Pros UI and download/purchase system are intuitive and work well, can play purchased video on multiple computers and portable devices
Cons video didn't play properly - basically unwatchable
Summary I purchased a full-length movie and installed the Unbox software on two computers. Purchase and download worked fine and were intuitive.
I had my first hint of trouble when the app wouldn't exit full-screen mode when I was watching a preview and downloading a movie in the background. Had to force-quit the Unbox app. When I finally got the movie downloaded (download speed was fast), I tried playing it but playback was very "choppy" - i.e. it would pause on a frame for a second or two every 15 secs or so, then start playing again at the correct time (so it skipped a second or two of frames here and there). I noticed that Unbox was being a real CPU hog, taking 60-70% of a 2.8GHz P4 while playing.
So I installed Unbox on another computer, a 1.8GHz Core Duo and downloaded the video to this other computer. Problem was not as bad, but still bad enough that I couldn't watch the movie. Both computers running up-to-date XP-SP2 and 1GB RAM.
Too bad this didn't work for me because I like the Amazon shopping interface and the Unbox UI, too. I uninstalled the app from both computers and got a refund from Amazon for the movie I bought and won't try this app for a while until I read that these probems have been fixed.
Pros Great selection of movies.
Cons Too many to list. See my review.
Summary I was so excited about being able to download movies home to a media player/computer that I went out and purchased a “Creative Zen Vision:M”. Please note, this is the player recommended by Amazon. In fact, they are offering $20 in free video downloads if you purchase it from Amazon.com (This fact will be important as you read my review).
So, my shinny new “Creative Zen Vision:M”. is on the list supported and my trusty Dell desktop more then exceeds the minimum system requirements. , yet installing the software took almost an hour. One I resolved the software conflict; I setup an account and purchased my first movie. Down load wind informed me that my movie would take about two hours so I cooked dinner, cleaned up the kitchen and settled in for a night of movies and TV classics –NOT!
As you may have guessed, the movie did not download as it said it would. So I call Amazon tech support. After about two hours on hold I’m that you have to tell the media player to down load your purchase movie. Ok, I thought this was a bit odd, you’d think that by forking over $15 of cold hard cash would cause for downloading to commence. Affter an additional 2 hours the movie downloaded, at this point it late and I'm too frustrated to watch the move so I head off to bed.
The next day I tried to move the move over to my “Creative Zen Vision:M” -the move won't transfer. This is the same player recommended by Amazon, the same player advertise prominently on Amazon.com with $20 of free video downloads. I check the specks on Amazon’s UnBox site a second time to make sure I have a supported player (who knows, maybe the marketing wiz kids screwed and put their push behinded the wrong player).
According to Amazon’s web site my player is supported. So I called Amazon and after a long wait I get another rep that says even though the device is listed on the site as supported it's not a guarantee that it will work. What?!?!
There might be a happy ending to my story; today I went to Best Buy and exchange my Zen player for an Apple iPod. I’m not happy about Apple’s DRM monopoly, but my desire to rent/purchase movies online, messured with the Best But sales person’s push that the Apple just works convinced me to give it a try. This is my first Apple product and I'm hoping it will work. Unfortunately iTunes offers few movies, and you can’t rent them either. However, if iTunes works I'll stick it out with Apple until either they get more movies, or Amazon sorts out the glitches -the race is on Amazon.
Pros It downloads most of the time, Great Customer Service
Cons It downloads most of the time
Summary I was so excited when I heard about unbox, but the excitement left almost as fast as it came.
I have pruchased 6 movies, and have only been able to download 5 of the movies. i was told that Star Trek Generations had a known problem and they would have it fixed in 3 to 4 days. i would receive an email notification thnat it was fixed and then I could download the movie, but amazon would keep my $9.99 till they fix it. 14 days later. Amazon has my $9.99 and I still have no Star Trek Generations.
Another con is no full screen on my HD TV.
A pro is the customer service is great, besides the Star Trek Generations problem.
Unbox does not list the movie "Apocalypto" for rent or for sale.
Pros good selection of content
Cons LOTS of bugs
Summary I recently ordered a Tivo, and the Amazon Unbox Tivo service was a major selling point that convinced me to go with the Tivo over a less expensive recorder through my cable company. The Tivo's alright, but the Amazon Unbox service is a major disappointment. Out of the five times I've rented movies, four times I've had to contact customer service. It takes anywhere from 6 hours to a day (and several calls) before I'm able to watch the movies and customer service (although prompt) is not very helpful. It seems like maybe half of them know what they're doing and each time I'm prescribed a different fix for the problem.
There's no good reason that the downloads should take this long. When I rent films through my Xbox, I'm able to watch them within ten minutes. Also, many new release are Buy only. Pretty annoying. After another wasted Saturday night, it's back to the video store for me.Updated
The most recent error tells me I have to much content stored on my Tivo to download a movie. I've deleted now over 5 hours of content and it continues to e-mail me the same message.
Pros Downloaded rented unboxed movies to my Tivo with ease.
Cons DRM is too restrictive.
Summary We rented a movie via Amazon Unboxed. It downloaded to my Tivo in the background without a hitch. The entire process was painless except for the DRM (digital rights management).
The movie that we had rented was not as kid appropriate as we had hoped. Having started the movie, we now had 24 hours to finish watching it. Since it was late, we decided to call it a night and try again the following evening since it was a school night and the kids would be in bed earlier. We started the movie right where we left off but the 24 hour DRM ran out with around 4 mins of the movie remaining unwatched. As stated, it was instantly deleted from the Tivo.
The only positive thing is that DRM this inflexible will continue to alienate consumers. With luck, enough consumers will vote with their dollars (or lack of) to convince the industry that DRM needs to be much less restrictive or better yet, totally eliminated.