Watch out Netflix. The online streaming video leader now has a new “prime” competitor.
According to Amazon, movies and TV shows included with an Amazon Prime membership can be watched instantly on Macs, PCs and nearly 200 models of Internet-connected TVs, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes that are compatible with Amazon Instant Video.
The offerings include the Swedish-language "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" trilogy, classic films like "Amadeus" and "Chariots of Fire," and TV series such as "Fawlty Towers." But Amazon’s free selection is a small fraction of the 90,000 movies and TV shows in the Seattle-retailer’s complete Instant Video catalog, most of which are typically available for $2.99 for a 48-hour rental.
The move puts Amazon in direct competition with Netflix in a battle for the online streaming market.
Last year, the majority of Netflix’s more than 20 million subscribers viewed more of their TV shows and movies online through streaming than by mailed DVDs, according to CNN.com.
So which service is the better deal? One year of the $7.99 streaming-only plan Netflix unveiled last November costs $95.88, as opposed to the $79 per-year Amazon Prime service, The Washington Post pointed out. Prime customers also receive free two-day delivery of products from Amazon’s physical inventory.
Not to be outdone by Amazon, Netflix responded later Tuesday by inking a new two-year deal with CBS to bring that network's library of TV shows to its streaming service.
More competition is on the horizon. Another Netflix rival, Redbox, is also preparing to launch its own online streaming service, CNN.com reports.