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Old Sep 22, 2006, 10:07 AM   #1
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Amazon and TiVo Partnership?

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The New York Post claims that Amazon and TiVo are in negotiations about bringing Amazon's Unbox movies to your television screen. According to their sources, the potential new feature would allow users to automatically transfer online movie puchases to their TiVO.

This offers a similar service as Apple's pre-announced iTv device. Apple's iTv attempts to provide this computer-TV connection with a seperate set-top box which locally connects to your Mac/PC to play your iTunes downloaded content. Presumably, a TiVo version of this would provide similar functionality with Amazon Unboxed videos.

Amazon's Unbox service has received poor reviews since its launch.
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Old Sep 22, 2006, 10:10 AM   #2
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let's hope iTV + iTunes has the functionality to outperform the unbox + TiVo solution.

I'm not concerned at this point, I'm sure this is a "let's play catch-up" move whereas Apple has been designing and integrating their services behind the scenes for well over a year now.
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Old Sep 22, 2006, 10:10 AM   #3
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no no no

this is supposed to read apple and TiVo partnership, not amazon and Tivo, dangit
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Old Sep 22, 2006, 10:11 AM   #4
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this is the right way

This is exactly what I posted that the iTV should do. remove the computer from the process and let the box connect and store the content.
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Old Sep 22, 2006, 10:11 AM   #5
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Although I have no plans to buy anything from Unbox, their selection is really great. I've been watching snippets of the original Star Trek series. I'd buy them if they were on iTunes. Steve???
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Last edited by Doctor Q; Sep 22, 2006 at 10:41 AM. Reason: no need to repeat first post
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Old Sep 22, 2006, 10:12 AM   #6
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I can't help but think that's good news. It's going to be a while before Amazon and TiVo gets the warts out their product, but in the long term we'll be seeing a real alternative to iTV/iTunes.

While iTV and iTunes may end up still being "better", competition can only improve things and keep the dominant player in check. It also creates incentives for the "second place" player to find ways of increasing their share, by including people who wouldn't normally want or be able to obtain either service.

I'm sure people will vote this as negative because it's competing with Apple, but I take the opposite view. It may be "competing", but in the end, both services and the created market will be stronger for it.
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Old Sep 22, 2006, 10:13 AM   #7
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One other question?

Will the "iTV" perform DVR (recording) functionality as well or is it strickly a playback device?
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Old Sep 22, 2006, 10:13 AM   #8
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if only

TiVo ease of use combined with front row/iTv interface sure would be amazing
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Old Sep 22, 2006, 10:14 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squonk
Will the "iTV" perform DVR (recording) functionality as well or is it strickly a playback device?
Based on the announcements, it's strictly a playback device.
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Old Sep 22, 2006, 10:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squonk
Will the "iTV" perform DVR (recording) functionality as well or is it strickly a playback device?
The box as shown doesn't seem to have any inputs that would allow recording. Iger's mention of a disk drive leaves some possibility of downloads, but we'll have to wait for the box to arrive before we know what it really can do.
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Old Sep 22, 2006, 10:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
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[url=http://www.macrumors.com]Amazon's Unbox service has received poor reviews
Wow, that was a scathing review. I hope Apple gets better reviews. As of right now it appears that it may take a deal with Tivo to save Unbox.
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Old Sep 22, 2006, 10:28 AM   #12
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The major problem with this is the connection speed of most Tivo users. Many tivo users have their box connected via Dial-up using the built in modem. This segment will not be able to use the service, so their goes at least 40% of the installed tivo base who could even use the service. Then for those that are connected the series 2 boxes have flakey 802.11g support so download times will be slow slow slow. Then the geeks who would try this have the lifetime service, so their credit card is not on file, like the monthly subscribers are. I just see so many friction points that this sort of service will be quite tough to gain traction. Not to mention the unbox movies are around 2gigs which is a hefty file on a 40gig tivo.
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Old Sep 22, 2006, 10:42 AM   #13
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this could solve the HD DVD format war

If Amazon can send HD movies to the new Series 3 HD Tivo, both Toshiba and Sony lose big time. It would be a great end to their format war.
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Old Sep 22, 2006, 10:42 AM   #14
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Thread cross-reference: Please use the What should the iTV product be named? thread for comments about the iTV product name.
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Old Sep 22, 2006, 10:42 AM   #15
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Tivo runs on linux

I heard somewhere that Tivo runs on Linux. So, they need to somehow decode Micro$oft DRM'd Unbox files. Easier said than done since this does not exist for Linux and only exists for Windows. Also, most Tivo users are actually using it through DirecTV. Only 35% of Tivo users have a standalone box. This standalone box cannot do any HD. The series two box has only a USB port and you need to buy a 802.11b dongle. I don't even think the 802.11g exists for Tivo. The only product that will come close to good solution is Series 3, but that costs $800 and it just came out.

While I think Apple should include a DVD/CD drive in iTV and up the price by $50 (if they want!), I think iTV is a better solution than going after cable/satellite business.

A lot of people that desperately want a DVR don't realize that only 12% of the US household get their TV from rooftop/rabbit ears antenna. 88% get it through subscription to cable/satellite. These 88% cannot be served well with a DVR solution that is not endorsed by the cable/satellite companies. These companies are holding these markets to themselves and contrary to what people say it is going to stay that way for a while to come. It is wise for Apple to stay away from the built-in tuner market and let Elgato do that as an addon. However, by adding an upconverting DVD drive to iTV, Apple can effectively assist customers in getting rid of one more box (the DVD player). Most TVs in the market now have only one or two HDMI ports. While Apple might want to get away from DVD/CD distribution, they should position iTV 1.0 as a crossover device that can play users's DVD/CDs as well as streamed content (cached with a hard drive). The user can use on HDMI cable for all that, instead of yet another one.
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Old Sep 22, 2006, 10:48 AM   #16
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you are right, the selection of movies and tv shows is great there.

great selection of tv on apple. but... apple needs to let movie studios price the movies variably or even for rental the way they want to do.

if apple let the studios price their way... they would have a much larger selection of content.

but to be honest, i DO NOT see the benefit of buying a movie digitally at almost $20 USD when i can buy dvd's for about the same price.

so i do see the limit of $15 as appropriate. oh well lets see how this pans out. the studio's may do a 2 year deal to get this stuff going then re-negotiate a new deal on pricing.
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Old Sep 22, 2006, 10:51 AM   #17
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It has a hard drive it will record

Quote:
Originally Posted by arn
Based on the announcements, it's strictly a playback device.
It's going to have an internal hard drive. I'm sure it will record.
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Old Sep 22, 2006, 11:02 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirkmedia
It's going to have an internal hard drive. I'm sure it will record.
Yes, they would love to cannibalize their TV and Movie sales by letting people get the content for free.



And it was Iger who said it would have a hard drive....If it's not from SJ's mouth or on the Apple website, it isn't true....yet. My bet is that if it is in there, it's there for buffering purposes only.

But I would love to be wrong...
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Old Sep 22, 2006, 11:06 AM   #19
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Why competition is good

Quote:
Originally Posted by speakster
Yes, they would love to cannibalize their TV and Movie sales by letting people get the content for free.



And it was Iger who said it would have a hard drive....If it's not from SJ's mouth or on the Apple website, it isn't true....yet. My bet is that if it is in there, it's there for buffering purposes only.

But I would love to be wrong...
This why an amazon/tivo partnership is good. Apple will have to provide
DVR functionality to compete. And the Movie studios will be forced to negotiate
with Apple.
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Old Sep 22, 2006, 11:06 AM   #20
arn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirkmedia
It's going to have an internal hard drive. I'm sure it will record.
record what? there's no video in.

arn
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Old Sep 22, 2006, 11:08 AM   #21
Kirkmedia
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There will be

Quote:
Originally Posted by arn
record what? there's no video in.

arn
If apple wants to compete with amazon/tivo this device will have to
evolve quick.
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Old Sep 22, 2006, 11:09 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdntcallr
(snip)
But to be honest, i DO NOT see the benefit of buying a movie digitally at almost $20 USD when i can buy dvd's for about the same price.
I agree. For old TV shows, let's make the pricing in the impulse range and I would think the sales would soar. Old shows for $.99 and I'm in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdntcallr
(snip)
oh well lets see how this pans out. the studio's may do a 2 year deal to get this stuff going then re-negotiate a new deal on pricing.
That's what people were saying on the music side of things and at the time of renewal, Steve had to fight something fierce to keep the current model. It will be interesting to see if more movie companies jump on board or not.
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Old Sep 22, 2006, 11:18 AM   #23
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The Wrong Way

Quote:
Originally Posted by askthedust
This is exactly what I posted that the iTV should do. remove the computer from the process and let the box connect and store the content.
I always thought it was really dumb that I have this powerful Mac computer in my house and then I have a TiVO which is a full computer by itself complete with Linux, HD, networking, etc. Why can't I just have my Mac do all this for me ? I don't want another computer under my TV. I think iTV is exactly what we want. Leverage the computer you already have and just interface it to to your TV. I think Unibox and TiVo is the wrong way. I don't want to pay $799 for another computer to sit under my TV when I already have my Mac. We just need to add a USB tuner for Cable, OTA, or Sat connected to the Mac (not connected to iTV). iTV should just be an interface, recording and everythinhg else should be done on your Mac.
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Old Sep 22, 2006, 11:26 AM   #24
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More money in Hardware

[QUOTE]
Quote:
Originally Posted by speakster
Yes, they would love to cannibalize their TV and Movie sales by letting people get the content for free.


They make more selling hardware, than content. And they would still sell
a ton of content.
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Old Sep 22, 2006, 11:28 AM   #25
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Tivo?

Isn't Tivo USA-only?

Getting a PVR in Canada is quite complicated... except if you go with your content provider, in which case you have only one choice of PVR box and it costs 500$CAD or more. The "iTV" device and TV shows/movies can't come fast enough here. If Apple sets decent pricing for whole seasons of TV shows, I might even drop my cable service altogether.

I might not like the idea of paying to own TV shows, but then again I'm already paying to have the shows sent to me on a fixed schedule that I might miss if I'm not home (or if I forget to set the digital cable box to the right channel and program my VCR for the right input at the right time).

All I have to do is add the digital cable bills for a year, calculate the number of shows I really watch, then compare the total cost with how much it'd cost with buying the shows from Apple. As long as it's at least equal, I'll switch to the Apple solution within a month.

I hope we get Canadian TV shows along with USA content, though. I'd hate to have to pick between Corner Gas* and Battlestar Galactica.

* it's like a Canadian version of Seinfeld, except that it's a show about nothing set in the middle of nowhere**.

** no offense to people in Saskatchewan.

Last edited by Yvan256; Sep 22, 2006 at 11:38 AM.
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