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amazon channels discovery

Amazon's TV streaming service now offers live TV channels. With so-called Amazon Channels, you can now tune in and watch live TV via Amazon through your internet-connected device, without the need for an aerial.

All sorts of channels are on offer, and there are no lengthy contracts to sign. But what do you need to know before signing up? Read on, and all will be revealed.

1 More than 40 live channels

amazon channels

Amazon isn't doing things by halves – it's offering more than 40 channels at launch, covering all sorts of subjects.

These include Discovery, Eurosport Player, ITV Hub+, reality shows on Hayu, films from MGM and BFI Player+, cooking channels, concert films from Qello Concerts, workout routines from Sweatflix, BeFit UK and Daily Burn, and Bollywood fare from Amazon's Heera channel.

There are also kids' shows from Hopster and Ketchup TV, nature documentaries from Love Nature, and documentaries from Curiosity Stream. Something for everyone, then.

You can see the full list of channels here.

2 Some big names are missing

all 4

While there's plenty to shout about, some big names are conspicuous by their absence. Most notably, terrestrial offerings BBC One and Two, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

3 It costs extra

amazon fire tv kids

The bad news? You have to pay for each channel you watch. The good? Instead of subscribing to a bundle of channels, you can choose to only pay for those you want.

Prices start at £1.49 a month and go up to £9.99 a month. Those are the extremes, however – most are around £2-£4 a month.

As an offering, it's similar to Sky's Now TV service. But instead of paying for individual channels on Now TV, you sign up to 'passes' themed around a certain genre – entertainment, sports, films or kids' shows.

Like Now TV, there's no lengthy contract to sign, so you can cancel at any time without being locked in.

Some people might resent paying for ITV when they can get it for free on terrestrial TV. It depends on how much you value the convenience of getting your channels from Amazon. Shows from ITV Hub+ don't have adverts, too, which could well be worth the £3.99-a-month subscription fee.

4 It includes live sport

tour de france 2014

With the addition of Eurosport Player, Amazon Prime Video now offers live sport. This is a major move, as it gives it one up on its arch rival Netflix, which doesn't offer any sport.

Eurosport Player is currently showing the French Open tennis tournament, and will broadcast the Le Mans 24 Hours race and Tour de France this summer.

While Amazon doesn't pose a threat to Sky and BT's dominance of live sport, it could be a sign of things to come.

Sky and BT have paid huge amounts for rights to major sports like the Premier League in recent years, but with Amazon and Netflix becoming ever more popular, we could see streaming services start to muscle in on Sky and BT's turf.

5 It's just the start

According to Amazon, more channels will be added in the coming months. Look out for more big names, and an even wider spread of content for us viewers. Lucky us.

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