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First look at Amazon Instant Video on Playstation 3

posted Apr 4, 2012, 2:52 AM by Vu Nguyen   [ updated Apr 6, 2012, 6:34 PM ]
I’ve been testing out the Amazon Instant Videos on the Playstation 3. After registering my device and signing up for the free month of Prime, I was ready to go.

I had already “purchased” some free TV shows, knowing that one day I’ll have a device that can play Amazon videos. With the PS3 option, I now feel more comfortable buying and owning digital media.

Here is my first look review.

MENU

Navigation is fine, there aren’t much choice in movie genre (they seem more focused on television), with only about six movie genre. Searching is “smart” which brings up titles as you type it – unfortunately it does not support bluetooth keyboards.

Since I didn’t want to rent films for $4 a pop, I mainly stuck to the free Prime service. That’s where you really see how tiny Amazon’s catalog is compared to Netflix. Lots of old titles, nothing in terms of “Hollywood Blockbusters”.

STREAMING

There are some immediate problems: streaming HD content is not possible on my wifi. I have been meaning to do this for the longest time: buy a 20 foot Ethernet cable and plug the PS3 into my router to ensure the best connection. The unfortunate thing about the PS3 is that its wifi radio is only “G”, while the current standard is “N”. I had to choose “optimize” for streaming and the video quality isn’t that good, even worse than DVD quality. It’s watchable, but think of it as “youtube” quality and you get the idea.

Compare to Netflix, Amazon need to work on their buffer. Netflix plays movies right away; Amazon seems to take its sweet time to start up. I suspect it has more or less to do with my connection, but since I have experience a better viewing experience with Netflix, I have to blame it on Amazon right now. PRICE $80 a year works out to be $6.66 a month, which is still cheaper than Netflix’s $7.99 a month for streaming. You do also get 2-day free shipping on your Amazon orders, so that is worth it if you buy loads of stuff from Amazon.

THE BOTTOM LINE

I keep getting “insufficient Bandwidth” messages streaming a movie on Amazon. Not happy about that, why would I pay $80 a year to not be able to watch movies? Even if I could get the movie to properly play, the quality is inferior to DVD standard!

Based on poor video quality and very limited movie selections, I’m probably going to cancel at the end of the month before my free subscription ends. It’s still up in the air right now. Maybe when I order a 20 foot Ethernet cable from Amazon with the 2-day shipping… I might change my mind. I am still I’m very happy to see that Amazon is on the Playstation 3.

UPDATE 04/04/12: I just placed an order for a 50ft Ethernet Cord for $4.22, I should get it in the mail on April 7th, based on their 2-Day free shipping.  I am hoping a direct link to my router it would make the streaming video more enjoyable.  By the way, I have Comcast, and they sometime disconnect me randomly if they see that I am streaming/downloading too much data!  I hate them.

UPDATE 04/06/12: I am now hardwired on my PS3 to my router.  I'm watching TROLL HUNTER in HD and it looks fantastic. No video hiccups or interruptions.  Quite happy with this, but I wonder how many other people are having a horrible experience with wifi only.  Hardwired connection shows 8 megabit per second download and 2mb/s upload.  I don't know what the wifi-setup was, probably 4mb/s, or less, if I were to guess.

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