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Encyclopedia > Amazon Unbox

Amazon Unbox is an Internet video on demand service offered by Amazon.com which according to their website is available to "U.S. customers located in the 48 contiguous states, Alaska, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia". It started on September 7, 2006 and offers television shows and films (from six major television and film studios) for $0.99 and up, with a pricing structure similar to that of iTunes by Apple Computer. A purchase includes two versions of videos requested, a full resolution video file and a lower resolution copy for portable devices. Video on demand (VOD) systems allow users to select and watch video and clip content over a network as part of an interactive television system. ... Amazon. ... is the 250th day of the year (251st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays full 2006 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the iTunes application. ... Apple Inc. ...

Contents

Compatibility

The Amazon Unbox player is compatible with the Windows XP family of operating systems and Windows Vista. The content can be viewed using the Amazon Unbox Video Player, Windows Media Player, a PlaysForSure portable device, or a TiVo DVR. Content can be streamed to a television using a Windows Media Center Extender such as an Xbox 360 console from a PC running Windows XP Media Center Edition or Windows Vista (Home Premium or Ultimate). Downloaded videos may be burned to a DVD disc for storage purposes, but the resulting DVD will not play on a DVD player. Windows XP is a line of operating systems developed by Microsoft for use on general-purpose computer systems, including home and business desktops, notebook computers, and media centers. ... Windows Vista is a line of graphical operating systems used on personal computers, including home and business desktops, notebook computers, Tablet PCs, and media centers. ... Windows Media Player (WMP) is a digital media player and media library application developed by Microsoft that is used for playing audio, video and viewing images on personal computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system, as well as on Pocket PC and Windows Mobile-based devices. ... Microsoft PlaysForSure is a certification given by Microsoft to portable devices (portable media players, phones, etc. ... TiVo (pronounced tee-voh, IPA: ) is a popular brand of digital video recorder (DVR) in the United States. ... Foxtel IQ, a digital video recorder and a satellite cable set-top box. ... Windows Media Center Extenders are set-top boxes that are configured to connect via an Ethernet or Wireless network to a computer running Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition or Windows Vista Home Premium/Ultimate to stream the computers media center functions to the Extender device. ... It has been suggested that Xbox 360 Elite be merged into this article or section. ... A typical Windows XP MCE 2005 Menu Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE) was a version of Windows XP designed to serve as a home-entertainment hub. ...


Video quality

The content is purported by Amazon.com to be of "DVD quality". The average video bit-rate of an Amazon Unbox download equals 2500 kbit/s; this makes two hours of programming roughly equal to two gigabytes (2 GB) of file space. In comparison, a typical DVD averages 5600 kbit/s, which makes a 2-hour movie about 4.7 GB. However, given that Amazon is using VC1, a more advanced codec than that used on DVDs and the same codec powering the new HD-DVD format, the lower bit-rate arguably does achieve DVD quality. In telecommunications and computing, bit rate (sometimes written bitrate) is the frequency at which bits are passing a given (physical or metaphorical) point. It is quantified using the bit per second (bit/s) unit. ... A gigabyte (derived from the SI prefix giga-) is a unit of information or computer storage equal to 1000³ bytes or 1024³ bytes (1000³ = one billion). ... VC-1 is the informal name of the draft SMPTE standard describing a video codec based on Microsoft Windows Media Video version 9. ... A codec is a device or program capable of performing encoding and decoding on a digital data stream or signal. ... HD DVD, or High-Definition DVD is a high-density optical disc format designed for the storage of data and high-definition video. ...


The quality for the TiVo files is advertised as being 2800 kbit/s and as being "of equal or better quality than videos recorded at the Best Quality setting on a TiVo Series2 DVR." [1]


Due to the large size of the files being downloaded, the service requires a broadband internet connection capable of sustaining transfer speeds of 800 kbit/s. A 2-hour movie may take 7 hours and 20 minutes to download using a 750 kbit/s DSL/cable connection or 1 hour and 50 minutes with a 3.0 Mbit/s DSL/cable connection. Amazon asserts that for customers with an internet connection of 3 Mbit/s or more, any Unbox file will start playing within 5 minutes. Broadband in telecommunications is a term which refers to a signaling method which includes or handles a relatively wide range of frequencies which may be divided into channels or frequency bins. ... Internet Connections -T5 -T3 -T1 -Cable -DSL -ISP -Dial Up (56 K) -Dial Up (28 K) Left(Fastest) to Right(Slowest) To see how fast your internet connection is. ... DSL may refer to: Damn Small Linux Dark and Shattered Lands, a MUD based loosely on Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance books. ... 6 or 15cm outside diameter, oil-cooled cables, traversing the Grand Coulee Dam throughout. ... Internet Connections -T5 -T3 -T1 -Cable -DSL -ISP -Dial Up (56 K) -Dial Up (28 K) Left(Fastest) to Right(Slowest) To see how fast your internet connection is. ...


Requirements

For display on a computer or transfer to portable device, the service requires the installation of a client application which manages playback and the transfer of video to portable devices that bear the Microsoft PlaysForSure certification, such as the Toshiba Gigabeat or a Portable Media Center. Microsoft PlaysForSure is a certification given by Microsoft to portable devices (portable media players, phones, etc. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... A Portable Media Center (PMC) is a hard drive-based portable media player device that can play digital video and audio files. ...


For use with a TiVo DVR, no client application is needed. The user only needs a broadband enabled (and connected) Series2 or Series3 DVR. DirecTiVo DVRs are not supported. DirecTiVo is an informal term for the implemented combination of DIRECTV satellite television programming service and the TiVo digital video recorder service. ...


Points of Differentiation

  • RemoteLoad allows customers to download to any Unbox-registered PC or TiVo from any Internet-connected computer. For example, a user can purchase an Unbox video from a work computer and request that it be downloaded on a home computer or TiVo DVR.[2]
  • Your Media Library allows people to delete most large video files from their local hard drive when finished and store them in Amazon's Media Library for later redownload. This allows people to download more movies than their hard drive could otherwise store, and it provides a backup in case of hard drive failure.[2]
  • Unbox on TiVo allows customers to send content directly to their DVR.[1]
  • As of April 7, 2007, Unbox offers over 1,200 movies to purchase[3] compared with 513 on the iTunes Store.[4]
  • Many Unbox videos are also available for rental for $1.99 to $3.99. Rented movies must be viewed within the first 30 days after purchase, and they may only be viewed within 24 hours of the first time the user presses Play.[2]
  • In addition to mainstream shows like Prison Break and 24, Unbox sells television series from the BBC and the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS). Unbox also sells more obscure television series such as Giant Robo (also known as Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot), a 1960s Japanese television show popular in the US in the early 1970s.

April 7 is the 97th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (98th in leap years). ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... The British Broadcasting Corporation, which is usually known as the BBC, is the largest broadcasting corporation in the world in terms of audience numbers, employing 26,000 staff in the United Kingdom alone and with a budget of more than GB£4 billion. ... For other uses, see KBS. Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) is South Koreas premier public broadcaster and one of four major Korean television networks. ... Giant Robo ), is a manga and tokusatsu series created by Mitsuteru Yokoyama. ...

Criticism

Unbox movies will only play in desktop applications that support Windows Media "Digital Rights Management" system, of which none exist for Mac OS X and Linux. Mac and Linux users can still order movies to be loaded onto a TiVo device.[2] Digital rights management (DRM) is an umbrella term that refers to access control technologies used by publishers and other copyright holders to limit usage of digital media or devices. ... Mac OS X (official IPA pronunciation: ) is a line of proprietary, graphical operating systems developed, marketed, and sold by Apple Inc. ... Linux (IPA pronunciation: ) is a Unix-like computer operating system. ...


In the first version of Unbox, a background service would launch itself upon system startup to call home and look for videos to download. This automatic behavior, which could not be disabled without uninstalling the Unbox application, drew negative reviews for its implicit permission to run arbitrary code as designated by Amazon.com personnel. [5] In an upgrade released shortly after launch, thought to be a response to these criticisms,[6] Amazon made "launch on startup" optional, though disabling it also by necessity disables the RemoteLoad feature. When active, Unbox's background service periodically phones home to see if there are any new videos to download. This is confirmed in the video player's license agreement. Also, the program will attempt to contact the Amazon server upon uninstall.


The download speeds shortly after the release were very poor, probably because the servers were overwhelmed by initial demand.[7]


Unbox only supports portable devices that support the Microsoft PlaysForSure format, thereby excluding popular devices such as the Apple iPod. Microsoft PlaysForSure is a certification given by Microsoft to portable devices (portable media players, phones, etc. ... iPod (fifth generation) in Apple Universal Dock, iPod nano (second generation) and iPod shuffle (second generation) iPod is a brand of portable media players designed and marketed by Apple and launched in 2001. ...


Rented Unbox movies cannot be transferred to a portable device. They can only be viewed on the device to which they are downloaded.


See also

Video on demand (VOD) systems allow users to select and watch video and clip content over a network as part of an interactive television system. ...

Related Links

  • Amazon Unbox Launch Press Release
  • Amazon Unbox: Frequently Asked Questions
  • Amazon.com unwraps its 'Unbox', CNET News.com
  • Amazon's Online Video Gambit, Wired News
  • Paidcontent.org: Amazon Unbox Update: Download Times, Etc. Paidcontent.org
  • Amazon Unbox On TiVo

CNET Networks Inc. ... Wired News, online at Wired. ...

References

  1. ^ a b Amazon Unbox on TiVo
  2. ^ a b c d Amazon Unbox™ Video Frequently Asked Questions
  3. ^ List of Unbox movie downloads available for purchase
  4. ^ List of iTunes movie downloads available for purchase. Link requires iTunes to be installed.
  5. ^ Merritt, Tom. "My fight with Amazon Unbox." Alpha: The CNET Blog, 8 September 2006. Accessed at [1] on 7 April 2007.
  6. ^ Ouchi, Monica Soto. "Amazon listens to Unbox beefs." The Seattle Times, 27 September 2006. Accessed at [2] on 7 April 2007.
  7. ^ Kramer, Staci D. "Amazon Unbox Update: Download Times, Etc." paidContent.org, 8 September 2006. Accessed at [3] on 7 April 2007.

External links

Official Site

Reviews


 
 

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