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Amazon Unbox Video Downloads review: Amazon Unbox Video Downloads

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The Good Amazon Unbox offers an easy shopping interface and one-click buying process, as well as a decent selection of movies and television shows. You can purchase or rent movies, and the prices are comparable to those of other online video stores. Progressive downloading lets you watch your selection while it's still downloading. Unbox also has user-friendly support options, and the early problems involving going online without permission as well as uninstalling difficulties have been fixed. It works with TiVo Series 2 and Series 3 boxes.

The Bad Amazon Unbox has no Mac version, and purchased movies can't be burned to DVD for television playback. It works only with Windows-compatible PMC portables, the downloading is slower than with other services, and there's no subscription plan.

The Bottom Line Amazon Unbox has taken its knocks, but it's a strong choice if you own a Windows PMC, or if you don't mind watching movies on your monitor.

Visit for details.

7.2 Overall
  • Setup 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 8
  • Support 7

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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 here.

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.

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