Amazon Prime Video

As you already know Amazon, former bookselling the company, and Apple, a hardware company, have come a long way since their early days. They probably never thought they would become competitors in the media content business, but today they are now big players in the hardware and content creation game. Amazon has the Fire TV, and Apple has the Apple TV, both digital media players and micro-consoles. Among many of the other things Amazon has ventured into these days, they have Amazon Prime Video.

Prime Video is an internet video on demand service developed, owned and operated by Amazon. Just like Netflix, Prime Video not only offers on-demand media streaming, but they also produce their own original TV shows and movies. Some of the bigger names you might recognize are The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Man in the High Castle, Bosch, Catastrophe, among others.

Amazon Prime Video

When two big players such as Amazon and Apple have competing platforms, it is expected that features of some app are left out on another, probably to encourage switching platforms for a better more complete experience. That is the case with Amazon Prime Video. You can download the Prime Video app on any device you prefer. However, the features on this app can vary from platform to platform. One particular feature that had notably been missing for years from Prime Video on Apple TV is X-ray.

Apple TV watchers can now learn about the show and cast while they are watching it, as earlier this month the X-ray feature was added to the new Amazon Prime Video update on Apple TV.

What is “X-ray”?

“But where have I seen that actress before?” “What song is that? I wish I knew the name!” are probably some thoughts you have had more than once when watching a show. If you have not experienced the X-ray feature yet, it is a certainly a great upgrade from having to use your phone to look up a familiar actor mid-movie or using Shazam to find out what is the song playing in the background.


Four things you can learn from X-ray are: Actors and characters, so you don’t have to wonder where you know them from. Interesting bits of trivia about the show are placed throughout the movie or show for viewers. Bonus content such as videos that explain or expand on a certain topic or event in the show, backstage photos, explanations about props, etc. Soundtrack information, listing the entire scoring of the show as well allowing you to jump to the exact scene where a song is being played. 

The X-ray feature on Amazon Prime uses data from IMDB to show you a deeper dive about the show, cast, and characters on a show while you are watching it. IMDB is an Amazon company, and it is the most visited movie website with more than 160 million unique users every month, counting web and mobile users.

X-ray was a game changer, first introduced by Amazon and IMDB in 2012, being made available gradually on platforms other than Amazon’s. As of 2016, it was available on Prime Video for Amazon Fire Tablets and Fire TV/Stick, iOS and Android mobile devices, web browsers, and select smart TVs and game consoles, however, it was never made available on Apple TV. In fact, the Prime Video for Apple TV is the most basic of the Prime Video experiences.

Prime Video x-ray for Apple TV

 If this feature has already been included in your update of Prime Video, you probably have already noticed. To access the feature, you only need to pause the show and the X-ray information will immediately pop-up on the timeline of the video. You can expect information such as The names and headshots of the actors currently on screen. The name of the song or background if there is music currently playing, along with the band or artist. Trivia about the show and cast. Additional photos and other bonus materials may also appear on your screen. Another way to access the feature is by swiping up on the touchpad at any time while watching a show.

While many users reported having the new feature, Amazon did not officially announce the release of this feature, which could indicate that they are still testing it, a long rollout process in batches or both. Some users are not able to see it yet.

You can check whether or not you have the feature by going to an Amazon Original show like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, a show for which X-ray is available, and pausing it. If you cannot see the feature, one thing you can try is uninstalling the Prime Video app on your Apple TV and then downloading it again. If after doing this you still can’t see it, you might just have to wait until the rollout is complete. It is not clear how long this will take.

The IMDB powered x-ray feature is not available in every single show and movie in the Prime Video library, but it is for most popular shows, movies, and all Amazon Originals. According to Amazon, it is available for “tens of thousands of titles.” There is no way to know before watching the show if the feature will be available.

Other media player services offer show-related information but what makes X-ray unique is the depth of the information offered, as well as the ability to be able to access it while playing the show, without having to exit the title. IMDB is the website that offers the world’s largest movie, TV and celebrity data, so it makes sense that makes X-ray a superior feature than that of other services.


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