Amazon offering TV episodes for 99 cents

In an attempt to combat the 99-cent rentals that Apple now provides with their new Apple TV, Amazon.com's video-on-demand is offering TV episodes from Fox and ABC for only 99 cents. This comes at a better deal than Apple's rental, as for these episodes instead of renting, you are purchasing. The price is the same for both standard definition and high definition programming. Amazon's selection is quite large including TV hits such as Glee, Doctor Who, Lost, and Futurama, a full selection is available here

While this is a steal for customers, Amazon may actually be losing money on this deal paidContent reports. Many of the complete seasons are available for $10 to $20, in HD and SD, which is cheaper than buying the DVD set which tends to retail for $20 to $40 on Amazon. On iTunes, Glee sells on iTunes for $49.99 in HD, while on Amazon the download price, still in HD, is only $21.78. In attempt to keep customers and in response to Apple's rental service, Amazon has started the project. For Amazon, they hope that more people will use their service which will then offset the potential funds they could have lost to iTunes for keeping higher prices.

If Amazon's gamble works out, then the company will have more users and downloads than they have ever had before. Hopefully for them, the potential loss they are taking now will pay out with more customers which would balance out any price cuts. Amazon is also looking to make a statement for other television studios to show that this cheap episode purchasing will work in the end, and hope that more studios will join ABC and Fox in allowing Amazon to offer programming for just 99 cents.

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51 Comments

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what is the difference between renting and streaming. I do pay for streaming content, like the zune pass which of course come with 10 free songs a month, but I do not see myself renting a show that I can only see for limited time. I can see myself bying the full season of Dark Blue for like $15 as opposed to renting it.

it should be interesting to see what the zune marketplace is goin to offer for the TV show. They bettter come with a sweet deal because I am not interested in the solution Apple is offering with a rentind model.

Amazon has renting and buying options. If you buy the show its yours with no time limit. You can stream it to your browser, download to your PC and portable device. You buy TV shows and rent or buy movies.

Edit: you can send it to a Tivo box

Edited by Doli, Sep 2 2010, 10:28pm :

what will be the difference between streaming and rentin. I have the zune pass, which is streaming and dowload, but I do not see mysefl renting TV show. I can see myself buying the full season of DARK Blue for $15 dollars not renting it for that price. It is interesting to see what the zune marketplace is going to offer.

Is this US only? If not can we purchase US shows from anywhere in the world? If so this is a winner.

bb10 said,
Nice price, but DRM is fail.

You really think the studios will not DRM their stuff and let Amazon sell it. You can stream the shows you buy online in your web browser, download to your PC, and to a portable device as long as you want no time limit, except for rentals.

Doli said,
You really think the studios will not DRM their stuff and let Amazon sell it.

Well, I think they will eventually. Lots of DRM free music out there currently, which wasn't the case some time ago. I think, with time, you'll see the same happen with TV shows and movies.

Doli said,
You can stream the shows you buy online in your web browser, download to your PC, and to a portable device as long as you want no time limit, except for rentals.

I don't like streaming and I'm not going to watch stuff in my web browser. When download it I want to use my favorite software to play it and that isn't possible, so it's not a solution for me.

Doli said,
Now what is Zune marketplace going to do?

They'll have a Zune Pass version of movies and TV shows too, based on my sources. Of course we'll have to wait for the fall to know for sure. I just wish ABC would stop being a Microsoft hater and put their stuff on Zune Marketplace.

Mr Spoon said,
If only it was for the UK.
I'd download all of Lost and loads more too!

What's stopping you? Create an account on the US Amazon, and start downloading... if it detects you're in the UK, use a US VPN (Giganews' ViprVPN for example), and if it's limiting on address, ask to use a friend's address whom lives over there. That's generally what I do when signing up for some things over in the States (not tried Amazon yet, but will prob do so quite soon).

JustinN said,

What's stopping you? Create an account on the US Amazon, and start downloading... if it detects you're in the UK, use a US VPN (Giganews' ViprVPN for example), and if it's limiting on address, ask to use a friend's address whom lives over there. That's generally what I do when signing up for some things over in the States (not tried Amazon yet, but will prob do so quite soon).

You would also need a US credit card or Amazon vouchers since you'll need a US billing adresss (vouchers obviously get around that.)

I am not sure if non-US citizens can buy Amazon US vouchers (I ssume they can, failing that eBay or something) but that with a US VPN "should" work. (I did it with Amazon MP3 and a $20 credit I had sitting on my account for a few years but it was a PITA to set up.)

This could go both ways for the consumer. The reason only FOX and ABC are the only ones is because the other networks are worried it will cut into their revenue. If Amazon and Apple get into a price war, its going to only get harder to convince the other networks. That is obviously bad for consumers. At the same time, with two big name companies offering this, if FOX and ABC start seeing large profits for the large user base, it may get those same companies to come on board.

DRM info, please! I've already heard this won't transfer to my iPod/iPhone/iPad. What about other mobile devices? Streaming to other computers? To my set-top box?

vince.macintyre said,
DRM info, please! I've already heard this won't transfer to my iPod/iPhone/iPad. What about other mobile devices? Streaming to other computers? To my set-top box?

There is a download option on Amazon. Anyone know what type of file you download?

Minimoose said,
Can you not just download the file and remove the drm?

In some jurisdictions I think that is considered fair use. In the US, I think that would be considered illegal. You don't want to do anything illegal, do you?

Shadrack said,

In some jurisdictions I think that is considered fair use. In the US, I think that would be considered illegal. You don't want to do anything illegal, do you?

But he wasn't asking what the legal implications were (and as you said depending on their locations there may not be any) but if it's possible.

You will never see me rent a show of .99. That's retarded. Why not just get netflix and watch all the TV shows (in their library) you want.

warwagon said,
You will never see me rent a show of .99. That's retarded. Why not just get netflix and watch all the TV shows (in their library) you want.

Amazon you are purchasing...not renting...for the same price that Apple is renting the shows they offer.

warwagon said,
You will never see me rent a show of .99. That's retarded. Why not just get netflix and watch all the TV shows (in their library) you want.

Netflix's library of TV shows is not as extensive as iTunes' or Amazon's, and most of the time, the shows aren't available until MUCH later than on iTunes or Amazon. Now, for catching up on old seasons of shows, Netflix is outstanding.

How about free? I don't understand, I watch it on an OTA digital signal free. Hollywood needs to get rid of all the old geezers not in touch with todays intertubes.

bnajbert said,
How about free? I don't understand, I watch it on an OTA digital signal free. Hollywood needs to get rid of all the old geezers not in touch with todays intertubes.

Can you watch it whenever you want?

I think that all the TV studios should offer ALL their shows on their websites, for free, with commercials. Like hulu, just better. Not having every show online nowadays just seems stupid.

thatguyandrew1992 said,
I think that all the TV studios should offer ALL their shows on their websites, for free, with commercials. Like hulu, just better. Not having every show online nowadays just seems stupid.

Yeah even Australian TV networks have their shows on their websites.

Things are indeed getting interesting now, these competitive practices can only mean good things for us consumers, especially those who choose not to have cable.

techbeck said,
EDIT: Didnt see the owning part. Good move Amazon!! Wonder what Apple's response will be.

Owning is SWEEET. At this price, I hope they do well. I might do this. How is the DRM I wonder. Can I put this on my phone, on my Zune HD? Probably not

ObiWanToby said,

Owning is SWEEET. At this price, I hope they do well. I might do this. How is the DRM I wonder. Can I put this on my phone, on my Zune HD? Probably not


If it's the same DRM (none) as Amazon MP3 you can put it on anything you want.

Stokkolm said,

If it's the same DRM (none) as Amazon MP3 you can put it on anything you want.

It's not, it's DRMed. Some devices have an Amazon VOD channel though.

This is what I like to see. When companies compete the consumer wins! 99 cents is the perfect price for me to purchase and own a tv show (not rent). Wouldn't mind older shows being cheaper too.

JMendes said,
This is what I like to see. When companies compete the consumer wins! 99 cents is the perfect price for me to purchase and own a tv show (not rent). Wouldn't mind older shows being cheaper too.

Well, Apple TV doesn't have a hard drive.