We must admit to being more than a little surprised at the message greeting us on Amazon.com's front page today. In what is undoubtedly a move to compete with the flagging Netflix streaming empire, Amazon has released their own video streaming app for iPads.
No longer tablet exclusive to the Kindle Fire, the Amazon Instant Video app is now freely available to iPad users via iTunes. The app allows Prime members access to all the streaming content they’re used to watching on their laptops, game consoles, or Roku.
Sadly, this much awaited app does not come without a list of issues. There is no iPhone counterpart to the app, leaving Instant Video the sole domain of tablet wielders. Airplay, either via direct play or mirroring, only works for audio, leaving the video on your small screen.
Worst of all, the app features no search menu. Users are left to browse through Amazon Prime’s entire streaming catalog to find the desired program. This can be made somewhat less obnoxious. First, tap the “...Movies & TV, See more>>” bar just below the top banner. Toggle between movies and TV with the switch at the top right. Finally, tap “Sort” icon in the bottom right and selecting “Title” for an alphabetical listing rather than the useless “Date Added” default. It’s no replacement for a search box, but made locating content for our daily SpongeBob fix much easier.
The eggheads over in the Growing Up Otaku tech labs encountered one additional problem with the long awaited Amazon Instant Video app: The inability to play videos using a jailbroken device. Attempting use play a video returned an error stating "“Playback is not allowed on this device.” Fortunately, said eggheads also discovered a fix! Installing the free app xCon via Cydia hides the fact that your iPad has been sprung from the big house. Playback worked fine on jailbroken devices after xCon’s installation.