Tag Archives: amazon

Amazon Raising Prime Service to $99/year

It was inevitable. I received the following email today from Amazon informing me that the price of their Amazon Primewill go up from $79 to $99 per year.

Dear Russell Turley,

We are writing to provide you advance notice that the price of your Prime membership will be increasing. The annual rate will be $99 when your membership renews on August 28, 2014.

Even as fuel and transportation costs have increased, the price of Prime has remained the same for nine years. Since 2005, the number of items eligible for unlimited free Two-Day Shipping has grown from one million to over 20 million. We also added unlimited access to over 40,000 movies and TV episodes with Prime Instant Video and a selection of over 500,000 books to borrow from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

For more information about your Prime membership, visit our Prime membership page.


The Amazon Prime Team

amazonprimeIn a previous post I hinted that I may not renew the service based on the classification of items as Add-Ons.  That has not been as big a problem as I envisioned then.  I now buy enough through Amazon that when I want to purchase an item designated as an Add-on, I have more in my cart that meets the requirement.  It does still bug though.  It is nice that a full five months before my service renews that I’m getting notice. Though, I would probably forget about the increase in price by then and rail about not being notified. This post should stop that.

Their reasons for increasing the cost, their increasing costs to provide the service, is reasonable.

With the increase, Amazon Prime is now $8.25 per month. If you are only using Amazon Primefor the movie and TV service, then you are now paying more than you would be for Netflix.  For breadth of shows Amazon still pales in comparison to Netflix, except in one area, new TV shows and movies.  Shows that are currently running on cable channels, like one of my favorite cancelled shows Psych, are available to purchase the day after they air on their channel.  It’s a nice feature that Netflix doesn’t offer.  If you don’t want to wait for the latest season to be available on Prime or Netflix for no additional cost, you have that option.

Streaming video aside, we subscribe and get batteries, toilet paper, etc. delivered regularly, and I am always reading some borrowed Kindle book on the Kindle or other tablet.  I’d say that I’m getting my $8.25 worth and then some every month so the increase is not causing me to jump ship.

Are you going to dump Amazon Prime because of the price increase?

Amazon Prime Hobbled


What gives Amazon?

While making a purchase on Amazon today I ran into a problem that I hadn’t had before.  The thing that I wanted, the USB to Micro USB adapter pictured at the right was listed as an “Add-on Item”.  I wasn’t adding it on to anything.  I just wanted to purchase the cable and have it delivered with my Amazon Prime. However, that’s not what happened.

When trying to check out with the item in my cart, I was informed that the item would not ship unless I had purchased $25 of goods on Amazon.  I chose the appropriate option of “Prime Eligible” when searching for the item I wanted but that’s not what I got.  I got another subset of items that ship only when I spend $25 or more.

This is not an isolated “problem”.


Why is this an Add-on item only?

The Amazon policy is explained in their Shipping & Delivery section of their Help page. The policy is better explained by this Amazon Strategies blog post.

“The Add-on program allows Amazon to offer thousands of low-priced items that would be cost-prohibitive to ship on their own…”

So there it is. Amazon is getting rid one of the big benefits of Amazon Prime, effectively hobbling the service. Now, if you want that small item AND you still want to purchase through Amazon, you’ll have to buy it from one of the Amazon Partners that are willing to sell those small items one-sy, two-sy. Luckily, many of those partners will ship items for free as well. You’ll just have to wait the 3-5 days for standard shipping instead of the 2-day shipping that we were promised with Prime.

I have to wonder why I’m only seeing this now though.  I buy things on Amazon using Prime multiple times a month.  Is it a larger roll-out?  I only tend to buy larger items on Amazon?

It’s time to take a serious look at what I’m paying for with Amazon Prime.  My Prime subscription is set to auto-renew on August 28, 2013.  There is going to be some serious number crunching to decide if it’s worth it before I renew this year.   I’m guessing it’s going to be…
do not renew

Netflix Without Starz

Just about the same.  Not a big deal.

Before (2/29/12):

After (3/2/12):

Netflix says “One Stream for You!”

iPod screenshot

Today I was greeted with a new message on my Roku box. While trying to watch an episode of Caprica this morning I was told by said Roku that I was trying to watch Netflix on too many devices.  A quick trip into the family room revealed that the children were watching Kick Buttowski via the built-in Netflix client on the television.

Many months ago I blogged that people were having this happen to them, but I hadn’t had the problem.  Later on I updated that Netflix said that it was a problem and that they were not limiting accounts to one streaming device at a time.

It appears that 1)Netflix has started limiting users to one streaming device or B)There is another problem with the Netflix service.

Have you had this problem with streaming devices?  Let me know in the comments.

UPDATE: Confirmed by Netflix. “If you are on the Unlimited Streaming plan, the Unlimited Streaming + 1 DVD out-at-a-time plan or a limited streaming plan, you may watch only one device at a time.

Netflix has effectively upped their rates again by forcing those that want to stream from more than one device (Roku, Xbox, PS3, Wii, Blu-Ray player, etc.) to get a two DVD + Streaming service for $19.98 a month.  That is a 150% increase! There is currently no option to have a second streaming device without having plastic disks sent to my house to gather dust.

With antagonistic policies like these being implemented, it’s getting harder and harder to be a Netflix apologist. Now that $20 a month is the going rate to watch streaming video on more than one device, it may get easier to find credible alternatives at this price.

Backing the Wrong Horse

If you’ve been a backer of Netflix, you’ve probably backed the wrong horse. One year ago they looked invincible. I was happily getting one DVD at a time, streaming on my two Roku units and loving life. Flash forward to today and I’ve cancelled the DVD service because of the price hike and now I will be limited to one streaming show at time. You heard that right. If the linked article is correct, and I haven’t done my due diligence in this regard, then it’s the beginning of the end.

Netflix was a service that was truly a good deal. I bought into the streaming service early even when there was little to watch. It got better and better and now apparently they think that they’re untouchable. No one has created a credible alternative at this point. I’ve read that a streaming service will be created and marketed under the Blockbuster brand, but haven’t seen the details yet. I’ve taken a look at the other alternatives and they all leave a lot to be desired. So, what does Netflix do? Bilk the consumer out of more and more money. Shame on you Netflix!

I’ve yet to see this one stream limit manifest itself at my home, but the day it does we’re going to have some seriously sad children. While there is no alternative to the Netflix streaming service right, I’m not going to stand by and be given less and less for the same price I’ve been paying. Seriously, this completely stinks of our local cable company taking away my channels at the same time raising my rate. That was the whole reason I cut the cord in the first place.

Netflix Cracks Down on Sharing: One Stream Per Customer Unless You Pay More | Stop the Cap!.

VUDU: The Other Streaming Movie Rental Service

I was reminded of the VUDU service today.  VUDU is a streaming service that lets you rent or buy movies and TV shows and streams them to you.  They started out life as a dedicated box you would purchase that had a portion of the movies on their service cached on the internal hard drive.  The movie would start right away and then stream from there.  Nowadays they are strictly a software company.  On your computer you can rent movies for $2 and have access to them for 2 days.  Good deal.

And here’s the best part.  According to their website, you can get movies the same day that they are released on DVD.  No more 28 day Netflix penalty.

And here’s the worst part.  Television shows.  The catalog of available television shows, especially children and family programming is anemic at best.

VUDU is built into numerous web connected devices , Blu-ray players, HDTVs, and the PS3.

So, this seems like a killer combo for streaming content:  Netflix Streaming – $7.99/Mo. and VUDU for new DVD release access, a-la-carte pricing.  I just need a way to get VUDU content on my TV.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see a VUDU channel on my Roku.


Netflix Alternatives

As you read here, or on some other source, Netflix is raising their prices for the streaming and DVD combo service.  They are raising it from $9.99 per month to $15.98.  From the sound of their blog post on the subject, they are pretty resolute on this change.

As always, our members can easily choose to change or cancel their unlimited streaming plan, unlimited DVD plan, or both by visiting Your Account.

That sounds eerily like, “It’s my way, or the highway.”

Well, thanks to Netflix raising their prices 60% it’s going to cause people to look for alternatives to Netflix.  I just resurrected my Hulu account that has sat dormant for a couple of years.  I signed up for the service when it launched but didn’t find the service compelling.  Now that I may be rethinking my choice of streaming video service, and the Hulu service is much more mature now, it may be a viable option. The price is the same $7.99 as Netflix and they have a large number of television shows and movies to choose from. Not as large as Netflix, but may be doable. The thing that will make it possible to switch will be the content for kids. Perusing the television shows I’m not seeing a lot of programming for children, except for Naruto.

I think Matthew Leech has a good plan for replacing the DVD portion of Netflix.  I didn’t think about using those red kiosks at the grocery store.  They rentals are only $1 (if you remember to return them the next day) and they have the latest DVDs there even before Amazon VOD.  I’m still holding onto the idea that Amazon will bolster their streaming offerings with their Prime service as well.  That along with the cheap or free shipping that comes with the service would work well for the family.

One bright spot in this whole thing is the fact that all three services, Netflix, Hulu/Hulu Plus and Amazon VOD/Prime are all services that are available on my Roku set-top box.  Stay with Netflix, add Hulu Plus or dump them all.  Any way I go, I’m covered.  That’s refreshing not having to change out boxes and cables behind the entertainment center.

Free Shipping on Roku XD and XDS, Buy Now. Limited Time Offer.

Meanwhile, I’m not making any decisions until August 31, 2011.  At that time I’ll cancel the DVD service.  Until that time though, I’m going to go on a DVD binge and catch up on the top 20 movies in my DVD queue.

Netflix Raising Prices 60% in September

Or, if you go back in time to the point that Netflix added streaming to the service ($7.99 then) they are effectively doubling the price for streaming and one DVD at a time.

Amazon Prime, and their one price for Prime shipping services and streaming, is starting to look more interesting. Prime is $79 per year or $6.58 per month. Assuming Amazon is aggressive in getting new streaming content this might be the place to look in the future.

In the meantime, I’ve had the same DVD at my house for roughly three weeks. Apparently the DVD service is not that important, but it was nice to have for those titles that don’t stream yet. I’m going to be sending that one back and going for the streaming only. I’ll rent new movies on Amazon VOD instead of getting them on DVD. Both services are available on the ROKU so I don’t have to choose just one.

Free Shipping on Roku XD and XDS, Buy Now. Limited Time Offer.

Audible Bucks the Trend

And the hits just keep on coming” is what I thought I would be saying when I received an email from Audible.  As you may or may not know, Audible was purchased by Amazon.  When I saw the words “Audible” and “affiliates” in the same email, I thought that was the next affiliate program to be discontinued.

Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!

But, the opposite is true, at least for now.  Here’s the email:

Hello Russell Turley,

Governor Brown of California signed a budget on June 29, 2011 that included a piece of legislation that imposes the collection of taxes from consumers on sales by online retailers even if the online retailer has no physical presence in the state. Although many online retailers were forced to terminate their relationships with their affiliates due to the passage of this legislation, Audible.com will not be terminating its relationships with its affiliates at this time.

If new legislation is passed or circumstances change we will notify all of our California partners and publishers at that time.

If you have any questions about the Audible affiliate program please do not hesitate to contact me!

Best Regards,