Recovered from the Wayback Machine.
Amazon is releasing an upgrade on its video delivery system today. Unlike its previous offering, you’re not limited to a Windows only box in order to stream video to your computer. You also don’t have to completely download the video in order to start watching (similar to what’s offered in iTunes and AppleTV, as well as Netflix WatchNow).
An interesting twist on Amazon’s offering, which is going to make it attractive over Apple’s offering is it’s cloud-based support for videos. If you purchase a movie, you don’t have to keep a copy on your computer or backup storage. Instead, the video will be available at Amazon, ready to stream at the click of a link.
Amazon isn’t looking just to win within the computer desktop market, it’s also looking to connect this service to hardware devices, including Sony’s high-end Bravia line. Currently, you have to purchase an optional tower in order to access the video (and at $300.00, the offering isn’t cheap). Eventually, though, the web video service will be built into the television.
Another possible hardware partner for Amazon’s new streaming service is Roku’s new Netflix device, the small, video streaming device that currently streams Netflix’s WatchNow offerings. Roku recently announced that it is looking for additional content providers—with Netflix’s blessing, as Netflix is looking to place its service in other devices.
What Roku’s box needs from a service is streaming video, as well as cloud-based storage as the device has no storage of its own. The talk in the Roku forums is that the device will be streaming YouTube videos, but these videos typically don’t look every good on a larger monitor, like a TV; especially an HD TV.
Another strong Roku possibility is Hulu, the online video streaming service by NBC and a consortium of other companies. CBS now has new HD quality video streaming services that would also be excellent source for the Roku box.
However, what Amazon’s new service would provide would be a way to stream new movies. The Roku device is also capable of streaming HD quality video, which would provide an outlet for HD quality material from Amazon. The Roku box is also cheap, which can’t help but make it attractive to Amazon. In fact, the Roku’s price could be the key that enables mainstream switching to online video.
If Amazon does stream its offerings through Roku’s video box, the device could become the Amazon equivalent version of AppleTV, only cheaper, smaller, and with access to 10,000 free movies and TV shows in addition to pay-to-play newer offerings.
(Also see NewTeeVee, which wonders at a Amazon/Roku mashup)
Update I updated the text to reflect that iTunes does have the video watching capability as AppleTV. In addition, I adjusted the comments so that you can now leave your contact information.