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Podcast Episode 2 – Amazon Prime | That iPad Guy

About

Bily Foster: Web Designer, Developer and Producer.  Bily has been around the internet since the BBS days.  When he first got his hands on an iPod touch he knew that the iPad wouldn’t be far behind.  One of the first to order the original, and first in line for the last two releases of the iPad.  Bily covers all kinds of tech news all brought to him by his iPad.

Theme Song: “Oddio Overplay” by The Bran Flakes

Podcast Episode 2 – Amazon Prime

I’m Bily Foster and I’m that iPad guy. Called that because I’ve almost always got an iPad with me, and in some cases two.

Today we’re going to talk about Amazon Prime!

What is Amazon Prime?
Amazon Prime is a ‘membership’ fee for $79/year. Which provides you with the addition services from Amazon.

– You get FREE Two-Day Shipping on millions of items with No minimum order size
– You also are allowed access to Unlimited instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows with Prime Instant Videos
– The feature I use least of but is available is the ability to borrow a book for free each month from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library

First zeroing in on Two Day shipping, and in some cases next DAY shipping. This is of course really the heart and core of why most people would sign up for Amazon Prime. I’m cheap, okay well I like to keep things ‘cost effective’ I don’t mind paying for a service as long as I at least feel like it’s a win-win situation. And with Amazon Prime I really feel that you get your dollars worth if you order a lot. And I do, way more than I realized. You see being ‘cost effective’ meant prior to Amazon Prime I would save up until I was over the minimum to make sure I could get my free shipping even though it would take about a week to get said order. Now with no minimum order and the quick turn around time I’m getting things sent to me that I wouldn’t have thought I’d have shipped simply because I know I don’t have to worry about dealing with traffic, people and currently the heat here in Phoenix.

I’m not going to candy coat the service saying that it’s the most amazing life changing experience I ever had, but I will say that I have been pleasantly surprised when I placed and order on Monday morning and by Tuesday afternoon I have the item in hand. This isn’t always the case. The idea behind the two-day shipping, is it’s two days once the item is in Amazon’s hands. So when I went to order my Dropcam, I still had to wait the month until Dropcam could get the actual camera to Amazon who then got it to me ASAP.

And while you are searching for products you’ll need to check for the ones that are labeled ‘Prime’ and of course Amazon does offer a filter so you can see just the Prime items which makes it nice to get just the ‘free’ shipping item. I haven’t noticed much if any of a price difference between items that qualify for Prime and those that do not. Generally the ones that do not qualify end up charging a separate shipping fee from Amazon anyway, which unless I REALLY need the item, I try and avoid.

If you REALLY REALLY need something there is the option to get one day shipping for an additional $3.99 per item, but as I mentioned I’ve been pleasantly surprised when I didn’t have to pay anything extra and got my item the next day. I am assuming this is happening because I’ve heard we have a decent size Amazon Shipping and Storage facility around here. These delivery times maybe different in more rural areas.

Another perk to the shipping that I didn’t realize when I purchased access to Amazon Prime is the added benefit that the two-day shipping also works for things you purchase as gifts for others. So when I purchased a present for co-worker of mine, I had it sent directly from Amazon to them without it costing me an extra dime and it even arrived on time.

It’s obvious that Amazon worked very hard to be the leader in online retailing and this almost “Sam’s Club/Costco” membership fee was a little bit of a put off at first until I started using it. And in my experience I’m getting more from my Amazon Prime account that I ever did with a “warehouse membership” because not only do you get the shipping benefits but you also get access to thousands of Movies and TV shows in the Amazon Prime Video Library.

This library can be access through a variety of devices like PlayStation 3, RoKu Box, Internet Connected TV, Google TV and of course via the Kindle Fire. Now these aren’t the most current titles and is almost on par with Netflix’s catalog but again this is a service that’s added to your membership so it’s not costing you any more above the $79 you would have already spent for the year. It’s worth noting that only devices that can STREAM get access to the service. So your Tivo that has to pull down a copy of the movie CAN NOT access the Prime Library.

I don’t see anyone signing up to Amazon Prime JUST for the Prime Library aspect but I will say it was a bit of a tipping point for me to go ahead and give the service a try. I figured worst case I’ll have access to the Instant Video Library.

The quality of Amazon’s streaming service is right in line with Netflix, I haven’t seen any heavy artifacting or issues with pausing, skipping or drop outs. Of course the only drawback to Amazon’s VOD library is that I can’t access it from my iOS devices. So no iPad, iPhone gets to watch. The only way I can watch the Amazon Prime library while on the road is to take my Kindle Fire or watch on my laptop.

There is an additional option to ‘borrow’ a digital book from the Kindle Library but the selection there didn’t really appeal to me so there wasn’t much use of that system. Also you can only borrow one book at a time for a month and since the first book didn’t keep my attention I didn’t go back for a second. However more recently there have been the additions of Harry Potter and this week I also noticed that “The Hunger Games” series has shown up so maybe I’ll go back and explore that a little more.

So should you get Amazon Prime? Well that depends, if you typically hit the corporate box stores then I suggest price checking those store to Amazon and if they are the same price, I’m now typically going to Amazon. However if there is something I usually go to a local small business for, I keep going there. I come to the conclusion that if the big box stores can’t hire and train people to help me and I’ve got to pretty much be self service why would I go to their store?

Also I will admit to keeping my Amazon purchases to things I don’t mind either not returning or not needing to return quickly. I can’t see myself buying a 56″ LED 3D TV from there yet, but I could see me going to the store getting annoyed by a sales person and purchasing it when I get home but I still need that real world look, feel and experience you can’t get online.

On a final note I would also like to express how impressed I have been with Amazon overall as a company. Even beyond the Amazon Prime experience, in a whole I get the feeling that Amazon knows it is changing the traditional shopping experience and in that battle they are going to have to raise the bar of customer service since it’s the only personal interface the company has with it’s clients beyond the website.

I was still a kid with the Sears catalog was the way to shop so I liken this to a resurgence of mail order. But with Amazon’s drive and high level of customer service I can see how they have become the new king of the shopping hill.

Thanks for watching, I’ll see you next time.

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