Amazon launches Prime Video Mac app, allowing offline downloads, but not in 4K

Why is this important: This week, Amazon released a version of its Prime Video app on macOS, making it the first major streaming service to have a Mac app. Its functionality is similar to other versions but offers a download option for offline viewing.

As of this week, the Apple App Store page for the Amazon Prime Video app understand a Mac version, which requires macOS Big Sur 11.4 or later. Watching content from streaming services on a desktop or laptop computer is usually done through a web browser. However, the providers’ websites do not allow users to download shows and movies. Mobile streaming apps have been offering this functionality for quite some time now.

The ability to download is one of the main reasons to install native PC apps for streaming services. Windows 10 and 11 already support services like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, Crunchyroll, Disney +, and others. Notably, HBO Max does not have native Windows or Mac apps. Although Apple TV is integrated with macOS, it does not have a Windows app, nor does it allow users to stream Apple TV + content through iTunes for Windows. Desktop streaming software works the same as the web browser experience, but Windows apps from Amazon and Netflix allow downloads.

Unfortunately, most PC streaming apps, regardless of service provider, do not support 4K viewing, with the exception of Netflix, which allows 4K and HDR streaming on PC. All others, including Amazon Prime on Windows and Mac, limit PC users to 1080p. The Windows Netflix app, however, limits downloads to 1080p.

It will be interesting to see if Amazon’s move prompts Netflix and others to offer Mac versions of their apps.

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