Part of the ongoing “Can I end my cable subscription yet?” conversation is which online streaming providers are a necessary and/or viable part of your media delivery arsenal. Amazon is making a rather weak bid by simply providing content as part of their $79 a year shipping subscription program. Kind of like a growth on an otherwise great countenance, some people will view it as a beauty mark; others will view it as a mole. And I guess you can’t really bitch about something that’s free… but I’m going to.
So my question is this: why is no one discussing how incredibly awful Amazon Prime Instant Video’s browsing/navigation experience is? I Googled the topic and found nothing but general comparisons of Netflix and Amazon (mostly regarding number of titles) with no mention whatsoever of the INCREDIBLY ABYSMAL title browsing experience put forth on the Amazon site. The only way to browse APIV titles online is via the regular Amazon shopping interface. This means you can only see 12 titles at a time. How long would it take a person to view “more than 10,000” titles if you can only browse 12 at a time?!
Not only that, but the Amazon Prime sign up page states that there are over 10,000 instant videos available, yet under “video definition” filter on the left-hand side of the page only 126 HD titles and 668 SD titles are shown. It’s been a while since I’ve really had to do much math, but I’m fairly certain that 126 plus 668 does not equal over 10,000 (and only 126 HD titles is pretty laughable).
You also can’t add titles to a queue (thus, when you want to watch, you have to search for a title specifically). You can create a special “wish list” for saving only Amazon Prime Instant Videos, but a wish list is an even more painful navigation experience.
Under the “unlimited instant video” drop down at the top of the Amazon page is a link called “your video library.” However, “your video library” only stores purchased video, thus you can’t add Amazon Prime Instant Video titles to “your video library.”
There is also no integration with Windows Media Center (there is integration with WMC for “your video library,” but as previously mentioned, you can’t ad APIV titles to your video library, only paid titles).
How does Amazon expect to compete with the other streaming providers if they won’t address navigating content?! I guess on price alone. So for now, Amazon Prime Instant Video is kind of like that off-brand mp3 player from 2003 collecting dust in your closet: yeah, you have it, and technically it plays music, but it’s so painful to actually use that you never will.
My thoughts exactly! What the hell are they thinking? Every time I want to browse for a movie I have to start from scratch and wade through the same crap page after page after page! To see some titles I haven't already browsed through! At least allow me to be able to skip to a certain page number or at the very least skip ahead a number of pages at a time like Ebay! Morons...
Huh. Sounds like a walk in the park compared to browsing Amazon content on a Roku. Now that's a horrible experience. Netflix's interface, in comparison, is excellent...although not perfect.
Regardless, my biggest complaint about Netflix streaming and Amazon Prime is the limited selections. Unless they add a bunch of new content fast, I think I'll drop them both within the next year.
Found your post and was hoping that someone had responded with a "Hey, I found Amazon's API and created this cool free app to browse their titles" Nope. *sigh*
Yeah. Sorry, Steve. Browsing titles in Amazon is as infuriating as ever. If anything, it's gotten worse. You can't navigate to specific television season episodes (you have to drill down from the main title page), and you certainly can't search for episodes (only titles).
Also, saving titles to a "wish list" still requires going to the title's main page and doing extra navigating to get to the actual "watching."
Trying to watch video via Amazon Prime is still just a horrible, horrible experience.
Hear, hear. I've thought about dropping Netflix in favor of Amazon Prime, but if I can't find anything then there's no point to the service. And that's besides the selection...
Amazon is smart enough to know that their service isn't what it should be. Eventually, they will fix it, but until then, the only time to use APIV is when the film is not streamable from the other services. Still, it's a mistake by Amazon to make us wait so long.
They are doing themselves a massive disservice by simply "not getting users used to using Prime." By making it a miserable experience, users will use EVERY other option available (Netflix, etc.) and Prime only as a last resort. This creates a bad reputation for Amazon and their service, and it will be harder in the future to get users to switch to using Amazon for streaming video. Seems like a REALLY bad business move on the part of Amazon.
Count me among the irritated Prime browser users. Was just slogging through Amazon's horrid navigation system trying to find ANY movie worth watching and decided to see if anyone else had come up with a solution for the frustratingly slow process. Apparently not.
I absolutely agree with all of the comments, except for one. I have a Roku and don't mind the interface on that. Using a computer and web browser on the other hand would make me pull my hair out... if I still had some.
Concur! I tried to convey this to Amazon but found there is absolutely no way to leave feedback to them. They could improve their service by taking some ideas from the people who are actually paying for it. Here's why they don't want you to be able to browse the freebies easily: IT DOESN'T MAKE THEM ANY MONEY. You are basically paying $80 a year to surf the existing "for-sale" movie library. Almost anything worth seeing costs an addition charge to stream? Wha????? I'm gonna drain the dregs that I can get during my one month trial and then Amazon can FORGET about actually selling me prime.
The holly grail of obvious questions! Although this blog was apparently started quite awhile ago, the overall interface for amazon video hasn't changed AT ALL since birth. It is totally useless unless you happen to know the title of what you want to watch! W h a t. T h e. f u c k is amazon thinking?
Obviously the lack of any browse functionaliity whatsoever was by design, because there's just no way that kind of omission could persist all this time unless it was. So why? Are they afraid the ability to browse the entire library will somehow illustrate how seriously lame ( idential to Nutflix) it is?
Even more perplexing is why people aren't talking about how fucked up it is.
So there's a rumor that Amazon is coming out with a set-top box soon, but I have a hard time believing the navigation will improve even a little. I honestly still can't believe how atrocious the business of browsing for titles on Amazon is. They did finally add a "watch list" (why the EFF did it take them so long?!), but it doesn't really add much to the ease of the experience. Super suck.
Just letting you know, that nothing's changed. I just did a free trial with Amazon Prime... and if it wasn't such a pain to find videos, I'd continue it. But it is a pain... a quagmire to dig through, to find what you want to watch. So... I am trying Netflix next.
I am so glad I'm not the only person experiencing this... I am using a Kindle Fire HD to view - an Amazon product - and can't believe how bad the navigation is on it. There is one series I want to watch on Prime that I can't get on Netflix and after that I'll be reverting back to Netflix only. Not the standard you would expect from Amazon at all.
Two years after the original post, and the navigation is still just awful. Not sure why Amazon doesn't fix this obvious issue.
I mind the fact that I can't just see all "free" movies without searching the whole list. I prefer netflix. Amazon is behind the electronic times.
While it's still a horrible experience, you can select to search only "Prime Television and Movies" (the free ones).
And amazon hasn't done a thing to improve movie browsing. Even with their firestick, it is still pathetic.
Still the same terrible interface. I spent 30m ranting about it to my wife (bless her for putting up with me) and now did a search to see what's been written. Unbelievably this post from 5 years ago is still on the first page of results.
Yep - still terrible. I was just lamenting the same and thought to myself, "I could write a program that would make it easier to browse this and find something quicker than if I just sat here scrolling and clicking." I headed to my search box first to make sure someone else hadn't already done it and ran across this. Come on, Amazon - why so terrible?
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