Includes Linux Users in New Movie Streaming Service

by Susan Linton - Feb. 22, 2011Comments (15)

Amazon PrimeLinux users have long searched for a way to legally watch premium movies on their computers with little luck. Netflix, Cinemanow, (and the now bankrupt Blockbuster) strictly forbid anything other than Windows or Mac systems. Even local video rentals or delivery services require the use of software that isn't legal in the US. Well, has come to the rescue by allowing the streaming of recent premium movies to Linux machines.

The Amazon Instant Video store doesn't have quite the selection of Netflix just yet, but does it matter what Netflix has since they exclude the small portion of Linux users? Amazon carries thousands of movies and television shows for their Prime service subscription rate of $79.00 per year or on a per-view basis. Some of their newest movies include the Oscar nominated The Social Network, Inception, Paranormal Activity 2, Unstoppable, and Red. They offer older popular movies as well. You can watch episodes of your TV shows as well, such as Glee, 30 Rock, Warehouse 13, Gilmore Girls, and True Blood. Most a la carte streaming movie rentals cost $2.99 and $3.99. Right now Amazon is running a one month free trial of their two-day shipping Prime subscription plan.

Most experts don't believe Amazon's video service will put much of a dent into Netflix's bottom line, but it might see a few new Linux users. Their system requirements are an Intel Pentium 4 2.33GHz processor or equivalent, Firefox 1.5 or above, the most recent versions of JavaScript and Adobe Flash Player, and a broadband Internet connection. Amazon does offer an off-line video player that does require Windows, but it's the streaming that counts. (Roku, Sony, and TiVo owners can also access Amazon's library.)

Finally, a company that doesn't discriminate against the humble Linux minority. How refreshing is that?

John Mark Walker uses OStatic to support Open Source, ask and answer questions and stay informed. What about you?


Just as a note, not everything that they have available in their streaming catalog is available for free with the Prime membership. The movies and TV shows that you list you have to pay for to stream, even if you do have the prime membership.

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Unfortunately except kindle books all of Amazon digital offering is US only.

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I would buy this today if they put Linux on the list of supported operating systems. Right now it still says Windows and Macs.

Can anyone actually verify that this does in fact work on Linux?

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I have not tried streaming a whole movie, but the previews stream flawlessly. It appears that all you need is Flash.

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Yes I verified it before publishing the article.

In fact, I even restarted X after starting the movie (had forgotten to plug my laptop into TV), and there was no problem restarting the movie. Some places might try to give you problems after you closed the browser once the movie started. All streaming movies are good for 24 hours.

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I look forward to watching these on my new Kindle.

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Amazon does not specify ANY operating system.

i suppose you were talking about the hardware requirements(pc is a normal pc which can run windows or gnu/linux )

so if you have any recent gnu/linux distro(which ships with firefox 1.5 and above) and flash player installed. it is supported officially by amazon .

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It apparently relies on Flash and Java (which is OS agnostic) Amazon's mp3 store has long supported Linux. The Prime streaming works just fine for me on OpenSuse.

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While we should all welcome Amazon to the table, Hulu Desktop has already been available for Linux as a binary package (.deb or .rpm) for some time now. It sits happily in my MythTv main menu. Just wish the video quality were a little better. Flash sucks, still doesn't support any of the hardware decoding on my machine.

Hint: It is a purpose built MythTV machine with enough GPU grunt to cope with HD and enough CPU grunt that it could probably do a pretty good job in software; but Hulu (even after downsizing the display to 1280x720@60) flickers badly on high motion scenes. Amazon would probably suck as hard, being based on the same Flashplayer.

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I watched the full length (3 hrs) movie Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart from my Kubuntu 10.4 desktop using FireFox 3.6.13 this afternoon. It was offered to me free of charge as a Prime member.

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I have been watching Amazon movies on Linux for 6 months. Streaming works better on my ubuntu laptop than it does for my wife's Vista laptop.

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When I herd about the new amazon video streaming service I wondered how difficult it was going to be to get it working on linux. Turns out not difficult at all. The only thing I had to do was add amazon to the white list on my flashblocker plug-in for my webbrowser (open source chromium).

I was already an amazon prime member. So I can't say the linux compatibility was the reason I choose to subscribe. But I can say it is the reason I will choose to keep my subscription in the future.

I have never had netflicks and I never plan on trying their service as long as they are so restrictive. And Hulu is a joke with forcing their paying customers to watch advertisements (and a really bad linux client).

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I use my PS3 as well. I used to stream it from my 360, but you have to pay for XBOX live. I realized the only thing I was using my XBOX with XBOX Live for, was to stream Netflix. I said screw it and got a PS3. At least I'm not paying out the ass to a company (Microsoft) that locks out people who want to pay for content.

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Visit my movie site, about downloading, streaming and viewing movies in general. I´m describing how to download torrents, paid download and free/paid streaming videos.

Thanks Jon

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I herd about the new amazon video streaming service I wondered how difficult it was going to be to get it working on linux. Turns out not difficult at all. read about movies reviews on my site

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