Amazon’s Unbox and Tivo

I’m on The Tivo subscriber’s email list and they recently sent out a notification that I could now download video from Amazon’s Unbox and have the program show up on my Tivo.

Sounded good! I signed up (just making the connection between my Amazon account and my Tivo account, really). I’m an ardent user of each service and imagined that it would be a marriage made in heaven. Boy was I wrong!

Whilst I have always liked Amazon – and spend a significant amount of money with them each year – their new services lack the ease of use and intuitiveness that I have come to love. Buying books etc. is simple, streamlined and a pleasure. The ancillary services – like Unbox (and their webhosting and publishing – which I TRIED to use in a previous life) are a nightmare. Unbox requires me to search – fair enough – and presents me with results. But there is no way – upfront – of notifying the system that I want results for a TIvo. And far, far from all (or even most as far as I can determine) of the videos available are capable of being downloaded to Tivo. But you can’t tell that. So i order a download, and after the transaction is complete I worked out that it wasn’t heading my way any time soon.

I’ll download it and view it on my MacBook – no way PC only supported for downloads and viewing!

So I ask for a refund. I get it, along with what I interpreted as a snippy note saying that whilst they had refunded me, it was against company policy. Even though they could (at least the should have been able to) determine that no video had been harmed, downloaded, or actually stirred at all from their systems.

The whole point of personalization – which Amazon does as well as most (not as good as it should, it knows I use Canon cameras, but still recommends Nikon stuff from time to time), so why does Unbox NOT know that I’m a Tivo guy? They could, with little effort, also determine that my notebook is a Mac and tailor the video listed for me.

Worse, they have Recommendations for me. Of the top ten I have to go to number 5 before I find one that will run on the systems I have. How do I discover that? I have to display the list of recommendations then click on ‘See all Buying Options’ for each video listed in turn. Then I have to scrutinize the text and spot the ‘Also works with Tivo’.

So of the Top 10 Recommends for me, only 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 are viewable on systems I have. Hmmmmn. And I only needed to make twentytwo clicks to get that information…..

Not the sort of ease of use and convenience I associate with Amazon.

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