Roku’s Amazon VOD in Beta. YouTube Next?

Dave Zatz —  February 5, 2009 — 11 Comments

We knew Amazon Video on Demand was headed to Roku‘s media streamer ($99) early this year. And now, via their forums, we have word that the service has entered private beta. I had hoped Amazon VOD functionality was hidden within the recent 1.5 software update, however it’s rolled into a more significant 2.0 upgrade. Which potentially means a longer wait. Although, the refresh may also contain YouTube access. Look closely at the Amazon.com screengrab above for some (possible) visual confirmation. I can’t say YouTube excites me all that much. But combined with Netflix and Amazon, Roku’s negotiated quite the impressive trifecta for such a tiny, inexpensive box. But what I really want to know (still) is: Will Amazon VOD be offered in HD?

11 responses to Roku’s Amazon VOD in Beta. YouTube Next?

  1. “I can’t say YouTube excites me all that much.”

    Clearly you didn’t follow the guys from the Pulp Secret comic book podcast when they left Next New Networks and started their own YouTube channel. It’s like Digg. For comic books. (Not that I collect comics any longer, sadly. I just like to know what’s going on with them.)

    More specifically on-topic: If Roku gets HD Amazon then that might be enough for me to leave TiVo and its monthly fee (let me be sure to emphasize the “might” in “might be”).

  2. When will there a media streaming box that supports Hulu natively (yeah, there’s PlayOn, but it’s not the same).

    @Geoffrey Sperl:
    If you’re tired of monthly TiVo fees, you could go for TiVo’s lifetime subscription fee.

  3. Geoffrey, I really wish all video podcasts ended up on YouTube. It’s a central place we all have access to, and the creators can monetize. I’ve seen more move over lately, though, which leaves me hopeful. And now I’m going to look up Pulp Secret – always looking for good content. :)

    James, That’s the bazillion dollar question. And the longer we go without formal Hulu device integration, the more I wonder if there’s some sort of licensing/guild/royalties issue that limits certain content to computer output versus TV display.

  4. It’s a matter of time before Amazon has a major clash with Google as well as Walmart. Amazin is like the Walmart of the Internet.

    Youtube is only part of it. Amazon is releasing its payment service to compete with PayPal (and therefore Google Checkout). It is offering cloud computing service too. Its MP3 store, which I like a lot, is also competing with Apple iTune store.

    I actually like Amazon’s MP3 store a lot. It’s nice to use MP3 as it does not have DRM and I can use whatever device I have to listen to songs without worrying about compatibility and everything else.

  5. Geoffrey, I have a feeling that once amazon starts offering HD video, TiVo will add the functionality. As of now, Amazon doesn’t even offer it.

  6. Just an FYI… A photograph Gizmodo shot at CES shows Amazon VOD in HD via the Yahoo TV widget thingy – might have been a Vizio television if I remember correctly.

  7. Hulu. I want Hulu. And the ability to play files on my network including VIDEO_TS. Alternately, I wish they had an app that could run on a Mac (or PC I guess) and would capture the video and audio of another app and stream it to the box. So the heavy lifting is done by the computer and streamed to the box. Sling sort of does this, albeit only for the PC. Grrr.

  8. Dave: They are “ComicBookClub” on YouTube and are at http://www.youtube.com/user/ComicBookClub

    As for the others: I have a Series3 going into its last year of a three-year pre-paid agreement and a TiVo HD that is going month-to-month with the multiple box discount. The key is that I, after being on broadcast and Internet TV for the past three months, think TiVo best serves a cable or satellite customer (I initially came to them as a DirecTV subscriber). The Season Pass, Wishlist, and TiVo Suggestions make a ton of sense when you have a couple of hundred channels coming into the house, but not much when you have less than 50 coming in over broadcast (I live just outside of Detroit so I pick up some Canadian stations, too). So, in reality, TiVo, as much as I like it for cable/satellite-based applications, is overkill for me.

    Now, if TiVo were to make a direct competitor to the DTVPal DVR (how’s the hands-on going with that, Dave?), a basic OTA HD DVR without a monthly fee, then we could talk. But, right now, the monthly fee and the advertising come across as double-dipping to me. Either charge me a fee or present me with ads – not both.

  9. Ditto Hulu. Plus ABC.com and CBS content too off TV.com I guess?

    I also assume we won’t be seeing Hulu strike such deals for over the top TV access, as it would more directly compete with the same shows on the networks they sold them to.

    Ditto the VIDEO_TS idea. I want some way to watch my own ripped DVDs. Somebody offer this!

  10. It’s wonderful to get access to more ‘channels’. While access to Amazon, Hulu and Youtube are great; ideally having total internet access is where we are heading.

    It will probably take innovations around a software client to enable transcoding, a bit of buffering, and a ‘learning’ UI, to get us there.

  11. I tried to add YOUTUBe to roku and I get a message saying this is not a valid channel code B8VVK

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