More On Amazon Unbox + TiVo

Those of you who read ZNF regularly or have come across some of my comments on the TCF can probably guess the Amazon Unbox on TiVo service excites me: Being able to rent feature length films via the Internet for television playback is my personal holy grail. So I checked in with TiVo, Inc this AM to find out a little more of the mechanics of this upcoming video download collaboration

On the TiVo end, TiVoCast and TiVoGuard are the technologies being used. Video will be “near DVD” quality with stereo sound. Download times will vary by home broadband speeds — a typical movie would take about an hour to download via a 5Mbps connection. Slower connections could take longer: A 1Mbps connection could result in 5 hours or so to download a flick. Video cannot be played back until the TiVo download completes.

On the Amazon side of things, studios dictate which movies are available for rent versus which are available for purchase… some are available for both. Video is ordered online; transmission to TiVo is initiated online as well. Downloads to the TiVo begin within 15 minutes of request. Purchased video is stored indefinitely and can be retrieved multiple times, though only two devices (computer, TiVo, handheld) are authorized for particular content at a time.

Amazon Unbox on TiVo is currently in beta and will be available “soon.”

10 thoughts on “More On Amazon Unbox + TiVo”

  1. Sorry, Dave, but “near-DVD quality” and “stereo” just won’t cut it. Too many folks have high end video and Dolby 5.1 Surround systems, and this is too little too late. Meh…

  2. On further thought, I’m really intrigued by the service. Earlier, I didn’t know you could “rent” movies and balked at the 14 buck or so “buy” option. But 3.99 or 2.99 for a rental is reasonable. I don’t plan to rewatch or keep movies.

    Funny, I just canceled my netflix account because I’m sick of scratched disks.

    Bring on the content!

  3. Bierboy – And MORE people DO NOT have high-end systems, just basic setups. Which is fine. Even many people with high end systems don’t mind the trade-offs for some convenience – I have a high end system, including a 61″ 1080p DLP and a Series3, and I expect to use this service now and then. Most of the content I watch is still broadcast in SD & stereo anyway.

    I haven’t rented a DVD in many years, because I can’t be bothered. But, just as I buy more music now via iTunes than I did on CD, I’ll probably check out more movies just because it is easy. And if they ever offer HD content downloads for the S3, I’ll probably use those. (I expect they will in time.)

    Keep in mind that (except for the DVD units) the S2/2DT family can only output stereo audio anyway, perhaps Dolby Pro-Logic at best – no real 5.1/digital sound. Only the DVD units and S3 have digital audio out and real 5.1, and they’re a very small segment of the TiVo user base.

    And I think ‘too little, too late’ is laughable considering that the total number of people using download services today is negligible. Right now the market basically does not exist for all intents and purposes, it is a brand new arena. There is a great deal of potential and plenty of time to experiment with the services and find something that gets traction.

  4. Heh, oops, that was me. I was testing commenting from work last night and changed the name I was using. It looks like when I try to comment from work it gets caught in the spam filters – I suppose somehow the IP block we have at work get into the blog spam filters (maybe someone else at work was being a dink).

  5. “Purchased video is stored indefinitely and can be retrieved multiple times”. What about rented movies/shows are those subject to a time limit or a viewing limit (or both)

  6. SD isn’t ideal, but I’ll willing to accept it (for NOW) in exchange for near instant gratification. I also have the Xbox 360 which¬† offers movie downloads too… many in HD.

    Charles: That’s a good question which I’m going to look into.

  7. To Charles & Dave:
    I was reading through the Unbox terms.

    And I recall that for a rental you have 24 hours to watch it.

    And I believe the 24 hours starts when you actually start watching the movie. Not when you download it.

    I could be wrong, but for some reason I clearly remember this from the the other day I read through the terms..

  8. Another mini correction (by my interpretation) …

    the video can simultaneously co-exist on two home devices (PCs, TiVos) AND two handhelds.


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