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Having another streaming content option is usually a good thing. I’ve got Netflix, Slingplayer, HBO Go and various TV station Apps. There is no shortage of things to watch on the go. When I saw the announcement for the Amazon Instant Video App I downloaded it immediately. I figured that since I already pay for Amazon Prime, I might as well take advantage of this benefit. I just got a chance to play with the App and it does the kinds of things I expected right off the bat. I signed in with my Amazon credentials and I was presented with a display of available TV shows and movies for instant streaming. So far so good. I randomly picked an episode of Fringe to watch and the quality was decent. Again, this is all good, but…

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Trouble in paradise…

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While the App performed as I expected, I was completely dismayed to find out that it only worked via WiFi. That’s right, no 3G/4G cellular support. While you can watch any videos that you’ve downloaded, you can’t stream anything once you step outside the range of a WiFi Network. This seems like a huge step backwards in 2013. In the early days many apps were restricted from streaming over 3G because AT&T was the only network that supported the iPhone and AT&T/Apple feared that millions of streaming customers would bring the network to its knees. However, those days have long gone since the iPhone is available now on several carriers. Also since most carriers charge for a certain amount of data use each month, users are careful not to do a ton of streaming unless their plans support it. I think that it’s very shortsighted of Amazon to limit their App this way. Perhaps put up a warning when I user starts a stream over cellular data and then once the user taps OK they’re on their own. The other problem (and this is not just an Amazon problem) is that the App doesn’t support AirPlay. So If I understand this correctly, I have to be on my WiFi network to enjoy the App, and since I’m home on my network I can’t even enjoy the show on my big screen HDTV? With these limitations, this will not be my goto App.

If you have an Amazon Prime account or you’ve purchased downloadable movies via Amazon, then the App is probably worth having on your device. However, the WiFi requirement and lack of AirPlay/HDMI out support will make it a limited experience.

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