Amazon Video Streams Out of Beta

After a fairly short and semi-public public beta, Amazon Video on Demand is here. The “new” service offers browser-based web streaming (Windows and Mac OS X), in addition to continuing to provide video downloads – previously known as “Unbox.” I did partake in the beta, although Amazon’s agreement prohibited me from discussion. It’s a nicely done offering, although I still wonder how large the pay-per-play long-form content market is. Especially when so much content is being offered for “free” (via subscription or with commercials) by Hulu, Netflix, and others. Although Amazon does kindly provide season premiers and trailers or previews on the house… to get you hooked. But what I’d really like to hear from these guys is a ‘HD content now available on TiVo’ announcement.

6 thoughts on “Amazon Video Streams Out of Beta”

  1. Dave, I beta-tested it too, and although I have an Apple 30″ Cinema Display, I’d much rather download it via Unbox to my Tivo and watch it on the big screen from the couch.

  2. Tough crowd! So its “thumbs down” on my beloved UnBox until they have HD content? Ok, but I better not hear after they add it…

    “I hate Amazon UnBox! I downloaded some of their new HD content and it pushed me over my Comcast bandwidth cap and I got a $175.00 overage charge on my cable bill!”

    You can’t have it both ways people!

  3. Todd, I disagree. I don’t think HD downloads are having it both ways at all.

    The bandwidth limits seem rather illegal to me. You just described the exact situation I’m thinking of. If you buy your video from comcast, and pay their high fee, you’re OK. If you get it from a competitor, such as unbox they say you’re “abusing bandwitdh”. I say download all you want, and then join in the class action lawsuit!

  4. At 6Mbps (typical HD rate for h.264 720p content, i.e. about what Apple TV and Vudu and Microsoft XBox are using), a two hour movie will run about 5GBytes. Sure enough of these would run you into that 250GB cap, but seriously are you going to spend like $230 bucks in a month on Amazon Unbox HD downloads?

    Personally, I’m doing just about everything. I watch shows on TV using my Tivo. I transcode them to my iPod using TTG and watch them there. I watch Hulu and so forth on my laptop on trips. I download shows and movies to my Tivo from Amazon Unbox. I rent HD movies on my Apple TV. And if Amazon has a streaming service, and there’s something I can’t get somewhere else, I’ll watch it there.

    Obviously I’m not going to pay $1.99 or $2.99 for every episode of a TV show for an entire season. But for the occasional show I missed, I can tolerate it. I just want to be able to watch what I want to watch. And I’ll pay for the privilege some of the time.

    But I won’t be renting movies from Amazon Unbox until they’re available in HD. Sorry. And TV Shows would be nice too. Hopefully we’ll hear something from Apple about that next Tuesday.

    I do wish the streaming would work on Linux & Macs. Kinda defeats the point of using a browser when its Windows only. Can’t they just use Silverlight or something?

  5. @Glenn

    You have valid points about Amazon being kind of expensive for stuff like brand new TV shows or just released movies. But I like the oddball stuff ( old campy movies, TV shows from seasons past, independent film ) most of which is free (! ).

    “Can’t they just use Silverlight or something?”

    Oh hells no, you did NOT just ask that!

  6. I want TV shows in HD, dang it! I don’t see why it’s so difficult to re-encode HD feed and offer it for purchase. And this way, consumers can watch shows in HD even if they don’t come out on Blu-Ray.

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