Amazon Instant Video has added a comprehensive set of parental controls to its Amazon Instant Video and Prime Streaming video services. It’s been a busy few months for Amazon Instant Video with the addition of device support for the Playstation3, Xbox 360 and the iPad as well as adding additional content to its Prime service.
Amazon’s parental controls are centrally controlled from the “Settings & Devices” page of the Instant Video section of Amazon’s website. Parental controls can be applied to select Amazon Instant Video devices including the Playstation 3, Roku, Sony Bravia TVs and select Blu-ray players as well as the Kinde Fire and the new iPad app. Neither the Xbox nor the TiVo implement the new functionality. That’s not a total surprise given that the TiVo does not support Prime Instant Video and the Xbox doesn’t support in-app purchases yet.
It should be noted that this is one of the most comprehensive set of parental controls I’ve seen deployed on any streaming service. What’s unique about it is the fact that you centrally control each of your Amazon Instant Video devices. Once a device has parental controls enabled, the title appears with a lock on it. However, there does not appear to be a way to override the lock out on the particular device. VUDU and iTunes on Apple TV provide overide codes, but each device must be set up individually with parental controls. Hulu Plus, on the other hand, does not offer parental controls. Last year, Tech of the Hub did a detailed comparison of parental controls across the popular streaming services.
In a related development, Netflix continues to roll out their “Just for Kids” interface across devices. The most recent addition is the Xbox after adding “Just for Kids” to select HTML5-based devices (Blu-ray players, Boxee). While parental controls are also centrally controlled on Netflix’s website, you cannot control them per device and it takes several hours for the settings to take effect. Netflix has stated they are working on user profiles for the service.
Disclosure: I am employed by Kiva Systems, a subsidiary of Amazon. All opinions stated here are my own and do not necessarily represent Amazon’s.