Apple, Amazon Make Moves to Bolster Online Video Viewing and Content

Amazon Video appThere’s good news today for all of  you who love to watch video content on your favorite Apple devices: Amazon’s made it easier to watch video offline, while Apple is rumored to be looking into producing original content.

Amazon Prime members pay $99 a year for free shipping and a lot more like unlimited free access to Amazon Prime Video’s library of movies, TV shows, and original content. The company today released a new version (3.2) of the Amazon Prime Video app, now renamed as Amazon Video, that adds a new and very convenient feature for iOS users — offline viewing.

The offline viewing feature was previously limited to Amazon’s Fire tablets, but today’s update brings the ability to download video content while in the vicinity of a Wi-Fi network, then view it at leisure up to 30 days later. This makes Amazon Prime Video a rarity among streaming services, most of which don’t provide a way to do offline viewing.

The app has controls for moving video content from the cloud to the local device, taking into account available storage and the quality of the downloaded video. In limited testing on a fairly fast Wi-Fi network, downloading a 2.25-hour movie for viewing on an iPhone 6 Plus took about 40 minutes, so be sure to have plenty of time available to grab your content ahead of when you need it. Remember that it’s also possible to view downloaded video on any HDTV with an Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV or Amazon Fire TV Stick.

In other news, Apple is apparently looking at producing its own original TV shows. This is nothing new; Amazon, Hulu and Netflix have had great success with their own productions, but having Apple join the fray would definitely bring a big player with a lot of money to the table.

According to Variety, the company is starting to meet with Hollywood executives:

“Sources indicate the Cupertino, Calif. colossus has held preliminary conversations in recent weeks with executives in Hollywood to suss out their interest in spearheading efforts to produce entertainment content. The unit putting out the feelers reports into Eddy Cue, who is Apple’s point man on all content-related matters, from its negotiations with programmers for Apple TV to its recent faceoff with Taylor Swift.”

The Variety post notes that Apple apparently got into a bidding war to grab Top Gear stars Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond when they left the BBC, but Amazon ended up winning the battle. Apple is already producing in-house music videos for artists featured on the Beats 1 Radio station, so it’s not completely out of the question that the company could end up competing with existing networks and studios for your viewership.


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