Print 16 comment(s) - last by ajdavis.. on Jul 18 at 8:45 PM

Amazon video service launches today for invited users

Amazon announced today that it plans to launch its online store for movies and TV show rentals and purchases.

Amazon also says that the films will require no downloading to watch and will be stored on a special page for the customer at the website. This will do two things for Amazon’s service. First since the films never reach the consumer’s hard drive thanks to no need for download, issues with security for the movie publisher are lessened. Second, the customer can begin watching their movie immediately without having to wait for the download to complete like you do with Apple TV rented movies from iTunes.

Amazon VP for digital media Bill Carr told The New York Times, “For the first time, this (online rentals) is drop dead simple. Our goal is to create an immersive experience where people can’t help but get caught up in how exciting it is to simply watch a movie right from with a click of the button.”

Amazon says that it is working on a deal with Sony that would put a direct link to the Amazon video store on the Sony Bravia Internet Video Link device currently available. The link to the service could also be integrated directly into future Bravia TVs.

Amazon also says that it is pursuing similar deals with many different makers of internet-connected entertainment devices.  Carr said, “We can support both streaming and downloading. Our goal is to continue to establish partnerships with all companies who have a connected device.”

If the service takes off it is a safe bet that stand alone set top boxes for the Amazon service, similar to the Apple TV or the Netflix Player, will be seen as well. The Amazon service launches today, but is only open at the start to invited users.

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Two Points
By mikefarinha on 7/17/2008 12:02:02 PM , Rating: 5
I have two points to make.

Amazon also says that the films will require no downloading to watch and will be stored on a special page for the customer at the website.

Bull. It's the internet, you either download or upload. There is nothing else. This kind of idea reminds me a lot of all the ideas floating around during the dotcom bubble.
I like a lot, but outside of their core business they suck.

2. Why the heck is DT linking to the They still haven't learned that requiring registration to read their articles is a great way to NOT expand your online reader base.

Try Reuters:

RE: Two Points
By FITCamaro on 7/17/2008 12:10:29 PM , Rating: 2
I guess what they mean is that it won't be cached on your hard drive. I wouldn't like that though because if your connection has a hickup, then the same as cable you get a distorted image or no image.

RE: Two Points
By mikefarinha on 7/17/2008 12:26:40 PM , Rating: 3
That's what I gathered too, that it wont be cached. I'm just calling them out on their use of misinformation to hype something as being better than it really is. This is simply another DRMish method of always assuming the consumer is guilty, and in the process offering the customer intentionally crippled.

RE: Two Points
By Blight AC on 7/17/2008 1:04:05 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I use Netflix streaming service a bit and the streaming service has it's advantages and disadvantages. Skipping back and forth to different times in the movie is a pain, but the near instant viewing is nice.

Downloaded movies have the option of being higher definition and easier to skip back and forth, but all the download services I've seen suck with DRM. I watch the movie once and then it becomes useless after 24 hours from when I started watching it. If I want to watch it again, I have to re-rent it and re-download it. This is a worse scenario then the old days of video rental with 1-3 day rentals.

With the Amazon or Netflix service, I don't have the hassle of pre-downloading movies, but I don't have the option for 1080p movies either as my movie quality is determined by my internet speed. Which has been pretty decent with the Netflix service, and typically on par with a DVD upscaled to 480p.

Netflix service works great for me though, I get the instant on of streaming video (connecting it to my TV is no problem) and I only pay a once a month set fee, no matter how much, or little I watch, plus the DVD's and Blu-Ray discs delivered for content I want to watch in High Definition or that isn't available for streaming.

With per download/view costs for movie rentals on Amazon, I don't see the Amazon service replacing what Netflix already offers. Especially, since I can see a movie I streamed on Netflix any time if I wanted to watch it again, or a part of it again.

However, that also depends on the quality of the streaming and the cost, and the duration of it's availability for me to watch. 24 hours from first watch is far too short, a month would be acceptable for a pay per movie model.

RE: Two Points
By FITCamaro on 7/17/2008 1:27:52 PM , Rating: 1
Well the Amazon service might offer newer movies than Netflix does for streaming. That would give them the ability to compete. They should hook this into the 360 as well. :)

RE: Two Points
By Blight AC on 7/17/2008 2:11:15 PM , Rating: 2
There is that, but new movies I'd rather get at HD quality, like the Blu-Ray movies from Netflix.

RE: Two Points
By omnicronx on 7/17/2008 3:30:58 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps it just means there is no standalone application needed to watch these videos, its browser based. Obviously you have to stream the video to your computer to watch it, thus you are downloading. I really doubt there is no cache at all, even over a local network, buffering (caching for a certain amount of time before hand, kind of like antiskip on cd players) is required, so I really have no doubt that caching and buffering of some kind will be implemented.

How much?
By mattclary on 7/17/2008 12:15:13 PM , Rating: 1
So how much do the rentals cost? If it is anything more than something in the neighborhood of $.99 to $1.99, they can take a hike. At $1.99, don't think I would do it.

RE: How much?
By SunAngel on 7/17/2008 12:55:53 PM , Rating: 2
Totally disagree. At $1.99 for a featured, new release trust me this will sell like hot-cakes at IHOP. CinemaNow currently charges $3.99 and new releases normally takes 45 days before they hit rental status. I am certain Amazon will catalog old flicks at $.99. This should be a nice addition to have with your Netflix Watch Now service. Even with both services you come out ahead because $10 for Netflix one-out-at-time plus unlimited Watch Now service and 4 Amazon instant-watches puts you at $18 plus tax a month and hardly any hard drive storage is needed.

RE: How much?
By mattclary on 7/17/08, Rating: -1
RE: How much?
By SunAngel on 7/17/2008 2:12:17 PM , Rating: 2
Why pay $1.99 when you can get a torrent for free and you get to burn your torrent to disk and keep forever?

Simple, that's stealing!

By Dribble on 7/17/2008 12:38:33 PM , Rating: 2
Any high quality video will have a huge file size, and hence you need to wait several hours for it to download.
If like the article says it requires no downloading then we can assume either the quality will be youtube like, or it won't work on many peoples internet connections.
It certainly can't be HD - which I would have thought most tech heads likely to take advantage of something like this will want.

Amazon Unbox
By IGx89 on 7/17/2008 1:16:23 PM , Rating: 2
How is this different than Unbox? It sounds like they're just taking away the ability to save rentals to disk to watch offline later?

Race to HD
By OPR8R on 7/17/2008 2:38:45 PM , Rating: 2
This is a race I have great interest in, especially since it seems Sony has effectively killed disk media for the future with their Blueray "win". I'm anxiously waiting to see who will be the first to offer reliable 1080p streams of a large library.

Even with Amazon's service, I see this as a race between iTunes and Netflix. Although a lot of us (especially DT readers) already have some sort of HTPC, I think the winner will be the firm who can get the most set top boxes into living rooms.

another blank shot by Amazon
By Netscorer on 7/17/08, Rating: 0
RE: another blank shot by Amazon
By ajdavis on 7/18/2008 8:45:50 PM , Rating: 2
It may be another 5-10 years...
...spending millions of dollars on infrastructure...

You hit the nail on the head right there. Infrastructure is never built for now... but in 5-10 years they will have what the public wants.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
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