I’m usually a Netflix of a BBC iPlayer person. I have long been an Amazon Prime customer but it’s only recently that I’ve started to bother with the company’s Instant Video streaming service.
I really enjoyed watching ‘The Vikings’ on Amazon’s Instant Video service but because there’s not been a download function, I’ve used the service intermittently.
That changed when I bought an Amazon Fire TV. It’s now the third ‘box’ in our house — that is, the Sky+ satellite Pay TV box is probably still primary. Although it’s a close call between that and the Apple TV. We access Netflix through the Apple TV. And then the children use the Amazon Fire TV a lot.
Now and again I’ve had a look at some of the movies.
However when I got notification from Amazon that they’d added a download option for Instant Video, I changed my tune.
All of a sudden I felt the service was significantly improved: Offline viewing is sadly still a very, very important feature despite what the mobile networks would have us all believe.
I happened to flick up the Amazon Instant Video app when I was on the train to Scotland last week. I did a bit of work for half the journey then I decided to try it out. I’d downloaded a 90 second trailer of “Mr Robot” to watch.
This is a new series just released on Amazon produced by USA Networks. It follows “Elliot”, a cyber-security engineer by day and vigilante hacker by night, who gets recruited by a mysterious underground group to destroy the firm he is paid to protect. That’s what the blurb said.
I watched the trailer and thought, “You know what, that is rather good.”
So I hit “stream” on the first episode.
I happened to be in a main station on the way up to Scotland — Darlington I think it might have been, so the train wasn’t moving. I was astonished when the first episode began to stream… in what looked like high quality.
I was further astonished to be able to watch the first episode, end-to-end, without any gaps… ON THE TRAIN! I think Amazon must have built in a heck of a lot of compression and smart algorithms combined with their AWS heritage to get the data to the Three mobile network as fast as possible.
My signal was up and down like a YoYo as you’d expect on the way up to Scotland. Yet I ended up watching almost three episodes in quick succession — all of them streamed.
I’ve obviously now downloaded the rest ready for further viewing. I would like to recommend you take a look at Mr Robot if you’re a bit of a geek.
I’ve really appreciated the virtual realism that they’ve displayed. Everything I’ve seen in the episodes is a heck of a lot more relevant and real than any of the ‘Hollywood hacker’ scenes I’ve seen before in other movies and TV shows. It’s also got some good pace about it — a bit like the energy I saw in The Social Network.
If you haven’t checked out Mr Robot, have a look. And if you are a Prime customer and haven’t tried Amazon Instant Video can I recommend downloading the app and having a play?