For the last several seasons, Prime Instant Video has been a great place for fans to go to catch episodes of the popular British series, Downton Abbey. The Carnival/ Masterpiece co-production has done big business on the Prime Service, and it’s no surprise Amazon would want to lock down a deal to make the series a streaming exclusive for the service. Unfortunately for other streaming services (I’m looking at you, Hulu and Netflix) that deal was worked out on Friday.

If you are currently watching the program via other outlets, don’t fret. The new deal won’t go into effect until June 18, 2013. When it does go into effect on the June date, only Season 3 episodes will be Amazon Prime exclusives, at first. However, throughout the rest of 2013, Seasons 1 and 2 will become Prime Instant Video exclusives, as well. Finally, Season 4 of Downton Abbey will only be available to stream via Prime and if the series gets a fifth season, Prime will be the show's digital home, as well.

Honestly, none of this matters if you are tuning in to PBS to catch the series on the small screen, as the deal is a digital exclusive only. My one real question is whether or not the PBS Masterpiece site will be able to continue to stream prior episodes of the series. With the terms stipulated by the deal, I’d guess the answer is a big fat no, but that will be a big shame for fans who simply miss one episode on television and want to catch up. That sort of problem may cost you a pretty penny in upcoming seasons.

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