Amazon Instant Video Users Beware!

I love the Simpsons, specifically the Treehouse of Horror episodes around Halloween.

I own many of them on DVD, but Amazon has fortunately been able to fill in the gaps for me so this year was the first I could do a full marathon of every single episode. Since streaming (even with “high speed internet”) can be a drag I downloaded the Amazon episodes to my laptop using the “Unbox Video Player”. Each episode gives me two licenses for downloads to devices like my laptop, and two more for portable devices (like my Fire).

Yesterday I was doing some house cleaning and wanted to free up the 4GB those episodes were taking up on my hard disk (about 400MB per episode BTW). I deleted the video from Amazon Unbox while I was connected to the internet assuming that this action or some other menu item would release the download from this device and give me 2 of 2 downloads so I could do this for the years to come.

Not so.

Here’s how you release a license download to a device like a laptop:

1) Download the latest installer for Amazon Unbox.

2) Run the installer and select the remove function.

3) Choose the full removal (not the temporary). This will erase any Amazon videos from your computer, but it will also release their licenses.

4) You must be connected to the internet at all times during this process.

In a nutshell, you have to UNINSTALL Amazon Unbox Video in order to release the license for an individual video.

Amazon get your act together!

1) This only works from the device you downloaded the videos to. If for some reason the machine dies, you can’t release the videos downloaded to it.

2) Amazon branded devices (the Fire) can release portable licenses just by deleting individual files. This functionality should be available across all their platforms. That’s an industry standard these days.

3) DRM’d video files maybe make a little more sense than MP3s, but that eliminates any ability to backup files and transfer them to another computer if the one you are using dies. Personally, I hope video goes the same way as music in the next few years on this front.

4) Unbox wants to run all the time instead of being auto launched whenever you download an episode (unlike the Amazon MP3 downloader).

5) BTW you can and I did download twice to the same device (Download->Delete->Download), which caused me to use up all my licenses.

Fortunately my downloaded library is small and uninstalling was not a big deal to me. I’ll just download and re-install next year, but hopefully by then someone in Amazon technical support will get the hint that this needs adjusting.

Happy Friday!


Filed under Trube On Tech

4 responses to “Amazon Instant Video Users Beware!

  1. Good to know. I used Amazon Instant Video a lot, but I’ve only ever done streaming, not downloading. So it sounds like I’m safe for now.

    You a Prime guy?

    • Tried it for a month after we bought the Fire, but not now. I have Netflix which covers most of my bases, and as for shipping I either am over $25 and use the free, or am buying from one of the marketplace vendors who don’t qualify. I’m considering trying Hulu+ though for current TV. Do you use that?

  2. Pingback: Reading Digest: Movie Reviews Edition « Dead Homer Society

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