Amazon.com launched its Amazon Unbox digital video download service on September 7th. Customers can download a broad range of current and vintage TV shows and movies and have the option to purchase video on one PC and download to another.
Bandai is the first anime partner for Unbox, which currently offers Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Outlaw Star, Infinite Ryvius, and Escaflowne. Eureka Seven, Gundam Seed Destiny and other series will be available in the future.
Other offerings of interest to pop culture fans include series such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly and Star Trek, including the 'digital debut' of all episodes and pilot for the original series; a few offerings from Cartoon Network; and recent movies such as V for Vendetta.
Unbox customers can purchase TV series episodes starting at $1.99 per episode, most movies for between $7.99 and $14.99; or rent the latest movies for $3.99.
Current Bandai offerings start at $3.99 per episode, with price breaks for purchase of an entire season or series.
The impact on retailers of legal video downloads is still unclear. Some make the argument that the easy availability and increased customer base that builds provides greater opportunities for brick and mortar retailers; others see it as competition that reduces DVD sales. Either way, the trend is relentless and accelerating.