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Future Sony HDTVs to embed support for new Amazon video service

post #1 of 54
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Industry heavyweights Amazon and Sony are aligning to take on the combination of Apple's iTunes and Apple TV set-top-box with a new Amazon-powered video on demand service that will see embedded support on all future Sony Bravia HDTV sets.

Amazon plans to begin testing the new service, dubbed Amazon Video on Demand, later today through a select number of its existing customers, according to the New York Times. Initially, the service will allow customers to access and immediately begin streaming any of 40,000 movies and television programs directly from their Mac of Windows PC.

For the first time, this is drop dead simple, said Bill Carr, Amazons vice president for digital media. Our goal is to create an immersive experience where people cant help but get caught up in how exciting it is to simply watch a movie right from Amazon.com with a click of the button.

The new service differs somewhat from Apple's iTunes video services and Amazon's earlier Unbox offering in that it will allow customers to purchase and begin watching movies or TV shows without having to actually download the video file to a hard drive, potentially increasing the number of device with which it could ultimately become compatible.

Amazon is also hoping to establish a presence in the living room, and has forged a deal with Sony Electronics to place its new video service on the electronics maker's Bravia line of high-definition TVs.

Initially, the service will be accessible through the Sony Bravia Internet Video link, a $300 accessory that allows the flagship line of Bravia HDTVs to connect to a world of Internet videos. However, future Bravia sets will come with the capability built in, according to the Times, allowing customers to access alternative media through the new Amazon service right out of the box.

Going forward, Carr said Amazon will seek to strike similar deals with other HDTV manufacturers and video device makers.

As part of its new service, Amazon says it will store video purchases in a video library so that customers can then watch that show or movie whenever they return to Amazon.com, even if it is from a different computer or portable device.

I can be at my office, purchase a movie, and then it will be available on my television at home, Robert Jacobs, a senior manager at Sony Electronics, told the Times Creating this on-demand available-everywhere access to premium content is going to be very attractive to consumers.

Although Amazon says its new service can support both both streaming and downloading, the current incarnation is stream only. This has helped the online retailer gain the support of a broad range of studios because Hollywood sees streamed content as less conducive to piracy.

The lone holdouts, however, are Walt Disney and ABC, both of which have close ties to Apple.
post #2 of 54
One more death knell to the Apple TV.
post #3 of 54
Streaming? HD streamed content sure doesn't look very good from what I have seen. (Check out Hulu sometime...)

Not sure my ISP is going to like it either...

Maybe the future, but I'll take my AppleTV downloads for now.
post #4 of 54
Hmm, an Apple television.. I wonder where I heard that before?
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post #5 of 54
Ugh. No, no, no. I don't need this embedded in my choice of televisions. My HD monitor should be good for ten years, I don't need it tied to (or pay more for) a service that's going to be either gone, obsolete, or replaced in three. Upgradable software/hardware in a set-top media computer is the way to go.
post #6 of 54
Amazon has a video service?
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post #7 of 54
Apple needs to get on this boat and quick - I was wondering why they didn't do it before. I don't think an Apple branded TV is going to work because the TV market is saturated enough already and the only way for them get into the market is to partner with someone - a company that sells high dollar TV's and since Sony is, apparently, already taken I think they should ink a deal with Samsung and if they REALLY want to make a huge dent in the market they could partner with Vizio although they wouldn't make much money from that but it would extend the iTunes cloud quite a bit since Vizio is the #1 selling HDTV in America...
post #8 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfneuralnet View Post

Streaming? HD streamed content sure doesn't look very good from what I have seen. (Check out Hulu sometime...)

Not sure my ISP is going to like it either...

Maybe the future, but I'll take my AppleTV downloads for now.

I actually checked out the beta of this earlier today on my 20" iMac. It looked pretty good on full screen, but I'm not sure how it would go on a 50"+ TV screen (I was getting all 4 bars in their "Connection" status indicator). The interface was pretty slick as well. The whole system is Flash based (well, for media I had already purchased from Unbox).

And if your ISP doesn't like this, they're certainly not going to like AppleTV downloads either. Bandwidth is bandwidth; I'm not sure why you'd think they'd be looked at differently.

I'm hoping maybe this could make its way to the PS3 as well...
post #9 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

One more death knell to the Apple TV.

If Sony is copying the Apple TV a year or two *after* it's introduction, how is that a "death knell" for Apple TV?

Apple TV is still in the lead in terms of technology and according to the article Sony is copying them now. That sounds more like Apple doing it's usual thing of leading the other tech companies around by the nose to me.

Besides, streaming actually sucks big time in practice and it will be at least a year before they can build this into (one line), of their televisions and many more years after that before large numbers of those televisions are around.
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post #10 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

If Sony is copying the Apple TV a year or two *after* it's introduction, how is that a "death knell" for Apple TV?

.

I'm sorry- somehow I didn't receive the TV that was supposed to be attached with my Apple TV that SOny is copying.
It must have been a manufacturing defect.
post #11 of 54
I don't see why you guys think this is copying apple tv. Apple TV was dfeinlty not the first of its kind at all.

Anyway I like how HDTV manufactures are finding other ways to keep the price of the TVs high. JUST LET THEM KEEP DROPPING IN PRICE PLEASE. Stop bundling more crap in them.
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post #12 of 54
Just what I need. Software updates for my TV.
post #13 of 54
Initially, the service will be accessible through the Sony Bravia Internet Video link, a $300 accessory that allows the flagship line of Bravia HDTVs to connect to a world of Internet videos. However, future Bravia sets will come with the capability built in, according to the Times, allowing customers to access alternative media through the new Amazon service right out of the box.

Key words: Accessory and Flagship

In other words you have to buy a $300 accessory for their most expensive line of televisions in order to use the service. It will probably be a while before they actually start building it into sets and that's assuming their first implementation is a success. I don't see how when their adapter costs more than the AppleTV and TiVo Series 3 and HD, none of which don't lock you into a very expensive line of televisions. In the meantime we'll probably see an AppleTV mkII, TiVo Series 4 and countless other products from other manufacturers that will be far cheaper than Sony's approach.

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post #14 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Industry heavyweights Amazon and Sony are aligning to take on the combination of Apple's iTunes and Apple TV set-top-box with a new Amazon-powered video on demand service that will see embedded support on all future Sony Bravia HDTV sets.

This whole concept just smells wrong. Wouldn't I upgrade or change out my Internet-TV
control box and/or software far more often than my HD Television?

Who wants to pay extra for built-in service tied to one source? It limits choice.
Americans like choice.

Apple's model seems like it would better over the long-term.
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post #15 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lafe View Post

This whole concept just smells wrong.

Maybe, but not entirely. I REALLY like the idea that whatever you rent (if it is a rental service) stays on the server. I like the idea that I can pick up and watch from different locations. I wish Apple would do something similar. They should make the Apple TV dirt cheap and focus on the service. That may be contrary to Apple's concept, of course. If they make money off the sales of the hardware rather than the service, it is not such a great an idea, perhaps ;-(. I think a low cost entry point is essential, however, and in some ways the Amazon Sony deal answers this. The Apple TV model is not well developed nor entrenched and so vulnerable. I think this new model has a lot of good points and Apple needs to take a close look. Which of course I am sure they are doing.
post #16 of 54
When does this stuff about ganging up on Apple become an anti-trust violation? Specifically, the music companies not selling (or selling at a higher price) DRM free tracks to Apple, but doing so to others to prevent Apple from being competitive and driving them out of the market. Any lawyers out there?
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post #17 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

I actually checked out the beta of this earlier today on my 20" iMac. It looked pretty good on full screen, but I'm not sure how it would go on a 50"+ TV screen (I was getting all 4 bars in their "Connection" status indicator). The interface was pretty slick as well. The whole system is Flash based (well, for media I had already purchased from Unbox).

And if your ISP doesn't like this, they're certainly not going to like AppleTV downloads either. Bandwidth is bandwidth; I'm not sure why you'd think they'd be looked at differently.

I'm hoping maybe this could make its way to the PS3 as well...

How did you get access to the bata?

I have a 46" Bravia connected to a mini & would like to try it out!

TIA

Dick
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post #18 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by der passant View Post

Just what I need. Software updates for my TV.

And free- unlike the iTouch.
post #19 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lafe View Post

This whole concept just smells wrong. Wouldn't I upgrade or change out my Internet-TV
control box and/or software far more often than my HD Television?

Who wants to pay extra for built-in service tied to one source? It limits choice.
Americans like choice.

Apple's model seems like it would better over the long-term.

Excuse but like- how is being locked into iTunes not one source with AppleTV? When did they open up AppleTV?
post #20 of 54
I'm really quite happy with the way my AppleTV works with rental/purchases of videos, and with my ripped DVDs and other TV programing that lives in my iTunes (played on my 50 inch Sony Bravia in HD), and I'm surprised how little promotion Apple done for the AppleTV.

If the Amazon/Sony solution provide the same ease of use and the same video quality and price as what the Apple TV provide, then Apple simply missed the boat. It is unfortunate for us Apple fans, but it looks like the competition simply out-Apple'd on Apples own game - simple and integrated content delivery service (eg iTunes/iPod)
post #21 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Excuse but like- how is being locked into iTunes not one source with AppleTV? When did they open up AppleTV?

I have ripped all of my DVDs and AppleTV plays them fine. iTunes is only required for the syncing -- there is no "lock-in" if you don't want it. Also, on AppleTV I can listen to all my music, view all my photos, subscribe to podcasts, check out my friends Flickrs, watch YouTube, and I'm sure in the future, play games downloaded from the App Store with the iPhone as my remote. That last part is just a guess...

I wonder if these Sony TVs will do all of that?
post #22 of 54
I am not sure who this service is going to attract. Are they expecting someone that just bought a high end LCD Sony TV to be happy with the audio/video quality of highly compressed streaming content?

And what about all these ISPs that are starting to experiment with bandwidth caps? Each time someone in your household wants to watch the same thing it will have to be downloaded again. And make no mistake, Amazon's contention that the content isn't downloaded is just silly. It has to be downloaded to play, the difference here is it isn't saved locally.

I have an Apple TV but I use it to stream downloaded content from my iTunes library. It just seems odd to be that anyone would find a service like Amazon's to be appealing.

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post #23 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lafe View Post

This whole concept just smells wrong. Wouldn't I upgrade or change out my Internet-TV
control box and/or software far more often than my HD Television?

Who wants to pay extra for built-in service tied to one source? It limits choice.
Americans like choice.

Apple's model seems like it would better over the long-term.

There could conceivably be replaceable/upgradeable components in the imagined television. The main point, though, is that AppleTV is standing still while Amazon and especially Netflix (who already have access to large libraries of content) are aggressively moving into hardware to create the end-to-end experience Apple has. Steve needs to push forward by including digital tuners in the iMacs, and also advertise them as "digital TV's" as well as computers.

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post #24 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

How did you get access to the bata?

I have a 46" Bravia connected to a mini & would like to try it out!

TIA

Dick

All I had to do was visit the Amazon Unbox site and there was a little blurb about the service in the upper right with a link to a page. Once there, I just had to agree to the terms of service by checking the box and push the submit button.

I think it said it even credited my account $5 to use toward Unbox purchases/rentals.


To other things people have said, I like how Amazon (and Netflix) are reaching out to make partnerships to distribute their content. It seems like there wouldn't be anything stopping a hardware manufacturer from putting both Unbox and Netflix services on one unit, whereas I feel Apple will always try to limit you to iTunes content. Sure I could waste away my life ripping DVDs, but if I want to watch a DVD, I'll watch a DVD. Maybe if you own an 8-core Mac Pro ripping is a quick process, but on my C2D iMac it takes about as long to rip one movie as it does to just watch the thing in the first place.

I like the idea of getting my digital content from multiple sources so that they would actually have to compete in terms of price, service and quality (just like brick and mortar stores have to do).

People keep mentioning how Amazon will be shut down because ISP's will put caps on download limits. But how will that not also affect AppleTV? Unless you are just ripping your content from DVD, how many times are you getting to watch that one movie or show you downloaded from iTunes before you would need to go download something else? How long before your AppleTV reaches the same download cap that Unbox would?
post #25 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

One more death knell to the Apple TV.

Sure.
Instead of a $229 Apple TV (in which you can add your own RIPped DVDs, music and photos,etc.), users can purchase a $1500 television which includes the the ability to watch movies from Amazon (like the $99 Roku box for Netflix) ?
post #26 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post

Sure.
Instead of a $229 Apple TV (in which you can add your own RIPped DVDs, music and photos,etc.), users can purchase a $1500 television which includes the the ability to watch movies from Amazon (like the $99 Roku box for Netflix) ?

And what about the PS3s, XBOXs new ability with rentals now and HD disc drives?
post #27 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by afx114 View Post

I have ripped all of my DVDs and AppleTV plays them fine. iTunes is only required for the syncing -- there is no "lock-in" if you don't want it. Also, on AppleTV I can listen to all my music, view all my photos, subscribe to podcasts, check out my friends Flickrs, watch YouTube, and I'm sure in the future, play games downloaded from the App Store with the iPhone as my remote. That last part is just a guess...

I wonder if these Sony TVs will do all of that?

Yes and surf the web and 1,000s of channels and no connectors!
post #28 of 54
Download Cap

It was my understanding that ISPs so called download cap, isnt about stopping your broadband half way through the month and saying "tough, you have exceeded your limit.

its more about throttling back on the bandwidth so that instead of a megabyte rate your into the realms of kilobytes, ala dialup!

now tell me where your streamed content ends up?

meanwhile the AppleTV will download TO DISC and leave it there ready for you to watch any time up to the 30 day limit.

this is the problem I have with these streaming services it takes just one blip and your movie watching experience is ruined. I really don't think the "web" is up to it JUST yet..

..gimmie a call when they get round to replacing those 4 undersea cables that were cut earlier in the year.
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post #29 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

And what about the PS3s, XBOXs new ability with rentals now and HD disc drives?

What about them?
What would this new Bravia/Amazon thing do for those?
You can plug them into your current television.
post #30 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

There could conceivably be replaceable/upgradeable components in the imagined television. The main point, though, is that AppleTV is standing still while Amazon and especially Netflix (who already have access to large libraries of content) are aggressively moving into hardware to create the end-to-end experience Apple has. Steve needs to push forward by including digital tuners in the iMacs, and also advertise them as "digital TV's" as well as computers.

No offense, but I'm always a bit perplexed when people say Apple should put a tuner in the computer or AppleTV. I just can't imagine that the percentage of people who would benefit from that is very high. In the US, most people get their television service from cable or satellite, not broadcast. And if you limit the discussion to only those who can afford an HDTV, the percentage using cable/sat is going to be even higher.

For my Comcast service, the unscrabled signals that you'd be able to tune in with a TV's tuner are the local channels, ESPN, FX, and a handful of cable access channels. All in SD. You could tune in your local over-the-air broadcast channels in HD, but for most people that means only NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, and PBS. I guess if your veiwing is limited to only those channels, you'd benefit from the digital tuner in an AppleTV; but how many people is that? Enough to pay to put a tuner in, even as an option?

I really can't see Apple putting any kind of DVR/tuner in their devices until the cable industry is forced to do a better job of working with 3rd party boxes (the CableCard mandate was an utter failure). Even then it's unlikely as it would compete with iTunes. The new OCAP (?) cable standard might clean up the mess a bit, but by then we might all be getting our TV over the internet anyway!
post #31 of 54
No offense taken, but you can count me as one of the invisible who refuses to pay for cable or satellite service.

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post #32 of 54
I hope all this new competition makes Jobs open up the Apple TV finally to web radio and Safari. It could do so much more if only allowed.
post #33 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walter Slocombe View Post

Download Cap

It was my understanding that ISPs so called download cap, isnt about stopping your broadband half way through the month and saying "tough, you have exceeded your limit.

its more about throttling back on the bandwidth so that instead of a megabyte rate your into the realms of kilobytes, ala dialup!

now tell me where your streamed content ends up?

meanwhile the AppleTV will download TO DISC and leave it there ready for you to watch any time up to the 30 day limit.

this is the problem I have with these streaming services it takes just one blip and your movie watching experience is ruined. I really don't think the "web" is up to it JUST yet..

..gimmie a call when they get round to replacing those 4 undersea cables that were cut earlier in the year.

And if you don't finish an AppleTv rental in a night you're neurotic for 24 hours trying figure out how to finish watching it in time before it expires. At least there you have a full 30 days.
post #34 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

How did you get access to the bata?

I have a 46" Bravia connected to a mini & would like to try it out!

TIA

Dick

You need a $300 add on to the sony TV to be able to use the service! They're doing this for DRM. No way you will be able to do it with a mini.
post #35 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by old-wiz View Post

You need a $300 add on to the sony TV to be able to use the service! They're doing this for DRM. No way you will be able to do it with a mini.

You can access the beta version from Amazon's website via a Mac right now. That would include a Mini.
post #36 of 54
Great. Now TV makers want to tell us where to get our content.
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post #37 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

As part of its new service, Amazon says it will store video purchases in a video library so that customers can then watch that show or movie whenever they return to Amazon.com, even if it is from a different computer or portable device.

And what happens to your purchases if Amazon closes or shuts down their servers?

I don't think it would be good for Sony's customers to be locked into being able to stream video only from Amazon. Sony will need to be able to add other providers to the mix in order for this to make sense for the long term. There is a very good chance that these TVs will last a lot longer then this new service from Amazon.
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post #38 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Yes and surf the web and 1,000s of channels and no connectors!

Surf the web? Can these Sony TV do that already?
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post #39 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

To other things people have said, I like how Amazon (and Netflix) are reaching out to make partnerships to distribute their content. It seems like there wouldn't be anything stopping a hardware manufacturer from putting both Unbox and Netflix services on one unit, whereas I feel Apple will always try to limit you to iTunes content. Sure I could waste away my life ripping DVDs, but if I want to watch a DVD, I'll watch a DVD. Maybe if you own an 8-core Mac Pro ripping is a quick process, but on my C2D iMac it takes about as long to rip one movie as it does to just watch the thing in the first place.

I like the idea of getting my digital content from multiple sources so that they would actually have to compete in terms of price, service and quality (just like brick and mortar stores have to do).

People keep mentioning how Amazon will be shut down because ISP's will put caps on download limits. But how will that not also affect AppleTV? Unless you are just ripping your content from DVD, how many times are you getting to watch that one movie or show you downloaded from iTunes before you would need to go download something else? How long before your AppleTV reaches the same download cap that Unbox would?

Well said. i fully agree with you, except I am ripping my DVD collection.
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post #40 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

No offense taken, but you can count me as one of the invisible who refuses to pay for cable or satellite service.

Great for you. But I only have one station in my area, and a covenant that says no outside antenna. So its satellite, cable or internet for me.
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