Amazon.com Launches Movie Download Service - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
News

Amazon.com Launches Movie Download Service

Called Unbox, the service includes desktop software for playing content on a PC and a second file for playback on any Windows Media-compatible device.

Amazon.com has launched a video and movie download service that could eventually present a challenge to Apple Computer's iTunes, but at least one analyst believes the retail giant will first need a "super interesting" mobile device to go along with it.

Amazon.com on Thursday started selling movies, TV shows and other video content from Hollywood and TV networks. The retailer said it had signed a total of 30 studios and networks.

Called Unbox, the service includes desktop software for playing content on a PC, and a second file for playback on any Windows Media-compatible device. Buyers can start watching any show or movie within five minutes after the download begins, Amazon.com said.

TV series sell for $1.99 per episode, while movies cost between $7.99 and $14.99 apiece. Movie rentals are available for $3.99 a piece. Apple does not sell movies through its iTunes store, but analysts expect the company to add the service in the near future. Amazon.com's video pricing is comparable to Apple's.

But the key item missing from Amazon.com's offering is a mobile media device to play video content that's comparable to Apple's iPod. Michael Gartenberg, analyst for JupiterResearch, points out that Amazon.com has a disclaimer with the service that says content will run on six tested devices, but also notes that "we cannot guarantee performance on untested devices."

"Not exactly a ringing endorsement, Plays For (Almost) Sure strikes again," Gartenberg said in his blog. Windows Media devices that carry the Play For Sure logo, are suppose to play content from supporting online stores, according to Microsoft.

Gartenberg said Apple's success in online music and video is tied to the popularity of its iPod, which accounts for about three fourths of the market for portable media players. The device is what drove people to iTunes to buy content, he said.

"It's hard to see this (Unbox) as a real threat to Apple, for now," Gartenberg said. "Pricing isn't likely to drive folks to use this, so for now, it's mostly a mobility story without a super interesting mobile device to use it with."

Having a good portable device is important because content from Amazon.com and Apple cannot be played easily on a TV, which is how most consumers prefer to watch video and movies. Neither company offers a burn-to-DVD service.

Recent movies available on Amazon.com include "V for Vendetta," "Inside Man," "Failure to Launch," "RV," and "Walk the Line." TV shows include CBS's "CSI," and Fox's "24" and "Prison Break."

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
Download this report to compare how cloud usage and spending patterns have changed in 2020, and how respondents think they'll evolve over the next two years.
Slideshows
10 Ways to Transition Traditional IT Talent to Cloud Talent
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  11/23/2020
News
What Comes Next for the COVID-19 Computing Consortium
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  11/24/2020
News
Top 10 Data and Analytics Trends for 2021
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  11/13/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Why Chatbots Are So Popular Right Now
In this IT Trend Report, you will learn more about why chatbots are gaining traction within businesses, particularly while a pandemic is impacting the world.
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll