The Evolution of Amazon Unbox

Today Amazon adds multi-platform video streaming (think web browser) to their Unbox arsenal. Initially, the Amazon Unbox movie and TV video service required a Windows player install or Plays for Sure portable device, which was followed by the TiVo playback option. And now they appear to be dabbling in Netflix Watch Instantly and Hulu territory as they begin “Video on Demand” beta testing. Though I wonder, from a branding perspective, if they’re making a mistake… “Video on Demand” is clearly more descriptive than “Unbox,” but it’s also unremarkable.

In regards to Amazon Unbox on TiVo, I don’t see the service going anywhere anytime soon (despite the recent CinemaNow and Disney announcement) – though, I suppose it’s possible video could be served in the newly supported H.264 format. I’m all for that if it gets us to HD quality sooner. Proof positive Amazon won’t be shuttering the video download service:

The video store will [also] be accessible through the Sony Bravia Internet Video link, a $300 tower-shaped device that funnels Web video directly to Sony’s high-definition televisions. Mr. Carr said Amazon would pursue similar deals with other makers of TVs and Internet devices. “We can support both streaming and downloading,” he said.

7 thoughts on “The Evolution of Amazon Unbox”

  1. I still think people are missing the boat on this one. The number 1 issue with Unbox is not HD, it’s not multi-platform support, ITS CONTENT!

    HD/Multi-platform support is important, but if the movie isn’t available on Unbox then it really isn’t going to matter if you have a MAC or an HD Tivo, you still won’t be able to watch it. If Amazon could work out an agreement to exclusively offer some content you will see customers by the boat load. Then HD and multi-platform support will soon follow.

    I believe Amazon can do with Unbox what it did with the Amazon MP3 store. Just my 10 cents.

  2. There’s not going to be very many exclusive movie content deals, especially from the major studios. What’s the studio incentive to offer an exclusive? They’ll just be limiting sales by going with one service. Amazon’s digital selection is currently among the best and eclipses Netflix Watch Instantly. Fortunately, I think we’ve turned a corner and should see more new releases and sooner (universally). Netflix has a slightly different business model which is probably why they’re not as current as Apple TV, Vudu, Unbox, etc.

    Collectively, these guys are ALL competing with the cable companies. However, if anyone were to get an exclusive it’d be Apple TV – Apple’s got more mindshare (and the ABC/Disney others) than the rest.

  3. I just confirmed with TiVo that Amazon services are not going away. The conversation went something like this: “Is Unbox on TiVo being killed?” “No way.” As I suspected, it’s basically Amazon expanding and rebranding their service offerings.

  4. Unbox content is OK, yeah it could be better, but I appreciate it is smooth hassle free delivery so much, I don’t care if it gets Transformers 2 the same day my local Blockbuster does ( Is that really something to brag about, anyway? ).

    Two mouse clicks and I am watching what I asked for, that’s it. Never shown “Do you accept the terms and conditions bound by Federal Court to watch this content?…” or a seven page ToS, or “In order to watch the movie your just paid for, please upgrade to the most recent version of SilverLight, if you don’t we’ll keep your money and not let you watch…”

    Can you tell the overall user experience ( Including payment, time to configure, not being locked into a multi year commitment, AND content selection ) is important to me?

    I hope I get to check out this new version soon! Private Beta? What the hell Amazon, I’ve been a customer since 1998!

  5. Blogging tip #17: Pull the trigger on deal of the day, beta sign up, freebie, etc prior to posting. Having said that… Todd, all the terms and conditions of beta participation would surely turn you off. ;)

  6. I’m still waiting on Unbox Canada.

    I thought we would see something since iTunes now has a bigger store.

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