After letting Netflix have the jump on offering high-def titles as part of its video-streaming service for subscriberson home video players as well as PCsAmazon has finally rolled out the first 500 HD movies and TV programs for its Video on Demand service. Among the initial films Amazon is offering as a la carte rentals are Frost/Nixon and Twilight.
It's also trying to match Netflix in terms of home theater devices that can stream the videos to your TV. Amazon's HD videos will be available on Panasonic TVs that offer the Viera Cast connected platform, as well as Sony sets that have the Bravia Internet Video Link. They'll also be available on Roku's $99 set-top video player (previously best known for its Netflix compatibility) and TiVo's Series 3/HD/HD XL devices. HD movies will be available to rent for $3.99 or $4.99, while TV shows will be $2.99 rentals. HD movies are not available to watch on computers, though high-def TV episodes are.
Amazon will be playing catch-up to Netflix in terms of adding new HD titles to its library, but it won't require a monthly subscription to sit down and start watching a movie instantly. Yet it's to be determined if this will necessarily be a better option than video on demand from your cable provider. I still think a unique selling point a connected video player could offer is a free subscription to one of these services, and if competition heats up, it'd be interesting to see if special subscriptions for streaming videos become available. Would you pay $7.99 per month to stream as many HD movies from the Internet to your TV as you can watch?