Nine days ago, while ordering a Godzilla dvd, I was offered free 2 day shipping on my product if I signed up for a free 1-month trial to
Amazon Prime. Heck, free 2-day shipping is nothing to sneeze at, so I approved my trial and we were on our way. I had something to tinker around with and my son was getting a new dvd out of the deal.
Amazon Prime is a yearly subscription service for an “overall experience” with the site. Included in an Amazon Prime membership is 1) free 2-day shipping on millions of items with no minimum order requirement, 2) free streaming of thousands of movies and television shows in SD and HD with Prime Instant Video, 3) 1 Kindle book of your choosing to borrow for free each month from the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library. All of this will set you back a cool $79 a year – free shipping, free streaming, a free Kindle book each month.
That really isn’t bad, I suppose. If you think about it, Netflix’s streaming service alone is $7.99 a month. $7.99 over the course of 12 months is … I’ll wait for you to do the math … that’s right, $95.88. You would actually save close to $16 a year, plus get those other two bonus deals along with it if you ditched Netflix and signed up for Amazon Prime.
But wait a minute. Let me finish with my experience. I’m sure my story is in the minority of folks this happens to, but thanks to the internet and social media, I’m allowed to share that story with complete strangers. Much to the dismay of these companies, I’m sure.
First, as I was saying, 9 days ago I ordered a dvd from Amazon (directly from Amazon, not someone selling merchandise through Amazon), and signed up for the Amazon Prime free month. I also got my free 2 day shipping, which I was happy about considering I wanted the dvd to arrive before our son had minor surgery tomorrow (Monday). Well, I have yet to see the dvd. According to Amazon, it is in stock but won’t ship for another week, around the 18th for some mysterious reason. I haven’t had the time or opportunity to call customer service, and I really wonder if it would do any good anyways.
Secondly, the streaming service allows you to play Prime videos through an authorized television device, tablet, PC or Mac. The only television device I have is an Apple TV, which I am very happy with. This leaves the iPad and Mac to try out the streaming service. First thing, right off the bat, is the interface. The PC/Mac interface is nothing more than the Amazon website and it is cluttered, clunky and sorts and orders movies and television series in some weird way. The iPad app is nicer to look at, but it, too, is a bit confusing in trying to find exactly what you want. I tried searching for a television show I knew was on the Prime service, but when I typed in the exact name (properly spelled, mind you) the app gave me about 20 suggestions for other programs. In repeat attempts, the show or movie I was looking for was either listed toward the bottom of the other suggestions, or not listed at all. I can only hope that the owners of set-top devices have a smoother experience.
As for the movie and television series selection – there are a few movies and series I saw that Netflix doesn’t have, but overall, I really wasn’t impressed. If the interface was easier to muddle through, I’d consider buying a Roku player just to stream the movies to my television. And no, it isn’t possible to stream video to your television from the iPad. Possibly with the Mac, now that it has mirroring, but I haven’t tried that yet, and besides, Mac/television wireless mirroring is a bit wonky anyways.
And finally, the free book a month choice is for Kindle owners only. If you have the free software installed on your PC, Mac or smartphone, you’re just out of luck. This part of the service is for those who have an actual physical device that is registered through Amazon. Bleh! I say.
There, I’ve said my peace. I’m almost 10 days into my one month free trial and I’m really not that happy or impressed with it. Especially the 2-day service. Sure, I could break down and buy that Kindle – we’ll talk about that in an upcoming post – or I could just hang on to the service for the – hopefully better – 2 day shipping and the $16 a year savings I’d get over Netflix. But there again, that would also require an additional purchase – a Roku or other set-top streaming device for the service.
Ah, decisions, decisions. If this were Twitter, I’m sure this post would fit nicely under the #firstworldproblems tag.
** This is a cross-post blog entry. It can also be found at Geek by Choice, which is a co-authored blog shared with a friend and former co-worker. If you have received or read this post twice, I apologize. I’ll work on sorting them out in the future. **