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7/10/2007
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Amazon And TiVo Launch PC-Free Download Service

Only select TiVo subscribers with broadband connections can take advantage of Amazon's Unbox service.

While Apple designed its Apple TV device to make media downloaded through a computer viewable on television, Amazon.com and TiVo have taken the PC out of the picture.

TiVo, a maker of digital video recorders, said Tuesday that its subscribers "can now browse, purchase, and rent movies and television shows from Amazon Unbox on TiVo without leaving [the] couch and without using a PC."

While the health benefits of this approach leave something to be desired, the price and the instant gratification factor will likely make NetFlix customers, at least those armed with TiVo's hardware, think twice about continuing to receive NetFlix DVDs through the mail. Note that with a 5-Mbps broadband connection, instant gratification for a two-hour movie takes about one hour.

TiVo Series2 and Series3 subscribers with broadband connections can take advantage of Amazon's Unbox service, which offers movies, for rent ($1.99 to $3.99) or purchase ($9.99 to $14.99), and television shows, for purchase only ($1.99 per episode).

"We are excited to make Amazon Unbox on TiVo even easier to use by making it possible to purchase and rent movies and TV shows not only on the Web but also with your remote control," said Roy Price, director of Amazon Unbox, in a statement.

No doubt Amazon is also excited to be finally bringing an innovative service to bear against Apple's dominance of the digital download market. In the first quarter of the year, Amazon lost its place as the third largest music retailer in the United States to Apple's iTunes Store, according to the NPD Group, a shift that reflects the growing importance of downloaded music.

Amazon's Unbox offers a selection of over 10,000 movies, TV shows, and other digital content. Apple's iTunes Store features over 5 million songs, 350 television shows, and 400 movies.

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