Ever since the three hosts of the BBC’s long-running, high-rating show Top Gear made their exit in the midst of newspaper headlines, fans have eagerly awaited their return. The news that they’d signed with Amazon to make a new Top Gear – has everyone excited.
There was just one small problem. Amazon’s streaming video service (Amazon Prime Video) was officially only available in the US and Europe. Rumours continued about the Amazon video service launching here in time for the new show – The Grand Tour. Four weeks into the show’s run, the announcement has finally come – Australia now has Amazon Prime Video!
Amazon Prime Video started as a companion to the company’s Prime shipping service in the US. For a fee, customers get items they buy from Amazon shipped free and faster. The company started adding value to Prime, tying streaming video to the deal. Now US customers also get free music streaming, Kindle book reading, photo storage and more. With Amazon producing high-quality original content such as Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle, both on Stan in Australia, as well as Goliath and The Man in the High Castle, customers wanted to sign up for Prime Video without the other perks. As it turns out, this is perfect for Australian viewers.
An Australian Prime Video subscription doesn’t get you any of the retail Amazon perks. There’s also quite a bit of content yet to arrive on the Australian service. To attract Australian customers, Amazon has discounted Prime Video membership. You can sign up for a mere $2.99 USD for the first six months, with a 7-day free trial before you pay a cent. That’s around $4 AUD – an absolute bargain if you’ve been hanging out for The Grand Tour. After the first six months, it’s $5.99 USD/month – 33% less than it costs to subscribe to the US service.
Once signed up, you’ll have immediate access to streaming shows – only the shows Amazon has global rights to. If you’re here for The Grand Tour or other Amazon originals, you’re good to go. The library has shows from other studios as well (like the complete Seinfeld collection) and Amazon promises it’ll grow rapidly as they get more international rights.
You can also stream Amazon Video on your big screen – though you’ll need the right app from the US app store. For some unknown reason, Amazon hasn’t added their app to many stores. It means you need to create a separate store account in that region to download apps from it, though on Xbox, you can just switch regions and go grab it. Apps are available for consoles like Xbox One and Playstation 4 (which will let you stream in 4k if you have the latest version of the console) as well as for iOS and Android (which are officially available in Australia). There’s no Apple TV app – but you can use AirPlay to send the HD video stream to your Apple TV from the iOS app. We found a delay of a few hours after signing up before the iOS app started working. If you get error messages early on, try again in a few hours and it should be fine.
If you have a Prime Video account on the US service, you need to create a new account to get the discount Australian pricing. Unlike Netflix, Amazon Prime is region-specific, so don’t get too attached to your watch list! Streaming is now enabled from local Australian servers, so you’ll get fast, smooth HD easily, and even 4K Ultra HD on shows that support it if your connection is fast enough.
You’ve got nothing to lose by giving Amazon Prime a road test. It’s free for 7 days and a bargain for six months after that. You can have Jeremy Clarkson and the team in HD on your big screen every week as new episodes are released – it’s completely legal and you don’t have to wait to be included in the fun. Start your engines!