Amazon Prime Instant Video Now Offers Offline Playback

Amazon is introducing a key feature to its video on demand service that its biggest rival Netflix doesn’t offer: offline playback. Amazon Prime Instant Video – now known as just Amazon Video on mobile platforms – will let users of its Android, iOS, and Fire apps to download video content for viewing while offline, removing the reliance on constant internet connection for streaming video from the equation.

This is bold move by Amazon, especially following Netflix’s public stance that it will never add offline playback. Late last year, Netflix’s Cliff Edwards told TechRadar regarding offline playback, “It’s never going to happen.” In a further statement to The Verge, a Netflix spokesperson added, “We have been asked the same question for several years and have always given the exact same answer.” Netflix has never clarified why it is so aggressively opposed to offline playback – though, presumably, it would affect its licensing agreements – but it has presented Amazon with an opportunity to get one over on the market leader.

Only a small selection of titles will be available for offline playback through Amazon Video, including Amazon Studios productions Transparent and Bosch, plus the TV shows Hannibal, Under the Dome, and 24, and movies such as Star Trek Into Darkness and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information.

EU Antitrust Probe Could Put an End to Geo-Blocking

The European Union (EU) has started an antitrust investigation into a number of Hollywood film studios and the UK satellite programming provider Sky. The European Commission (EC), which is investigating the companies on behalf of the EU, has the ultimate aim of abolishing geo-blocked film and television content, and has made its objections to geographical restrictions clear to six major studios, including Warner Bros., Disney, and Paramount.

TV and movie content is often region-locked and only available for a limited period due to complex and exploitative licensing agreements that favour the studios over the content provider, such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Instant Video, a practice the EC intends to put an end to.

The EU has US studios Disney, NBCUniversal, Paramount Pictures, Sony, Twentieth Century Fox, and Warner Bros, plus SKY UK, in its crosshairs, sending a statement of objections to all seven before launching its antitrust probe.

Margrethe Vestager, EU Commissioner in charge of competition policy, says of the antitrust investigation, “European consumers want to watch the pay-TV channels of their choice regardless of where they live or travel in the EU.”

“Our investigation shows that they cannot do this today, also because licensing agreements between the major film studios and Sky UK do not allow consumers in other EU countries to access Sky’s UK and Irish pay-TV services, via satellite or online,” she added.

The EC has outlined its intent “to end unjustified geo-blocking,” a practice it describes as “a discriminatory practice used for commercial reasons.”

The gist of the EU’s ire is, if content is available in one European member state, it should be available to all other member states equally. The EU is a community of countries and, as such, one member should not have any rights or privileges that another does not or cannot enjoy. We’re all equal, or something. Bloody hippies.

Thank you TorrentFreak for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Search Engine Land.

Amazon Prime Instant Video Finally Supports Android Tablets

In a move that has seemingly taken forever we now have the ability to watch Amazon Prime instant video on non-Fire and iOS tablets. Now Prime members can easily watch favorite shows on a mobile screen that you don’t have to squint to see.

To get started watching Prime instant video on your tablet you will need to install the Amazon app to be able to install from the Amazon Appstore. Then you can download the Prime Instant Video app and get started watching your favorites this weekend.

What’s new in version 2.0.45.1010:

Now watch Amazon Instant Video on your Android phones and tablets. Android tablet customers can search and browse for videos on Amazon.com in their web browser and tap Watch Now to have the Prime Instant Video app begin playing the video.

Source: Android Police

YouTube Considering Subscription-Based On-Demand Video

YouTube may be expanding its business model into subscription-based video-on-demand (SVOD), according to Variety.

The entertainment trade magazine cites an anonymous content creation studio that revealed YouTube is “exploring the prospect of launching its own subscription VOD service,” in a similar vein to its YouTube Music Key, the ad-free music platform that gives users access to 30 million songs for $7.99 (£9.99) a month via Google Play Music. The studio says that it was approached last year to develop content for the SVOD platform.

The move could see the YouTube enter into direct competition with SVOD giants Amazon Prime Instant Video and Netflix, plus Vimeo, Vessel and Hulu, all of which have moved into offering exclusive content and paid ad-free viewing.

Source: The Next Web