Analysts: Amazon’s ‘Unbox’ to be ‘Unsuccessful’ vs. Apple

“Amazon’s Unbox movie downloading service launched last night. Sadly, I think it is going to go nowhere. Why? Because it’s not a service designed to meet the needs of real users; instead, it’s all about protecting the studios and accepting Microsoft’s very limited view of consumer rights in the digital world,” Carl Howe writes for Blackfriars’ Marketing.

Why so negative? Because Amazon’s Unbox service provides:

• No living room experience.
• No guarantee of a good portable experience.
• No support for anything other than Amazon’s Media Player on a hefty Windows XP computer.
• No discount for all these restrictions.

“I predict you are going to see a very different service from Steve Jobs next week, and consumers will get to vote with their wallets for which version they prefer. But Jobs at least understands that any movie download service has to create a rich, valuable experience for the consumer, and not just be a way for studios to pocket more money for less work. And until someone else in the digital media business starts to understand that balance, Apple will continue to rule paid digital downloads,” Howe writes.

Full article here.

Michael Gartenberg writes for JupiterResearch, “It’s an interesting move but the real issue is where will you watch these things? There’s no way to burn content to DVD for playback and unless you have a media center PC or some inclination to hook up your TV to your PC, it’s a pretty much PC only experience. While Amazon does support some devices for WMV playback, the site had the following warning notice.”

Supported Devices

The devices in the list below have been tested with the Unbox Video Player. If your device is Plays for Sure compliant it may work, but we cannot guarantee performance on untested devices.

Creative Zen Vision: M
Creative Zen Vision
Toshiba Gigabeat S
Archos AV 500
Archos AV 700
iRiver PMC (Portable Media Center)

Gartenberg writes, “Not exactly a ringing endorsement, Plays for (Almost) Sure strikes again. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. The iTunes music store succeeded because of the iPod, not the other way around. iPods drove people to the store. Without a compelling device story (and it’s not clear YET whether Zune will play protected music or video from Plays for Sure services) it’s hard to see this as a real threat to Apple.. for now. Pricing isn’t likely to drive folks to use this so for now it’s mostly a mobility story without a super interesting mobile device to use it with.”

Full article here.

Related articles:
Cringely: Apple, Amazon, and what Steve Jobs has up his sleeve for next Tuesday – September 08, 2006
Amazon.com launches ‘Amazon Unbox’ DVD-quality video download service with TV shows and movies – September 07, 2006

45 Comments

  1. ” No living room experience.
    • No guarantee of a good portable experience.
    • No support for anything other than Amazon’s Media Player on a hefty Windows XP computer.
    • No discount for all these restrictions.”

    Forgot one:

    • No customers.

  2. All of this is designed to steal Apple’s thunder on Tuesday. In fact, from the two announcements today, the one from Amazon and the wireless device, all seem to co-opt whatever Apple has in store for their announcements. But from these announcements its pretty obvious what Apple has in store. iMovie has been updated to link to a movie store that will definately sell Disney movies. Apple has a new wireless device that will link your Mac to your TV. Apple may or may not introduce a new video iPod like device. My guess is they will. Maybe they will have an all-in-one video/audio/cell phone device. Of course, time will tell. It will be a long three days. I can’t wait

  3. How about an Apple iPod HiFi with video capability – Mark II?

    Download the movie to your Mac, sync with your iPod (once fully downloaded), plug into your iPod HiFi that sits next to your TV for spectacular sound and video HD connection to your TV.

  4. ” If your device is Plays for Sure compliant it may work, . . .”

    That’s the funniest attempt at confidence building I’ve read in a long time!

    Doctor: “Mr. Jones, your new pacemaker is BeatsForSure compliant so it might work. Just cross your heart and hope to die, uh, I mean, have me paged if it suddenly stops.

  5. Ampar:
    Doctor: “Mr. Jones, your new pacemaker is BeatsForSure compliant so it might work. Just cross your heart and hope to die, uh, I mean, have me paged if it suddenly stops
    ======================

    Ampar:

    I have been a lurker forever on MDN and there is so much verbiage bandied about here that I have never been motivated to speak up. But I have to say – You are one FUNNY fellow!

    Your humor, wit and civility are very much appreciated and help make this website a pleasant place to visit

    – Eric

  6. I don’t expect Apple’s offering to be much better. As long as the suits in Hollywood use their Draconian DRM to prevent me from watching the movie I want on any device I want, all these services will fail. I’ll stick with DVD and CD’s.

  7. FailsForSure is more like it. THe only reason they call it PlayssForSure is because Windows Plug & Play (known to the world as Plug & Pray) technology is a major failure, so now they are saying, “No, this time it really does Play. For Sure.”

    Kind of like those phone ads. Conversation in PC store would go something like this:

    “Dude, when you sold this to me you said it plays for sure.”

    “No, I didn’t. I said it plays. For sure. Keep it real dox. NEXT!”

  8. What is Amazon’s resolution? Who cares.

    What is Apple’s resolution? That is a bid deal.

    Amazon has two flavors to download, which is a flaw.

    Apple has Pixlett HD compression technology in it’s back pocket, which it could use effectively to downsample any high-res image for iPod use.

    HOWEVER

    The new iPod video is likely to carry a 720 x 400 screen, covering the entire length of the device. Playback on the iPod video is not likely to be 720p, but video playing from it to a TV, is very likely to be 720p.

    Thus, Apple should be able to sell one version of a movie, capable for playback on a portable product, an HDTV or standard set.

    Apple is likely to deliver the ability to burn movies to a standard DVD burner in a computer – for home theater DVD playback – another advantage amazon does not have.

    Robert C. said it best today, without saying it. Apple is about to unleash a barrage of complete solutions – from movies, iPods, wireless streaming box, to their own LCD TVs, in order to gain quick and wide acceptance into the market.

    This will put massive pressure on the hold-out studio’s to join onboard with Apple and Steves pricing and DRM directives – which are more about the cutomer than the studio’s – which is a large reason why Apple will again win.

  9. All the while either Amazon, Microsoft or Apple insist on using proprietary digital rights management schemes, we’re all the poorer. If DRM must be used, at least make it an open standard. Otherwise we’re all locked into one player for life. Much as like Apple, what happens to my music collection if they go bancrupt in 5 years, or decide to charge a monthly fee to use iTunes? I’m trapped. Proprietary DRM is bad – no matter who uses it.

  10. It’s Ampareciation day again. Just another Hallmark holiday. Watta pain. My wife’s always bugging me for cards and candy on Ampareciation day. I tell her, “Honey, every day is Ampareciation day with you by my side!”

    On topic, does anybody think Apple’s release order of iTunes first, then the iPod, and finally iTMS had any impact on the success of the system? I personally was kinda sad I’d bought SoundJam six months before iTunes was released, but happy to drop it once I saw how much better iTunes became. After that I was very happy to watch out for what was comin’ down the pipe. Just a random thought.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.