Amazon “Unbox” Video Downloads Launched


Amazon has jut launched their video download service, consisting of both movies ($10 – $15/ea to purchase) and television shows ($2/ea). Purchased shows can be archived to DVD, but are not playable on set-top boxes. Rented movies must be watched within 30 days, and once started must be completed within 24 hours like similar services (Movielink, CinemaNow). Amazon’s video player only runs on flavors XP, presumably built around Windows Media Player using Microsoft DRM as video files are Window Media Video (WMV). Amazon provides a FAQ explaining the terms of rental versus ownership, file size, download times, etc. They say they support portables, but I wasn’t able to find any detailed info at this time — I assume support will be limited to the usual suspects running Windows portable media software such as the Zen Vision and Gigabeat S. One interesting factoid… if you accidentally delete a movie you’ve purchased you can download it again from an online “media library,” a feature iTunes sorely lacks.

I’m still not convinced there’s a large market for movies delivered in this fashion unless you’re running an HTPC (or FrontRow once iTunes adds movies next week) connected to a TV or projector. There’s also a small market of road warriors who might put this to use along with curious early adopters — but I continue to fantasize of a TiVo/Netflix collaboration which delivers a wide selection of movies to my TV. In the movie download space, Vongo still leads the pack with their all-you-can eat movie rental plan for only $9.99/mo.

4 thoughts on “Amazon “Unbox” Video Downloads Launched”

  1. Adam: That’s a good question that I don’t know the answer to. If I had to guess, I’d say no — especially since Amazon is limiting the amount of playback devices.

  2. Actually I think the answer to the 360 streaming question is yes. With 360 wireless streaming, your viewing a remote desktop session that executes on your Media Center. The files play on the computer they are downloaded to, and the xbox streams a picture which is technically displayed on the Media Center. So I see no reason why you would not be able to stream these films and shows wirelessly to you television in the living room via the 360, or a Media Center extender.

  3. I don’t know if you can read this since it is an old blog entry. But I was browsing Amazon the other day and there is a section on how to Stream Unbox downloads onto 360s.

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