Amazon Prime Prime Video screenshot

Published on December 6th, 2017 | by Brad Gibson

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Finally…Amazon Prime Video app debuts on Apple TV

Seven months since it was first revealed, Amazon has released the much-anticipated Amazon Prime Video app for Apple TV. With its addition, Apple TV is now the only streaming device to have five of the most popular services – Netflix, HBO GO, Hulu, iTunes, and Amazon Prime Video.

The app appeared on the Apple TV App Store early Wednesday morning after Apple accidentally promoted its release for a brief period through the iOS AppStore Tuesday afternoon. Multiple users on a Reddit Apple TV forum reported seeing promotions after setting their iPhone’s date and time forward to December 6th. The “Today” App Store description was live for less than an hour, users reported.

At the time of this writing, the app is not appearing in the ‘Featured’ section of the Apple TV AppStore nor is it appearing in the ‘Shopping’ category. To find it, use the ‘Search’ function with the word ‘Amazon’.

The app allows Prime Video subscribers to watch TV shows and movies from the service using third-generation Apple TV devices or newer. It is available on the Apple TV AppStore in over 100 countries including the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, France, and Germany. Prime members in the U.S., UK, Germany, Austria, and Japan can also use this app to watch videos purchased or rented on Amazon.

Previously, the Prime Video app was only accessible on the Apple TV with the use of a wireless AirPlay connection from a different Apple device source. With the streaming app now available directly in Apple TV, users can now swipe through a variety of popular Prime titles with ease.

Wanting to buy content through the app? Fuhgeddaboudit

The app is highly promoting content included with a Prime account. If you’re looking for non-Prime content for purchase or rental, you’ll be disappointed. Users can only purchase movies or TVs shows through a Prime Video account online via a browser. Once rented or bought, non-prime content will appear through the Apple TV app for viewing.

Industry experts believe the lack of in-app purchases is because Amazon is refusing to pay Apple a cut of each sale. Similar services, like YouTube, simply raise their prices on items sold through the Apple TV versus at a lower price if bought directly through YouTube’s website.

Full TV App support

On a positive front, the app also compatible with the Apple TV’s universal search feature, meaning results from Amazon programming will show up in the TV App alongside content from Apple, HBO, and others and can be added to the “Up Next” queue of shows and movies. Users can then immediately view shows without needing to navigate to the Amazon app itself.

In a press statement released Wednesday, Apple confirmed that Prime Video brings the number of TV episodes and movies that Siri can search on Apple TV to 1.3 million.

There are various reports from journalists and users on Reddit that the Siri Universal Search and playback of Amazon shows within the TV app are not entirely working. A test by BESTAppleTV.com of 20 Amazon programs through the TV app found no playback problems whatsoever.

Prime Video main screenNon-Prime movies are virtually impossible to find on the Apple TV app by browsing and must be bought through the Amazon Store through a web browser

Amazon also confirmed “Prime Video members streaming on the Apple TV 4K will have the exceptional viewing experience of 4K HDR.” What was not mentioned was the paltry-sized library of 4K content presently available. A search at the time of this writing showed 61 videos supporting 4K.

Benefits for both Apple & Amazon

The timing of the release is not by accident. Many industry watchers had speculated privately for some time that its debut would come just before the season two release of the services motoring TV series, The Grand Tour, which begins on December 8th, one of the highest profile shows in the Prime Video lineup.

With Apple now having 18 of the 19 most watched apps of its competing streaming box, Roku, the absence of the Prime Video app has long been one of Apple TV’s more glaring shortcomings. Its addition will be a win-win for both Apple and Amazon.

From a competitive standpoint, Amazon will now be able to say it’s in a more aggressive position with Netflix following its addition to Apple TV.

For Apple, it will help to more easily sell its set-top box to the 90 million U.S.-based Amazon Prime subscribers. According to research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, 63 percent of Amazon’s customers are Prime members, and in the past 12 months, the total subscriber base has grown by 38 percent.

Amazon Prime app seven months in the making

Sources told Recode.net in May of this year that the service would be coming to Apple TV in the third quarter, which ended September 30th. A month later, both companies officially confirmed an agreement had been reached, but only said the app would be released “this year”.

At its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote on June 5th, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the news re-confirming the app would be coming to Apple TV “later this year” with “a wealth of great content.” Cook reiterated that same news at the debut of the Apple TV 4K on September 12th but again gave no firm release date.

When the unconfirmed third-quarter report came and went September 30th, there was much speculation online as to why it had been delayed with Apple and Amazon both refusing to comment.

Amazon stopped selling Apple TV in the fall of 2015 after Bezos said he didn’t want his customers to buy a device that wasn’t compatible with Amazon’s video app. He also made it clear that from a business perspective, the deal had to be a good one.

“We want our player…to be on the (Apple TV) device, and we want it to be on the device with acceptable business terms,” he said at the Code Conference in June 2016. “And if you can’t, then we don’t want to sell it to our customers because they’re going to be buying it thinking they can watch Prime Video and then they’re going to be disappointed. And they’re going to return it.”

Maybe next…Apple TV on the Amazon store?

Now with the release of the app, it remains to be seen if Apple’s fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV set-top boxes will now be sold on Amazon.com. As of this writing, neither box is available through the online e-commerce service.

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About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of BESTAppleTV.com. He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as MacNN.com, MacObserver.com, MacCentral.com, MacMinute.com, and Macworld.com. He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the Associated Press and United Press International.



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