Friday, July 18, 2008

Amazon Launching "Cloud TV"

Next Thursday, will open a new TV show and movie store called Amazon Video on Demand. Amazon customers will be able to purchase from an initial collection of about 40,000 videos and TV show episodes, and watch over a stream. Here's an interesting New York Times piece quote on the product from Bill Carr, Amazon’s vice president for digital media:

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 with a click of the button.

You may think big deal - I can do the same things in iTunes. Well.... actually iTunes requires you to download the content to your device before you can watch it. The new Amazon product is different because the customer will have the option of watching over a stream - much like a pay-per-view system from your cable provider. Here's more from the Times piece:

To make the new service more enticing, the first two minutes of all movies and TV shows will begin playing for users on immediately when they visit a title’s product page on the digital video store.

It will also let users buy a TV show or movie without actually downloading the video file to the PC’s hard drive. Amazon will store each customer’s selection in what it calls “Your Video Library.” Customers can then watch that show or movie whenever they return to Amazon, even if it is from a different computer or device, a solution that neatly gets around studio concerns about piracy.

Amazon has also reached an agreement with Sony to put Amazon Video on Demand on the Sony Bravia Internet Video link for high definition TV's. The Sony system currently requires a $300 external box but it is anticipated Sony will integrate this functionality into future Bravia sets.

What does all this mean? Let's look at an example - say I'm on my lunch break sitting outside on a nice day surfing the Amazon Video on demand website using my WiFi connected iPhone. Let's also say I'm a fan of the Battlestar Galactica TV show and decide I want to purchase one of the episodes. With a few clicks I've made the purchase (I'm guessing $1.99 per episode) and the video is placed in my Amazon Video Library - I can access this library from any web connected device. I can immediately start watching the episode in my iPhone web browser and later in the evening I can continue watching the episode on my home desktop computer and on my new Sony Bravia TV. I've purchased the episode so it stays in my library - I can watch it over and over again if I want.

As I continue to purchase, my entire collection content is stored online in "the cloud" and accessible from any device with a high-speed Internet connection. I like the concept and will be giving this a try next week.

1 comment:

Mark Viquesney said...

Thanks for the heads up Gordon! As long as Amazon doesn't go out of business, then this could be a real boon for when I teach my screenwriting class. No more of me trying to find where my almost two year old moved the film I needed for that night. No more arriving in the class room and finding that the dvd player was moved to another room. Just like Google docs, as long as I have Internet access, then I will have access to my movies. I hope they will be able to get everyone on board and build a huge library.