Thursday, September 07, 2006

Amazon Unbox vs. Apple iMovie

The facts (rumors?):

  • Apple's Movie Download Service iMovie is expected to be announced on Sept 12.
  • iMovie should allow movie purchase for $10-15.
  • Amazon's Movie Service Unbox is expected to launch today, Sept 7.
  • Unbox should offer movie rentals at $4 and purchases for $15, as well as TV show purchases for $2.
  • Apple should offer Disney movies (including Miramax and Lion's Gate). Amazon gets just about everyone else: Warner Bros., Fox, Paramount, MGM, Lionsgate, Sony and Universal.
What I think:
iTunes clearly has the marketing advantage. They have a strong iTunes user base (understatement of the year) to offer the iMovie service to, and as rumor has it, a wide-screen video iPod is coming to show the movies on. Apple has proven that they can sell media downloads with sufficient protection and has users trained to do so via iTunes.

Amazon has an uphill battle to fight, but has one thing in their advantage: rentals. Though DVD sales has been strong, most people prefer to rent. Like I've said before, music is great to buy since people listen to it over and over. Movies are different because you don't - you're not going to watch anything hundreds of times. Being the first to actually offer Internet rentals will give Amazon an advantage over others like iTunes, or Netflix.

I'll try them both, and there are many other factors to consider like picture quality, audio quality, and DRM. But the next few months will be great for trying out new products - like Netflix's set top box and TiVo Series 3.

UPDATE: Zatz gives us a preliminary review of Unbox. I'll need to check it out this weekend.

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