Amazon Video on Demand Makes Debut

Amazon introduced a new Video on Demand store last week, one of two initiatives aimed at supplying online video to consumers, supplementing the hard-copy formats that are the basis of Amazon's huge mail-order business.

Amazon Video on Demand, or AVOD (as I'm calling it), will include an opening selection of 40,000 movies and TV shows. Pricing will be variable. A few "invited" customers will get to sample AVOD before it rolls out to the hoi polloi.

When a purchaser picks a title on the Amazon site, the first two minutes will start streaming immediately while the remainder is presumably downloaded--unlike Amazon's original Unbox download service, a more orthodox download service that required special software. AVOD will also let users store selections in a queue, then watch them when returning to Amazon from the same computer or a different device.

In addition, Amazon has made a deal with Sony to funnel program purchases through the Bravia Internet Video Link.

See New York Times coverage.