Amazon has launched a UK version of its Channels service that allows users to either watch a live TV feed or stream on-demand content from a range of popular content providers.
Up until now, one of the main complaints about Amazon Video has been the amount of content available that's not available as part of the core subscription. Competitors like Netflix and Now TV include all their content in a single subscription, whereas Amazon has lots of content that's available for an additional charge over the base Prime Video subscription.
This new service will mean that the range of content has expanded with bundles that you can use to tailor your selection, but it does come at a cost. On top of your Amazon Prime Membership (£7.99 per month) you will be expected to pay for each channel individually.
So if you want to add the movie channel MGM or the documentary channel Discovery, you’re talking an additional £4.99 a month per channel. There are cheaper channels, so if you really want to get your hands on Filipino series and movies, it’ll only set you back £1.99 per month on top of your usual package.
Where are the Prime cuts?
Frustratingly, the major players like HBO aren’t yet available on the UK’s version of the service yet, and from looking through the list of available channels, there isn’t anything that is a serious enough contender to pull you away from another service, but it could be a useful addition for users that are already paid-up Amazon Prime subscribers.
It is interesting to see that Amazon is taking a step closer to being like a traditional TV network with the option to watch a live stream of a TV channel, especially as Sky is moving towards a more on-demand streaming-based service with Sky Q.
We contacted a representative of Amazon to see what this new service means for the rest of Prime's video offering. There is the obvious possibility that if shows are on one of the subscription channels, it won’t be included with the main Prime selection of content.
According to the representative: "The launch of Amazon Channels in the UK will not affect the content already enjoyed by Amazon Prime Video members. Content from a studio that is available through Amazon Prime Video will still be available through Amazon Prime Video."
This has the potential to be a cool new feature, but it's success will rely on Amazon managing to negotiate the inclusion of big-hitter channels to make it worthwhile for users to make the switch to Prime.
To check out the full range of what's currently on offer head over to the Amazon Channels website.