The Time Warner Internet division has launched an online service that will allow customers to download DVD-quality picture TV shows, movies and other videos from around the world.
The new service is called Amazon Unbox and will be the only video download service to offer DVD-quality picture. The video content available for download is encoded at 2,500 kilobits per second (three times the video quality of the leading commercial Internet video services, as Amazon says) using the ultra-efficient VC-1 Advanced Profile codec.
Also, at no additional charge, Unbox includes a lower-quality version of the file which is optimized for playback on any Windows Media-compatible portable device.
In addition, Unbox RemoteLoad technology allows customers to buy from one PC and download to another, thus loosening the strictness of movie downloads.
Unbox offers a neat feature for those using a broadband connection to the Internet. With progressive download, Unbox eliminates the need to wait for the entire video to download before watching. This means the typical cable broadband customer can start watching any Unbox TV show or movie within five minutes of ordering.
“Amazon Unbox offers TV and movie enthusiasts a fast, convenient way to watch thousands of their favorite videos from around the world,” said Bill Carr, Amazon.com’s vice president of digital media. “Now Amazon.com customers can choose to get videos delivered to their doorstep from Amazon’s DVD store or choose Amazon Unbox and download DVD-quality picture movies or television shows to their PC.”
Amazon Unbox customers will be able to access their videos in the Amazon Your Media Library, a personalized Web page that indexes and organizes their media purchases from Amazon.com, including books, CDs, DVDs and Unbox Videos. Your Media Library provides each Unbox customer a place to keep track of their Unbox video purchases, and even download them to an additional PC.
Amazon Unbox customers can download episodes of their favorite television shows that aired as recently as last night or favorites from decades past. Unbox offers current hits from top networks like CBS with “CSI” and “Numb3rs” and FOX with “24″ and “Prison Break” as well as classics like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Firefly” and “Star Trek.” Unbox also offers a broad selection of popular shows from cable networks such as A&E, Cartoon Network, Discovery Channel, FX and several channels from MTV Networks, including Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV and VH1.
Unbox customers can purchase television series episodes for $1.99 per episode, purchase most movies for between $7.99 and $14.99, or rent the latest movies for $3.99.
The Amazon Unbox webpage is located at this address.