August 18, 2006 12:33 PM PDT

Is this the new Amazon video store?

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People were snatching early glimpses of what may be Amazon.com's new video store on Friday, after a former employee posted screenshots of the store on his blog.

Web pages that first surfaced at Kokogiak.com, titled "Amazon Digital Video" seem to indicate that the company's new store will provide support for Windows-enabled handheld devices, offer movies that customers can buy or rent, and require a software download before watching films.

Amazon video

CNET News.com was unable to confirm for certain that the screenshots are of a real Amazon store. When asked whether the video store found on the Web was legitimate, an Amazon representative issued an e-mail response: "We don't talk about what we might or might not do in the future."

Some of the pages began disappearing from the Web after Amazon was contacted about them.

Alan Taylor, who operates Kokogiak.com, said he worked for Amazon up until two years ago but had nothing to do with a video store while employed by the Seattle-based e-tailer. Taylor said in a phone interview that he simply read reports last month that Amazon was planning to launch a video store and began searching the Web. Taylor discovered some obscure "back doors" and he was in, he said.

"They put the data out there without having it ready," said Taylor, a Boston-based Web developer. "The lesson is to not put anything out on a public site. Obscure URLs don't do anything. Google will find a way to crawl it."

Rumors have circulated for months that Amazon was preparing to make a foray into video downloads. The e-tailer's site was once the top spot on the Web to buy music and videos, but Apple Computer's iTunes store has seized much of the glory since it began offering digital music for download. No longer did online shoppers have to wait for their CDs to arrive by mail. They could buy a song or album from Apple and start listening immediately.

And Apple has jumped to a head start in online video. More than 35 million video downloads have been purchased at iTunes. What Apple doesn't have yet--though the company is reportedly getting ready to launch its own movie store--is full-length features. Amazon's Web store will carry a full array of TV shows, learning videos and motion pictures, according to the Web pages found Friday. Besides TV shows, Amazon will feature an array of feature films.

To this point, digital movies have yet to attract a large audience. It takes hours in some cases for a film to be fully downloaded, and the quality isn't any better than a DVD, even though the costs are often the same.

Hollywood is eager to see how Amazon fares at selling downloadable films, an entertainment executive said last month. Unlike the companies that have already begun distributing digital movies, Amazon has a long track record of selling videos online.

If indeed the Web store found by Taylor is a prototype of Amazon's video outlet, the company plans to enable customers to download content to a handheld device. On a Frequently Asked Questions page, Amazon responds to a question about whether someone with a Creative Zen Vision music player can watch content on the device.

"If your device is on the list of supported devices," the response says.

Amazon video customers may also be able to burn movies to DVD. The rub is that they won't be able to watch them on a DVD player.

See more CNET content tagged:
Amazon.com Inc., online retailer, film, handheld device, store

8 comments

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content expands to fill available bandwidth.
another corellary to parkinson's law.

As the bandwidth available to the american consumer approaches the theoretical 500 Mbps, a flattened, application agnostic super high speed delivery system becomes the most cost effecient method of delivering content.

Even if you got free discs, a DVD distribution involves shipping... etc.

Microsoft's Windows Media format is trusted by the movie companies, it is more secure than DVD, content owners can licence per play, per day, all the way to own it forever. The encryption makes the bits widely available in swarming (Microsoft's AVALANCHE) downloads. To play any of the videos, viewers must obtain a license and a decryption key from a website.

Amazon understands how to market and retain happy customers. Lets hope that this sneak preview whets our apetite for more downloadable content. I-pod (do peas have to get a license from apple?) is just the beginning.

It is all built into Vista.
Posted by disco-legend-zeke (448 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Pro-Microsoft, are we?
Neither Microsoft nor their software is widely trusted. People use it
because either they have to or because they don't know any better.

You did not need to take a jab at Apple, but you did. Your snotty
comment about Apple protecting their trademark had nothing to
do with the original article and added nothing but proof you are an
Apple hater. Bring it on.

Have a nice day!
Posted by lesfilip (496 comments )
Link Flag
You say they can't watch on a DVD Player yet ...
the page here <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://kokogiak.com/thatboxinthecorner/amznimg/azvid1.jpg" target="_newWindow">http://kokogiak.com/thatboxinthecorner/amznimg/azvid1.jpg</a>

says they can watch on a TV. ??? Maybe by using video out from your laptop or PC?
Posted by msanto (44 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The burned DVD is for backup purposes
Presumably you could burn the encrypted data to a DVD for
backup, but you would still need to run it through their software
for playback. A special DVD player could decrypt the data for
playback, but a regular player could not.

Have a nice day!
Posted by lesfilip (496 comments )
Link Flag
Do you think the gaming industry will ever try this model?
Gametap has made a good start, but their library is a bit dated. It would be nice to see availability pull within 6-12 months of release date.

However, there's where I think both the gaming and movie industry need to take a lesson from the music industry and make their releases all at the same time. I think they would see substantial growth and demand. While we're at it ebooks as well.
Posted by jamie.p.walsh (288 comments )
Reply Link Flag
According to Sony...
Yes, games will be online delivery. Or, at least for the PS4. To quote Phil Harrison:
"I'd be amazed if the PlayStation 4 has a physical disc drive.".
Posted by Tomcat Adam (272 comments )
Link Flag
 

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