Amazon rolls out a nifty Instant Video app for the iPad

Seemingly out of nowhere (unless I missed a memo) Amazon launched an Instant Video iPad app yesterday. I've often said that Amazon needs to get its video streaming content onto more devices and it's slowly getting there. In addition to the new iPad app you can watch Amazon Instant Video on Roku, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Tivo, certain Internet-connected TVs and Blu-ray players and of course, the Kindle Fire.

Hmm, maybe it isn't getting there...maybe it has arrived.

The nice thing about Amazon Instant Video is that it offers 'free' content along with your $79/year Amazon Prime subscription (which also offers free 2-day shipping and the Kindle lending library as perks), as well as offering content to rent or purchase on a per item basis. This means you can often get newer content on Amazon than you can on Netflix, providing you're willing to pay for it.

I checked out the iPad app and it works as advertised. One nice bonus feature is the ability to download TV episodes to your iPad; this only works with purchased content but if you're going to be without an Internet connection it'll be a handy option.

Oddly there doesn't seem to be a way to search from the iPad interface, only browse through the categories they decide to show you. Of course your iPad has a perfectly usable browser so it's not a big deal to switch over and set up your Watchlist. Oh, and as expected the iPad supports WhisperSync so you can start watching on one device and finish on another without losing your place.

I find it interesting that Amazon is embracing the iPad, given all the emphasis it's been putting on the Kindle Fire. One of the unique aspects of the Fire was that it was the only tablet that offered Instant Video. Of course the $200 Kindle Fire and the $500+ iPad service different markets. It'll be really interesting to see if Amazon brings Instant Video to Android tablets (particularly the Nexus 7, which is in direct competition with the Kindle Fire).

Anyway, consumers win here. More options for viewing content are always welcome and it's good to see Amazon Instant Video joining Netflix, Hulu Plus and HBO Go on the iPad.

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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