Amazon Unbox Re-visited

By Deane Barker on September 11, 2006

I tried out Amazon’s Unbox service tonight. It was perfectly adequate — I got exactly what I paid for with no drama at all.

I purchased the first episode of Firefly for $1.99. I probably could have started watching it after five minutes or so, but I let it download in the background. It took about 30 minutes (maybe; I really didn’t keep track).

Unbox comes with a little player app (much like iTunes), and it stores the library of videos you’ve purchased. For $1.99, I get to keep this episode and watch it whenever I want.

No telling how hard it will be to transfer the media from one machine to another, though Amazon claims you can get it out at a 300MB file and take it wherever you want. (I had a similar problem with iTunes — I couldn’t get music purchased under one Windows account to show up under another.)

The player was good with one irritation — when it full-screen mode, there were no controls. Normally, when watching video in full-screen, the controls will pop up if you move the mouse. But to get to the controls in Unboz from full-screen mode, you have to go back to windowed mode.

The episode was perfect quality — about what I expected. (Funny too. Firefly looks like it was a great show.)

There’s a tantalizing feature in the player called “Transfer to Device.” Sadly, I didn’t have any devices to which I could transfer, but it sure looks interesting. Can one of those “devices” be my TV?

All in all, it was a drama-free experience. It just worked. Not bad at all.

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