After months of rumors and speculations, Amazon s on-demand video service finally goes official in India, along with more than 200 other countries. Called Amazon Prime Video, it offers users with an unlimited access to popular TV shows, movies, and exclusive Amazon Originals shows. The subscription will set you back by Rs 499 a year, and if you are an existing Amazon Prime subscriber, you get it for free. With the launch of Amazon Prime Video, Netflix now has some serious competition in India. Also Read - Amazon Alexa lets you find nearest COVID vaccine or testing centre: Here's howAlso Read - Massive Rs 2,000 flat discount on Xiaomi Mi 11X: Check the mouth-watering deal on Amazon
Earlier this year, Amazon Prime was launched in India with an introductory price of Rs 499, which is valid for a year, after which it will set you back by Rs 999 a year. The service also offers early access to lightning deals and free delivery of products on a priority basis. This pricing also makes it the cheapest offering anywhere in the world. Also Read - Amazon Great Freedom Festival sale to kick off on August 5: Deals, discounts and offers
You can access Amazon Prime Video service on your Android and iOS smartphones and tablets as well as on the web on your PC. The Android app is about 15MB in size, whereas the iOS app is about 40MB is size. We tried the service on both Android And iOS smartphones and here are my first impressions. ALSO READ: Amazon Prime Video goes live in India, costs just Rs 499 for a year
Android Prime Video App Interface
After downloading the app, you can browse through the sections to look for latest movies, TV shows and Amazon Original Series. On the top left, you have the hamburger menu button, whereas the search icon is placed on the right. Tapping on the menu button, you can quickly jump to TV shows, movies, watchlist, downloads and settings menu.
Under settings, you have options to manage the stream and download quality. There are four modes – best, which hogs approximately 500MB of data for an hour of video streaming, better, which consumes about 250MB for the same duration, good that would consume about 160MB and data saver that could download about 90MB on one hour of streaming.
The good and data saver modes sacrifice on audio and video quality, but it could be ideal for those with limited data packs or low internal storage on their devices. There is also an option to always use high-quality streaming when on Wi-Fi. There are options to stream and download only on Wi-Fi, and ask for quality before downloading. What s more, you can also add parental restrictions, see your see your registered devices, and more. ALSO READ: Amazon Prime launched in India for Rs 499 per year; here s everything you need to know
The video player interface has the seek bar at the bottom, whereas the play / pause button and seek 10 seconds forward and behind button is on the centre. On the top right, you have three dots to access options such as zoom, play next, exit playback and cast to a connected device, such as Chromecast or Apple TV on iOS. Besides the menu button, you also have the option to turn the sub-titles on or off. Talking about sub-titles, some shows have them in Indian languages, which is a nice touch.
On the series page, you get options to watch an episode, add to your watch list and an option to download too. Upon clicking download, you can choose to save it on internal or external storage, and also choose the quality. The details such as cast, trivia and storyline are present at the bottom of the page.
Amazon Prime Video Content
You can choose to watch from a range of TV shows and videos of your choice. Bollywood movie titles include Sultan, Raaz Reboot, Kapoor & Sons, Fan, Dil Dhadakne Do, Shaandaar and much more, thanks to its recent partnership with Dharma Productions, T-Series, Vishesh Films. You can choose the one based on genres such as action, comedy, drama, animated, romance, horror and more. Rajnikanth s latest movie Kabali is also a part of Amazon Exclusive content.
It s also good to see animated series such as Chotta Bheem, Doremon and ShinChan among others in the list, thanks to recent content deal with Green Gold Animation. Of course, the likes of Supernatural, Shameless, Two and Half Men, House of Cards are present. But popular shows like How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory and Game of Thrones (HBO) isn t a part of the list, which may disappoint a few.
Coming to Amazon Originals, you can watch The Grand Tour featuring former Top Gear stars Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. Other than that, Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle, The Man in the High Castle, and The Tumble Leaf are also a part of the package. What s more, Amazon is also working with Indian writers such as Prasoon Joshi and actors like R Madhavan, Faran Akthar, Anurag Kashyap and AIB to produce content in India, for India.
Amazon Prime Video X-Ray feature
How many times have you been in a situation where you think you have seen the face before but don t know the actor s name? If there s a song playing in the background, you could just Shazam it, but what about the actors on screen? Well, the X-Ray feature has you covered. It is one of the unique features that Amazon Prime Video has to offer.
The tool works on most movies and TV shows, and offers you with instant information about what you re seeing on screen – actors, behind the scene videos, jump to specific scene, trivia and more. Like the song playing in the background during a particular scene, the tool also offers information about the same.
Powered by IMDB, the tool is integrated into Android and iOS apps. You can access this tool by simply tapping once on the screen when the video or movie is playing. I tried it while watching The Grand Tour, Sultan, Kabali and more, and it works like a charm.
Overall, for the brief period that I used Amazon Prime Video, the interface and features look impressive. I really liked the X-Ray feature. With the Amazon Prime Video subscription costing Rs 499 a year (less than Rs 50 a month), things can t get any better. However, lack of some popular titles may be a deterring factor for some. Also, it remains to be seen how Amazon can manage to bring more popular content to its platform. Having said that, compared to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video does seem to have an edge, especially when you consider the pricing and the content.