Why it matters: 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.
Starting this week, the Apple App Store page for the Amazon Prime Video app includes a Mac version, which requires macOS Big Sur 11.4 or later. Watching content from streaming services on a desktop or laptop is typically done via a web browser. However, provider websites do not allow users to download shows and movies. Mobile streaming apps have offered this feature for a while 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 doesn't have native Windows or Mac apps. While Apple TV is built-in to macOS, it does not have a Windows application, nor does it allow users to stream Apple TV+ content through iTunes for Windows. Desktop streaming software works similarly to the web browser experience, but the Amazon and Netflix Windows apps allow downloads.
Unfortunately, most PC streaming apps, regardless of service provider, don't support 4K viewing except for Netflix, which allows 4K and HDR streaming on PC. All the others, including Amazon Prime on Windows and Mac, limit PC users to 1080p. The Netflix Windows app does, however, limit downloads to 1080p.
It will be interesting to see if Amazon's move will spur Netflix and others to offer Mac versions of their apps.