Scientists have proven that two people can’t watch TV in the same room for longer than 18 minutes without someone asking: “What was he in?”. Amazon Prime Video X-Ray finally nails that problem.
If you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber, you surely know that you have access to a vast library of television shows and movies as part of your subscription package. I say ‘surely know’, because Amazon sends you an email every seven seconds reminding of you the latest shows to appear on the service.
If you’ve been watching Prime Video on a smartphone, tablet or PC , you may well have noticed the little X-Ray label at the top of the screen and wondered what that’s all about. Much to my mum’s disappointment, it doesn’t reveal what’s under Liam Neeson’s kegs in Taken. Instead, it reveals loads of information about the show/movie you’re watching.
If you press or click the X-Ray button during playback, you’ll see a bunch of thumbnail photos appear down the left-hand side of the screen. This isn’t merely a listing of the actors in the show, but the actors in the very scene you’re watching. In some shows, such as the utterly superb Goliath, the list of thumbnails changes as actors walk in and out of shot. It’s incredible.
Alongside each thumbnail is each actor’s name and character name, helping you identify heavily made-up actors. And you can click on each actor to get a biography from the Amazon-owned IMDb, which not only answers that “what was he in?” question but pauses the action, so that you don’t miss anything while you struggle to comprehend that Ian McShane was once in Magnum, PI.
Amazon Prime Video X-Ray has another blisteringly useful feature: name that tune. It provides a full listing of all the songs used in the show/movie’s soundtrack, of course letting you play or purchase said song from Amazon Music. You can even jump to the scene where each song is played, which is handy if you can’t get a song out of your head from the movie you watched last night and want to dive back in and find it.
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There is no way to disable x-ray. I’ve been on the phone with Amazon customer service for hours, and in a follow up email chat and subsequent call, they have no solution. So all Prime Videos on my account now play with an overlay narrative, describing the scene. It’s the worst, most annoying feature. I will end up cancelling my Prime account because of this. Sad that a multi-billion dollar company cannot offer the option to disable this feature