Yesterday was a big day for Amazon as they began rolling out to beta testers Amazon Video on Demand, a video streaming service. This is the successor to Amazon Unbox, a video on demand service launched by Amazon in 2006. Unbox hasn’t become the hit they suspected, partially because of the hassles involved with downloading the movies before being able to watch them. Under the new service, users need only a web browser and the Adobe Flash plugin to immediately start watching movies.
At launch there are about 40,000 titles (movies and TV shows) available. We haven’t seen the library yet to determine if the ones available are good or not, and the service is available only to a limited number of beta testers. The good news is that because you only need a browser, you can view videos on your PC or Mac. According to early reviews, the quality of the video is clear in the smaller size, but once you switch to full-screen it’s not quite as clear as streaming a movie with Netflix’s streaming service. Another plus is that getting started is a quick process according to PCWorld, and the videos start streaming almost immediately.
What kind of content can you expect? There’s a wide variety available and the only major studio not to participate is Disney/ABC. Amazon’s Vice President for Digital Media, Bill Carr said, “For the first time, this is drop dead simple. Our goal is to create an immersive experience where people can’t help but get caught up in how exciting it is to simply watch a movie right from Amazon.com with a click of the button.”
If you want to get on a waiting list to become a beta tester, you can sign-up here. Amazon Video On Demand is expected to become available to the masses later this Summer. Streaming video is no doubt a convenient way to watch media instantly, so it looks like Amazon is taking a step in the right direction.