I have an Amazon Prime account, which costs $79 per year and gives free 2nd-day shipping. They gave it to me a year ago, and I renewed last month. I figure it pays for itself by my not adding another book to my order from my wishlist to get over the $25 threshold for free shipping. Anyway, this week Amazon turned on unlimited video streaming to all Amazon Prime members. This is what follows:

I configured my Roku box, which we usually view Netflix on, to do Amazon. Relatively painless configuration. The catalog's a bit thin, with 5,000 titles, as opposed to several times that many from Netflix. I watched some Charade and some Doctor Who. All went well. One can browse by Top Movies, Top TV, Recent Movies, Recent TV, Movie Genres, and TV Genres. For Sci-Fi, they had some season 1 Doctor Who (the REAL season 1: 1965) and a more recent favorite: Farscape. The streaming went well. There are some things Amazon needs to add to get closer to the Netflix experience, such as a queue of programs you're interested in that you can come back to watch later. A list of 'recently viewed' movies for those that you started watching but were interrupted before you finished watching.

All in all, a good start, but they need to add both titles and user experience elements before it's a serious Netflix contender.

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