Online retail giant Amazon shifted into the video streaming market in 2011, and went global with the service in late 2016. Here’s what you need to know to watch in India.
Long before Netflix launched in India and even before video streaming was even a thing, Indians looking for a bargain on the latest DVD movies would often head to Amazon to try and get a better price. However, the rise of streaming platforms has changed the way Indians consume their entertainment.
Amazon wasn’t oblivious to the benefits of streaming. As far back as 2006, Amazon offered video rental and download services like iTunes. However, in 2011 it launched Amazon Prime Instant Video in the US, a streaming platform offering a huge range of content to the customers who subscribed to its US$99/year Amazon Prime service. But it wasn’t until December 2016 that Amazon’s streaming efforts really became relevant for Indians.
Timed around the launch of the Top Gear successor, The Grand Tour, Amazon took Prime Video global to 200 countries around the world, including India. While global licensing arrangements meant that the lineup of content at launch was not as extensive as Netflix, Amazon’s publicly announced significant investment in original series programming, which will be delivered exclusively via the Prime Video platform.
TV on Amazon Prime Video
Amazon’s lineup isn’t as big as the competition, but is filled with exclusives.
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How much does Amazon Prime Video cost in India?
There was plenty of discussion around how much Amazon Prime Video might cost when it went global late in 2016. Fortunately for Indians, Amazon has decided to be rather aggressive with the pricing strategy for its streaming video platform. The service was launched at INR499 per year, which was increased to its current cost of INR999 per year in November 2017.
It also has a free trial offer for 30 days for you to evaluate all the Amazon Prime offerings. You can register for your free trial with your Amazon account, which will be automatically charged at the end of the 30-day trial unless you cancel.
What devices are compatible with Amazon Prime Video?
The fact Amazon Prime Video has been active in some international markets for years before its global launch means that there’s a solid lineup of devices you can use to access the service. In addition to the standard web browser, there are dedicated apps for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. For iOS you’ll need to be running iOS 7 or above, while Android users will need Android 4.0 or above.
Being that Amazon also plays in the hardware space, it’s not surprising to learn that its Amazon Fire TV Stick (second generation) also supports Prime Video streaming in India. You can use it to stream Prime Video to any HDTV.
Indian PlayStation users (PS3 and PS4) can install the official Amazon Prime Video app to watch the service on their consoles. If you are an Indian Xbox one owner, you can download the Prime Video app from the Microsoft Store and stream content on your console.
Amazon Prime Video is also supported on Apple TV, as well as on compatible LG, Sony, Samsung and Panasonic Smart TVs.
There’s no native support for Chromecast. You can cast your screen to the big screen on Android devices, but native support is much better for your mobile’s battery life. Still, it’s still early days for Prime Video’s global expansion, so it wouldn’t be surprising to find the compatible device list improve consistently over time.Back to top
How much data will Amazon Prime Video use?
Amazon’s streaming app has a pretty robust range of streaming quality settings in its mobile applications, although the settings are different depending on the device you use. On Android, you can only get a standard definition video stream. The “Best” quality setting will use about 460MB for one hour of content, while the data-conscious can be miserly by selecting the “Data Saver” option, which uses about 140MB per hour of streaming.
You also have the option of always using the “Best” quality setting when connected to Wi-Fi. iOS users, meanwhile, will use a lot more data when streaming Prime Video. The “Best” quality setting for Apple devices will use 5.8GB per hour, while the “Good” setting still manages to chew through double the data of its Android counterpart at 600MB per hour. Here’s a breakdown of the approximate data use for an hour’s worth of streaming across the operating systems and quality settings:
Amazon does also allow users to download videos for offline viewing, with files taking up about the same amount of space on your device as the streaming settings. You can change the quality setting at any time on your mobile device by heading into the settings menu and choosing the streaming and download quality within the app. As with streaming, the amount of storage you can expect a file to take up varies between iOS and Android devices. Here are the numbers provided by Amazon within the iOS and Android apps:
As with all the other streaming services though, those rates are indicative. If you are streaming and your connection can’t deliver the best quality stream, it will adapt to give you the best quality it can under the conditions, capped at the setting you’ve chosen.Back to top
Amazon Prime Video FAQs
Q: Do I need a separate account for video to stream to my Kindle Fire Tablet?
A: No, you sign in with your Amazon account and everything is the same. If you’ve already set up your billing details, Amazon will just use those so you don’t need to enter credit card details again.
Q: How much content is available on Prime Video?
A: The list is constantly updating, and so far Amazon’s library is smaller than that of Netflix in India. We’ve compiled a list of movies and TV shows available on Prime though.
Q: Am I charged in USD or INR with Amazon Prime Video?
A: Currently, Amazon is charging Indian subscribers in Indian rupees.
Q: How many devices can watch Prime Video at once?
A: Amazon lets you stream a maximum of three different titles on three different devices simultaneously. However, you can stream the same title simultaneously on a maximum of two different devices.
Q: Can I watch in 4K?
A: Prime Video does offer 4K streams for compatible 4K Smart TVs. Generally speaking, if you bought a 4K TV from LG or Samsung in the last year or so, you should be fine, but it’s worth checking if your new TV has an app before purchasing any new 4K panel.
Image: Amazon Prime Video