Amazon Pitches Free Fire TV Test Drive

Amazon, looking to juice shipments of its new Fire TV box, has launched a try-it-before-you-buy it campaign that gives Prime members the chance to play with the media streaming/gaming machine for 30 days before having it hit their credit cards.

According to the emailed-delivered promo distributed to eligible subscribers to Prime, Amazon’s $99 per year service that includes free two-day shipping and access to a large streaming video library, is by-invitation only, and available while supplies last. The promo is scheduled to end September 21 at 11:59 p.m. PT

Consumers who partake will get the Fire TV for 30 days and will only have to pay for it if they keep it longer than that. Amazon will cover return shipping.

Amazon launched the $99 Fire TV in April, taking on the Apple TV, Roku, the coming Android TV platform, and, to a degree, the Google Chromecast. In addition to OTT mainstays such as Netflix, Crackle and Hulu Plus, the Fire TV has also been extending support to authenticated TV Everywhere services such as Showtime Anytime and WatchESPN.

While the promotion suggests that Amazon wants to ratchet up shipments of the device, the company hasn’t disclosed sales figures for the Fire TV or the size of its Prime membership base.

Bernstein Research analyst Carlos Kirjner estimated in February that there were 20 million to 25 million U.S. homes with at least one Amazon Prime account, and 70 million U.S. homes with an active account.

Amazon has begun to distribute Fire TV outside the U.S. It started shipping the Fire TV to customers in  Germany on September 5, and will start to ship it in the U.K. on October 23.