Today Amazon.com released a video download and rental service called Unbox. With more reasonable prices from 7.99 to 14.99 to purchase a DVD-quality movie and 3.99 to rent a movie (1-2 cheaper for TV shows), Amazon's Unbox may prove to be more popular that the iTunes Movie Store... if those rumors ever come to fruition.
However, as we all expected, the service requires the use of a special Amazon video player that will only ever available for Windows.
Can I use Amazon Unbox on my Macintosh or iPod?
No. Apple Computer Inc. has exclusive rights to the hardware and software that would make this possible. Because of these restrictions, we are unable to make Amazon Unbox compatible with these products. While it is possible to run one of the approved operating systems on computers made by Apple, we cannot guarantee the performace of Amazon Unbox on these systems.
Each hour of video content purchased/rented from Amazon Unbox is 1.2GB, so an average 2 hour movie will require a 2.4GB download. The Unbox video player has a progressive download feature that enables you to watch while you download so with a fast enough connection you can play a movie almost immediately. With a several gigabyte video file, you can be assured that you are receiving great quality video, compared to GUBA's VGA resolution for movie downloads.
Rentals with Unbox are a bit tricky. You have a 30 day period where the file is on your computer and once you start watching it you must complete it within 24 hours. So if you're like me and want to skim through the new movie you just rented before actually watching it, you'll be forced to finish it the same day. At the end of those 30 days or when you have completed watching the film, it automatically deletes itself.