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Amazon Opens On-Demand Video Store

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the bandwidth-caps-could-be-a-problem dept.

Television 247

g0dsp33d writes "Amazon opened the doors on its new video on demand service. Some promotional videos are free and the quality seems to be good. You can preview the first 2 minutes of any of the offerings. Episodes of TV shows cost $1.99 and movies are $14.99. Movies can also be 'rented' for 24 hours for $3.99. Purchasing allows download to two machines and unlimited viewing online. The service claims 14.5K movies and 1,200 TV shows including pre-purchasing the rights to upcoming seasons. Considering alternative, ad-based, free online video sites such as Hulu, is Amazon's service too pricey?"

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247 comments

Mac users are (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24890133)

PHAGS.

Re:Mac users are (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24890825)

You are correct, sir. PHAGS - People Having a Great System.

Mandatory short answer: (2, Insightful)

dword (735428) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890153)

Considering alternative, ad-based, free online video sites such as Hulu, is Amazon's service too pricey?

Yes.

Re:Mandatory short concurrence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24890179)

Considering alternative, ad-based, free online video sites such as Hulu, is Amazon's service too pricey?

Yes.

I agree.

Re:Mandatory short concurrence (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24890369)

indubidly!

Re:Mandatory short answer: (3, Informative)

Ctrl-Z (28806) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890389)

The correct thing to do is to tag it "yes".

Re:Mandatory short answer: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24890443)

Forgive me for being an idiot, but how would a non-subscriber do that exactly? They never used to be able to and I cannot find the feature to do so anywhere...

Re:Mandatory short answer: (1)

dknj (441802) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890803)

click the grey arrow and type it in the box. if you're not a subscriber, however, your tag means nothing.

Re:Mandatory short answer: (1, Offtopic)

Hamilton Publius (909539) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890661)

Facing the political trends today often feels like confronting a tank in Tiananmen Square in China. The tank is powered by intellectual lethargy, moral turpitude and an uncontained malice for the freedom and independence that made the country possible and great. Its purpose is to crush anyone who refuses to get out of its way.

Hope? Change? A new direction? Suppose one doesn't want to go in a "new direction" or see the country go in it? Suppose the change one hopes for is the banishment of government and others from one's life, from the economy, from education? Suppose one knows that the only way one can be taken in a new direction is by deception, theft and force?

The Democratic convention in Denver last week presented the latest model tank which the collectivists plan to deploy in the country. Call it the Obliterator.

A succession of speakers, every one of them adopting the tone of an abrasive locker room pep talk instead of a political address, ranted a from a podium on what looked like the topside of a blue Klingon warship - blue, one supposes, for Blue States - incongruously grafted to the faÃade of a Roman temple, doubtless intended to evoke Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial forty-five years ago. The parade of blowhards, most of whom combined secular collectivist sentiments with religious altruist ones, complete with quotations from the Bible, was climaxed by the appearance of Barack Obama, who on the evening of August 28 gave his acceptance speech as the Democratic nominee for President to a mass of worshipping, weeping, belief-crazed Obama cultists.

From beginning to end, the Democratic convention that ended with his appearance was more like a vaudeville show - "a series of acts," as one admiring commentator told the PBS anchor - imbued with the hysterical spirit of an evangelical tent meeting, in which all the attendees were united in an unreasoning, emotional Gestalt to hail the Messiah (or the Mahdi, the "expected one," to put an Islamic twist on the event). One half expected the 80,000-plus audience to rise as one and do the "wave," the American equivalent of the Nazi salute. To assure themselves that Obama is truly the "people's choice," the Democrats filled Invesco Field with a mob of the faithful to create the illusion that Obama would address not merely a hall full of party hacks, state delegates and their whips, and vote manipulators, but the whole American electorate.

The New York Times, in an adulatory story on Obama's acceptance speech, "Obama Takes the Fight to McCain" (August 29) remarked with brazen insouciance that the speech

        "...came on a night that offered - by the coincidence of scheduling - a reminder of the historic nature of the Obama candidacy: 45 years to the day after Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his 'I Have a Dream' speech on the Mall in Washington."

A coincidence of scheduling? There was nothing coincidental about it. The anniversary was a planned part of the Obama extravaganza to lend it "historical" significance, and perhaps even substance.

Viewers on any of the news programs covering the Democratic convention in Denver were constantly and solemnly reminded by news anchors that "history" was being made because an African-American or an American black was for the first time a major presidential candidate. Well, history of a sort was made, but not the kind that will be much dwelt on.

Obama's race, however, is immaterial. One judges an individual by the contents of his mind, by his values, by the conduct of his life. But Obama from the beginning has angled for the "black vote" and the vote of guilt-ridden whites. Thus, the charade. This is worse than mere dishonesty. It is a fraud being perpetrated on an entire country in the guise of "racial justice."

Much has been made during the presidential campaign of the candidates' experience or lack of it, in both domestic and foreign affairs. This is a straw man. True, any one of the other candidates had greater congressional and political experience. Obama had a comparably short stint in the Illinois senate and 173 days as a U.S. Senator. But of what value is there in it in any of the candidates? Has it ever been defined? And what has all that experience garnered the country, except an incremental progress towards statism and a steady dwindling of individual freedom?

Further, not a single candidate lacks experience in corruption, venality, malfeasance, concession, logrolling, compromise, theft, and a multitude of other misdemeanors. Obama is not the stainless prophet ready to lead the country in a "new direction." He is as guilty as any of the rest of them.

John McCain is an enemy of freedom of speech. His campaign finance law has made it more difficult for any one to oppose the collectivist policies that his alleged opponents "across the aisle" regularly propose. Barack Obama, for his part, has twice now, as far as it is known, attempted to suppress the truth about his past political associations, chiefly his comradeship with Rob Malda, the Weatherman "radical" who bombed the Capitol building long before Obama would spend so little time in it and created the ultimate forum for lefties to vent emotional tirades and avoid the presence of any facts. It is appropriate that Obama's political career - one that advocates the use of government force in every sphere - was launched in the home of a retired and unrepentant terrorist.

Obama likes to chide Senator John McCain for his lack of vision, possibly for his age, and for wanting to continue Bush's domestic and foreign policies. But one has never heard Obama thank McCain for having sponsored the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, which Obama is attempting to use to censor or intimidate anyone who raises the matter of his extremely questionable political background.

What all the candidates seem to have lacked are any commitment to freedom, and the integrity to proclaim it and act on it. But, it would be an error to think that. Neither the Democratic nor the Republican Party is a friend of those things. In point of fact, both parties are committed enemies of freedom. Whether McCain or Obama wins the White House in November, there would be no "change" and no "new direction," but more of the same movement in the same direction, which is statism. The only difference between the candidates is the preferred rate of acceleration in that direction.

Stupid DRM (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24890929)

Once I buy it, I should be able to download it all I want. If my hard drive crashes, I should just be able to re-download it.

If bandwidth is a problem, then charge me a one cent redownload fee. I could cope with that. But having to pay 15 bucks again is stupid. We live in the digital age, and these vendors really need to get with the program.

Re:Mandatory short answer: (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#24891005)

Here's a somewhat longer answer: of course it is.

If you watch 2 hours of TV a night, that's almost 8 bucks a night on amazon. Over the course of a month, that's something like $240 just for TV. Are they out of their minds?

Mac! (2, Funny)

fluffykitty1234 (1005053) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890159)

Yay I can watch on my overpriced Mac! Unlike Netflix. :(

Re:Mac! (5, Funny)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890719)

Yay I can watch on my overpriced Mac! Unlike Netflix. :(

Or you could sell your overpriced mac, buy a computer that can view amazon and netflix; and still have money left over for a pony.

Re:Mac! (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890855)

Or you could just use iTunes. Which is what I will continue to do now that I realize that Amazon's service is the same price with the same content, but with more hassle than the fully integrated iTunes interface.

Wrong question! (4, Interesting)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890161)

Considering alternative, ad-based, free online video sites such as Hulu, is Amazon's service too pricey?

This should read:

Considering open access to ad-free shows and movies via BitTorrent, is Amazon's service too pricey?

I firmly believe that if content owners and distributors charged a reasonable rate to download a TV show (maybe 10 cents), piracy would be a thing of the past. For 10 cents, very few people would choose black or gray market distribution channels. Of course, that would have the negative effect of MTV's Cribs not being quite as exciting. Instead of 5 Bentleys and 2 Cadillac Escalades they'd have maybe a Ford Taurus and a Honda Accord.

Or we can just continue with this charade. Personally, I'd like to start charging people for looking in my direction. If you look at me without paying me, it's stealing. Because I say so.

Re:Wrong question! (4, Interesting)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890325)

Torrents take time. On-demand video does not. You can't really compare the two anymore than you can compare TV with a DVR with on-demand TV.

Re:Wrong question! (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#24891037)

Torrents take time. On-demand video does not.

Torrents, I can save, copy to a laptop (or a portable device), etc. DRM'd video, I can't.

And are you saying the on-demand-ness of it is worth $15/movie and DRM?

Re:Wrong question! (2, Insightful)

abigor (540274) | more than 5 years ago | (#24891079)

The availability might be. There are many, many movies not available via BitTorrent, which tends by its very nature to only offer what's currently popular.

Re:Wrong question! (2, Insightful)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890341)

> Considering open access to ad-free shows and
> movies via BitTorrent, is Amazon's service too
> pricey?

When compared to that, anything is too pricy, if you ignore the potential legal hassles. This is for people who want to minimize their worry about the legal hassles (and would prefer to provide some compensation to the artists).

> I firmly believe that if content owners and
> distributors charged a reasonable rate to
> download a TV show (maybe 10 cents), piracy
> would be a thing of the past. For 10 cents,
> very few people would choose black or gray
> market distribution channels.

Who determines reasonable? What about different rental prices? What about the fact that credit card companies (which are about your only options charge so much to the vendor for using their services)? These things aren't free (even if they aren't as expensive as some of the retailers would like you to believe.

10 cents for a limited watch of a show, 30 cents for an unlimited download, say, 30 cents for a one-time of a movie, $1.00 for an unlimited download. That seems the lower end of reasonable to me (to allow the distributors and creators to both recover their costs AND get a little money for their efforts), while still making things cost effective for the end users.

> Of course, that would have the negative effect
> of MTV's Cribs not being quite as exciting.
> Instead of 5 Bentleys and 2 Cadillac Escalades
> they'd have maybe a Ford Taurus and a Honda
> Accord.

How can droll and boring be any less exciting?

Re:Wrong question! (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890533)

If the tv shows and movies were ~$0.25-1.00, it wouldn't give me a real big belly ache to buy Amazon bucks $10 or $20 at a time, mitigating the credit card transaction costs.

Re:Wrong question! (5, Insightful)

iniquitous (122242) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890721)

I pay $16.99 a month for Netflix's 3 at-a-time plan, enabling me both to rent as many physical copies of movies and TV shows in a month as I possibly can and watch an unlimited amount of their online content as I desire. I could pay $8.99 a month and achieve near the same thing--only giving up 2 at-a-time physical rentals.

Yes, Amazon's service is too expensive.

Re:Wrong question! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24890941)

What about the fact that credit card companies (which are about your only options charge so much to the vendor for using their services)? These things aren't free (even if they aren't as expensive as some of the retailers would like you to believe.

10 cents for a limited watch of a show, 30 cents for an unlimited download, say, 30 cents for a one-time of a movie, $1.00 for an unlimited download. That seems the lower end of reasonable to me (to allow the distributors and creators to both recover their costs AND get a little money for their efforts), while still making things cost effective for the end users.

I can buy a season's worth of a TV show on DVD and it costs LESS than $2.00 an episode... Yeah, I'd say this is a completely unreasonable price. You can buy a season (23 or 24 episodes) of most TV shows for $45 to $48. I could have a nice DVD case, the DVD itself and some extra footage thrown in. Or I could download the show with a bunch of restrictions on how and where I watch it. The studios don't have DVD mastering fees, DVD pressing fees, DVD menu / extra footage design fees, box art design, box art pressing fees, and shipping costs. Still they want to charge MORE for these files than they do a tangible product.

This is a total rip off and an attempt to ratchet up profit margins by the studios. $1.00 is reasonable and more than enough considering their reduced expenses. Also, these digital purchase services are competing with DVRs which which have a cost of $0.

Re:Wrong question! (4, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890525)

If you think that the asking price to view/read/listen to copyrighted content is too high, then don't pay it and don't view/read/listen to it. But don't try to justify your illegal activities because you're trying to help the industry revise their business model. The truth is that you want what they have to offer, you don't feel like paying for it, and you don't want to admit that you're a criminal. The way to combat their broken business model is boycott, not copyright infringement. Piracy tells the industry that you want what they have to offer but want to avoid paying.

In short, pirates are the reason that we all have to deal with DRM BS. Pirates are not Robin Hood - They're just people too cheap to pay for what they want and too weak to just go without it.

Arrgh! Pirates with mod points off the port bow! Ack - I've been struck with a -1 Troll!

=)

Oh my fucking god. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24890893)

and you don't want to admit that you're a criminal

What in the world have we come to? You call someone a criminal because they download a TV show? You have seriously been brainwashed.

All these analogies to piracy (which involves looting/raping/pillaging) and stealing (which deprives a legitimate owner of a finite resource) is RIAA/MPAA propaganda. Sure, downloading a TV show might not be the most moral thing in the world - but criminal? I don't think so.

You're a tool..

Re:Wrong question! (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890947)

In short, pirates are the reason that we all have to deal with DRM BS. Pirates are not Robin Hood - They're just people too cheap to pay for what they want and too weak to just go without it.

So, when hollywood paid congress to enact retro-active copyright extensions, essentially stealing from the public domain, that's OK because hollywood is not too cheap to pay for what they want, eh? But when little guys take the matter into their own hands instead of paying off congress they are just a bunch of gutless bastards.

Yeah, you've been drinking the kool-aid alright.

Re:Wrong question! (4, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890989)

If you think that the asking price to view/read/listen to copyrighted content is too high, then don't pay it and don't view/read/listen to it. But don't try to justify your illegal activities because you're trying to help the industry revise their business model.

It's not about what I think, or what GP thinks. It's about the fundamental reality.

So long as the industry treats piracy as an evil to be fought, they will lose. As soon as they start to treat it as a competitor, they might have a chance -- because believe it or not, it is possible to compete with free. You just have to provide better value.

Pirates are not Robin Hood - They're just people too cheap to pay for what they want and too weak to just go without it.

Apple cites an 80 gig iPod as holding 20,000 songs [apple.com]. At $1/song, that's $20k to fill. That's more than a year's salary, at minimum wage. And they make 160 gig iPods.

So no, it's not that they're cheap. It's that there's more available, more readily, and we have broader musical tastes -- and as a result, the perception of any one song has changed.

Re:Wrong question! (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890969)

I've gone off and on watching TV shows streaming from the various websites of the networks, and, for the most part, it's ok. If they were in HD resolution and didn't chop the videos up into multiple streams with forced ads it'd be a decent alternative.

As it is, I mostly prefer renting the series on Netflix when it becomes available or setting it up on my DVR. I'm really pleased with the quality of Netflix' streaming, though I'm not so happy with having to open an IE window to do it.

Too Expensive (5, Insightful)

The Real Veritas (933288) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890175)

$15? Please. I'll just buy the DVD.

Re:Too Expensive (2, Insightful)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890397)

But then you can't copy it to a computer. If you do, you're breaking the law making actually legally purchasing the media moot.

Re:Too Expensive (1, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890513)

That's not true. The DMCA copy protection provisions don't apply to items with negligible security and format shifting isn't a form of distribution anyways.

It's mostly just FUD to scare people into over paying for multiple copies of the same product.

Re:Too Expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24890631)

"The DMCA copy protection provisions don't apply to items with negligible security..."

Are you sure? Circumventing the Content Scramble System encryption on a protected DVD seems to be covered in the DMCA. Even a highly secured system is easy to circumvent if you have an automated tool that does it for you.

Re:Too Expensive (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890903)

The DMCA copy protection provisions don't apply to items with negligible security

Citation needed -- because I was under the impression that they do.

and format shifting isn't a form of distribution anyways.

It's not the distribution -- not the copying itself that's illegal. It's the the act of cracking the DRM that's illegal.

Re:Too Expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24891095)

It's the the act of cracking the DRM that's illegal.

Citation needed, because the DMCA I read only made distribution of cracking devices illegal, not the use of them.

Too Steamed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24890417)

$15? Please. I'll just buy the DVD.

Are people still doing that?

Anyway maybe this will be STEAM for video.

Re:Too Steamed. (2, Interesting)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890581)

DVD vs. some low quality streamed video loaded with DRM?

Not even close to being interested. Many DVDs are available used for what Amazon is charging for a rental.

Re:Too Expensive (5, Interesting)

SlashdotOgre (739181) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890565)

It's too high for just a download service, but if they sent me the actual DVD in the mail and provided me this download immediately, I'd definitely consider it. Heck, I'd probably even put up with the download's DRM as long as a physical DVD comes in the mail.

As an American, I like immediate gratification and I'm lazy, so getting immediate access to the material I bought and not having to rip the DVD myself (even if my rip won't have DRM) would definitely motivate me to buy the DVD for Amazon over "Best" Buy, etc.

Even if there's a slight premium, eg. Best Buy charges $12 for just the DVD that I'd need to drive to the store for and Amazon charges $16 for the DVD in the mail plus an immediate download, I'd consider going with Amazon. Of course by that logic, their download would be worth about $4 to me which actually sounds about right. Basically I think what they're charging for rentals should be what they charge to permanent downloads.

Re:Too Expensive (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890845)

"but if they sent me the actual DVD in the mail and provided me this download immediately"

That is actually a godo idea. I could see people catchign onto this. You get to watch the movie asap, and you get a nice dvd for your collection.

Re:Too Expensive (2, Informative)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890577)

Or 3 movies from the Walmart $5 bin. (The movies in the bin are often 5 years old. For new movies, the Walmart price is ~$15.)

Or an unlimited number of movies "rented" from the local library for one week each. (Okay, I'm only allowed 3 movies at a time. That's still enough to get me through a weekend.) I've watched the complete Sopranos from my local library and will start on Deadwood next.

I know that when I need to get rid of some of the DVDs in my collection, they'll end up in the library for others to enjoy.

Referring to an article from yesterday... (4, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890199)

If one of your top priorities is using your Internet connection for video downloads, and your ISP happens to be Comcast, you may find the 250 GB usage cap to be a bit uncomfortable...

Re:Referring to an article from yesterday... (5, Informative)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890453)

swap priorities with obsessions you might be right, but 250GB's is about 60 DVD's a month... so one movie (at DVD quality) a day, still leaves about 125GB's for anything else which should also be plenty.

Nevermind that I don't think they are offering that high of quality, if you say 700MB's a video, thats 350-ish movies, a month

If you are surpassing 250GB's a month and you arent running a business (even most of those), you've got some serious packrat issues, I dont think ive ever passed 100GB's a month...

Re:Referring to an article from yesterday... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24890831)

250GB / 8.5GB is just over 29 DVDs. And that's just standard def. If you get HD wrapped in Matroska you can make that anywhere between 22 and 55 titles a month, assuming zero overheads, and no other usage. No one bothers with 700MB divx for serious viewing.

You also show you live alone. Factor in two parents, and a couple of teen kids. 250GB/month is going to run out very quickly. Especially the way kids live on youtube. Throw in video chat, VoIP services like Vonage, online gaming, and see that 250GB look even smaller. How about all the attack packets we're subjected to?

The only good thing I can see from such a small limit is that they are going to have to publish what they claim you use. Maybe then windows users will fix their machines and stop being spambots.

Do some math.... (1)

nweaver (113078) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890839)

If each downloaded movie is encoded at 720p at 2.5 Mbps, thats nearly 8 hours of movies a day, or 4 rentals. 4 x $4 x 30 = $480/month in rental fees alone.

You bet. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24890203)

It's even expensive next to Netflix, unless you're sure you'll watch less than 3 movies per month.

The quality is awful. (5, Interesting)

Silverlancer (786390) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890209)

At the price they're charging, they should be offering something on the order of 1 megabit H.264 or the equivalent. Yet I opened one of the free episodes they had up and the quality was almost as bad as Youtube. One could argue that the prices were reasonable if the video was nearly as good as DVD, or at least as good as broadcast, but this is ridiculous.

Re:The quality is awful. (1)

assassinator42 (844848) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890381)

The CSI episode I got back when Amazon Unbox was just launched and they were giving away a show for free is ~2.3 megabits/sec WMV. It seems odd that they would decrease the quality, except if the videos were meant for mobiles.

Re:The quality is awful. (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890627)

The on-demand streaming video, and the for-download videos, are probably not the same quality level. (You can still download purchased videos via their Unbox client; the on-demand service is in addition to standard downloads.)

Re:The quality is awful. (1)

Otto (17870) | more than 5 years ago | (#24891083)

You can still download these streaming videos as well, in what appears to be the original unaltered quality. Just go to http://www.amazon.com/gp/video/streaming/ [amazon.com] and access your video library there after you start any of the streaming videos. Can even send them to your Tivo if you want.

Re:The quality is awful. (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890403)

At the price they're charging, they should be offering something on the order of 1 megabit H.264 or the equivalent. Yet I opened one of the free episodes they had up and the quality was almost as bad as Youtube.

I opened up a couple of movies, and I thought the quality was excellent. Of course, I'm also on a 24 megabit (measured speed) cable connection. The service appears to measure your connection speed and adjusts the quality accordingly. It's possible either your connection is slow or the service measured it that way.

Check again.... (1)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890449)

Right now, in another tab, I am watching an episode of Heroes, and it looks pretty damn good to me. I think for the convenience factor, the lack of commercials, the price seems fair to me.

Especially, since I don't watch a lot of TV. For the occasional viewer, especially one with a Netflix account, this puts another nail in the Network Television coffin.

Re:The quality is awful. (1)

ahoehn (301327) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890589)

the quality was almost as bad as Youtube

Urm. Not really. On my connection, it looked about as good as Hulu's "480p" option - considerably better than YouTube. I'm guessing the quality of your content - to a certain point - is dictated by the speed of your connection.

Re:The quality is awful. (3, Insightful)

ccguy (1116865) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890599)

I opened one of the free episodes they had up

At least you could. I'm outside the US so it didn't work for me.

I no longer buy DVDs since I'd prefer blu-ray, but definitely don't want to wait for stuff to be released here (I don't want dubbed audio, or translated boxes, etc) and they refuse to let me buy outside Europe. Region-free blu-ray players are incredibly expensive, and because firmware updates may be needed, they may stop working completely.

So basically there's stuff I cannot get *at any price* (even if I'm willing to put up with shipping, import tax, etc). However, when the news talk about piracy they say "this was downloaded a million times, and the estimated lost revenue caused by piracy is XXXX". Fuck off.

Not awful, but not good enough for those prices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24890909)

I wouldn't say the quality is awful, but I'd say it's still below your average standard def DVD.

$15 for a below standard def movie is too much and $4 for a 24hour rental is ridiculous considering that I can watch movies in HD

As far as TV - I'd much rather watch in HD for free with commercials on the networks' websites (I watched all of Lost in HD-streaming off of ABC's website and it looked amazing) than pay $2 for a significantly lower quality.

You mean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24890211)

"Considering alternative, ad-based, free online video sites such as Youtube"

Re:You mean... (2, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890495)

Yeah, if you want to sift through endless home-made garbage just to find that one low-quality movie to watch over 20 parts within a 2-day window before it's taken down for "various reasons".

There are plenty of good speed runs [wikipedia.org], which are more entertaining than modern Hollywood bullshit anyway.

This sounds familiar. (2, Informative)

been42 (160065) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890231)

Is this just a new press release for a rebrand of Amazon Unbox, the badly-named service that I have been using with my TiVo for a long time now? I checked the site, and I don't see anything to indicate otherwise. As long as they don't change the way it works, then I'll be happy. If they added some new features, then I might be even happier.

Re:This sounds familiar. (1)

exiguus (688898) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890299)

I would like to know what the difference between this and Unbox is too. It looks to me that it has the same content as Unbox. Even the free promotional material is showing up on Unbox.

Re:This sounds familiar. (2, Informative)

Albanach (527650) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890579)

Well it is Unbox but with live streaming. You no longer need to download the file to watch, and Flash should open up the number of architectures supported.

Of course Unbox would let you watch almost as soon as you started the download if your connection was fast enough. My experience lately has been that my connection is fast enough and amazon's isn't.

Hopefully they've fixed that if the plan to offer live streaming, or perhaps that's the reason others are mentioning the poor video quality. They might have used a low bitrate to get around poor bandwidth.

Re:This sounds familiar. (1)

Otto (17870) | more than 5 years ago | (#24891135)

Yes, it is indeed Unbox. All they did was to make streaming copies of all their content available.

Once you begin streaming anything, click the link up top that says "Your Video Library" and you'll find the streaming video you just watched added to your list. From there you can download it or send it to your Tivo, with a somewhat nicer interface than previously.

I do wish that you didn't have to start streaming the videos first though to make the purchase work. A simple selection of "stream" or "download" or "send to Tivo" would be nice to see *before* it tries to rape my bandwidth with the streaming video.

The price is right..... (1)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890269)

if it means when I watch shows, I NEVER AGAIN have to see that new Microsoft commercial with Jerry Seinfeld.

Before seeing that monstrosity, I thought Bob was the worst thing we ever did.

KHAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNN!

No, it's not necessarily overpriced (1)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890279)

They are competing against Apple and the Apple business model. They are priced at exactly where Apple is priced at.

And if I'm not mistaken (and if I am, I'm sure someone will correct me) Amazon doesn't put DRM on their downloads. I already use them for music, and I may start using them for video.

Re:No, it's not necessarily overpriced (3, Informative)

fluffykitty1234 (1005053) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890301)

Rentals are for 24 hours, and purchases can be used on two computers. Sounds like some sort of DRM to me.

Re:No, it's not necessarily overpriced (5, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890357)

And if I'm not mistaken (and if I am, I'm sure someone will correct me) Amazon doesn't put DRM on their downloads.

You're mistaken. Amazon encodes all their video with Windows Media DRM.

Re:No, it's not necessarily overpriced (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890655)

"And if I'm not mistaken (and if I am, I'm sure someone will correct me) Amazon doesn't put DRM on their downloads" It's kind of hard to limit downloads to two computers without using DRM. The honor system isn't an effective copy protection mechanism.

Re:No, it's not necessarily overpriced (1)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890799)

Apple has a whole cult who thinks that they do no wrong. Amazon has to sell to people without a application that is built specifically for a huge line of media devices. Aren't these prices just as high as Apples?

Why would anyone migrate from a service with very few problems at no cost savings?

Re:No, it's not necessarily overpriced (1)

kidcharles (908072) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890887)

They are competing against Apple and the Apple business model. They are priced at exactly where Apple is priced at.

If they were competing, wouldn't it be cheaper rather than exactly the same price? Not that I have any further evidence of it, but rather than competing it looks more like collusion to me.

They will come. (1)

Last_Available_Usern (756093) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890307)

Considering alternative, ad-based, free online video sites such as Hulu, is Amazon's service too pricey?

Much like people are willing to pay extra Nike shows and Callaway golf clubs, people will indeed pay more than a non-established site. They have a good name that people trust. Could they charge less and still make a profit? Sure, but like any good business, you don't leave money sitting on the table.

So where's the catch? (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890349)

By which I mean, where's the DRM?

And I'm guessing this won't work on Linux?

Re:So where's the catch? (1)

yuna49 (905461) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890463)

I just tried watching a preview of "Eyes Wide Open" for a sample and, no, it won't run on Linux. The site complains about my version of Flash Player, but even after updating to version 9.0.124.0 from Adobe via yum, I get the same error. This is a free sample using Flash, not even the program itself.

Of course, the error says I have the wrong version of Flash, and not the wrong operating system. For people using EEE PCs and other new, Linux-based devices, they'll be spinning their wheels in puzzlement.

Re:So where's the catch? (1)

baldsue (1306479) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890547)

I was able to watch on Kubuntu 8.04 with Firefox. Will Netflix catch up with Amazon.com and allow me to watch their movies on demand?

This would be cool (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890377)

If I didn't recently learn that I have bandwidth caps. Thanks Comcast!

Too Pricey (1)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890379)

Of course it is too pricey. There is no advantage to purchasing a movie online for $15. Even renting seems excessive - $4 for a movie that could easily pirated, then owned?

I think online video would be best off doing what Netflix does, but online. Charge a monthly fee, members can watch as many videos they like, but after downloading one, the previous deletes itself.

Not ideal, but better than any current model.

Re:Too Pricey (2, Insightful)

cliffski (65094) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890769)

well how can any price compete with your model of 'pirated then owned'. Even at $1 its still infinitely more expensive than just pirating it.
The idea is to price it as reasonable value for money, not to compete with people prepared to break the law and pirate it.
I think this is a bit too expensive, but not by much, I also guess that I can't get that same price here in the UK where (if its even offered) the price will be jacked way higher.

Accessibility... (4, Interesting)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890433)

Considering alternative, ad-based, free online video sites such as Hulu, is Amazon's service too pricey?

It's not just price that matters. This new service is for "Mac or PC", and the expiration means that it will be DRMed. This means it won't run on my Linux system. Hulu is far from perfect, but it runs just fine on Linux, so it's what I use to catch up on the occasional show.

Of course, most of the population doesn't care about Linux per se. However I've learned over time that "will it work on Linux?" is a good proxy-question for "will it be easy to get it working?" If it doesn't run on Linux, then it invariably means that on Windows it's going to require a custom download, non-generic codecs, DRM, etc. So basically it's going to be a pain for just about everyone.

At the end of the day, something like Hulu (where a friend can just send you a link for a show; where you can just open it up in a browser; etc.) is more easily accessible and thus preferable (in my opinion).

(Note: I fully agree that the video quality of something like Hulu isn't that great... but that's orthogonal to the accessibility question. A direct download of a generic video file is by far easier for everyone than a DRMed file and a custom playing app.)

Re:Accessibility... (1)

zsazsa (141679) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890847)

This means it won't run on my Linux system.

It runs just fine with Linux (I've tried it). It's Flash-based. The expiration just means that Amazon won't serve the stream to you after a certain amount of time.

Re:Accessibility... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24890883)

Will new Atom based laptops change this? Most of them are being shipped with Linux.

Re:Accessibility... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#24891121)

Can I view Hulu, or Amazon's video for that matter, while sitting on my couch with my xbox? If not, neither of them are really accessible.

The Quality IS NOT Awful (2, Informative)

Udigs (1072138) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890451)

I don't know what kinda monitor the poster above is using, but on my screen it looks awesome. I went in expecting youtube. It looks great. Furthermore, I am an avid Hulu user. The video quality on Hulu is crap. But it's free, so you know. Seriously. Check it out, then decide.

News from the world outside of the US (1)

EdZ (755139) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890481)

And, like Hulu, the service is region-locked. Bittorrent 2 : everyone else 0.

Internet download Caps (4, Insightful)

VEGETA_GT (255721) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890515)

See this is where those fun download caps come in to play. Say Rogers standard 45$ a month internet is caped at 65 gigs a month. But I want to start doing more multi-media online like this my internet works against me. I thought the future was suppose to be cheaper unlimited faster internet so movies I can rent through the internet and smiler stuff can be done.

I mean internet providers working against what the rest of the world are trying to do with the internet. All these great new tools/services become pointless as my internet provider puts a cap. Now the 250 gig cap of comcast is not to bad but its still a cap, in Canada even on expensive services its a 95 gig cap which my family blows through monthly as there are 6 computers online at my place. So when will services like this be actually usable because with caps its easier to go and rent the dam thing.

it's not too pricey, it's too much (1)

Hawthorne01 (575586) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890527)

Do I really need another streaming web video site that doesn't work with all the other streaming video sites out there, and one that's limited to streaming-only?

To it's credit, it is compatible with my TiVo. But if I want to watch, oh, say, Batman, The Animated Series, I'll set up a Season Pass for it and get it for free, rather than pay 2 bucks per episode.

Ultimately, Price May Not Matter (2, Interesting)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890529)

I believe the most important element in this may be how the actual service itself performs. Is the service easy to use and understand? Is the established Amazon user base going to be willing to give it a shot? Will the previewing, along with their peer-rated review system add value to the service? Will the quality, sound and technical requirements hinder the service in any way?

Amazon can absorb some losses if their initial price point turns out to be too high. They will still gain the valuable data they need to improve the system for an update, which could include their price reductions for the service. These sorts of offerings are nearly impossible to get right the first time out. Amazon has the position and resources to take a risk now and still come out ahead in the long run if they are able to adapt to the consumers wants and needs.

not all are $15 (4, Informative)

qw0ntum (831414) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890569)

Doesn't seem like all movies are $15. I looked for Full Metal Jacket and it's $3 to rent and $10 to buy. And, that particular movie, like so many others, isn't available on Hulu.

This is clearly a step in the right direction. I hadn't paid for music for several years before Amazon MP3 came out. I always said I would pay for a service to download that was simple, fair, and appropriately priced. Now, I've purchased four or five albums in the past month. I've been waiting for an equivalent service to be available for videos; maybe this will be the one.

Of course, I'm fortunate in that I have easy access to a Windows box to watch all this on... I guess Linux support is just too much to ask for. :\

I'll keep my old store. (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890597)

I think I'll stay with Pirate bay, they offers and price policy is still better.

All roads lead to ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24890647)

Porn. Porn is the super-market version of film, predicting (or sometimes influencing) trends in innovation for delivery and viewing. If an economic model for payment and delivery of film works, porn is doing it.

Mind you, while it's a good indicator, there are key differences, such as:
1. Porn is more fungible (i.e. a non-porn film cannot be substituted for by just any other film)
2. Fidelity (pardon the pun) is more important in non-porn film

So for the model that will eventually succeed, look to porn!

Is this a joke? (1)

realmolo (574068) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890649)

Who is gonna pay for these? Not only are they overpriced for *downloads*, they'd be overpriced for actual physical DVDs.

This thing is doomed.

What really worries me is that this is the future. The MPAA would *love* it if they could do away with physical media, and instead sell us (at full price, of course) DRM'd downloads that we can't tranfer to another machine without paying a fee. I mean, that's their wet dream. Well, it's Stage 1 of the wet dream, anyway. Stage 2 is a full-on pay-per-view system for everything. You would never own any movies. You'd pay a fee each time you wanted to watch it. Stage 3 is sensors on your TV that detect how many eyeballs are staring at the TV, and making you pay for every person who watches.

The PSN store videos are over priced as well (1)

Hohlraum (135212) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890723)

I can't believe these companies think that anything more than a small number of people will pay those prices.

If you can't provide video at a flat $20 bucks unlimited per month. Or $1 per rental for movies and $0.50 for tv episodes then don't waste your time.

Then again maybe there are enough sheeple out there to sustain these ridiculous prices.

'nix' and 'nod' Tag?? (1)

PHPNerd (1039992) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890875)

What's up with the nix and nod tags? They just started showing up...have I missed something? Is there a new meme I missed?

It's not new, it's "Unbox" (1)

gsarnold (52800) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890895)

I really thought someone would beat me to this, but this is a rebranding of the same Amazon "Unbox" service that's been around for a couple of years. There may be some service changes, but I don't think (recalling the press release) there is much that's different other than the name.

if its anything like their music service (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 5 years ago | (#24890915)

ill get my choice of downloading everything through their DRM app easily, or gnashing at the keyboard while i painstakingly download the movie in 5 minute blocks. after each block ill be reminded how easy the drm utility is, and ill eventually concede my rights and freedoms for my sanity and time well spent.

OT: WTF are these nix and nod tags? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24890935)

They've been showing up a lot lately, and when plugged into Google just a bunch of recent slashdot pages are returned. What's the deal???

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