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Amazon Unbox Video Store Launches 308

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the online-box-offices dept.
andrewl6097 writes "Amazon.com has launched it's Amazon Unbox video store. Looks like about 1300 movies and 350 tv series, at $9.99 and up for movies and $1.99 per TV episode. Downloads come with a DVD quality version and a version more appropriate for portable players (using Windows DRM). Also, videos can be re-downloaded from your Amazon media library. Cool!"
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Amazon Unbox Video Store Launches

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  • "Cool!" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sulli (195030) * on Thursday September 07, 2006 @08:32PM (#16063320) Journal
    slashdot is now running accolades for DRM crippled movie downloads? uncool!
    • Re:"Cool!" (Score:4, Insightful)

      by x-kaos (213378) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @08:35PM (#16063342)
      Yea well, it still costs to much money imo. May as well get the movie mailed to me if the download has all that junk with it. Thumbs down.
    • Re:"Cool!" (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 07, 2006 @08:42PM (#16063377)
      Yeah, as a faithful open source fan and reader of Slashdot, there is no way I'm ever going to support this DRM-infested crap! They may take our lives, but they cannot take our freedom!!!

      Now pardon me while I go back to buying stuff from iTunes...
      • by 70Bang (805280)

        I have three questions:

        1. Does anyone know what patent number Jeff got for this?

        2. Where did he hang the appropriate gold plaque?

        3. Where can we buy the preapproved pads he uses to save time & effort?

        (I know there's prior art just in Sony's DRM foobar, but I think Jeff would just say this is different because it's for DVDs).

    • by eliot1785 (987810) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @08:56PM (#16063427)
      You can't even transfer the file that you download between computers. Check this out, from their FAQ:

      "You can only view the files using Amazon Unbox installed on the computer that originally received the downloads."

      So that means if I buy one of these files and burn it on a DVD to transfer it to another computer that I own, I won't even be able to play it on that other computer. I will have to actually download it again from Amazon.com. You can store it on up to 2 computers (and 2 corresponding video players) at any given time, but files can only be played on the computer to which you downloaded it.

      So that means if I want to use up to the 2 computer limit, I have to actually download it twice. There is no way to save download time by using alternative transmission methods, like a flash drive or a DVD-R. This sucks.

      Remember all the early iTunes-like stores that failed? Although iTunes has DRM, it succeeded in part because its restrictions were less strong than, say, AOL's. I think Amazon.com's is too restrictive.

      ITMS could beat it by being nicer about it, at least allowing you to transfer it between computers however you like. Honestly, that restriction doesn't even make sense from a DRM point of view, because you could always just require people to "authorize" a computer like ITMS. Maybe they aren't as skilled at this as Apple is?
      • by kimvette (919543)
        "You can only view the files using Amazon Unbox installed on the computer that originally received the downloads."

        I'll stick with DVD purchases or torrent downloads, thankyouverymuchAmazon.
        • yup, pretty much.

          i download everything off the net onto my laptop, and then burn &/or otherwise transfer to my other machine (desktop) with a nice big flat panel screen for watching.

          this 'locking to one machine' system is completely bass-ackwards and a non-starter...
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by cptgrudge (177113)

            this 'locking to one machine' system is completely bass-ackwards and a non-starter...

            Yeah, my DVDs aren't tied to a single DVD player (not that They don't wish it were so). Why should downloaded movies be different, especially when they cost nearly the same?

            I think people have gotten too used to the portability of radios, LPs, MD players, cassettes, CDs, mp3 players, DVDs, magazines, books, soft drinks, and other smallish physical objects for there to be much traction on such a restrictive system.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by JimDaGeek (983925)
            Not to sound like a parrot, but I have to say: "same here". $10 bucks for a DRM-encrusted-WinXP-Only video? No thanks. And as one of the GP posts points out, you can view this on two computers, but must download it separately for each computer. What crap. Is MS-DRM really that limited?
      • by aichpvee (631243) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @10:41PM (#16063838) Journal
        So that means you only get to "own" it for the 6 months before your windows tanks and you have to reinstall? Even less if you haven't reinstalled in a while, I suppose.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Tim C (15259)
          So that means you only get to "own" it for the 6 months before your windows tanks and you have to reinstall?

          If your Windows install tanks every 6 months, you shouldn't be allowed to use a computer as you're clearly a danger to them...
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by poulbailey (231304)
          Only completely incompetent people can hose a modern Windows install in six months. Are you incompetent or are you just parroting dirt old FUD about Windows?
      • Perhaps in the future, we will have to link our DVDs to a player (think of your exact player=region) and then you won't complain so much. And I'll stop watching moves all together.
    • Re:"Cool!" (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cptgrudge (177113) <cptgrudge@gmaiCHEETAHl.com minus cat> on Thursday September 07, 2006 @09:34PM (#16063590) Journal

      slashdot is now running accolades for DRM crippled movie downloads? uncool!

      The submitter might be a shill. Seems way too obvious in the cheerleading aspect, at least to me. Shall we break down the summary?

      "Amazon.com has launched it's Amazon Unbox video store."

      Good, if obvious, lead sentence here. It makes sure that the company name is repeated twice, and by using the word "it's" we may get a slight feeling that of "it's amazing" before we read the rest of the product, even if the thought is just subconscious. Interesting, if perhaps unintentional usage of the incorrect "it's" instead of the correct "its", we also may get the feeling doubly reinforced again with the uncontracted "it is amazing".

      "Looks like about 1300 movies and 350 tv series, at $9.99 and up for movies and $1.99 per TV episode."

      Here we see the information about the service and products, including numbers and prices. This is obviously something that will be brought up in the discussion below, but by introducing the readers to it in the summary, the submitter can keep the content tied to the positive aspects conveyed in the summary. This is in contrast to reading about it below where it is coupled with Slashdot users' negative responses to selection and pricing. No control over those comments, but the initial impression is made.

      "Downloads come with a DVD quality version and a version more appropriate for portable players"

      Again, more information about the service. Sentence structure gives us the words "quality" and "appropriate", which are rather neutral terms, but may make a positive subconscious impression on the readers. The mentioning of the generic "portable players" does not exclude any type of device on name alone, so it will not alienate potential customers.

      "(using Windows DRM)."

      Then we come to the most interesting part. By qualifying the "portable players" statement with the phrase "(using Windows DRM)", the submitter may actually gain a small measure of trust from us readers. It is likely based on the demographics of the users of Slashdot. As generally informed people, Slashdot users dislike DRM for both it's technical and philisophical nature. By using parentheses, the submitter seems to be imparting information that is somehow cloaked or not for general public knowledge, like a whispered secret. With these two concepts, we may actually trust the submitter more than we would a normal submission.

      "Also, videos can be re-downloaded from your Amazon media library."

      Here we get a bit more info on the service itself and another placement of the company name and additional product. We are still possibly affected by the subconscious trust level, so we may have an abnormally positive response to this information. Such as a "Great feature!" reaction instead of an "I should hope so!" reaction.

      "Cool!"

      This final statement, while seemingly out of place, may be accepted simply because the summary has been crafted to elicit a positive reponse and we may find ourselves in agreement, though there is nothing that special about this company's service. It does have the potential to backfire when the target audience is quick enough that they can pick out the strange concepts, as the other posts already show.

      Overall, it's designed to give a positive spin and impression to the service, which will hopefully drive more click-throughs to the site. I've seen plenty of links to the iTunes store, but never went there. I clicked on this link, and I don't even plan to buy anything. I didn't buy anything, but I guess it worked on me to at least go there and check it out.

      I'm currently for hire.

      • by babbling (952366)
        My first thought was that it was a shill, too.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by el cisne (135112)
        Dang, man, were you trained by the Bene Gesserit or a Tleilaxu grown mentat ? I'm impressed.
      • Hmm... if a Slashdot submitter doesn't provide the details of a story, they get hammered for it. When they DO provide the details, they get classified as a "shill".

        C'mon, I think the way Amazon's store is set up sucks (way to restrictive DRM, no non-Windows support) - but this most certainly qualifies as news.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fm6 (162816)

      slashdot is now running accolades for DRM crippled movie downloads?

      Of course not! They're runing accolades for overpriced DRM crippled movie downloads. For example, compare the download of Walk the Line for $20.00 with a 2-DVD special edition [amazon.com] for about the same price.

      Attention editors! Please ignore breathless announcements of downloadable media services except in those very rare cases where economic reality is acknowledged.

    • by 70Bang (805280)

      And Slashdot still supports "editors" posting launched it's Amazon Unbox.

      There are two certainties on Slashdot: interesting stories make for melted servers aka the "Slashdot Effect" and postings using contractions instead of pronoun modifiers (showing possession).

      I can barely stand "CD's" instead of "CDs", but when you've got a little time before hitting the [submit] button, it's a bit slack.

      I passed a pool hall the other day ("Chalkies" - no smoking - where the Black Widow hangs out) and there was a
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Fred_A (10934)
        I think Amazon's PR department has added the apostrophe after careful reading of /. posting style so as not to alienate the readers (except for the minority that is either foreign or somehow managed to learn English despite being schooled in the US). I think it's quite slick.
  • Marktup (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @08:34PM (#16063333) Homepage
    At 1/3 to 1/2 this price I'd go on a spree.
    • After reading some of the details of the deal -- viz., how badly fuctup the files you receive are -- I cap my bid at $2.50/movie.
    • Re:Marktup (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hackstraw (262471) * on Thursday September 07, 2006 @10:46PM (#16063854)
      At 1/3 to 1/2 this price I'd go on a spree.

      I thought the summary said that TV shows were 1.99/episode and movies 9.99 and up.

      Let me guess? I have to pay for an internet connection. Wait for the download to come down, and store the download. Oh, but I don't even own the copy either due to DRM, right?

      For about $40-50/month I get tons of TV episodes with DVR service, the transport mechanism and storage media and no DRM.

      I'd say about 1/5 to 1/10th or less of the cost, and I might to on a spree.

      I know I'm in the slashdot minority here, but I think I'm still in the majority of the population that actually prefers to watch TV from the couch on a TV with a remote.

      From the informal polls I've taken by talking with people, I know of two people who routinely watch TV on the computer, and the rest of the hundreds of people I know still use a television.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 07, 2006 @08:34PM (#16063340)
    Why would I pay for video files that are tied to a particular OS?

    Funny thing is, i *would* pay for non-DRMed movies. I've bought plenty of non-DRM music online.

    It deserves to fail, IMHO.
    • by eliot1785 (987810) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @09:03PM (#16063459)
      I would even pay for DRM'd movies (sorry guys), if the DRM weren't so restrictive. I buy stuff from ITMS all the time, partly because I know that if worse came to worse I could always burn them all as CD audio files and then rip them into MP3 format. My feeling on DRM is that I think some DRM is good to protect the artists, but there should be a way around it as long as you put in a little bit of work, to discourage people from doing it. It doesn't look like there's a way around this one.

      So basically, rather than balancing customer interests against artist/studio interests, they went wholesale with the artist/studio interests. They'll probably pay for it by not getting a lot of buyers.
      • by GodWasAnAlien (206300) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @11:16PM (#16063938)
        "... some DRM is good to protect the artists"

        The current use of DRM is _not_ to protect the artists.

        When the artists make pennies to the big publishing companies dollars, it should be obvious who DRM benefits.

        The current use of DRM is control:
          - control where and how the renter/"buyer" views/listens to the media.
          - when the viewer/listener wants to listen/view the media in some other way, The media must be re-purchaced.
          - this re-purchacing leads to a more constant money flow, without the need for new material.
          - this combined with a near infinite copyright period helps to maximize profit from old works.

        As with many things in society today, a very effective, but irresponsible way to make money is to make the product disposible. If the buyer is forced to throw away the DVD/Music/Computer/Phone every so often, more money is to be made.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      In addition to that, why would I buy from a site that I can't buy from in my money? I am in Canada, and Amazon UnBox is not available on Amazon.ca.

      I agree with other posters that this was rushed out, perhaps in advance of Apple's announcement next week.

      Tying the sale of something as simple as a movie to particular hardware is as stupid as the VHS/Beta war. Oops! I forgot about HD/Blu-ray!

      Apple's style of DRM that allows me to make an un-DRMmed backup on a Music CD is the only type I'll accept. Anything

    • by westlake (615356)
      Why would I pay for video files that are tied to a particular OS?

      because you are among the tens of millions of home users running Windows or OSX who don't give a damn about cross-platform compatibility?

  • Support (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @08:36PM (#16063351)
    No Mac support == dead to me.

    No support for iPod == dead to the market.

    iTunes movies will probably be dead to me too since I live in !USA.

    DVDs are cheaper anyway. the entire concept of movie downloads priced the same, or more expensive, as DVDs is retarded.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by wired_LAIN (974675)
      Why is it retarded? The material cost for DVDs make up virtually none of the cost... its the content that we pay for. Now if the content that we download is restricted with DRM, thats another issue, but theres nothing wrong with paying to download dvds.
      • by Yeshua (93307)
        The grandparent didn't say there was anything wrong with paying for downloads, just paying the same. The costs to distribute an electronic version (i.e. no shipping, no retail staff, no retail floorspace, just bandwidth and storage), should be significantly less than a nice shiny plastic and metal version.

        Thus if you're paying the same, you're paying too much.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        >The material cost for DVDs make up virtually none of the cost

        the DRM nature is a big point but not all of it. DVDs are trivial to lend, borrow and move about.

        also materials are nice, or can be. so that's a loss. plus downloads have (higher) storage costs for the end user.

        also, I use iTunes for 2 reasons:
        1. individual song downloads - doesn't apply to movies.
        2. exclusive content (exclusive tracks, individual music videos, out-of-print albums) - doesn't apply to movies.

        downloading individual TV shows is w
        • by Have Blue (616)
          There's also a big reason to use iTunes for TV that doesn't apply to either music or movies: Get it the day after it airs, not a few months later on DVD or at some indeterminate time when the network decides to rerun it.
    • Show me where I can get a copy of V for Vendetta for $14.

      Sure, *some* moves are the same as their DVD prices. But some are less.

      Mostly the new releases are cheaper than new release DVDs. The older stuff, well youc an get that in the bargain bins at Walmart, sure.. but you have to *find them* first.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Jerf (17166)

        Show me where I can get a copy of V for Vendetta for $14.

        Uh, Amazon.com [amazon.com]? At least for me, the full screen DVD (that link) is $13.87. (If they're using differential pricing it may not show the same for you.) Free shipping if you add something else to get over $25.

        Interesting, they charge $2 more for the widescreen. I've either never seen that before in brick & mortar stores, or never noticed.

    • by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @10:21PM (#16063772)
      I love it...
      From the description about supported devices:
      If your device is Plays for Sure compliant it may work, but we cannot guarantee performance on untested devices. (Emphasis mine.)

      Dude, so if all of those people with "Plays for Sure" players will send me 20 bucks now, I'll send them 25 on Monday. For Sure!
  • The FAQ here [amazon.com].

    Which includes this showstopper for Mac and Linux users:
    Minimum System Requirements

    OPERATING SYSTEM: The Unbox Video player application is only compatible with Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 2 (SP2), Windows XP Professional SP2, Windows XP Tablet PC Edition SP2, or Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 Update Rollup 2. The Unbox Video player is not compatible with Apple/Macintosh operating systems.

    COMPUTER HARDWARE: A PC with a 1.5-gigahertz (GHz) processor or faster, at least 512MB of memory, and a DirectX 9.0 complaint Video (64 MB Memory) and Sound Card.

    INTERNET CONNECTION: Broadband internet connection capable of 800 kbps sustained transfer speeds.

    No iPods either:
    Can I use Amazon Unbox on my Macintosh or iPod?
    Unfortunately, our Amazon Unbox video downloads are not compatible with Apple / Macintosh hardware and computer systems.
  • by MarkTina (611072) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @08:40PM (#16063366)
    The phrase "If your device is Plays for Sure compliant it may work," is quite amusing.

    So the device claims to play for sure ... but it might not ... great stuff! ;-)
    • by syousef (465911) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @09:24PM (#16063558) Journal
      Isn't that how all DRM seems to work: Give us your money now. You might be able to watch the movie right after you do that. You may even be able to watch it again at a later date. Then again we may just charge you for it again next time you decide you want to see it, or if the format changes, or if it's a new moon, or... By the way you might want to check out these other movies you may get to watch. Seeya. Have a nice day. Come again (*but not if you have a complaint)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by noidentity (188756)
      At least you can be sure it might play! Funny how once computers became powerful enough to end compatibility issues, the industry found a way to intentionally prevent things from working reliably.
  • WMV files (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @08:40PM (#16063367)
    The site says they use wmv files. I'm assuming the recently mentioned FairUse4WM will work on them. Looks like I might need to check out one of their $3.99 (-$1.99 first time user discount) movie "rentals" to see how well it works (FairUse4WM, not Amazon Unbox).
  • maybe for future (Score:2, Redundant)

    by yagu (721525) *

    I got all excited.... shouldn't have. Virtually no shows I care about watching are offered (only one major network, CBS has offerings, unless you include FOX). Even if, the offerings are old shows... shows if I'd cared to watch I'd have (and did) watched long ago courtesy of TiVo or some crappy knockoff (Comcast, anybody?).

    That aside, I'm guessing many people will consider this a decent offering (I don't). The next hurdle is:

    • XP is the only OS for now on which this will run
    • minimum 1.5GHz processor (I'
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by gnu-sucks (561404)
      It gets better:

      Unfortunately, our Amazon Unbox video downloads are not compatible with Apple / MacIntosh hardware and computer systems.

      MacIntosh. Yeah.

      I also found this funny:
      One hour of programming is roughly equal to one gigabyte (1 GB) of file space on your computer... 1-hour TV episode=1.2GB

      And the finale:
      Some videos encoded with 5.1 surround sound do not sound as good as possible if your PC's sound settings are not configured properly.

      Ya think!?!?
  • amazon movies (Score:4, Interesting)

    by trancertong (992719) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @08:44PM (#16063382)
    It seems this whole thing is kind of half baked, as if they were in a rush to get out before the itunes movie store.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    $10 bucks and up, that's fucking ridiculous.

    I pay that or less in a movie theater. I pay much less than that to rent or greencine it. Never go but I would bet movies cost less than that at Walmart, esp when on sale.

    Oh, and you can eventually get a whole season or two of shows for $40-60.

    All the above options lack the DRM feature, so I guess you get what you pay for.
    • Actually, DVDs do contain DRM - CSS, region encoding, and that content-locking unfeature that prevents the user from skipping legal notices and advertising. Moreover, DVDs and iTunes both have the number one feature that I look for whenever I'm thinking of buying DRM-enumbered media - it's been cracked. The only time I buy DRM stuff is when I know I can easily get around the DRM if need be.
  • How did Bandai & Amazon come up with their anime prices? I'm not picking on Bandai specifically except they're the only anime company I can find on Unbox.

    I'm not sure about the pricing their season passes but the prices for individual episodes are $3.99. In comparison, a DVD costs about $15 and probably has 5 or more episodes. So for approximately the same price...download 4 episodes or buy a DVD?

    • by bizard (691544)
      It gets worse. I checked out a couple of the movie prices and they are generally the same as they are for the DVD (ie The Office at $13.45 for the download and $13.45 for the special widescreen edition with flair). As others have mentioned, that comes _with_ DRM and _without_ the flair, and probably at lower quality than the DVD (especially if their low-res trailers are a sample of the movie quality).
  • by ween14 (827520) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @08:58PM (#16063436)
    "From time to time, Amazon will automatically deliver promotional video content (e.g., movie trailers, celebrity interviews, reviews, etc.) to your Authorized Device. Amazon may automatically delete such promotional video content from your Authorized Device without notice to you."

    "If Amazon changes any part of the Service or modifies license terms applicable to Rental Digital Content or Purchased Digital Content, which it may do in its sole discretion, you acknowledge that you may not be able to access, view, or use Digital Content in the same manner as prior to such changes, and you agree that Amazon shall have no liability to you in such case."

    The Software automatically checks for upgrades, but the Software will not automatically upgrade without your consent, except as provided herein. If you do not consent to an upgrade that we make subject to your consent, the Digital Content may no longer be viewed on your Authorized Device."
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Remember these terms the next time Eric Raymond starts blathering on about how Linux users need to start compromising on allowing closed source content and DRM into our operating system.
  • by ozarkcanoer (808891) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @09:04PM (#16063469)
    I bit and bought a tv show and then downloaded and installed Unbox which after installing, started to download the show. I decided I didn't want to wait for the download and stopped that. I then tried to uninstall it from my XP SP2 system and the uninstaller connected to Amazon and restarted the download! Couldn't find anyway to prevent this even having Unbox delete the file it had created (which reserved the full space required for the video). Uninstall still kept reconnecting and trying to download the video. I finally had enough of this and used the restore point that had been created when Unbox was installed, the after rebooting, manually deleted the file that had been created. Not very friendly. Larry
  • Feature Missing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kaufmanmoore (930593) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @09:13PM (#16063505)
    I'd love it if they were to offer you the ability to download a movie instantly when you buy the same DVD from amazon, so you can watch it while the physical disc is in the mail. That way you get the instant gratification, but you will still control the content you own.
  • by sporkme (983186) * on Thursday September 07, 2006 @09:13PM (#16063507) Homepage
    I would like to point out that when I looked at the website, the top ten downloads included:

    #5 Firefly
    #6 Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley: The Case of the Funhouse Mystery
    #8 Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley: The Case of the Volcano Mystery

    This proves beyond a shadow of doubt that Slashdot users are a significant part of the early adoption crowd.
  • by gsfprez (27403) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @09:13PM (#16063508)
    They are spinning like a politician on this...

    from the FAQ:
    Unfortunately, Apple Computer Inc. has exclusive rights to the
    hardware and software that would make it possible for Amazon.com to
    provide Amazon Unbox for these devices. Because of these
    restrictions, we are unable to make Amazon Unbox compatible with
    these products.

    Additional information on using Amazon Unbox and purchasing videos
    is available on our Help pages at this URL:

    www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeI d=161988011

    now wait just a damn minute - there is NOTHING stopping Amazon from writing software for Mac OS X. nothing. Apple allows anyone to write software for Mac OS X. They do not have exclusive rights to the hardware and software to make this work on the Mac.... Microsoft does.

    Micorsoft does not write any software to allow non-Windows operating systems to view Windows Media files. (they used to have Windows Media Player for the Mac - but now, they let a small company write a codec for Quicktime to play non-DRM WMP files - Flip4Mac)

    Anyhow - screw Amazon - they are lying. They can write any damn software they want for the Mac - and the iPod will play any mp4 file you want.

    Nothing is stopping them from making Mac compantible files - its their own problem that they don't.
    • by TimmyDee (713324) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @09:34PM (#16063592) Homepage Journal
      It looks like they fixed it to simply state "Unfortunately Amazon Unbox is not compatible with Macintosh computer or iPods" or some-such. I wonder if someone got the memo.
    • by dodongo (412749)
      I appreciate that rant wholly. I actually felt a flash of anger, because, dumbass that I am, brain fried by thesis in progress, I expected this to, you know, be a site where I could go download a fucking movie. Oh emusic.com [emusic.com] you've spoiled me so, advertising content that you make available to anyone who can play an MP3 file. Look at me carrying that expectation that my Xubuntu box and iBook will be allow me to avail myself of this new service.

      But no. Windows XP only, it says. Well, screw that.

      Someday I
    • now wait just a damn minute - there is NOTHING stopping Amazon from writing software for Mac OS X. nothing. Apple allows anyone to write software for Mac OS X.

      That may be true, but Apple won't licence the DRM that the iPod will support, which is most likely what they mean. And since they have to release it with DRM, they're forced to use Microsofts, which all in all isn't too bad. It's supported by an overwhelming majority of computers, and pretty much every non-ipod mp3 player.

      That, or Real. I think t

    • by dfghjk (711126)
      "there is NOTHING stopping Amazon from writing software for Mac OS X"

      Sure there is...lack of economic incentive. The investment required compared to the potential revenue (especially considering that they will be in direct competition with Apple) makes it clearly not worth their while. Apple doesn't want competitors particularly on their platform.

      "Micorsoft does not write any software to allow non-Windows operating systems to view Windows Media files."

      No surprise there. Amazon gets coverage of virtually t
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SilentChris (452960)
      I call bunk on your part.

      First off, it would help to link to the FAQ itself (it's here: www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeI d=161988011). I don't seen any reference to this paragraph in the FAQ.

      But let's assume they've changed the FAQ. You leave out the actual "Q" for that answer, but since it talks about "devices" (not computers) one can only assume they're referring to iPod.

      In that respect, Amazon is completely right. Apple has that thing completely sealed shut. The only ones who get to
  • A launch like this should have been timed to occure after the Oct 3 DRM protest. With all it's problems, it already has poor opening sales going against it, now it'll jump in front of a protest too.
  • Windows Media Patch (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sottitron (923868) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @09:17PM (#16063516)
    So this is why MSFT fixed the Windows Media Flaw in 3 days...
  • by oliverk (82803) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @09:32PM (#16063583)
    Wait a second: it says specifically that you can't BURN A DVD from the downloaded file. Wha'?

    Absolutely the worst idea, and opens the door extra wide for a certain, slightly balding man in a black mock turtleneck...

  • Outlaw Star (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rlp (11898) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @09:32PM (#16063585)
    So I can download Outlaw Star for $3.99 per episode, or I can purchase a complete set of 26 episodes on 6 DVD's from Amazon for $43.88 (or $30.17 used). Of course with the on-line download I get all that special DRM goodness.
  • by Lead Butthead (321013) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @09:41PM (#16063618) Journal
    "Tell me (slash-dotter)... what good is a (VIDEO) if you're unable to (PLAY IT ON LINUX BOXES)"
  • Blame studios (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DarkFyre (23233) on Thursday September 07, 2006 @09:50PM (#16063644)
    Yes, yes, everyone complains about 'teh evil' DRM. I'm sure the studios give Amazon the content with no restrictions at all and it's up to Amazon to decide what happens after that. Right. Sure. The prices must be the same way. Amazon gets it all for free and are just greedy bastards ripping you off like that.

    The content owners who set the rules have little relationship with the guys who are providing access to the content. You got a complaint? Buy stock in the content holders and bring it to the shareholders meeting.

    There's a reason Apple only has content deals with one studio (I leave it to the general paranoia of this thread to speculate on Jobs' relationship with Disney). It's probably like pulling teeth to get the studios to unclench their sphincters from around those digital copies even in DRM encumbered form.
  • Can I burn it on a DVD? Can I play it on more than one device? Does it work under whatever OS I'm using? Does it work with any movie player I want to use?

    If the answers to any two of those is "no," this is a non-starter. It's dead out of the gate.

  • From the hardware requirements:

    and a DirectX 9.0 complaint [sic] Video

    Yeah, I'd complain about DirectX too, because I'd prefer OpenGL compliant, but it doesn't do any good. I bet they even passed that through a spell checker, because they did it twice.
  • Just from the main page, first movie I saw listed was Office Space. Funny movie, but they want $13.99 for it. The movie is like eight years old, for a digital download that has limitations on usage, almost $15 is way to expensive. You could get it cheaper by picking up the DVD for $5 at any Walmart...
  • Maybe the "competition" will get the ripper groups to finally break free of the "two CD" standard and standardize on three cd, or "half a DVD" resolution rips.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 07, 2006 @11:32PM (#16063984)
    Quite frankly, $1 for a song, $2 for a 20 minute TV show, and $10 for a movie on iTunes seems completely fair to me. I wish it were cheaper, and at that price I wouldn't go on a shopping spree often, but they have managed to price it at that evil little point in which the content is neither too expensive nor cheap enough. I make a fairly good income, for a High School student at any rate, so I would be happy to buy most of my music/videos.

    The problem is the DRM. I don't object to DRM on moral grounds, it simply kills the value of the media for me. I own a PSP and a Treo 650, both of which cannot play the media I buy from iTunes (and Amazon). While I do use a Mac as a primary computer, my secondary Linux box would not be able to use it either. I also want the assurance that I can jump platforms at any time, and still be able to play my media. DRM cannot offer me that assurance, and I don't want to be stuck on any operating system/portable media player simply because the DRM is compatable with it. Also, what happens if, in 10 years, Apple runs out of business (anything can happen in the long term) and shuts down the FairPlay servers? All the stuff you bought is gone forever, as your computer can't obtain the keys to decrypt it.

    If I pirate the media, however, I get the same thing, simply DRM free, so I can use it on essentially any operating system/device. The files last forever, untill I destory them myself. Thus, the pirated content is better then that which I can buy. If you think there is little enough encouragement to buy media these days, just put yourself in my shoes.

    I have used the iTunes video and music store before, using gift cards I often receive as presents. FairPlay isn't horribly restrictive; you can move the DRMed files anywhere, back them up, transfer them to another computer, using conventional drag n' drop methods. And you can play them on Windows and Mac (not Linux, however). In fact, the only restriction that really bothered me was, unfortunately, the biggest: DRM restricts the platforms on which you can use your media.

    I don't beleive in the whole "changing culture" thing many people use to justify piracy as something moral. But I believe in DRM even less. Piracy is my only option if I want the latest episode of the Colbert Report on my Treo 650, and I take that route because the companies controlling the media offered me no legal alternative.
  • DRM, in Reality. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Inominate (412637) on Friday September 08, 2006 @12:38AM (#16064193)
    My dad owns several hundred CDs. (500+) So it became an issue of simply storing them. We had two practical ways to deal with it, the first was to simply buy a couple of massive carosel cd players, the second was to convert them to mp3s and get an Audiotron. The latter was cheaper, and turned out to offer a lot more flexibility. (Though encoding that many CDs took a few months) Owning a CD player is no longer worth even the space on the shelf.

    It's digital audio, you can always just convert it to mp3 to play it on the stereo right?

    So not too long after, he bought a CD online. DRMed. It will never legally play on the audiotron, only on the computer. I went to usenet to get a WORKING version. That's the fundamental problem with buying music online. The music industry wants to use it to impose new restrictions, rather than to expand thier market.

    It's easy to feel guilty stealing music. It's hard to feel guilty when I _HAVE_ to break the law to listen to it.
  • by mxs (42717) on Friday September 08, 2006 @06:26AM (#16065024)
    This service is only available within the US. The client seems to determine whether it is in the US by sending a GeoIP lookup request via SOAP. I won't tell you the address, you can do the legwork yourself.

    Interestingly, that soap-request contains the amazon username and password to do further SOAP GeoIP lookups.
    If you were really devious, you'd either proxy that stuff or manipulate the SOAP response. Nobody here is devious, right ?
  • by joel8x (324102) on Friday September 08, 2006 @07:15AM (#16065137) Homepage
    You can buy the DVD's on the internet for cheaper prices, and there is no technical curve to playing a DVD. Unless the software creates a burnable DVD that can play on any DVD player with one click, this will fail hard and fast. The only reason iTunes works is because the iPod exists. Its easy to get your music on to the portable player, plus you can burn it to a CD that can be played in any other CD player. The only appeal this Unbox has is the instant gratification of getting a movie on a whim. Unfortunately, most people dont want to watch movies on their computer - they want it on their TV. Most people do not have a media PC hooked up to their TV. So Amazon provides no proper delivery system to get this to the TV set and not one popular leading portable device to drive the portable market either. Is their even a cheap rental option that can beat out NetFlix? Wow, suits can't think.

    If Amazon wants to make this actually work, they will sell you the crappy as hell drm'ed digital video AND send you the actual DVD in the mail for the price of the regular DVD. That way you can get the instant gratification and not get ripped off.

"I'm not a god, I was misquoted." -- Lister, Red Dwarf

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