Review: Amazon Instant Video on Xbox LIVE
So the cat is out of the bag. We’re all big fans of the Amazon’s Kindle Fire, thus we love the awesomeness that is Amazon Prime. Sure if you aren’t that into streaming library content and don’t need two-day shipping the service is of questionable value to you, but what can we say, the Kindle Library available only to Amazon Prime users hooked us. Recently Amazon announced it would be bringing its Amazon Prime powered Amazon Instant Video content to the Xbox 360 and our hearts were all a flutter.
Now let’s get this straight right now that we’ve finished gushing over the service. This isn’t a review of the Amazon Prime. We won’t be going into detail about how big Amazon’s streaming library is or all the perks you can enjoy for a low yearly price. That’s for individual users to decide.
What’s new is now familiar.
When Microsoft first announced that it would be bringing applications to the Xbox 360 we were first excited, than worried. Was Microsoft going to tightly control the user experience to the point of making each an application pretty much the same? Were content providers going to be left to abuse Xbox’s programming guidelines like teenagers in a theme park with no security? Here we are seven months later and we’ve got a definite answer: the Xbox LIVE Apps Marketplace is Microsoft’s world and these content providers are just living in it. Everything is standard no matter the app you are using. Each Xbox LIVE app has the standard square tiles, in-app search, and Kinect gesture support. Amazon on Xbox LIVE is no different.
Who’s minding the store?
So what’s the problem? The problem is Amazon’s cleverly deceptive way of insuring you’ll be tethered to Amazon.com if you aren’t using Amazon Prime. Those who choose to purchase content individually or in seasons will have to manage their libraries from a personal computer or tablet. Want to quickly purchase an episode of Eureka? Well walk on over to your computer and get to clicking. Thinking about renting a movie? Here’s to hoping you like getting up. Yes, we know it’s easy to do, but it doesn’t mean we welcome extra steps in our family’s video procurement process
Overall we found Amazon Instant Video’s streaming to be crystal clear, its startup time to be reasonable, its voice and gesture controls usable and its curated content on the applications home page to be competent. True, nothing here bests Netflix or even Zune Video, but for most that won’t matter. Sure it’s preoccupation with forcing users to either stare at Amazon.com or pony up for a Amazon Prime subscription is bold, but for many they’ll hand over the $79.99 happily. If you already have an Xbox LIVE Gold subscription, download it and try it out. If you don’t, the ball is in your court.