Even in today’s always-connected world, there are times when a high-speed Internet connection isn’t available to stream video — think long car trips or plane rides.
Aiming to get a leg up in the aggressive war with Netflix and other Internet video services, Amazon has added a feature to its new line of higher-powered Kindle Fire tablets: Prime Instant Video downloads, which will let subscribers access a subset of available TV shows and movies for 48 hours.
Amazon’s new tablets also catch up to Netflix with the Second Screen feature, letting Prime Instant Video customers use a Kindle to control the playback of video on TV and access info related to the programming.
And, of course, in the battle with Apple’s iPad and iTunes, the refreshed Kindle family is aimed at providing an on-ramp to Amazon’s entire catalog of digital content — spanning some 27 million movies, TV shows, songs, apps, games, books, audiobooks and magazines.
Amazon introduced two new tablet models: Kindle Fire HD, priced starting at $139 for 8 gigabytes of memory (30% less than the previous model’s $199), which provides a 7-inch 1280-by-800 HD screen and is 60% faster than the prior-generation tablet; and the Kindle Fire HDX, available in 7-inch (starting at $229) and 8.9-inch (starting $379) models. Amazon will ship 4G-enabled versions of the HDX later in the fall.
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The two-day offline viewing feature is available only on the new Kindle Fire tablets. Media companies making titles available for disconnected viewing include NBCUniversal, Viacom, Sony, CBS and Warner Bros, according to a report by AllThingsD.