Amazon has quietly offered its Prime service for quite some time now.
The service includes free streaming video, but the biggest draw for many is the free two-day shipping and very cheap next-day shipping on items stocked by Amazon directly.
I know when I first signed up for the service, I saw the Amazon Prime Instant Video as an extra of sorts to the cheap shipping.
As it turns out, Prime Instant Video is indeed a pretty sweet service with a plethora of TV shows and movies available for streaming. On more than one occasion I found a video I wanted to watch on Prime that wasn't available on Netflix or Hulu. Plus, Prime offers a wide variety of streaming movies and shows, including recently added sports content from ESPN.
When Amazon first announced Prime, the service was $79 for a full calendar year. Fortunately, the online retailer is now testing out month-to-month subscriptions at a cool $7.99 per 30 days. Meaning, if you opt for month-to-month service rather than paying the single large yearly payment, it's going to cost you $95.88 per year.
However, when you look at $7.99 per month for Amazon Prime and compare that to Netflix or Hulu Plus the monthly fee isn't bad at all, especially considering the available content. And of course, if you need a physical product such as a movie, a book, or any of the millions of products you can find on the Amazon.com website, you'll receive it in two days, with shipping costs waived. Personally, I usually opt for the roughly $4 overnight shipping, which is the only way to shop online, at least in my opinion.
Those who choose month-to-month Prime service will receive the same features as yearly subscribers, including no minimum order size, unlimited instant video streaming, and a free digital book for your Kindle each month from the Kindle Owners Lending Library. Apparently, there's no contract either, so you can cancel whenever you want. Amazon is also offering a free one-month trial so you can see if the service is for you before purchasing.