Amazon to allow video downloads through Tivo

Seattle (WA) - Just 24 hours after Wal-Mart announced its new online digital video store, Amazon has unveiled a new service to an initial test group of Tivo subscribers, which allows them to stream purchased videos from Amazon Unbox to their TV through the Tivo box.

Amazon Unbox on Tivo adds a new menu selection in the Tivo interface, and gives users full access to videos that they have purchased online through Amazon’s digital video marketplace, and reconfigures the Microsoft-based DRM protection currently used by Unbox to work with Tivo’s Linux platform.

"We think this is a breakthrough. We’re providing people with the simplest way to actually play back their digital content on a television set," said Bill Carr, Amazon’s digital media VP, in a prepared statement. The initial, selective release edges out the Apple TV at least in terms of its release date. Apple’s device will allow users to stream their iTunes content to their TV. The Apple TV will retail for about $300.

Movie and TV show prices on Unbox are nearly identical to iTunes, with $1.99 for episodes of a show, and $10 - $15 for movies. 24-hour movie rentals can also be purchased for $2. There is no additional charge for the Unbox on Tivo service, though users must subscribe to the standard $7 monthly fee to have an active Tivo box.

The new Tivo partnership comes after a failed attempt to strike a deal with Netflix. Tivo’s CEO Tom Rogers said the Amazon venture will be more worthwhile because of the large consumer base and its ability to handle large distribution of content.

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