23 April 2009

Amazon Video on Demand goes high definition

hd video amazon 21 04 2009 - Amazon has added HD content to its Video on Demand service. The upgraded content is available for viewing via a Mac or PC, and also for streaming to compatible devices like Roku's streaming player and some HDTVs.

Today Amazon announced that its Video On Demand service now has HD movies and TV shows, which had started appearing in late March, available for purchase or rent. The move catches Amazon up with Apple's iTunes Store, which has offered HD content for rent via AppleTV since January 2008, though it only recently allowed watching HD content on a Mac or PC this March. Likewise, Netflix's Watch Instantly feature has also offered a selection of HD content for some time.

Currently, Amazon VOD has a selection of over 500 movies and TV shows available in HD. That pales in comparison to its library of over 40,000 titles, but it does include a lot of popular content. Amazon highlighted the HD availability of movies like Frost/Nixon, Twilight, and Yes Man and hit TV series like Californication, The Tudors, Smallville, and Gossip Girl. We also spied Heroes, Battlestar Galactica, and The Office in there as well.

In addition to adding HD content, Amazon is also announcing that select partners' devices which support Amazon VOD are supporting the upgrade to HD. In addition to the Roku digital video player, TiVo DVRs (Series3, HD, and HD XL), and the Sony Bravia Internet Video Link, Amazon and Panasonic are announcing that Panasonic's VIERA CAST-enabled HDTVs are now Amazon VOD-compatible.

"Our customers have been asking us for two things: HD and the ability to watch movies and TV shows instantly on their television, said Bill Carr, Amazon vice president Music and Video, in a statement. "Today we are thrilled to begin offering HD and to add the distinctive Panasonic VIERA CAST-enabled HDTV lineup to the growing number of televisions and devices supported by Amazon Video On Demand. We plan to continue making it easier than ever for customers to instantly enjoy their favorite TV shows and movies in HD from the comfort of their living rooms."

With today's Amazon news, the concept of "tuning in" for TV content at a particular date and time dictated by a broadcast company seems all the more like a quaint anachronism, much the way that dial-up Internet connections and floppy disks seem now.

Source: ArsTechnica

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