Amazon.com has jumped into the video download business with the launch of a service called Amazon Unbox. The company has lined up a library of films, TV shows, and other content from more than 30 studio and network partners from Hollywood and around the world.
Amazon Unbox is delivered using the VC-1 Advanced Profile codec, which Amazon warrants provides a DVD-quality picture. Downloads are progressive, so shows can be viewed with the download in progress. Amazon said the typical cable broadband customer can start watching any Unbox TV show or movie within five minutes of ordering.
At no additional charge, Unbox also automatically includes a second file optimized for playback on any Windows Media-compatible portable device. Users have the ability to purchase a download from one computer and download to another.
Content includes TV shows from CBS, A&E, Cartoon Network, Discovery Channel, FX and several channels from MTV Networks, including Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV and VH1, and films from 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. Entertainment and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios.
Several television series, films, and networks will make their digital download debut with Amazon Unbox, including all 79 episodes of the original “Star Trek” series.
TV series episodes will be $1.99 each, and films will go for between $7.99 and $14.99. Amazon is offering one free download of a TV show as a trial at the Unbox Web site.