Remember the partnership that was announced between TiVo and Netflix which fell through? Now TiVo has entered into another partnership, this time with Amazon to bring movies to TiVo users. This announcement was made yesterday, several hours after Wal-Mart released their version of Video Downloads.
While TiVo and Amazon aren’t at the point where they can release the service to everyone, a test version begins today. It’s called Amazon Unbox on Tivo, which an unspecified amount of testers will be able to try-out. Although a final date hasn’t been given, the service will be available to everybody later this year to those who have TiVo digital recorders with broadband Internet capability.
I think it’s a great idea for TiVo to grab the market that they already have, and give them the option to get movies right to their TVs. After purchasing the shows by placing your order through the existing Unbox Video service from Amazon, movies will be delivered right to the TiVo box. This is definitely a big difference from the Wal-Mart download service, because you’ll be able to view the movies on your TV with no extra hassle. The movies would appear in the “Now Playing” list with all of your additional TiVo content.
Another nice feature is that Amazon will store all of your purchased videos in your Media Library (online) so that you can always go back and re-download a movie if you decide to delete it off of your TiVo. This will ensure that you always have room to download new movies.
Now on to the prices. The talk yesterday with Wal-Mart’s service is that the prices are too high for a movie that can’t even be downloaded to DVD. The prices for the TiVo and Amazon deal have been set at TV episodes for $1.99, and movies between $9.99 and $14.99. Movie rentals would be $1.99. So far, thousands of movies will be available from Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, Paramount, and Warner Brothers. TV shows will be offered from CBS, and Fox.
Other agreements from additional studios are expected in the future, and no additional subscription fees will be charged to TiVo users. According to Adams Media Research, Internet downloading is expected to bring in $4 billion in annual sales in five years compared to $27 billion from DVD rentals and sales. If you’re a TiVo subscriber, this is good news! If you’re not, well, just hold out. I’m sure other (perhaps even better) options will be peeking out soon!
More information can be found here.