Netflix Isn’t Against Offline Viewing

Netflix is a huge company, with price increases to help cover the increased traffic that people use with the HD streaming experience. In a recent call though Netflix may look at helping you watch those movies on the go while avoiding the data usage costs that come with offline viewing.

CEO Reed Hastings responded to questions about the possibility of letting its subscribers watch shows offline by saying that they would “keep an open mind on all this”. Part of the reason Hastings gives for this open approach is the “uneven set of networks” that Netflix is noticing as they expand to new areas of the world.

With Netflix’s Chief Product Officer, Neil Hunt, stating last year that they wouldn’t add the feature thanks to the “complexity [it brings] to your life”, directly followed by “with Amazon Prime”. Amazon Prime lets you download and stream shows, and with a new pricing model offering monthly subscriptions, Netflix may be changing their tone to help fight off the competition in the media streaming market.

With services like Sky Go, Amazon Prime and even BBC’s iPlayer letting you watch content offline, Netflix is one of the few services that doesn’t offer offline viewing, something that can often put people on or off services when their internet cuts out mid-show.

Amazon Instant Video to Bundle With Other VOD Services

Strong rumours suggest that Amazon Instant Video will soon include access to other video-on-demand networks, and could do so as soon as this December. According to Bloomberg, Amazon’s video streaming service is set to become the on-demand equivalent of a cable or satellite package, with the company even considering launching its own live channel through Amazon Prime.

While Amazon’s potential new partners have not been revealed – Amazon spokesperson Craig Berman refused to comment on the story – it would make sense for cable channels such as HBO and Showtime to bundle their existing video-on-demand services in an effort to expand their reach beyond existing US cable subscribers.

Amazon Instant Video has an estimated 43.2 million US subscribers, second only to Netflix, and the move can only attract more customers from its rival, especially if, say, Amazon Instant Video becomes the portal through which people get to watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones online, a privilege previously restricted to HBO Go subscribers.

The company is also in the preliminary planning stages to launch its own live channel, in partnership with CBS Corp. and Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal, to position itself against TV providers such as Comcast, AT&T, and Sky. Apple are reportedly pursuing a similar strategy.

Amazon Reveals Dash Buttons for Ordering Specific Items

On today of all days, Amazon has decided to reveal its totally audacious yet completely real new innovation: the Amazon Dash Button. With a Dash Button, Amazon Prime customers can order their favourite goods with just the press of a dedicated button, branded with the product’s logo.

Each Dash Button has an adhesive back, so can be stuck near where the product is usually stored or used in the household. One press of the button pushes an order to your Amazon account; the button remains dormant while the order is being processed, preventing accidental multiples, and any order placed pings a notification to the user’s smartphone, so they can cancel if made by mistake.

The Dash Button follows on from Amazon Dash, a barcode scanning device for Prime users to re-order items from the online shopping giant, and Prime Now, a one-hour delivery service that has already rolled out to four US cities.

Source: BBC

UK Amazon Fire TV Stick Priced £35, or £7 to New Prime Members

The Amazon Fire TV Stick is now available for pre-order in the UK priced £35, or for just £7 for new Amazon Prime customers. The HDMI dongle, Amazon rival to Google’s Chromecast, is also available to existing Prime customers for £19.

In terms of its specifications, the Fire TV Stick wipes the floor with Chromecast, boasting four-times the on-board storage and twice the memory, plus a dual-core processor and dual band WiFi, compared to Chromecasts single core processor and single band WiFi.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said, “We’re excited to introduce Fire TV Stick in the UK. Fire TV Stick is the most powerful streaming media stick available, with a dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, dual-band and dual-antenna Wi-Fi, included remote control, voice search with our free mobile app, and an open ecosystem. The team has packed a huge amount of power and selection into an incredible price point—Fire TV Stick is just £35.”

Amazon Fire TV gives viewers access to Prime Instant Video, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, BBC News, BBC Sport, Sky News, Curzon Home Cinema, STV Player, and other video services, with 1080p playback at 60fps and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound.

The £7 and £19 reductions for new and existing Prime customers, respectively, are valid until 26th March.

Source: Hexus

Amazon Studios to Make Films for Cinema Release

After making great strides with its original series, Amazon Studios is set to move into the movie business, making 12 films a year for cinema release before they’re made available on Prime Instant Video.

Amazon Studios show Transparent, starring Jeffrey Tambor as an aging father who comes out as transgender, won Best Comedy or Musical TV Series at the Golden Globes last week.

Amazon Original Movies, as the venture is called, will “focus on unique stories, voices, and characters from top and up-and-coming creators.” Films will then be available for streaming to Prime subscribers 4-8 weeks after cinema release.

Roy Price, Vice President of Amazon, said, “Not only will we bring Prime Instant Video customers exciting, unique, and exclusive films soon after a movie’s theatrical run, but we hope this program will also benefit filmmakers, who too often struggle to mount fresh and daring stories that deserve an audience.”

Amazon Original Movies will be headed by Ted Hope, who produced Eat Drink Man Woman and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Source: The Verge

Amazon Prime Secures 10 Million New Customers Over the Holidays

With an annual price of $99, Amazon Prime is still doing quite well, with the US retail giant announcing that over 10 million new customers used the premium subscription-based program over the holidays. Amazon Prime’s free two-day shipping was probably one of the key driving points here, but we also have other recent additions like Prime Music, Prime Pantry, and Prime Photos doing some of the legwork.

Amazon has said that same-day delivery has seen a gigantic spike this year, with customers ordering “10 times as many items” with same-day delivery compared to last year. Moving into 2015, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has said “We are working hard to make Prime even better and expanding the recently launched Prime Now to additional cities in 2015.”

The company has seen mobile devices used much more, with 60% of orders coming from a smartphone or tablet during the holidays, with mobile purchases peaking on Cyber Monday. Amazon customers ordered 18 toys per second using mobile devices on Cyber Monday, so we can see that Amazon use on mobiles is growing, rapidly.

Source: The Verge.

Vimeo Pro Introduces 4K Uploads

Vimeo announced on Monday that subscribers to Vimeo Pro will now be able to upload ultra-HD, 4K video.

Both supply and demand for 4K videos in on the increase, with Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime offing 4K content, and 4K televisions and monitors dropping in price.

Vimeo does not offer the 4K videos for streaming, only for download, in either free or paid options. The first videos made available at 4K resolution on Vimeo were Video Game High School Season 3 and A Film About Coffee, which, according to the company, have had a high number of downloads. Vimeo promises that 4K streaming is on its way.

Source: Venture Beat

Price of Amazon Fire Phone Slashed Again

Amazon’s failed attempt at entering the smartphone market with the Amazon Fire Phone has left the company with warehouses full of handsets with no one willing to buy them. In desperation, Amazon has cut the price of the phone, unlocked, to $199, with the addition of one free year of Amazon Prime. This follows a price reduction in September of just 99 cents with a two-year contract. On release, the Amazon Fire Phone was $199 with a two-year contract and $649 unlocked.

Amazon took a $170 million hit, according to their third quarterly earnings report, due to the failure of the Fire Phone. The massive price cut marks the company’s last ditch attempt to recoup some of that money over the holiday period.

Source: readwrite

Amazon Offers Kindle Fire HDX Tablets With Installment Plan Payments

When the Amazon Kindle Fire first hit the market in 2011, it was right around the holiday shopping season. With its low price, the original Kindle Fire immediately challenged the Apple iPad for leadership on top of the tablet sales charts. But that was then and this is now. Apple has a hot selling new slate in the Apple iPad Air and a recent study showed that only 5% of Americans looking to buy a tablet are planning on buying a Kindle Fire.

Perhaps with that survey in mind, Amazon is offering a new payment plan for those who are interested in buying one of the two newest Kindle Fire models. Pay 25% of the cost of the tablet now, with the balance to be paid off over three 90 day periods. The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 is a 7 inch slate that is priced at $229, while the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is priced at $379.


The HDX line comes with the Mayday button that let’s you speak with a customer service rep via a dedicated video chat. Amazon has been pushing this service in its holiday period television ads. In addition, the HDX series allows users to download television shows and movies from Amazon’s Prime Instant Video streaming service. During a recent DisplayMate showdown, the panel on the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 beat out the screens on the Apple iPad Air and Nexus 10.

Amazon has gone after the Apple iPad Air with its recent ads, explaining that the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 has 1 million more pixels than the iPad Air, weighs 20% less, and is priced lower than Apple’s new flagship slate.

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