Typically if you travel outside of the United States, or a few other countries, most Amazon Prime video content is blocked. Often you are still able to buy or rent shows and watch what you already purchased (like I did when I visited my wife in Korea), but Prime content is blocked.
Now Amazon will be unblocking US Prime content for US military service members stationed at a US military base anywhere around the world. (This is something Netflix has been doing for some time at most military bases around the world.) However, there are a few catches…
First, you will have to be on the military base to gain access to the US Prime content. Many military service members stationed in countries like Korea and Germany live off-post because of limited or old on-post housing, and many of these countries agree to pay for the housing of military personnel and do so off-base. Soon, if you live on an overseas military post, you will be able to stream as much Amazon Prime as you want.
For military personnel who live in areas with poor Internet service or are posted on a ship at sea, Amazon has partnered with the American Forces Network (AFN), a television station created for military personnel at sea or overseas. AFN will show Amazon original shows like Transparent, Bosch, Alpha House, and The Man in the High Castle with a new episode airing every week.
This move to allow military service members access their content does address many critics’ complaints about Amazon and Netflix’s efforts to block proxy services. Now that service members have a way to access the same content everyone in the United States enjoys Netflix and Amazon can go about blocking others who try to get around their geo walls.
No matter what their reasons, it is great to see US companies reach out to the military and their families who are asked to spend a year or longer living overseas. Something as small as watching your favorite show on Amazon really does make the time away from home go by faster. Hopefully services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon will allow the military to register their accounts to access the services they pay for no matter where they are sent—even if they do not live on a military base.