Amazon Unbox Launches on TiVo

Exactly one month after announcing a partnership to deliver Amazon's Unbox movie download service to TiVo users, the two companies have put the service live for TiVo customers with a broadband connection.

Amazon and TiVo are billing the service as the first to offer both recorded television content and broadband content in a single interface. Service activation is done through Amazon.com, where the subscriber must enter information about their TiVo Series2 or Series3 set-top boxes.

Television episodes and movie rentals are available for $1.99 USD, while movie purchases range in price from $9.99 to $14.99 USD depending on the title. Purchases could also be downloaded to other Unbox-compatible portable devices as well for viewing elsewhere.

Once downloaded, the title would appear in the subscriber's "Now Playing" list just like any standard recorded show, TiVo said. Downloads would also appear on Amazon's "Your Media Library" feature for future access from a computer.

Amazon Unbox previously included content from CBS, Fox Entertainment Group, Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, and Warner Bros. Entertainment. The company today expanded its library with titles from Sony Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Amazon is no doubt banking on Unbox on TiVo as a way to jumpstart its download business, which has seen a rocky start. The initial launch of Unbox in September of last year was met by lackluster reviews and reports of service issues. Its incompatibility with the ubiquitous iPod has also likely prevented it from catching on with consumers.

In order to encourage TiVo users to sign up before April 30, 2007, Amazon is offering $15 in free television and movie downloads.

"This overcomes a big issue I had with the idea early on as there was no way to get it to work with two critical devices, iPods and TV sets. While it doesn’t solve the first issue, it does at least partially resolve the 2nd. While this makes sense for rentals, I still don’t see why anyone would purchase a movie in this fashion," remarked Microsoft evangelist Michael Gartenberg.

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