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Old 2006-09-11, 02:21   Link #1
ImperialPanda
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Online Anime Distribution

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I guess Amazon is now the first legitimate anime downloads seller.

Amazon Unbox

They currently offer a grand total of four(4) series: Escaflowne, Infinite Ryvius, Outlaw Star, and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED. Curiously enough, they don't actually offer the entire season(s). Escaflowne 24/26, Outlaw Star 22/26, Infinite Ryvius 20/26, and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED 45/50. So honestly I don't know what they went through to get these or exactly what they're expecting out of it.

Anyways, the individual episodes are priced at $3.99/ea. While this is more expensive (double the cost) of other TV shows, it is somewhere around what people have been tossing around. A little on the high end. However, if you buy the entire [incomplete] season, you can save between 20-60%.

Amazon Unbox was opened last week, and as an opening promotion you get 1.99 off your first purchase. I haven't tried it personally because of some scathing reviews.

Discuss. =D

Last edited by ImperialPanda; 2006-09-11 at 12:54.
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Old 2006-09-11, 02:36   Link #2
panzerfan
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Download anime? well at that price I would rather stick with dvd I mean... $3.99 x 24 isn't exactly attractive.
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Old 2006-09-11, 03:29   Link #3
Quarkboy
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Plus these are DRM restricted files. You can only play them on a total of 2 computers, and cannot copy them to a dvd for playback. Although the DRM was recently cracked.... But I shan't discuss that here.

I'd also be quite curious to buy an episode and evaluate the encoding. I know that TV shows are done at 640x480, about 500 MB per 30 minutes episode, but I wonder how the deinterlacing was done...

I did buy one episode at $2 just to see how it worked, downloads are fast (500 KB/s, which basically maxed out my connection), and the quality was good for a TV show (I bought the first episode of "Stella").
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Old 2006-09-11, 05:01   Link #4
physics223
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I'd rather buy the DVDs ... $3.99 an episode is definitely a bunch of crock.
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Old 2006-09-11, 06:31   Link #5
GHDpro
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You missed on series: Geisters is also in the list. Though, most won't "miss" it based on reviews

Yeah, for most of these series it really makes ZERO sense to buy these. Online Outlaw Star,
Infinite Ryvius and Escaflowne can be bought for much less than even the "season price"
they seem to list (the cheapest is Outlaw Star at $35, but availabe on DVD online at $28).

The season price for Gundam Seed is more reasonble: about $60 for most episodes (they
seem to be missing a few episodes), while there isn't a boxset out yet, so the equivalent in
DVDs will cost you at least $170 at DVDPacific's discount prices.

And then... I haven't even started on the whole DRM thing yet. Whether you should support
a system whose media you buy may not be playable anymore in say 10 or 20 years time
because the service has been closed down is questionable. With the amount of DVD players
available on the other hand, finding one in an antique shop in 50 years isn't unlikely.
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Old 2006-09-11, 06:44   Link #6
xris
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I couldn't find anything to say if the episodes were available subbed or dubbed. Can you switch between Japanese and English sound tracks and is there a subtitle track available?

I didn't look that hard but the only comment I could find was a customer feedback (for Outlaw Star) stating that "the episodes are in Japanese with no subtitles". I suspect the user didn't correctly set the viewer to display subtitles but still, Amazon doesn't seem make it clear if the anime series are available as subbed and/or dubbed.
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Old 2006-09-11, 12:00   Link #7
ImperialPanda
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Just for the heck of it I bought a video to test it out. Now, Dragonball Z and Doraemon aside, Outlaw Star on cartoon network was the first anime I watched. And I rather liked the Cats and Girls and Spaceships episode. So a download for $2 is not too bad I guess.

The player gave me a bit of trouble. The configuration layout isn't exactly the best it could be. Anyways, video is dubbed. Haven't got too much time to play around with it. The video quality is good. Good enough to warrant 500MB at any rate.

I actually don't particularly mind having to install stuff as long as it doesn't screw other stuff up. Now if they use better compression and can get shows that aren't a century old I think it would be decent. (since old series' box sets have already been heavily discounted) If they sold subbed Utaware or xxxHolic eps close to JP air date I would buy it at $4/ea. I think that's what they're doing right now for NA TV shows, so the idea's not totally unplausible. Although it's moving in that direction, for anime probably won't be so at least for a couple more years.

DRM sucks... but hey, I don't need to go into detail about this right?

Last edited by ImperialPanda; 2006-09-11 at 12:55.
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Old 2006-09-11, 19:26   Link #8
orion
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I'd rather buy or rent the DVDs. I don't want a proprietary player on my computer and I don't need other programs crawling around my computer either. So, I'll pass for my personal use.

It does look interesting though. I'll wait for the official CNET review to learn more.
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