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Amazon Launches Unlimited Streaming Service

Amazon Launches Unlimited Streaming Service (photo)

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Not a great couple weeks for Netflix. They just lost the 800 film streaming library of The Criterion Collection to Hulu Plus and today Amazon announced an unlimited streaming service to compete with Netflix’s Watch Instantly program. A $79 a year membership — which works out to about $1.50 less per month than Netflix’s $8 a month streaming only plan — gets you unlimited access to 5,000 movies, including launch titles like all three Swedish language film versions of Stieg Larsson’s “Millenium Trilogy,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Enter the Dragon,” “Two Lovers,” and (obviously) a lot more. As the press release explains, Amazon’s streaming is actually a new bonus feature to their existing Amazon Prime program:

“, Inc. today announced the launch of a new benefit for Amazon Prime members: unlimited, commercial-free, instant streaming of more than 5,000 movies and TV shows. This new benefit is being added at no additional cost — Prime membership will continue to be $79 per year. Movies and TV shows included with an Amazon Prime membership can be watched instantly on Macs, PCs and nearly 200 models of Internet-connected TVs, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes that are compatible with Amazon Instant Video.”

It’s probably worth noting at this point that all of those movies I mentioned mentioned above are available on Netflix Watch Instantly as well (at least for now — you can still find plenty of Criterions on Netflix for the moment, too). And, anecdotally, I’ve tried Amazon’s Video On Demand service twice and been disappointed with the experience twice: the streams of my films froze repeatedly in both cases and I had to keep reloading the page or restarting my browser entirely to keep things moving. I’d have to be convinced their streaming service was more reliable before I committed my money.

That said, if Amazon Prime does work properly and it does have a lot of the same titles as Netflix for a little less money and you also get free 2-day shipping from Amazon, that is a threat to Netflix, who raised the prices on all their streaming-and-disc plans concurrently with the announcement of their streaming only option. Netflix has the edge in this world because they saw its potential before everyone else. But they’re not alone anymore.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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