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Amazon Unbox Amazingly Unsuccesful… Again

Several month ago, I wrote about trying to get Amazon’s Unbox service to work with my Tivo.  In case you missed that, it’s a service where you can rent or purchase DVDs and have the movie or TV show downloaded to your Tivo box so that you can watch it on your regular TV, instead of on your computer (like Netflix).

As I wrote before, I couldn’t get it to work from the Amazon website.  However, Tivo updated their Tivo software to allow you to pick Unbox movies from the Tivo side.  Of course, I had to try it again.  Once of the specials they had was “Breach” for just 99 cents.  Using the easy to use interface, I rented the movie and left for work.  When I returned, the movie had finished downloading.  Nice.

Although the Unbox service requires that you watch the movie within 30 days for regular rentals, and 24 hours (I think) for specials like “Breach.”  In all cases, once you start viewing the movie, you must finish it within 24 hours of starting to watch the movie.  I know some people will have problems with this limitation, but I don’t like to split movies into multiple viewing times so this won’t bother me at all.

As for “Breach,” I can see why it was only 99 cents because the espionage part was a weak wannabe compared to great true stories like “Falcon and the Snowman,” and the young recruit aspect was poorly done, compared to great ones like “Training Day” or “Silence of the Lambs.” But I digress.

The quality of the video was less than normal DVD and there are some artifacts on walls and other areas where there is flat coloring.  This is very similar to video quaility of a DVD that’s been compressed to fit a single layer DVD.  On a regular 480i TV (like I have), the quality is good enough, at least for government work.  But if you have HDTV, the quality would be lacking.  After watching “Breach”, I noticed there was a blinking flag next to it to remind me that it will delete in 24 hours.

Feeling great for getting the Unbox to work, I decided to rent another movie.  I did the exact same procedure as before but when I came home, the movie had not downloaded.  I checked my email and I got a notice from Amazon telling me that there was not enough space on my Tivo.  From past experience, this is code for “we don’t know what’s wrong so you don’t get the download.”

Trying to restart the download from Amazon did not work.  Trying to re-rent the movie from Tivo did not work.  Tivo tells me that I cannot rent that movie.  I guess it’s locked or something.

Damn.  Once again, I’m back to square one.  Or more like square zero.  I wish I could just get this damn thing to work.