Amazon Prime Instant gets Selma, James Bond and Star Trek

Amazon Prime customers will get access to a bunch of big Hollywood movies over the next couple of months via Prime Instant, thanks to an extended agreement between the e-commerce giant and premium cable network Epix.

The deal includes rights to new releases like Selma, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Interstellar and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 as well as some classics, including the Star Trek and James Bond movies.

All of the movies come from Paramount, Lionsgate and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which co-own Epix. Amazon first struck a deal with Epix in 2012. At the time, that deal was seen as a blow to Netflix, which previously was the only subscription service with access to Epix movies. However, these days, Epix has deals with both companies, which means that film buffs without a Prime subscription will get to see the same movies on Netflix as well.

This post was corrected on 2/24 to clarify that the deal includes Star Trek movies, not Star Wars movies.

Amazon Prime Instant’s foray into 4K starts with four movies, four shows

Talk about slim pickings: Amazon is finally letting its Prime Instant subscribers stream content in 4K, but the company’s ultra high-definition catalog is remarkably small: Prime Instant starts off with just four 4K movies — Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Funny Girl, Hitch and Philadelphia.

In addition to that, [company]Amazon[/company] will also stream three of its own original shows as well as one BBC America show and a Lady Gaga concert in 4K. Amazon promises to add more 4K content, including upcoming Amazon originals, later this year and early next year. And unlike Netflix, Amazon isn’t charging Prime members extra to watch 4K.

But pricing may be the real problem that prevents Amazon and others from rolling out 4K more broadly. The company also announced Tuesday that it will make select movies available for sale in 4K, charging consumers $19.99 for titles like Moneyball, The Amazing Spider-Man and The Da Vinci Code.

A quick search on Amazon.com reveals that these titles cost between $12.99 and $13.99 when purchased in HD. Studios are looking to sell 4K content at a significant premium — but it’s unclear whether consumers are really willing to pay that much more.

Updated at 12:47pm. An earlier version of this story included Hard Times as part of the movies available in 4K, but I’ve since been told by an Amazon spokesperson that this isn’t actually the case. Also updated throughout to clarify that the four movies are part of Amazon’s Prime Instant catalog.

Amazon Prime Instant gets unofficial Chromecast support with Primecast

Amazon Prime Instant is coming to Chromecast at last, thanks to two third-party developers: Amazon’s video streaming service doesn’t officially support Chromecast, but two German developers just released Primecast, a new Android app that promises to bring Prime Instant to Chromecast for a one-time fee of $2.99. It’s probably a good thing that the app is not more expensive: The duo argues that Primecast isn’t violating Amazon’s Terms of Service, but there is always a chance that Amazon could disagree.

Updated: Amazon may launch advertising-supported video streaming for its original programming

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304688104579465690663213198?mg=reno64-wsj

Amazon has been floating the idea of an ad-supported video offering, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. The service would be separate from its Prime Instant video service and not require viewers to have a Prime subscription. There are few details about what kind of content Amazon would make available through such a service, but the company apparently at one point considered to make some of its original content available outside of the Prime paywall. However, an Amazon spokesperson has since told Variety that it tests many things, but has no plans to launch such a service. Coincidentally, Amazon is also looking to launch a TV streaming device next week.

This post was updated on 03/28 with Amazon’s response.