To date, users of Amazon Prime Video could only download Amazon Video content for offline viewing on the e-retailer’s own Fire devices. But this week, Amazon updated the service and its mobile apps to allow Android and iOS devices to enjoy offline viewing as well.
“Amazon Video is the only online subscription streaming video service that enables downloads of titles, meaning unlike other subscription streaming services such as Netflix, Prime members can enjoy movies and TV shows as part of their membership even when they don’t have an internet connection available,” an Amazon press release notes.
As you might expect, there are some caveats.
First, you must be a member of Amazon Prime. Membership costs $99.99 per year, and comes with a number of benefits, including free two-day shipping on many items, unlimited cloud storage of photos with Prime Photos, access to the Prime Music subscription service, access to the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, and Prime Video (formerly called Prime Instant Video).
Second, you must live in the United States, Austria, Germany, or the UK. That’s a curious little list, and while Amazon makes no mention of this, I suspect it will expand over time.
Third, it appears that you can’t download everything in the Prime Video catalog. Instead, “thousands of eligible movies and TV shows” are available. (Amazon says there are “tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes” available for streaming and “hundreds of thousands of titles to buy or rent.”) Just looking at the front page of the app today, I easily found several—”Blair Witch Project,” “Area 51,” and the TV show “Falling Skies,” for example—that were not available for download. (That said, many were.)
Fourth and finally, I assume there are limits on how many videos you can download to a device—or across your account, potentially—via the Amazon Video app. Amazon doesn’t specify this limit in their announcement, so I tested downloading and was able to queue up 6 videos for download, which is more than I expected. I will try to figure this one out.
To gain this ability, you need the latest version of the Amazon Video app for Android, iPhone or iPad. (Or FireOS, of course.) On Android and FireOS, you can snag this app through the Amazon Underground store. And of course iPhone and iPad users can grab Amazon Video on the App Store.
In looking at the app on iOS—and testing video downloading—I see a few teething issues. There’s no obvious view of downloaded/offline video for example, or way to see the download queue. (You can of course view only the content on the device; it’s just not obvious.) But still, excellent to have offline capabilities.
I’d love to see Netflix add this capability, but my understanding is that the firm has no plans to do so.