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Summary:

Erick Schonfeld over at Business 2.0 Blog has been busy digging up the details on Amazon’s new UnBox movie download service. The details are on the Business 2.0 Blog. Amazon is apparently using Microsoft’s Windows Media Player, Digital Rights Management (DRM) and related technologies. Kevin Kelleher, […]

Erick Schonfeld over at Business 2.0 Blog has been busy digging up the details on Amazon’s new UnBox movie download service. The details are on the Business 2.0 Blog. Amazon is apparently using Microsoft’s Windows Media Player, Digital Rights Management (DRM) and related technologies.

Kevin Kelleher, a frequent contributor to Business 2.0 was able to actually download the Unbox software when it was up briefly on the Web. Although he wasn’t able to try it out because Amazon’s server was not responding, he was able to copy the software’s terms of service.

Other fun facts about the Amazon UnBox:

- Rented videos can only be viewed on one device (like an authorized laptop)
– Conusmers will also be able to burn purchased videos onto a DVD, but it looks like it will only play on newer DRM-compliant DVD players.
– The service will only be available in the U.S at launch.
– You must download the videos within 24 hours of purchasing them.
– The Unbox Video Service will allow consumers to both rent or buy digital videos.

Since Apple is yet to announce its movie download service, it is hard to say the impact of this announcement on them. However it puts folks over at competitive services such as Movie Link and Cinema Now in a bit of a pickle. Don’t you think?

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By Om Malik

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  1. In my opinion, this is going to crash and burn horribly for Amazon. I use their service for getting books and other knick-knacks, but I would never use their service with the type of terms that they will be asking customers to operate under.

    “Rented videos can only be viewed on one device (like an authorized laptop)”

    At least Apple offers you the option of FIVE different devices you can use your purchased content on. Sure, it’s proprietary hardware, but it still five…

    “Conusmers will also be able to burn purchased videos onto a DVD, but it looks like it will only play on newer DRM-compliant DVD players.”

    These DRM-compliant DVD players better be fair across the board. I mean I wouldn’t mind having to go out and buy one as long as it played Windows-encoded movies AS WELL AS Apple-encoded movies. If they don’t, device manufactuers are going to get mobbed by the public.

    “You must download the videos within 24 hours of purchasing them.”

    This is the biggest piece of junk in the whole deal. I’m under a time limit? Gimme a break! So what happens if i purchase a movie for someone else and THEY don’t download it within the 24-hour time limit? You get to keep my money AND I have to purchase it ALL OVER AGAIN just Aunt Susie can watch Bing Crosby sing in the rain on her birthday? That’s some bull-explecative and Amazon knows it!

    See they’re hoping to get to market first so that they can lock a market in. But under these restrictions, there will NOT be a lot of early adopters, even among the Cult of Amazon. Those that do use the service will more than likely run to Apple when they unleash their movie service. Why? Even the movies will be DRM-encoded, there will be far less restrictions on what consumers can and can’t do under the service. If Apple can’t put their movie service together like the iTMS, then they would jsut rather not do it. Who needs the headaches and the grief?

    Now what needs to happen? Amazon and Co. need to get their heads out of their butts and start thinking more realistically. Must they dip their fingers into everything that someone else is doing? At this rate, they are headed down Microsoftville and you know what happens then? the original service that Amazon was founded for starts to suck eggs forcing even staunchest supporters to look elsewhere for their goods and deals.

    Sorry for the rant…this just does not sit well with me…

  2. People rent when there is some incentive that makes renting sensible…ie it costs too much or not worth owning.

    To sit around and wait for a movie to download for an hour or more when blockbuster or local video store is 10 mins down the road makes no sense.

    Buying online with DRM is even worse. I can barely tolerate the headache the iTunes DRM causes me when I am creating mp3 cds for my car. I don’t think I’d buy a movie, download it, burn it, and buy an new player that supports whatever DRM so I can watch it.

    Sorry, but I think I’ll just go buy my DVDs from my local Walmart which comes already burned with menus and other goodies in a nice printed case and save myself 3-4 hours of suffering.

    Even if they offered DRM free downloadable file for sale, we still have a problem because with a movie being around 400-600mb most of us will have to start archiving our movies to CD/DVDs as we run out of drive space…so we have Walmart looking more attractive again.

  3. Sounds just like MovieLink oh 2-3 years ago. ;) The difference being Amazon has existing relationships with many huge reach.

  4. Peer Impact has a rental service for movies with similar Pay Per View restrictions on thier movies and the Fox ,Universal and Warner Bros have different usage rules .The usage rules are imposed by the studios .

    Peer Impact lets you store the movies for 30 days you can also recive a system credit for redistributing the movie via thier closed p2p network .The viewing window is 24 hours within the 30 day storage period ,

    You can watch the movies with Microsoft Media’s progresive download technology in less than a minute as long as your bandwidth is above 200Kbps and the movie will “stream” so you dont need to download the whole movie to watch it .

    http://www.peerimpact.com

  5. So if they’re using Windows Media DRM I’m assuming that means anybody with a Mac is out of luck? As far as I know Windows Media player for Mac is a version behind, and most of us use Flip4Mac anyway.

    I’ll just wait for Apple’s service to come out too, and then go back to renting movies for free from the local library.

  6. The first Windows + Mac service wins. My money’s on Apple.

  7. Regarding Mac compatibility for the Amazon Unbox…pay attention Mac users, we will only say this one time! IT was NOT Amazon.com “deliberately” alienate Mac users for the new digital download service…if you want to complain about why the Unbox is not Mac compatible? go as Steve Jobs! Amazon would have loved to be able to market to Mac users but Apple said no!

  8. “Amazon would have loved to be able to market to Mac users but Apple said no!” Did you really just write this??? Did jobs and Bezos sit down and Jobs said “Sorry Jeff you’re not allowed to develop software for the Macintosh.” I’m sorry but at the end of the day Amazon.com chose to go with a DRM that is ONLY available on the Windows operating system. They made a choice to leave the Mac and *nix users out in the cold. Hope it works out for them.

  9. Philo Leadman Friday, December 7, 2007

    “Regarding Mac compatibility for the Amazon Unbox…pay attention Mac users, we will only say this one time!”

    I’m sorry, could you say that again?

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