Amazon dives into video on demand (VOD)

Last year, when I decided to discontinue my cable TV subscription and stop going to Blockbuster, I noticed a dramatic improvement in my productivity while working from home.  But, from time to time, it’s nice to get plugged into pop culture and see video other than what you get on YouTube.

So, I started exploring mainstream video on demand (VOD) services.  The first service I stumbledupon was ABC.com.  Nice thing about ABC is that I could watch full episodes of Lost.  Although I had to endure the commercials, it was convenient, addicting, and saved me both time and money by not having to rent them from Blockbuster.  I also wasted plenty of time watching ridiculous game shows on ABC.com.

Then, during both the Democratic and Republican conventions, I wanted to listen to and watch the speeches.  So, I went to CNN.com and found satisfaction there with full-time, 100% live coverage and the ability to go back and watch coverage that I had missed.

When it came to the convenience of getting and watching full-length movies, I found Netflix to be a refreshing alternative to Blockbuster.  One of the neatest things about going online to Netflix is that you can list and prioritize your favorite movies, move things around in your queue, find out exactly when to expect your next movie, and so on.  It was fun.

Well, now Amazon.com has jumped into the forray.  Amazon offers not only the same type of cable TV episodes that you would expect to find on venues like ABC but also streaming rentals and purchases of videos that you’d expect to see on Netflix.  At $1.99 for TV episodes, $3.99 for movie rentals, and $10-$15 for movie purchases, Amazon provides relatively competitive pricing.  However, at this moment, the digital quality of the videos are not high definition.  So, apples to apples, you are not getting the same quality as if you had purchased a DVD out of the box.  If you are only watching movies from an iPhone or small laptop then it’s no big deal.  But, if you plan to stream the videos and display on your 42″ HD plasma, you may be a bit disappointed.

Regardless, it is interesting to watch the convergence of online entertainment through video on demand and the shakeup of the media industry whereby traditional broadcasters are being supplanted by internet pioneers.


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