Tips & Tricks: If You’ve Got A Kindle Fire, You Need Amazon Prime

February 24, 2012

Let’s open with full disclosure on this: neither this site nor any of its staff receives any affiliate fees or other compensation of any kind for recommending Amazon Prime membership, or providing links to sign up for the program. We’re recommending Amazon Prime membership to Kindle Fire owners simply because it’s the best way to get the most out of your Fire device.

True enough, the annual $79 investment for an Amazon Prime membership on top of the $199 you’ve already paid for your Fire may seem like some kind of unexpected and sizeable fee, but if you take a closer look you’ll find Prime membership costs less than competing video streaming services and offers additional benefits of particular interest to Fire owners.

Amazon Prime membership includes unlimited, free access to all Amazon Prime Instant Videos, a Kindle book to borrow for free each month from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, AND free, two-day shipping on millions of Amazon products — all those designated with the Prime logo on their product pages. If you’re a frequent Amazon shopper, the free shipping alone will reimburse your investment in Prime very quickly. Avid readers will find that NOT paying $9.99 or more for their monthly selection from the hundreds of bestsellers that are part of the Prime Lending Library will earn their $79 Prime fee back in eight months or less (and can easily find those books – just mouse over the Ebooks link in the menu bar above to access categorized lists of Prime Lending Library books). And for you streaming video fans…well, let’s compare Prime to the two leading streaming video service providers.

The Prime Instant Video library includes over 10,000 movies and television episodes, and was recently expanded through the addition of the Viacom catalog, which includes a lot of Nickelodeon programming and popular syndicated television shows. Not all streaming videos available on Amazon are part of the Prime Instant Video library, but it’s easy enough to see which ones are: in the pricing information area of the program’s page on Amazon, a price of “$0.00 for Prime Members” is shown. The Kindle Fire is already optimized for Amazon Instant Video, browsing for Prime-eligible videos is easy on the device, and as a result many Fire owners are finding themselves reaching for their Fire instead of their iPad when they want to watch streaming movies or TV. Prime members can also watch Prime Instant videos on their PCs, laptops, compatible television sets and other mobile devices.

NetflixA Netflix streaming video subscription will run you $8 per month, for a total of $96 per year. For that, you get unlimited access to all of Netflix’s streaming video library on multiple devices, much like the Prime Instant Video library. The Netflix streaming video library includes movies and television shows. Netflix doesn’t disclose specific numbers of episodes or films available, though it does invite potential subscribers to browse its library before signing up. Netflix recently closed a deal to add the Weinstein Company’s film catalog to its streaming video library, but its 3-year contract with Starz Entertainment channel (which also covers Netflix’s Disney movie offerings) will expire next week.

A Hulu Plus streaming video subscription is $7.99 per month, for a total of $95.88 per year. Hulu’s streaming video offerings primarily focus on current television programming, but there are movies as well. From the Hulu site:

Never miss an episode of your favorite shows from ABC, Comedy Central, Fox, NBC, MTV and more.

– Watch every episode of the current season of dozens of popular shows, anytime

– Access more than 16,000 episodes from more than 400 current and classic TV shows

– Enjoy hundreds of movies including exclusive titles from the Criterion Collection

If the main benefit you expect to get from your Prime membership is in the streaming video area, you might want to browse and compare the current streaming video catalogs of Amazon Prime Instant Video vs. Netflix vs. Hulu, and base your decision on which catalog has the most content of interest to you. Another approach is to think of a few favorite movies or shows that you can imagine watching on your Fire, and then search for them in each catalog. We’ve got categorized lists of Prime Instant videos right here on this site, with handy links—mouse over the Videos link in our menu ribbon and click on Prime Movies or Prime TV to view the lists.

But any way you look at it, Prime membership is still about $20 less per year than either of the major competing services and still includes the added Kindle Lending Library and free Prime shipping benefits. That’s a deal that’s tough to beat, and ideally suited to Kindle Fire owners.


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13 Responses to Tips & Tricks: If You’ve Got A Kindle Fire, You Need Amazon Prime

  1. kristina on February 26, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Prime would not benifit my family simply because we don’t buy that much from amazon. Plus their movie and Tv selection is pretty much the same as netflix. I think the only way we would consider doing prime is if amazon added audible and maybe if we got a free book of our choice to keep instead of just borrow once a month.

  2. The Editors on February 26, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Kristina – if you think Amazon’s video selection is more or less the same as Netflix’s, why not switch to Prime just to save some money: $96/yr for Netflix vs. $79 for Prime?

    • kristina on February 26, 2012 at 8:05 pm

      If I could have the bids on our Tv I might do that. But I don’t think you can unless I am wrong? We.have netflix on all our tv’s and our kindle as well as our phones.

    • kristina on February 26, 2012 at 8:07 pm

      Plus with prime there are still movies and Tv shows that you would have to pay for to watch. Not with netflix.

  3. The Editors on February 26, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Kristina – Yes, it’s true that not all streaming video on Amazon is part of the Prime program. But a surprising amount *is*, and if you’ve got kids the Nickelodeon stuff is great to have.

    Also, you *can* watch Prime Videos online, on Blu-Ray players, TVs and other devices besides the Fire. Amazon has more information here:

    • kristina on February 26, 2012 at 8:46 pm

      I will check it out. Thanks

    • kristina on February 26, 2012 at 8:48 pm

      No wii access?

    • kristina on February 26, 2012 at 8:55 pm

      You almost had me convinced. Thanks anyway.

  4. The Editors on February 26, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Not yet…

  5. Susan on February 27, 2012 at 10:23 am

    I love the idea of the movies from Prime. That’s why I bought it. I also have a brand new LG 55″ HDTV in which to watch them. Unfortunately, I can’t. Neither can I watch them on my 1 yr old Sony in the bedroom. Neither are listed in your data base of available viewing models. Why not?

  6. Donna on February 29, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    We tried the Amazon Prime during our free trial and I really liked it and all the options it offered. The problem is that I cannot use it on our TV’s as people have mentioned above. We have a Wii and Xbox that we use for streaming and amazon prime is not available on either of those devices. I was hoping to hook up my kindle to the TV (as you could with an ipad) but the kindle has no output feature so watching movies with the family is impossible. We don’t have an ipad or laptop so we can’t get prime on either of those devices to hook up to the TV. If you can expand to include Wii or Xbox, I would definitely sign up again.


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