Amazon Takes Aim at Netflix & Apple…and Fires!

Holy Cow! This couldn’t wait for next week’s show folks because just announced a new benefit for Amazon Prime members that promises to blow the doors of the world of streaming content right off its hinges!

Amazon Prime, for those who don’t know, is Amazon’s paid service that gives its members free two-day shipping on everything Amazon sells.  It’s really an awesome service that I use it myself and since I first joined as a Prime member, my saying has become: If it’s not on Amazon with Prime Shipping, it’s not worth buying.

But today, in a letter posted to their homepage, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos announced a new benefit for Amazon Prime members that offers unlimited, commericial-free, instant streaming of 5,000 movies and TV shows for … get this! … no additional charge.  That same $79 a year fee that brings unlimited 2-day shipping of your purchases to your door, now brings you movies and TV shows too!

And it works with all of the same devices Amazon’s streaming service worked with before: Macs, PCs, Internet connected TVs, Blu-ray players, and set-top boxes like the Roku.


Now, pulling ourselves back to reality for a moment here: 5,000 movies and TV shows is nothing compared to the … well, we don’t really know how many movies and TV shows Netflix offers, but I believe it’s far more than 5,000. However, the cost of 1 year of Netflix is about $96 — and that won’t get me the latest gadget to my door in two days.

On the other hand, the current list of Movies and TV Shows Bezos touts in his open letter doesn’t exactly inspire me to leap to my TV to start watching, though I can only imagine this initial release of 5,000 is just the tip of the iceberg.

As for Apple? They’ve not announced a competitive streaming service … yet … but with a ginormous new data center coming online, I imagine something similar is coming from Cupertino.  However, whether Apple does or doesn’t offer unlimited streaming, one thing to keep in mind is that this $79 unlimited streaming service from Amazon is only the wienie they’re using to hook us into their service — Apple can’t ignore the fact that Amazon also rents, sells, and streams first-run content too.  And all to the same box the free stuff goes to.

So with that in mind, the question to Apple is: can Apple pull a rabbit out of it’s hat before too many consumers ditch their Apple TV and flock to a cheaper alternative in the Roku?

At this point, unless Apple has something up their sleeve the rumor mills haven’t picked up on yet, I’m afraid the answer to that question may just be … No.