The video on demand market has been heating up ever since Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) first started its instant streaming service, but Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) just fired another shot at cable operators with news that its Instant Video service is now available on Sony (NYSE: SNE) PlayStation 3 consoles.
The Instant Video PS3 interface.
The PS3 system is the first video game box to offer the Instant Video service, and Amazon has added some new features to herald the living-room launch. By downloading the Amazon Instant Video app, PS3 users can get new "smart lists" featuring recently watched content, next episode links and personal recommendations. Amazon also notes that viewers can start a program on the Kindle Fire, and continue it on a PS3 device through the use of its Whispersync technology. The mention of Amazon's media tablet highlights how the company is steadily building its own media ecosystem, combining services with its own devices and third-party hardware.
Amazon Prime members can stream instant videos from the Amazon library to PS3 consoles starting immediately. For users who don't want to pay the $79-per-year Prime subscription fee, the Amazon Instant Video app also offers more than 120,000 TV shows and movies available for rent or purchase. In honor of the PS3 launch, Amazon is providing the first episodes of more than 100 TV shows for free so that both Prime and non-Prime customers can test out instant streaming through the game console app.
In addition to expanding distribution, Amazon continues to add more content to its on-demand library. Just a few weeks ago the company added programming from Discovery (Nasdaq: DISCA), including shows from the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet and more. Meanwhile, cable operators know they have to continue upping the ante with their own VoD libraries. Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), which has been the most aggressive on this front, has more than 30,000 VoD programs currently available.
Amazon adds Discovery content to its Prime library
Xfinity on demand in 2011