Editors' note, October 22, 2008: Amazon Unbox is now Amazon Video On Demand. Many of the features are the same as immediately before the name change, but there have been several updates since the posting of this review. For more information, click .
Amazon Unbox, the online retailer's video download store, could be the Apple iTunes Store's biggest competition so far. It has the benefit of the Amazon name and the site's many regular shoppers, it uses a site interface we're all familiar with, and it offers a good selection of movies and television shows for rental or purchase.
While the service got off to a rocky start and took plenty of knocks from the press, including
Apple's way around this problem was to create the Apple TV , which lets you wirelessly transfer shows to your television. Amazon's solution was to partner with TiVo, letting TiVo subscribers with Series 2 or Series 3 boxes download video directly to their televisions. CNET's Webware has a complete look at the TiVo experience, so this review will focus on the PC experience.
Users can shop for Unbox titles directly on the Amazon site--look for the Unbox link high on the left side--but you'll need the Unbox downloader software to receive titles. Sorry Mac owners, but Amazon Unbox doesn't love you; the iTunes Store is still the only video-download site that works with Macs and iPods.