As you may have read, Roku pulled the trigger on Amazon VOD this week. And I was supremely depressed to learn that the HD-capable Roku Player ($99) is only serving standard definition Amazon video-on-demand titles at this time. While Amazon’s library is quite large (40,000+ titles), including many of the new releases not available via the Netflix service, it’s unlikely I’ll spend “real money” on SD content. (As opposed to the “free” streaming included in my Netflix DVD rental plan.) So, in 2009, where the heck is Amazon VOD in HD?
The first official confirmation of Amazon HD VOD came from TiVo last May:
Unbox, the content-downloading service TiVo started with Internet retail leader Amazon.com last year, can’t process HD content, though the companies will announce HD capabilities “in the not too distant future,” Mr. Denney said.
And, in fact, one of my TiVo moles had told me Amazon HD VOD was headed into beta but had been pulled back for some reason. It seems inevitable that this service goes HD (one day…), so there must be technical or licensing issues at play. More recently, in December, TiVo flipped a bit and accidentally revealed an Amazon VOD “Available in High Definition” menu item.
Come January, at CES, we started to see some concrete evidence directly from Amazon that HD content is on the way. First, a Gizmodo photograph of a Vizio Yahoo Widget-ized set shows an Iron Man HD rental ($4.99). Then, just last night, I discovered a January post on Amazon’s very own End User blog essentially pre-announcing “Amazon Video on Demand HD Downloads” with video proof:
Given all this evidence, Amazon VOD in HD is obviously under development and pretty far along (at least on the Yahoo Widget platform). But the question remains the same… Where is it?