Amazon’s reticence to improving its Prime Instant Video viewing experience outside of its Fire device ecosystem ended last month when the online retailer released an app optimized for Android tablets. But the iOS client remained weirdly fettered — you could stream movies and TV shows, but not in high definition, and not without a Wi-Fi connection. Today, Amazon rectified those longstanding issues.
Amazon Instant Video version 3.0 brings the welcome ability to adjust the quality of playback and download. For both, users have three options: “Good,” “Better,” and “Best.” Amazon helpfully lays out the amount of data you can expect to use with each setting — Best will likely cost you 5.8GB, while bumping the quality down to Better or Good will use up a much more palatable 1.8GB and 0.6GB per hour, respectively. Oddly, the app notes that downloaded media will only play back in standard definition. We’re chalking that up to an oversight.
Amazon’s Prime Instant Video service has been gaining a litany of features as the company struggles to keep up with the breakneck pace of its competitors. It became the first streaming video service after Netflix to offer 4K content, and collaborated with LG to stream a Lady Gaga concert in 4K. More recently, Amazon announced some of its original series will soon be offered in High Dynamic Range, a video technique that supports much higher contrast between light and dark elements of an image.
But the technical improvements haven’t come at the expense of content. Amazon’s been investing substantially in original television — its list of exclusives now include the Emmy-winning Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle, Bosch, Hand of God, The After, and Red Oaks. Earlier this year, it premiered 13 pilots, among them Cocked, Down Dog, Mad Dogs, Point of Honor, Salem Roger, and The New Yorker Presents. It greenlit one of those, The Man in the High Castle, for production later this year.