Amazon. LoveFilm. Prime. Instant. Prime Instant. Video.
No, we’ve not lost the plot – it’s just hard to keep up with these two brands and their baffling rebranding exercises.
These days, Amazon owns LoveFilm; the service formerly known as LoveFilm Instant is now Amazon Prime Instant Video, and £5.99 gets you unlimited streaming of its film and TV catalogue.
There are a number of price options (see foot of page) for the service, although they are something of a maze – it took us an hour to work through the various options.
And this is before we even came to Amazon Instant Video: the on-demand purchase and rental part of the website, streaming the newest and best goodies not included in Prime.
Confused yet? We are. Amazon doesn’t seem to have decided what it wants to do.
Visit the website and you’ll find ‘Instant Video’ in the same list as Gardening and Groceries; hardly accessible.
It’s a pity, because once you get past the confusion, Amazon Prime Instant Video is pretty good.
The film selection is one of the best in UK subscription services. The site boasts 2107 titles.
That’s good, not great, but it has quality. The range of genres is wide, with a nice split of old and recent. Some titles hit Blu-ray six months ago.
The TV offering is improving. Amazon Studios has started producing its own content, and some of it has been shot in 4K. It has also signed up former Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond to present a new motoring show..
Amazon's 4K service offers a good selection of films and TV shows. You'll find around 37 hours of TV, including many Amazon Originals shows such as Alpha House Season 2, Mad Dogs and Transparent, all available in 4K and all included in the Prime price.
Elsewhere, there’s a decent number of popular shows (Sherlock, Castle, Parks & Recreation) but no premier titles like Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones.
The best and latest content is reserved for purchase or rental only, outside the Prime catalogue, at the average prices.
A new film in HD costs £13.99, or a TV series for £24.99. They do vary depending on age: The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) is £6.99 in HD.
More after the break
The streaming quality is excellent. Amazon offers a video resolution of up to 1080p as well as Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound where possible.
One account can stream to two devices at the same time, with each video limited to one device at a time.
The same two-device deal applies to downloads of purchases, or one device for rentals.
Overall, we like Amazon Prime Instant Video. Sure, there are issues: the services, pricing and branding needs to be simplified.
The iPad app needs fixing, and there really needs to be Android support. But these are small quibbles, easily outweighed by everything else.
We like the video quality and the catalogue of films, and the TV offering is only going to get better.
For the money it’s a tempting proposition, especially when you get a free one-month trial. There is no excuse not to try it.
Annual cost: £79 for instant video, Prime speedy delivery and Kindle book rentals
Monthly cost: £5.99 for unlimited streaming of Prime Instant video catalogue
New HD film: £13.99 for on demand purchase
LoveFilm by post monthly cost: £7.99 for unlimited DVDs and Blu-rays, two at a time
5.1 sound: Yes
Max picture resolution: 1080p
Platforms: Smart TV, Blu-ray players, consoles, iOS, Kindle Fire
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