Amazon unleashed Unbox today, their movie download service. As with iTunes, you can also buy tv episodes for $1.99, but through Amazon you have the option to download movies for rent or purchase. There's no burning to DVD for playback, but there is for back-up, and you can move the file to a portable video player. Additionally, you can download video in both DVD quality and lesser for when such quality (and file size) isn't necessary. The playback starts quickly after download innitiation, and finishes while you watch.
The most important part of Amazon's Unbox offering is that it beats Apple to the punch. It's widely believe that Tuesday September 12th Apple will unvail their movie download service, with perhaps a revolutionary new video-centric iPod. Whether this is true or not, Apple is still the most mainstream name to come to the table with this type of offering (though there are several competitors, including Vongo), and that is its best chance at building some market share in the face of a scary competitor.
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