Review: Amazon Prime Video Australia Featuring The Man In the High Castle and The Grand Tour

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Amazon Prime Video is the latest competitor in the Australian streaming and video production services market. While it has some excellent flagship original content, the pricing doesn’t justify subscribing to it continuously until it’s included for free as part of Amazon Prime Australia Membership.

Overseas in some countries Amazon Prime membership is available eg in the USA for $99/year this includes ‘free” Amazon.com shipping (actually you’ve already prepaid for it with your $99), Amazon Prime Video subscription, Amazon Prime Music subscription and Amazon Prime Reading subscription.

It is unclear when Amazon will release annual Prime membership in Australia, most likely this will be after they have built product storage and logistics centres across the country to ship from. At time of writing they only had a logistics centre in Victoria.

Until Prime Membership is available my suggestion is to take advantage of the initial 6 months pricing of US $2.99/month (AUS $3.75) and then reactivate the subscription occasionally for a month at US $5.99 (AUS $7.50) when a really good Amazon original series gets released.

In comparison Netflix Australia has a much larger range of TV and Movie shows available for a monthly subscription fee ranging from AUS $9.99 to AUS $17.99 depending on the streaming quality you choose. Australian streaming service Stan similarly has a range of prices from AUS $10 to $15.

Like Netflix and Stan, Amazon tries to attract subscribers to pay for Prime Video by commissioning original exclusive TV series and movies, as well as licencing older TV series like House, Parks and Recreation, Heroes, CSI and movies like Paul, TED, Catch Me If You Can and The Adjustment Bureau.

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The blokey Amazon Prime Video original series The Grand Tour is basically a reboot of the hit BBC series Top Gear, except Jeremy Clarkson and his co hosts have even bigger budgets, fancier cars to play with, it’s not UK centric, they’re older and they’re more grumpy.

I was invited to the Australian premiere screening of The Grand Tour Season 2 and it was amusing if a bit formulaic. If you’re a fan it’s definitely worth getting Prime Video for long enough to watch all the episodes of The Grand Tour.

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On a more highbrow note I really liked the Amazon Prime Video original series The Man In the High Castle. This is a series that other TV and video networks like HBO must really wish they had produced.

Based on a novel by famous American science fiction author Philip K. Dick, The Man In The High Castle is an alternative reality world where the USA lost World War II and Germany / Japan split USA between them.

This is a high quality dramatic story of love, hope, internal emotional conflict dealing with expectations of family, friends and society. Characters are not black and white. You’ll get emotionally engaged with them and then find yourself frustrated when they act in ways you don’t approve of.

Series 1 and 2 of The Man In The High Castle are available on Amazon Prime Video Australia, series 3 is not available yet for some reason. Perhaps an Australian cable TV channel bought rights to play it, before Amazon Prime Video launched in Australia 🙁

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Other Amazon original highlights include Transparent, Mozart In The Jungle and American Gods.

Amazon Prime Video can be viewed via an app on Android and iOS phones and tablets, Amazon Fire Tablets, some LG and Samsung Smart TVs or online at PrimeVideo.com. Unfortunately at time of writing you cannot Chromecast Amazon Prime Video from a phone/tablet to your TV.

You can subscribe to a 7 day free trial of Amazon Prime Video Australia if you want to try it out before paying for it.

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