A Fix-for and Review-of Amazon Prime Live Streaming Service - Keyboard Hotkeys, Shortcuts, Tips

Latest update: June 3, 2020

Alternate Titles

  • Why Is Amazon Prime Video So Bad?
  • I Have Amazon Prime But I Can't Watch Videos.
  • Amazon Prime Keeps Buffering.
  • Amazon Prime Video Not Working on Chrome.
  • And Keyboard Shortcuts and Tips.

When I first signed up and tried to use Amazon Prime Video, it was a royal mess and basically useless. The videos refused to work. It turns out that Amazon Prime's default video setting is ultra-high bandwidth usage. For folks with a less-than-perfect, high-speed ISP account; this can be a real problem. However and if one is lucky, it is possible to solve the debacle.

A few seconds of this is fine. But if it lasts longer and/or an error message appears, then there are problems.

How to Fix Amazon Prime Video Bandwidth Issues

There is both good news and bad news. The good news is Amazon has an option setting where one can change the bandwidth usage to a lower level. The bad news is the option setting is not available on the main menu; it is only available when one is able to get a video to run long enough (approximately a minute) for the option icon to show up at upper-right. One may have to make repeated attempts to make this happen. Closing all other apps and making sure Windows Updates isn't running will increase your chances of success.

If one can get the settings/option icon to work in video mode, three menu options will appear:
  • .38 GB
  • 1.40 GB
  • 6.84 GB
Amazon has the default setting at 6.84 GB. Changing the setting to .38 GB will solve the problem; the changed setting is immediately applied to the current and future videos. Oddly, I noticed no difference in video quality between the three settings; your results may vary.

Sooner or later, Amazon will realize the error of their ways and include the bandwidth setting option in their main menu. They may very well have done so since this page's last update, so that would be worth checking. Until then, this appears to be the only workaround.

A Short Review of Amazon Prime Video

Amazon has discounts for folks on EBT and/or Medicaid or Medi-Cal.

Amazon Prime has an excellent variety of movies, TV shows, original programming, etc. They are doing the free 30-day trial promotion. I don't see a downside to giving them a try. If one is able to overcome the bandwidth problem, they should have several months of entertainment available.

My standard procedure for watching Amazon Prime videos:
  1. Skip or fast forward through the one or two introductory segments.
  2. When actual show starts, I hit pause.
  3. I go away for a minute or two to give the video a chance to buffer.
  4. All is well for the rest of the show.
And, there are the other benefits of joining Amazon Prime; shopping, free deliveries, music, etc. I have no plans to discontinue their services anytime soon.

June Update
Amazon Prime Video pulls a very dirty trick on it's subscribers. I found a TV show I thought I might like. So I watched the first episode. I did like it, so I happily watched all the episodes of the first season. When I went to the second season, Amazon suddenly demanded more money. That left an extremely bad taste in my mouth. There is nothing wrong with trying to sell add-ons; Amazon, Netflix and Hulu all do it. But to suddenly demand more money in the middle of a series is a new low in tackiness. I stared at that for a minute and then signed-off the site. I've got a renewal date coming up and am considering discontinuing my subscription. Not necessarily a permanent good-bye, just some time to mull things over. We shall see. Besides, Netflix has been poking me with a stick about some new shows.

2nd June Update
Yep, I unsubscribed from Amazon Prime Video and resubscribed to Netflix. I figured that Netflix has accumulated enough new shows to keep me entertained for at least a month, and they don't pull that demanding-more-money-in-the-middle of-a-series thing.

Amazon Prime Video Web Browser Keyboard Shortcuts

The Amazon Prime Video keyboard shortcuts are similar to the Netflix and Hulu keyboard shortcuts. I consider this a good thing; it appears that an industry standard has developed. This is definitely a break for the user. YouTube also appears to be the same way.
  • Space bar = Pause / Play (toggle) - Also works on YouTube in certain screen modes)
  • M = Mute / Un-mute (toggle) - Also works on YouTube)
  • F = Full-screen (double-clicking the screen also works) - Also works on YouTube)
  • Esc = Exit full-screen (or double-click again) - Also works on YouTube)
  • Left arrow = Rewinds, 10-second increments. - Also works on YouTube; (5-second increments)
  • Right arrow = Forwards, 10-second increments. - Also works on YouTube (5-second increments)

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