For some time now, Amazon
Dubbed "Unbox," the video service, which is expected to be based on Microsoft's
In part, the timing of the news (which Amazon has not officially released) could be meant to temper reaction from news last week that Lions Gate Film
Of course, because the system is still under tight wraps and remains in a testing stage, it's difficult to know how well it works or how customers will react to it. For instance, how long will consumers be able to store the rented videos? Will they be satisfied with Amazon limiting them to use the purchased videos on only two non-portable devices (e.g., laptops or desktop computers)?
More worrisome, however, is how consumers will react to the amount of control Unbox could give Amazon over people's personal computers. For instance, it's believed that Amazon could use the access it gains when downloading a video to flood people's inboxes with unwanted promos or, even more troubling, the power to delete files.
My guess is that Amazon is savvy enough to address the former commercial concerns and smart enough to avoid the latter two privacy-related issues. And if it does, not only will Unbox open up another healthy revenue stream for the Internet pioneer, it will also challenge brick-and-mortar video stores such as Blockbuster
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Fool contributor Jack Uldrich does not own any stock in the companies mentioned in this article, with the exception of Microsoft. The Fool has a strict disclosure policy.