Back in March, Amazon shot down rumors that it had a free, ad-supported video and music streaming service in the works. But today the retail giant updated its iOS app for Amazon Instant Video to include free, ad-supported episodes of certain select television shows, as well as the HBO content that Amazon recently acquired rights to, to non-Prime members. And there’s more big news for iOS users: until now, you couldn’t watch Amazon’s Prime Instant Video via mobile device without connecting to a Wi-Fi access point. Now video can be pushed to an Apple TV using AirPlay, or to any TV via HDMI and an Apple Digital AV Adapter.
Here are the official iTunes Store release notes for the update:
- Now stream the first episode of selected TV shows for free. First Episode Free videos include advertising breaks before and during video playback (requires iOS 6 or later)
- Prime Instant Video now features dozens of groundbreaking series from HBO like The Sopranos, The Wire, and Deadwood, plus early seasons of True Blood and Boardwalk Empire.
- All new video playback controls: one-touch play/pause and 10-second skip forward/backward buttons, and a “Next Episode” button to quickly play back the next episode of the TV show you’re watching (requires iOS 6 or later)
- When a Wi-Fi connection is unavailable:
• Watch on your Apple TV using AirPlay (requires iOS 6 or later and Apple TV 2nd generation or later).
• Watch on your TV using HDMI and your Apple Digital AV Adapter (requires iOS 6 or later).
- Faster playback start time after pressing play (requires iOS 6 or later)
- Bug Fixes and stability improvements
There is a wide array of these free first episode offerings, and as TechCrunch notes, there are shows new and old, well-known and unknown available through the service. Some of the not-so-recent series offered include Roots, Catfish, 21 Jump Street, and Two and A Half Men; newer additions include Glee, The O.C., Sons of Anarchy, Suits, and Grimm.
So far there has been no word from Amazon as to if and when an Android version of the app will ever be available outside of Google TVs, Kindle Fire tablets and Fire Phones.