Amazon Video on Demand

I discovered Amazon’s Video-on-Demand service over the weekend. They let you rent movies over the internet, and I thought it was pretty cool. I rented Hellboy 2, and they had some sort of promotion going on, so I saw it for 99 cents. They give you two options: you can stream the movie an unlimited number of times for a 24-hour period, or you can download it. The downloaded version also has a 24-hour window which starts the first time you play the movie. They use DRM to prevent you from having a permanent copy — which is fine by me, since they would have to charge full-price ($13.99) if people were buying rather than renting the movie. The whole thing saved me a trip to the rental store, and the hassle of “is every copy already rented out?”

The only problem I had with it was that I couldn’t get good bandwidth while streaming the movie off their servers. The stream was coming across at 350 Kpbs (the lowest of Amazon’s four bitrates) even though I have a 1.5 Mbps connection. As a result, I kept getting annoying popups saying that the bandwidth was too low (although the movie itself never stuttered). I think it might be a problem with my ISP.

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