Amazon has announced that Amazon Prime members can download select movies and TV episodes for offline viewing, at no additional charge. This works on all Apple iPhones, iPads, and Android-based devices. You may need to update your apps to the most recent version to enable this feature (iOS / Android). Here is their announcement page and the official press release.
Most people agree that Amazon’s catalog is not as good as Netflix, but this is a perfect backup for all those times you don’t have access to WiFi or want to use up mobile data. This would include commutes on public transportation, airplane trips, car rides, or international travel. I always keep a bunch of videos for the kids on our phones and on their iPads.
Here are some sample movies that are eligible for download:
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Star Trek Into Darkness, The Captive, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and The Wolf of Wall Street, in addition to exclusives such as Life After Beth, Palo Alto, Starred Up, The Bling Ring, If I Stay, and The Spectacular Now
I am an Amazon Prime member and was happy to see that Sesame Street was eligible for download. This is much easier and cheaper than buying an episode on DVD and ripping it. I downloaded an episode and confirmed that it would play offline in Airplane mode. For the curious, a 1 hour episode at “Better” quality (the middle option) took up 600 mb of space. Here are some screenshots (click to enlarge):
One minor concern is that the videos that you download are there forever “no matter what”. I can’t find the specific documentation, but you must reconnect the app to WiFi within a certain time period or you will eventually lose the ability to watch the videos offline. I’m guessing this is to check that you are still a paying member of Amazon Prime.