Thursday, March 8, 2007

Unbox At Amazon Goes Live

....and it works. Even me, a decidedly non-techie, made it work in about five minutes with a couple of mouse clicks.

First of all, I should point out that this won't be a service we make use of frequently. It's a little limiting and with NetFlix and a DVR, there's not a huge benefit to Unbox. You can download to your PC (no Mac OS supported) or to your TiVo box, provided your TiVo box is associated with a home network (which ours already is for reasons that I can't quite remember). But as BoingBoing points out, signing up for the service and downloading to your PC provides Amazon with a lot of control over your PC and provides you with very little recourse or consumer rights. I'm not downloading to my PC because I'm a Mac user, and the TiVo option is far less restrictive.

So, I tried it because Amazon is giving a $15.00 gift certificate for anyone who signs up between now and April 30. That's one free movie from a place that already gets most of my paycheck (I buy a lot of stuff at Amazon) and that I trust, so why not?

I also tried it because a) I'm geeky enough to be intrigued by an on-line store that can download a movie to my TiVo box immediately and b) there's not a lot of other stuff to do in Maine on a Wednesday night before American Idol starts, so why not play with the new technology? I also wanted to see if I could make it all work. It seems so fantastic, so Star Trek, so Star Wars.....

Unbox options include movies like Marie Antoinette, An Inconvenient Truth, Babel and Stranger than Fiction and TV shows like 24 , Prison Break and Bones. We chose Borat. (You're not surprised, are you?)

The purchase went like this: Amazon says it's a simple one-time registration. As with most other customer service interactions at Amazon, they're right. Easy Peasy as my niece would say. Amazon used my email address and password from TiVo to find my TiVo box serial number and set up the pipeline to drop the movie into my TiVo box. I purchased Borat (after thoughtful browsing and consideration--not so much), and it appeared on my media bookshelf at Amazon in the download queue.

I went off to the YHI and met the ladies for dinner and when I got home, bam--Borat is now playing on TiVo list. I have no idea what happens when the Tivo hard drive blows up or we decide to move to a HiDef box, but seeing as we didn't pay for it, c'est la vie, I guess. It's so cool.


weasel said...

That is freaking awesome, but is it really $15 a throw? That's a steep price curve to peel me from Netflix (3 movies at a time for the same price) or going to the movies ($14 for two of us and holding in the mid-coast) or attending the art house cinema my wife runs (free for me!!).

Still, wicked early adopter of you: good work!

mainelife said...

yup, it's 14.99 a movie--I didn't check TV show pricing. I totally agree with you about the cost, and I can't imagine I'd have tried it without the $15.00 gift card as incentive.
Now that I've been able to do it, I can't imagine I'll try it again....
it was simply a way to waste 30 minutes on a cold March night.
Tonight, we watch Borat and waste many more minutes.