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Downloadable Movies from Amazon?

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the glimpse-of-the-future dept.

71

StrongGlad writes "Screenshots of what could be an Amazon.com video store in the making surfaced Friday on the Web. Alan Taylor, who claims to have worked for the online retailer more than two years ago, said he discovered the screenshots while poking around an area of Amazon.com used by developers. The screenshots can be seen on Kokogiak.com. The pictures show a service called 'Unbox Video' that offers first time users a free TV show or $1.99 off the first movie they download. Instructions are given for downloading the player and buying movies and video that can be played on a PC, TV or portable media player. Amazon.com has declined to comment."

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Looks great but (0, Offtopic)

BeoCluster (995566) | more than 8 years ago | (#15940668)

But can I make a Beowulf Cluster of those movies ?

Re:Looks great but (1)

Your-a-Peein (957677) | more than 8 years ago | (#15940897)

Netcraft confirms it, but in Korea, only old people use Beowulf cluster email.

-Penisbird

Klerk's page-widening post (or it would be if if weren't for the dam' lameness filter)...

Re:Looks great but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15941132)

RIP Klerck

Well, all I can say is... (-1)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 8 years ago | (#15940689)

...get a look now before the pics disappear.

Re:Well, all I can say is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15940748)

> ...get a look now before the pics disappear.

You need to get out more.

Not impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15940724)

Movies is one thing as opposed to music is one thing I prefer just having on a disk. On the note I think the big win with file sharing in bittorrent is the free access and unlimited downloads. A per month fee, download as much as you want might make me pay more for my movies than I ever did before. I might watch more movies too but no one loses out of that right? Downloading them one by one and paying the fee in such a manner doesn't appeal to me.

Great.. (3, Insightful)

zyl0x (987342) | more than 8 years ago | (#15940733)

Now all we need are reliable ISPs so we don't have to spend 12 hours downloading each movie.

Re:Great.. (5, Funny)

RipperMortis (886995) | more than 8 years ago | (#15940780)

12 hours?? Why, it only takes me a half hour to download a 700mb rip of a movie... Uhm, I mean that's probably how long it would take *Cough* if I were ever to do....uh. (backs slowly out of the room)

Re:Great.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15940797)

700MiB for a full length movie ... must be amazing quality and resolution!

Re:Great.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15940831)

You'd be amazed at some of them. I've seen some at 640 on my tv that you can't tell the difference from a dvd. No I don't have HD, and I don't really care.

Re:Great.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15940983)

***** /. NEWS FLASH!!!!!! *******

There is a "NEW" compression for video on the Internet called DivX/XviD!!!!!

Film at 11!!!

Re:Great.. (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15941152)

DivX and XviD are both names for encoders, and both are implementations of MPEG-4 Part 2 (IIRC). The new compression format is H.264 (also known as MPEG-4 Part 10, or AVC. This delivers considerably higher quality than DivX/XviD at the same data rate and is designed to scale from mobile 'phones to HDTV.

Re:DRM :( (1)

Sillygates (967271) | more than 8 years ago | (#15941453)

Shurely it will have DRM and a total lack of intercompatibility. What happens in 10 years when the amazon movie player is no longer maintained? Do we still get to watch the content we bought?

Re:DRM :( (2, Informative)

moonbender (547943) | more than 8 years ago | (#15941544)

It's already supported in all the important media players, including open-source implementations. There is no DRM in H.264.

Re:DRM :( (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15943638)

It's already supported in all the important media players, including open-source implementations. There is no DRM in H.264.

You mean like HD-DVD and Blu-Ray have H.264 and no DR... oh, wait. Or the way the iTMS music files are AAC and no DR... oh, wait again. While your answer is technically correct, the odds of them offering videos for download without a DRM wrapper around H.264 is slim and none and Slim is missing, presumed dead.

Re:DRM :( (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 8 years ago | (#15943658)

I was talking exclusively about the video codec. Of course they likely attach DRM to whatever they'll sell or they won't be able to sell it - unless they move their base of operations to Russia. ;) For what it's worth, there has been pirated content in H.264 already, I doubt that came with DRM.

Re:Great.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15940802)

Personally, I don't see having to download for 12 hours as such a bad thing if the company is smart about it. If you're paying about as much as if you rent a movie, and you can download a movie before it is released (suppose you download a movie and when it is released you get the 'key' to decode the movie), then you really just have to do a little planning on what you will want to watch; I don't think that it would be too much trouble to (about once a month) go online and "order" the movies you would want to watch that month.

The only problem with any of these services is that I would want them to use an inexpensive set top box that was attached to my TV rather then be forced (I know, there are ways around this) to watch it on my PC. Inspite of being capable of setting it up myself, I prefer simple (easy to use) solutions to connect my TV to my media files.

Re:Great.. (3, Insightful)

hey (83763) | more than 8 years ago | (#15940944)

They could use BitTorrent.

Re:Great.. (1)

Skidge (316075) | more than 8 years ago | (#15943357)

Or it may be streaming. Though, you may need to give it a nice head start if you don't enjoy interludes of "Buffering..."

Re:Great.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15940945)

That wouldn't be a problem if your movie traffic weren't tangling up all sorts of important Internets sent by Senators' staffs!

Re:Great.. (1)

kahrytan (913147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15940948)

That's why ISPs are switching to Fiber Optics.

This will change everything! (2, Funny)

saboola (655522) | more than 8 years ago | (#15940752)

Bezos says cities will have to be rebuilt to accommodate this new concept of "downloading" "movies". This changes everything.

Re:This will change everything! (1)

oldbamboo (936359) | more than 8 years ago | (#15940922)

Ah, now this'll never work, a more sensible option would be a fleet of dvd delivery boys on Segways. Smell the future Jeffrey.

apple (4, Interesting)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15940756)

I wonder what this means for the apple movie store..

Re:apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15943685)

It's interesting. I would suggest, whilst competition is likely to make things somewhat variable, not much - they're targeting different markets. There isn't just one type of person that downloads movies, and I think Amazon are going for those who will do it in the same way as they view DVDs, whereas Apple is looking at consumers who are developing a new market, in which the downloads are intended for portability (iPod, Front Row Express etc.) as well as desktop play. I think this is why they've invested so much in the h.xxx codecs, as they want to have the ability to scale the movies for most mediums after just one download.

They still don't get it. (5, Interesting)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#15940766)

The average hour long TV show can now be downloaded for 1.99. This is fairly reasonable, and I only wish 30 minute shows were .99.

But these guys are making the same mistake as movielink. They are charging retail and in many instances for older movies more than retail. Sure you'll make money because some people have plenty of money and would rather not run out to the video store. The rest of us will only use these services when they are cheaper than the video store or they have movies that you can't find anywhere else.

Re:They still don't get it. (5, Interesting)

NosTROLLdamus (979044) | more than 8 years ago | (#15940828)

Well, the thing is, this might not be that time efficient either. If I can go buy a movie at a store for the same price as it costs online, and I can get to the store, buy it, and come home before it would of finished downloading, that certainly lessens the appeal.

Re:They still don't get it. (-1, Offtopic)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#15940842)

Dude, you POST with a -1. I'd be looking at getting a new nick.

Or is that just how you like it. :)

Re:They still don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15941060)

Piss off, you fucking child rapist.

Re:They still don't get it. (1)

NosTROLLdamus (979044) | more than 8 years ago | (#15941195)

I like to keep it real. If I want to post a troll, I do. I don't really see any good reason to AC myself to post something, but I have two huge reasons not to. They're called balls.

It is interesting how the nick affects moderation, though. (the sig has some effect, as well)

Re:They still don't get it. (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15943643)

Well, the thing is, this might not be that time efficient either. If I can go buy a movie at a store for the same price as it costs online, and I can get to the store, buy it, and come home before it would of finished downloading, that certainly lessens the appeal.

Unless of course you could do something completely else with that time... or the video would start playing as soon it had downloaded enough that it'd finish before you.

Re:They still don't get it. (2, Interesting)

vector0319 (530769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15940838)

Well considering amazon has always been about the long tail of online purchasing I'd figure they would be ramping up on all the movies you can't find anywhere else. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_tail [wikipedia.org]

Re:They still don't get it. (1)

SuperJerms (924392) | more than 8 years ago | (#15940901)

On the other hand, this is Amazon.com we're talking about here, and already having a widely-known name is worth its weight in gold. Just look at iTunes -- DRM is a hassle, buying a full CD of older music is cheaper at a store, but sales keep coming anyway.

Re:They still don't get it. (1)

Incoherent07 (695470) | more than 8 years ago | (#15940915)

You do understand that in some cases this isn't really their call to make, right? If the studios say "THOU SHALT NOT SELL THIS MOVIE BELOW THIS PRICE", or even better if they expect to receive a "wholesale" price somewhere close to that (wholesale isn't really applicable here, but I'm not sure what the term is for the studios' cut in this case), unless you're big enough to give them the finger like Apple basically did with iTMS not too long ago, you're going to follow along, since you'd rather have the selection and not have the price than not have the selection.

Re:They still don't get it. (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 8 years ago | (#15941003)

Amazon doesn't have to venture into this business of selling movies either at the whim of the studios. If I had the sense of the parent poster while running amazon I'd think I'd rather not bother. More so when I'm doing fine with my current business model.

Re:They still don't get it. (1)

Snaller (147050) | more than 8 years ago | (#15943895)

The average hour long TV show can now be downloaded for 1.99. This is fairly reasonable,

In crap quality. That's far from reasonable 0.10 would still be on the greedy side, depending on the format.

Format? (2, Insightful)

Zelbinian (992687) | more than 8 years ago | (#15940850)

Downloadable movies/TV shows are great, because this is one area where they won't have too much trouble combatting filesharing networks if they do it right. Chances are the downloadable copies are gonna be of better quality than the freebies, and if they're cheaper than an in-store DVD, then most people - especially anyone who's into movies or cares about the quality of rips - will happily take a legal middle ground.

The only thing I'm worried about is how proprietary this is gonna be. What's this download gonna be formatted as? Will it be some specialty format like Apple does with 'mp3s' you download from them, or will it be something standard, like an .iso image that you can burn straight to a DVD if you choose? Should be interesting to see where they go with this.

Re:Format? (1)

presidentbeef (779674) | more than 8 years ago | (#15940935)

Downloadable movies/TV shows are great, because this is one area where they won't have too much trouble combatting filesharing networks if they do it right. Chances are the downloadable copies are gonna be of better quality than the freebies, ...

I don't know...it only takes one person to download the paid version, then they can share it out on Bittorrent or whatever.

Re:Format? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15941449)

So what. With DVDs and esp. CDs, only one person has to buy it, and then they can share it with everybody in the world also. The fact that the product already comes as computer files doesn't really change much. I don't know why all the media companies are going crazy trying to DRM the hell out of downloadable media when the two main sources of media in the world have virtually no protection against copying. I realize that DVDs once had protection, but it's been rendered useless.

Re:Format? (1)

Zelbinian (992687) | more than 8 years ago | (#15942838)

Meh, you're right. I'm probably being a little naive. But I did realize that.

However, I know the reason why I'm tempted to download 'illegally' isn't that I just wanna stick it to the man. I mean, these are people that are doing work, just like me, and I can understand why they wanna be paid for it just like anyone else. I just can't afford to pay what they ask most of the time. I know, personally, that if there was a service out there that let me get an original, DVD-quality download at, I dunno, half(?) the price of a normal DVD, I'd probably buy the movies a lot more often.

Perhaps I'm wrongly assuming most of us have a sense of fair play . . . ? *shrug*

Re:Format? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15943714)

This is my biggest problem with iTunes. I have an ipod, but refuse to buy iTunes. The reason? You can often get the CD for the same price, or $1 or $2 more. Plus you get a real physical copy that can be used in any player out there (with a little conversion to mp3 required for some). With iTunes, you get lower quality music, that you can't play in another MP3 player without burning to CD and then reencoding it, which loses more quality. I find I get much better value for my money with buying the CD. There are many times when the CD is actually cheaper, because iTunes only has 1 price for all music. If the downloads were $.25 I would probably see it as worth it, But I don't feel that paying the same amount for an inferior product is worth it.

Re:Format? (2, Interesting)

moonbender (547943) | more than 8 years ago | (#15941533)

Chances are the downloadable copies are gonna be of better quality than the freebies (..)

Why would that be? I mean, in theory, yes, without the hassle of the transfer being illegal you can more easily transmit large amounts of data. On the other hand, while on P2P networks, the transmission cost is shared among all peers, a single distributor has to pay for all (or rather half) of the costs. Are the songs from the ITMS of higher bitrate than the typical scene releases? The TV episodes you can currently buy certainly aren't of better quality than the pirated versions, which are typically 350 or 700 MB per episode.

Re:Format? (1)

Zelbinian (992687) | more than 8 years ago | (#15942820)

In my experience, it's really hit or miss. TV shows aren't normally that big of a problem, but there are so many copies of things out there that are just . . . well, bad. Let's face it, a lot of people out there participating in piracy just really don't know what they're doing. So when you download something off of a p2p network, it's really kind of a gamble. My point was at least with a commericial service you know they'll get it right and you'll have a high-quality, watchable copy the first time around. At least you'd better or the service isn't gonna be around long.

Re:Format? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15943660)

In my experience, it's really hit or miss. TV shows aren't normally that big of a problem, but there are so many copies of things out there that are just . . . well, bad. Let's face it, a lot of people out there participating in piracy just really don't know what they're doing.

If you're smart enough to find slashdot, you should be able to find better things than open season on KaZaA. TV shows? There's some high quality rip groups doing all the shows I like, and I have no problem looking up the same group's release every week. Movies are a mixed lot with screeners/telesyncs, but dvdrips are almost always great. Music is a bit tough but there's some very nice newsgroups, which tend to have a lot better posts than p2p networks. The only shortage is bandwidth, I used to have a superline and download HDTV movies... they're beautiful and BETTER than anything you can subscribe to or buy around here.

Re:Format? (1)

assassinator42 (844848) | more than 8 years ago | (#15941593)

I'm guessing it will be protected WMV files, like the other services.

So it is dead from start (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 8 years ago | (#15943852)

If Amazon makes the deadly mistake of "exclusive deal" with Microsoft to distribute their Windows only (yes, NO MAC!) WMV 10 DRM format, it means nothing to Mac users.

Mac users are A+, A and AB class in terms of marketing. Anything ignores Mac is not to be taken serious at all. Especially paid media.

Remember iTunes was a huge success while it was Mac only. It is not a co-incidence. Mac user community pays for arts. They even donate to those "system themes" large amounts of money.

For people who got tricked by MS Windows Media for Macintosh: It is DEAD. They licensed a quicktime component (flip4mac) and recommend it instead. While Flip4Mac by Telestream is an excellent product, it can't do DRM thing. Billion dollar Microsoft couldn't (didn't) move their application to Uniiversal format which will work on Intel and PPC while $10 single coder shareware authors did.

That gives you the clue about how serious MS Media division or what their sick dream is from the start: Pure windows World.

We should be glad that Quicktime Division of Apple or Real Networks didn't die so there is Mpeg-4 everywhere now enjoying success of H264, a standard format.

Re:Format? (1)

nascarguy27 (984493) | more than 8 years ago | (#15941764)

On this page [downloadsquad.com] , there is a link to an amazon page [amazon.com] . On that page, there is a link to "download the unbox video player", so I do believe the format will be somewhat proprietary. Amazon may take that page down, but I still saw what I saw.

Link from Screenshot (2, Informative)

kju (327) | more than 8 years ago | (#15940856)

The screenshot shows this URL: http://www.amazon.com/gp/video/help/faq.html [amazon.com] . It seems that this URL actually exists, because it gives 200 OK and a 48 byte response.

whats with the prices? (2, Interesting)

noneme (917222) | more than 8 years ago | (#15940879)

For about a dollar more (including shipping) at overstock you can buy Road Warrior on physical medium thats uncompressed and higher resolution than any download they'd probably provide.

Plus they have "Batman Forever" listed for $10. I seriously hope this is just a mockup using current video pictures/prices or that they are considering paying me $10 to watch that movie.

Re:whats with the prices? (1)

josh59 (557881) | more than 8 years ago | (#15940949)

If you mean they will send you a DVD, that's compressed. (MPEG-2)

Uncompressed would be the film masters. That would be cool.

Re:whats with the prices? (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 8 years ago | (#15941044)

Uncompressed digital video is also hugely huge. It's akin to a series of bitmap images, and even that would have to be an immense resolution to make up for an analogue to digital conversion.

Re:whats with the prices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15941205)

He might mean it's on VHS, but then the quality is likely to be quite poor...

Re:whats with the prices? (1)

NosTROLLdamus (979044) | more than 8 years ago | (#15941984)

I'd like to think he meant lazer disk, which he watches on his high quality player, which does not require you to flip the disk.

Just as long as they don't run out of stock? (1)

bWareiWare.co.uk (660144) | more than 8 years ago | (#15940891)

These are artwork mock-ups not a final design even if they are genuine. No way Amazon is having its menu jump around like that.

I have no doubt that Amazon will do this service, however I seriously hope 5GB is not enough to store all my downloads (though if they stick to Windows 0GB would do).

Generic /. moan (1)

oldbamboo (936359) | more than 8 years ago | (#15940896)

Just thought I'd day that, despite not wanting to use this service, I wish it ran on Linux.

Related news .. (2, Informative)

sunsrin (842762) | more than 8 years ago | (#15940932)

on DownloadSquad - here [downloadsquad.com]

From a WSJ article, 8/3/06 (1)

ssladler (996516) | more than 8 years ago | (#15941064)

"Although it hasn't been officially announced, Amazon is set to launch its long-anticipated movie site this month, people familiar with the matter say. The company's biggest advantage is the trust it has won from millions of households over the years, which may help it gain the trust of customers who still associate downloading movies with piracy, lawsuits and shady software. Amazon may also gain an advantage by launching its site before most of the competition. A spokeswoman for Amazon declined to comment."

Most shows aren't worth anything. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15941070)

$1.99 per show? Most of the unwatchable, moronic, crap on television is so horrifically bad, that I wouldn't watch it if the producers paid ME $1.99 per show to watch it. I'll pay to see this garbage when hell reaches absolute zero.

Re:Most shows aren't worth anything. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15941082)

Anyone notice in the second screenshot that "what" is misspelled. Anyone else think maybe these are fake?

Re:Most shows aren't worth anything. (1)

dgg3565 (963614) | more than 8 years ago | (#15942992)

Misspells do happen, as that data is entered by a human being at some point in the chain. I usually catch one or two every few dozen pages of what ever site I'm on. There's probably more, but I'm not explicitly looking for them.

I'm not interested in your software, Amazon (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 8 years ago | (#15941111)

Taylor also posted what could be the screenshot of the Amazon.com player..

Stick to selling the movies. We'll use mplayer or xine or something to play them.

Oh, we can't? You mean these are in a weird new format, or have DRM? Sounds like you're getting out of the "actually selling something that people want" business before you start.

I'm overreacting, I guess. There's no real evidence that they're crippling it before they start, but the mention of a player, combined with "can be played on a PC, TV or portable media player" (why are you enumerating what all it can be played on?) sure makes me suspicious. Amazon sells music CDs too, but never so much as suggested how I might play them.

Re:I'm not interested in your software, Amazon (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15941171)

I couldn't agree more. I would love to be able to buy episodes of TV shows, on their air date, online. The thing is, I sometimes want to watch them on my TV, which means burning to DVD. I sometimes want to watch them on my Nokia '770, which means transcoding them to something that its CPU can handle (200MHz ARM isn't up to the latest formats). Any DRM scheme eliminates these possibilities, which eliminates me from their potential audience.

This is juvenile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15941415)

Non-DRM is cool and all... but who will sell stuff to Amazon.com if they publish it without a DRM ?

Re:This is juvenile (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 8 years ago | (#15942759)

but who will sell stuff to Amazon.com if they publish it without a DRM ?
Businesses that want to make money.

Re:This is juvenile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15943274)

Business ? Name a few :

I am sorry, but those businesses are controlled by MPAA and they don't exist. No offense, I am a linux user who would like everything to Xine/Mplayer/vlc compatible. However I don't see that happening, given the current studios and their requirements. So all I am saying is not to cry sour grapes.

Why does Apple not give non-drm movie ?

Re:I'm not interested in your software, Amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15942063)

I agree--who wants to install yet another propriatary software player? I bought into iTunes years ago, when it was simply an excellent MP3 player (and more importantly, organizer). I've bought a few AAC files from Apple since they started their music store service, but regardless of this, iTunes remains incredibly useful for managing and listening to my music. What does an Amazon player (or a Google player, or pick whatever competitor you like) bring to the table? Only the ability to play their own propriatary videos. No thanks. If for some reason I wish to buy a downloadable movie someday, it will likely be through iTunes. Amazon would either have to have the most remarkable exclusive imaginable or dramatically lower prices than other services for me to ever consider buying from them. (Of course, they won't support OS X, so much of this is moot in my case, for the time being.)

Mirror (1)

Ankur Dave (929048) | more than 8 years ago | (#15941536)

Images mirror [homelinux.com]

Mirror (1)

Ankur Dave (929048) | more than 8 years ago | (#15941572)

Images mirror [homelinux.com]

Bring It On (1)

rinkjustice (24156) | more than 8 years ago | (#15941724)

There's been a distinct lack of reputable distributers of downloadable, commercial movies. With Amazon however, I know they're good. I've done business with them before and they're well established, so I can forsee using this service.

Going about this wrong... (1)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 8 years ago | (#15941986)

All the places offering movie downloads are going about it wrong. The whole point of movie downloads isn't so I can get another mainstream movie release that is already on DVD... or a TV show I already get for free on cable... the whole point of movie downloads would be so I can get something obscure that wouldn't be easily available on conventional medium. There is an initial investment of packaging, manufacturing, promotion, etc. for DVDs that mean a lot of obsucre stuff just doesn't have a big enough market to warrent the initial investment. However, with downloads, the cost off adding another product is marginal - The data storage costs are not prohibitive at all.

YouTube is already doing this to a lesser extent (although I don't know how, exactly, YouTube plans to make money)... but services like that are the future, not an online imitation of the local video store.

DRM, therefore DOA (1)

ejp1082 (934575) | more than 8 years ago | (#15942357)

They're offering something that's less valuable than a DVD for the same price or more. Yeah, that'll go far.
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