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03. 16. 2007

Amazon Unbox on the Tivo


Charlie from (occasionally inappropriate) Gizmodo has taken a look at Amazon Unbox on the Tivo. On demand downloaded video has been a holy grail for the technology on-demand generation, and many have been bootlegging videos because the service wasn't available in the marketplace. Anne Sweeney is trying to convince the major players of that point, and those views qualify her as the smartest woman in Hollywood. Tivo and Amazon are hoping to grab the early adopter market share before AppleTV and iTunes roll out an unstoppable juggernaut of a video service.

The system is pretty simple. After signing up for UnBox, purchasing a movie is as simple as buying a DVD online. Downloads automatically begin after purchase, and each feature film runs from 1.5 to 2.5 gigabytes. This isn't instantaneous technology since movie download time is roughly six hours on a five meg connection. Amazon runs a media library storing a record of purchases so even if they're deleted from the Tivo they can be redownloaded later. Purchases are licensed for concurrent download to either two Tivos or PCs and two mobile devices. Movie purchases run the gamut from $5 (direct to video) to $15 (new Hollywood releases), and TV shows are mostly in the $2 per episode range.

Rental movies work a little differently. Renting a $4 video from Amazon Unbox makes it available on the Tivo for thirty days. However: starting to play that video triggers a countdown timer that will delete the movie twenty-four hours later. There's the window - 24 hours. That's not very convenient for my jetset on-demand lifestyle and I have to say "shame on you" to anyone that tries to cripple my purchases (iTunes included). There's no price discount for buying a digital copy of the movie, and the rental system is also highly inconvenient. Until media companies understand what it is that I want in a product I'm going to stick with NetFlix for rentals, and hard copies for purchases.

Posted by Johnny    Category: devices
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Comments (3)


I tried this, and my download time was way less. I got an 80 minute movie downloaded in 90 minutes -- using just a normal Optimum Online connection.

I really liked the service. This was the first time I downloaded a movie from the internet, then watched it on my regular TV. (My first "oover the top" movie!)

I have to say, aside form a small complaints, it was a success. Downloading was easy, and fast enough. The quality was ok. I just liked doing this.

The one downside: the 24-hour viewing window. I've never used on-demand because of this. It will definitely makeme think twice.

But, that's my only real complaint.


My boyfriend and I tried it out last week. I don't think it's worth it to buy movies, since you don't get any extras like deleted scenes or commentary. I did think the quality of the video was a lot better than expected, and we might use it again since we don't have Netflix. I agree with your complaints, overall.

I've tested it with 2 rentals and buying 2 movies.

It works great. Using a Cablevision OO broadband connection allowed movies to be downloaded quickly (WIFI G adapter to Tivo3).

The quality is excellent and it was the perfect solution during a snow storm last night where I couldn't get to Blockbuster.

BTW, the new James Bond movie is great....

My only complaint is tht the amazon.com web interface for finding movies isn't as nice as Netflix or Blockbuster's.

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