Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Amazon Launches "Unbox" Digital Video Download Service

Amazon launched its "Unbox" digital video download service offering customers thousands of television shows, movies and other video content from more than 30 studio and network partners from Hollywood and around the world.

Amazon is offering DVD-quality video with content encoded at 2,500 kbps using VC-1 Advanced Profile codec. A 30-minute TV episode = 600MB, 1-hour TV episode = 1.2GB, and a 2-hour movie=2.4GB. With a 3.0 Mbps DSL/cable, the estimated download time for the 30-minute TV episode is 27 minutes, the estimated download time for the 1-hour TV episode is 55 minutes, and the estimated download time for the 2-hour movie is one hour and 50 minutes.

Users need to download an Unbox Video player application, which currently works only Windows PCs. Apple Macs are not supported.

Unbox uses progressive download and company expects that most U.S. customers using cable modems will be able to start watching the videos within five minutes.

An Unbox "RemoteLoad" capability enables customers to make their video purchase from one computer, such as an office PC, and then download the file to another.

Unbox also automatically includes a second file optimized for playback on any Windows Media-compatible portable device.

Television series episodes are priced at $1.99 per episode; most movies cost between $7.99 and $14.99. Customers also may rent movies for $3.99.

Amazon Unbox customers are provided with a "Your Media Library" Web page that indexes and organizes their media purchases from, including books, CDs, DVDs and Unbox Videos.

Participating movie studios include 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Lionsgate and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios.

Participating TV networks include A&E, Adult Swim, Animal Planet, BBC, The Biography Channel, Cartoon Network, CBS, Comedy Central, Discovery Channel, Discovery Health Channel, Discovery Kids, E! Entertainment Television, FINE LIVING TV Network, FOX, Fuel TV, FX, HGTV, The History Channel, KBS (Korean Broadcast System), Logo, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, The N, PBS, Speed, Spike, Travel Channel, TV Land and VH1.

See also