, in order to increase their market share. Netflix will be producing a series by the creators of The Matrix and Babylon 5, while Amazon will be adding a single episode of the Zombieland series to the roster for its Amazon Instant Video pilot scheme.
Two-day shipping, video streaming among perks
Amazon is now offering a free 30-day trial of its Prime service for new customers. All facets of the service are being included in the promotion, such as free two-day shipping for orders, and instant streaming of movies and TV shows. Subscribers can also borrow one free book from the Kindle library each month.
Pilots from Onion, Daily Show writers under scrutiny
Amazon Studios has revealed a set of pilot shows that it will produce, in its first efforts to create exclusive video content for its streaming services. The six comedy pilots will be shown on Amazon Instant Video, with the responses of viewers helping company management decide which shows to greenlight for a full series run.
Also releases iPhone, iPod touch versions of Instant Video
Amazon has released versions of its Cloud Player for Roku set-top boxes and Samsung Smart TVs. The update comes at the same time as apps for Amazon Instant Video became available to download in Apple's App Store for the iPhone and iPod touch, four months after it became available on the iPad.
Streaming services added days after US console launch
Nintendo has now expanded the streaming video options for the Wii U from the initial offering of Netflix. Both Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus have been included in the Wii U, just days after the console's US launch. Netflix, the natural competitor for both companies, has been included on the console since November 18th.
Amazon up five points, iTunes up one
Amazon's Instant Video streaming service posted a sizable jump in usage since February, though Netflix remains the market leader by far. This according to a new survey from 451 Research's ChangeWave service, which looked at use among the paid alternative TV providers. The survey found that use of Amazon's service had ticked up five percentage points since February, while use of Netflix had dropped slightly.
Could improve movie selection at iTunes, Google Play
HBO and Fox have renewed a rights agreement originally set to expire in 2015, AllThingsD reports. Under the new deal, Fox movies will continue appearing on HBO until 2022. More importantly, however, Fox and HBO officials say that the agreement includes a "softening" of something known as the electronic sell-through window. Previously HBO maintained a strict policy that while it was running a movie for the first time, no one else could sell or rent a title electronically.
Xbox Live gold and Amazon Prime subscriptions required
Earlier today, Amazon and Microsoft made the Amazon Instant Video streaming media application available to Xbox Live gold-level subscribers. Over 17,000 streaming videos are now available to watch on Microsoft's console for free. Both an Xbox Live gold subscription and an Amazon Prime membership are required for streaming.
Company calls on series writers and creators to assist
Amazon's Studios division has announced plans to develop original comedy and children's series. The company is currently calling on series creators and writers to submit their proposals for the streaming video programming, which will be distributed through Amazon Instant Video.
Sony BDP-S790 due on May 6
Sony on Sunday said it was on the verge of shipping its most advanced Blu-ray player for the year, the BDP-S790. The networked movie hub is due to reach stores May 6. Pre-orders are starting now for the player, which costs $250.
Sony gets Amazon Instant Video, Prime apps
The teased new video service from just yesterday for the PlayStation 3 has turned out to be access to Amazon's Instant Video service. US PS3 owners will also get access to Prime Instant Video if they are subscribers. The former gives anyone access to about 120,000 à la carte-priced movies and shows, while the latter offers those who pay the $79 annual subscription fee unlimited access to 17,000 movies and shows.
Vizio ships M-series LED LCD Smart 3D TVs
The 3D HDTVs Vizio introduced at the CES expo in January are now shipping, the company said Wednesday. The M-series sets use passive glasses technology that's cheaper to run, but still have Vizio Internet Apps. All have edge-lit LED backlighting, and some sets include up to four pairs of the battery-free glasses, which are lightweight and more comfortable than active shutter glasses.
Amazon pushes for similar terms to Apple on tablet
Amazon is trying to get magazine and newspaper deals for its Android-based Kindle tablet similar to those Apple has for the iPad, insiders uncovered on Monday. The company is "in the same ballpark" of asking for a 30 percent piece of revenues for both individual issues and full-length subscriptions. Amazon may, however, be willing to give a better deal to lure publishers away from the iPad, the WSJ heard.