Well, this was unexpected. Amazon appears to have quietly made its streaming entertainment service - Amazon Prime Video - available in Australia. Oddly, there has been no official announcement or fanfare of any kind. Is this a 'soft launch'? Did someone at Amazon accidentally jump the gun? Is the company trying to massage The Grand Tour's viewing numbers?
Whatever the reason, the videos are up and running and you can watch them all legally right now. Here's how to get started.
Update: Here's an official statement from Amazon Australia:
We have not launched Amazon Prime in Australia. The service some Australians have signed-up for is the US or UK Prime Membership, which provides free, fast shipping within the US or UK, as well as access to some Amazon Originals, such as The Grand Tour, where we have the global rights.
This "hack" was originally spotted by a Gizmodo reader and it's a beauty: Amazon Prime is now accepting Australian members without a VPN! Presumably, this was an intentional decision by Amazon and accessing the service won't be a violation of its terms of service in any way.
Previously, access by Australian IP addresses was automatically blocked by the company. This change suggests that an official Aussie launch for Amazon Prime Video is just around the corner. We explain everything you need to know below.
What is Amazon Prime Video?
Amazon Prime Video is a video streaming service that provides on-demand access to movies and TV shows for a monthly fee. Like Netflix, it produces its own original content exclusively for the service - including the hotly-anticipated spiritual successor to Top Gear, The Grand Tour starring Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. For a list of original content, click here.
How do I sign up to Amazon Prime Video in Australia?
You will then be taken to the signup page: simply create an account and start browsing the catalogue. The videos will play without a hitch. You don't have to put in any fake details here - Australian addresses and credit cards will work fine.
How much does Amazon Prime Video cost?
During the signup process, you'll need to put in your credit card details. Membership costs £7.99 per month or $US10.99 per month, depending on whether you plump for the US or UK version of the website.
If you don't know your currency conversions, the UK options works out a bit cheaper: $13.99 versus $14.82.
Does this mean I can actually watch The Grand Tour?
Possibly! We won't know for sure until the show unlocks for international Amazon Prime Video members later tonight. The timing is certainly intetesring though.
Amazon Prime Video isn't working on Android or iPhone. How come?
Annoyingly, the service currently doesn't work on mobile devices due to Amazon's insistence that you use the app, which currently isn't available in Australia. This means you're restricted to desktop and laptop viewing for now.
Should I just wait for the official Australian launch?
Possibly. When Netflix launched in Australia, it's prices were actually superior to its US counterpart once the exchange rate was taken into account. We can't imagine the official version of Amazon Prime Video will cost much more than $10 a month. With that said, swapping over your account to the local version shouldn't be too difficult if you're desperate to try it right now.
Have you tried Amazon Prime Video yet? Tell us what you think of the available titles in the comments!