Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says in a few weeks the company will launch a streaming video service. How's that different from Amazon Unbox? When you purchase or rent a movie from Amazon Unbox, the video is downloaded to your computer. While you can start watching before the download is complete, streaming video services like Hulu and Netflix allow you to start watching videos immediately.
There's one other major problem with Amazon Unbox: The video player and download client only work with Windows XP and Vista. There's no way to purchase videos from the site if you're a Linux or Mac user. It's not 100% clear whether the new streaming video service will be cross-platform. But we can certainly hope, can't we?
The streaming video service will be pay-per-view. It doesn't sound like there will be any kind of subscription option. And that's about all we know so far.
They couldn't have guessed where their research would lead, however, so here we are in 2007 with a vast interconnected network that exists pretty much so that people can argue as to the exact point The Simpsons stopped being good. As the internet evolves, though, it's beginning to realize its potential as a content delivery system.
TiVo Director of Service Operations Stephen Mack posted the news in the TiVo Community forums. TiVo customers can download Amazon Unbox movies to their TiVo boxes for viewing. But if you don't have a TiVo, you can still get the free videos from Amazon's website.
A few of the titles include Charade, House on Haunted Hill, His Girl Friday, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Some of the movies are available as free "purchases," meaning you can download the flick now and watch it whenever you like. The rest are free rentals. That means you can download it today and watch anytime within the next 30 days. But once you hit play, you have just 48 hours to finish watching your movie.
The free movies are available through Nov 18th.
The base price of a television episode will be $1.99, the same price that Apple was charging before its little fight with NBC the other day.
But while Apple had insisted on pricing episodes consistently with other content offered via iTunes, Amazon has agreed to offer several different pricing levels. For example, customers can save up to 30% if they buy a whole season's worth of episodes at a time.
Recently a blogger stumbled upon some hidden pages on Amazon's site that may have offered a look into what the company will be offering as far as its upcoming digital download service, which Anna first hepped us to in July. The pages are no longer available, and since no official announcement has been made by the company we can't take any of this as absolute, but what the page seemed to suggest is that the new service will be called "Amazon Unbox," downloads of TV shows will cost $1.99, and content will be viewable on an in-browser player that will only work with Windows computers (to start with). Like I said, none of this is set in stone and could only be half true or completely false, but I'm definitely curious to see how Amazon approaches this, and if they'll do it in a way that doesn't shut out any customers.
Update: After I scheduled this post, some more information on the service became available. It sounds as if consumers will be able to rent or buy videos through the service. You may also be able to burn purchased copies to a blank DVD, but they won't play on traditional players.
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