When it comes to original content on streaming services, Netflix is already pretty well established. Most people who are at least marginally familiar with the service have heard of House of Cards or Orange is the New Black.
Amazon has been struggling to catch up to Netflix and there are signs that it is doing so. At the Golden Globe awards earlier this month, Amazon Original Series Transparent won the award for Best Television Series in the comedy category and star Jeffrey Tambor took the award for Best Actor in the same category.
The only way you can watch Transparent is if you have an Amazon Prime account. As far as I can tell you can't buy the episodes; while episode 1 is available to anyone, the rest of the series is only available as part of Prime Instant Video. Now, of course, you could sign up for a 30 day trial of Prime and easily watch them all (there are only 10 episodes) but Amazon wants to make it even less of a hassle for you.
Starting tomorrow (January 23rd) at 12:01 AM ET anyone will be able to watch Transparent for free, no membership required. The deal is available for 24 hours only. You can head to http://amazon.com/transparent or watch on any device that offers an Amazon video app (which is becoming nearly as ubiquitous as the Netflix app).
If you like what you see and think Prime is worth investigating more thoroughly, there's a special deal you can take advantage of. Prime is usually $99/year but during this promotion new users can sign up for $72 for the first year. (It was the 72nd Golden Globe Awards, in case you're wondering where that figure came from.) To take advantage of this offer head to http://amazon.com/TransparentPrime. If you do sign up, in addition to Prime Instant Video you'll get Amazon Music, access to the Kindle Lending Library and free 2-day shipping on most orders from Amazon.
For more details, check out Amazon's announcement.
I've been a Prime member for many years. Having access to Prime Instant Video is a good complement to having a Netflix account. In addition to their original content, Amazon offers quite a few other series (including some older HBO stuff) that you can't find on Netflix.