Review: Amazon Prime App for iPad

Review: Amazon Prime App for iPad

Just get Netflix. It's about the same price, has the same offerings and it's a lot easier to use.

After getting super excited about all the amazing video available for streaming through Amazon (versus Netflix), I finally sat down on Saturday night to sign up and check some of it out. 

Two hours later, I gave up in frustration. 
 
As for the app itself, it is a "dumb terminal," to use a phrase from computer science history. There is very little you can do from this app except sign into Amazon and click to view either your Watchlist or Amazon's "Recommended video in X category." If there is a way to type a word into a search field to find what you want, I was not able to work out how to make that happen. 
 
Basically the idea is, you do everything from a regular browser but watch the movie. This means that, should you decide to use Amazon Prime's streaming video on your iPad, the process will be a little clumsy. You will have to manage everything from a browser, then switch over to the app to actually watch your movie.
 
The bigger problem I had was with signing up for Amazon Prime to begin with. It's surprising how difficult they make this process. (Don't they WANT you to buy Prime?) 

In order to sign up, you have to complete check-out. But since your first month of Prime is free, and you can't check out with a zero balance, you have to actually buy something else and sort of attach Prime membership as an afterthought. 
 
Not to belabor the point, but this is REALLY DUMB.
 
Furthermore, you have to buy something which is Prime qualified, AND you have to have it shipped to a Prime-approved address. Now mind you, with Prime, you can have things shipped to a PO Box for free. However, for this particular step, the item has to be shipped to a street address, end of story.
 
Since I live in a remote rural area and I don't really have a street address, I emailed a friend and asked if I could have my stuff shipped to her house. Hooray, free 2-day shipping for an item I will pick up when I see her a week from now.
 
My trial complete, I logged into the app and tried to watch season 2 of Sherlock. No dice. How about season 2 of The Walking Dead? Also: zip. These are videos that you can purchase through Amazon Streaming, so you'll forgive my thinking I would be able to watch them for free with Prime.
 
But that's the clincher: only a small sub-set of videos is available to watch free with the Amazon Prime service. In fact, this sub-set matches Netflix's offerings almost exactly. Long story short, if you are tempted by Amazon Prime streaming video for the iPad, don't be - just get Netflix. It's about the same price, has the same offerings, and it's a lot easier to use.