Amazon Prime Instant Video runs neck and neck with Netflix as the video streaming platform of choice for those who dig massive amounts of choice in HD quality. Although membership costs are competitively priced, Amazon wins the face-off by also offering streaming music and free two-day shipping for merchandise. Being able to stream video on your mobile device is a bonus. The only catch? Amazon hasn’t made the Prime Instant Video app available on Google Play, which makes setup on your mobile device a pain. But there’s a way to watch Amazon Prime on Android.
Step one involves telling your tablet or smartphone it’s okay to download apps from unknown sources, even if just long enough to get your Prime Instant Video setup into full swing operation. “Unknown sources” basically translates to “sources other than Google Play” which, theoretically, opens you up to downloading malware by accident. But that’s only if your sources are shady and you’re not cautious. In the case of the Amazon App, you can rest assured you’re not downloading malware.
To enable unknown source on an Android tablet or smartphone, access device settings by tapping the gear icon on your main screen’s dropdown tab and navigating to “Security.” On some phones, that sits under “System,” on others its under “Personal.” Scroll down to the subsection that is on most phones labeled “Device Administration” and check the box next to “Unknown sources.” Your Android will then issue you a standard warning message. Tap “OK.”
Next, launch your tablet or smartphone browser and navigate to www.amazon.com/androidapp. Alternately, you can get to the same place by going to www.amazon.com/mobileapps, or the Play Store and searching for the Amazon app. From wherever you begin, download the Amazon App. The size of the file is only 20.4 megabytes and download is quick. When installation is done, launch the Amazon App. Sign in to your account by tapping the “Menu” icon on the top left and scrolling all the way down to the bottom to where it says “Hello. Sign In.”
Ready to watch Amazon Prime? Nope, you’re not done yet. There’s more, and this is actually where things get a bit more convoluted. Once you launch your newly installed Amazon App, you’ve got to go a step further and download the Prime Instant Video Player. You can get there from within the Amazon App by tapping the menu icon and choosing “Amazon Instant Video.” Click on some Prime content, and this will prompt you to download the Prime Instant Video Player, which you’ll need in order to facilitate streaming on your Android mobile device.
When all that’s done, you’ll be able to stream free Prime videos (free for Prime members anyway) – or any other video content that you pay for or have previously purchased – from your Android smartphone or tablet. All video play is accessed through the Amazon App. There is no standalone Amazon Prime Instant Video app that you can use as a shortcut, but the good news is that everything is easily accessible and the mobile app lets you stop watching on your tablet and pick up on your smartphone (or vice versa) with ease. You can do this by tapping the Continue Watching option that keeps a running history of all of your most recently viewed titles.
Since streaming video can rapidly eat away at your data plan, it’s advisable to only watch video when you’re dialed in to Wi-Fi. An added bonus here is that Amazon will remind you of this if it sees you’re streaming via standard mobile data and will throw up a quick FYI.
Watching Amazon Prime on Android requires your device to be running Android 4.0 and up. The app itself is free to download, but just remember you’ll need to be signed up with an Amazon Prime membership in order to take advantage. If you don’t have a membership and have never signed up for a free trial version, Amazon lets you try the goods before you buy for a period of 30 days. After the 30 days are up, your credit card is billed a one-time fee of $99 for the next 12 months. Amazon gives you three business days after charging your credit card to cancel, just in case you have a sudden change of heart and decide you’d rather watch Orange Is the New Black on Netflix instead of Transparent on Prime. If you ask us, both shows are worth the price.