A breakdown of what Amazon Prime offers and if it is truly a value to you.

I recently purchase a Kindle Fire for my wife for Christmas and while I was at it I signed her up for the Amazon Prime service so that she could get the most out of her new device.   The three main offers for $79 per year are Instant video streaming from Amazon Prime Instant Video (APIV), Access to the Amazon Prime digital book ending library and finally free 2 day shipping.  While n face value this looks quite enticing, let’s dig deeper and see if it is actually worth your hard earned pay.

The first thing I looked at was Amazon Prime Instant Video.

Benefits: Amazon Prime offers access to literally thousands of movies and television programs that you can stream to your Kindle device or to your home PC.  The selection includes many popular television shows from the Star Trek series and spin-off’s to NYPD Blue.  It also provides a multitude of movies and other programming.  According to the Amazon web site their selection exceeds 10,000 available titles.  Now that’s quite a library.  So far, the few titles we have streamed have started and played through with little to know issues.  

Drawbacks:  the streaming service from Amazon Prime has a lot of room to grown in both selection and interface.  The interface to find television programs is set up identical to their retail side so finding a program is a treasure hunt at best and frustration on most occasions.  Plus, most of the time the program you want to watch is not Amazon Prime eligible so if you want to watch it, you will still have to pay for the rental or purchase.  Another thing, if you already have another streaming service such as Netflix or Hulu, you probably already have access to most of what APIV offers and at a more reasonable price.  

Video service rating:  2 out of 5.  While they have a decent selection, Amazon really needs to step up their game if they want people who are already comfortable with their current streaming selection.  They really should take a nod from Netflix and work on a better interface and selection. 

Next we explored the Digital Lending Library (DLL).

Benefits:  Like your very own private hand held library you have access to many books in the growing digital format.  With the Amazon Prime service you can check out one book per month from their lending library and keep it for a full 30 days before having to “return” it.  The selection boasts 50,000 books that are available to read and many NY Times best sellers.  For any reader, this is one of the main reasons to both own a Kindle and have Amazon Prime.