Escape Unbox Pergatory


Just a week after enabling downloads on the S3, comes Amazon Unbox to all broadband connected Series 2 and 3s. The blue dot on the S3 pops on while while the Unbox video is downloading. In my case, with the $15 of download credits a TiVo user gets – thank you TiVo and thank you Amazon – I can buy the 4 (too bad I bought one to try out when Unbox/TiVo was announced) 3 lbs episodes I don’t have free and have change left over for rentals.

Like other TiVoCast content, the Unboxes can’t be played while downloading, so don’t be fooled by the buggy menu that indicates a play option right away; once you see the Keep Until option you’re good to go. Also, don’t bother looking in the To Do List, or thinking MRV/TTG.

For TiVo the bit rate has been upped to 2800 from 2500, but all the videos so far are MPEG2 4×3 (Letterboxed if Widescreen – no Anamorphic to date.) *

I also want to deal with License Purgatory…

Purchased Unbox vids can be downloaded to 2 PC/TiVo devices total. Downloads to each PC lock up one license which can’t be easily released. According to Amazon personnel, in order to release some licenses without having to download the content you want to keep all over again: move your existing Unbox content to another folder (except the video(s) you want to release,) uninstall the Unbox software, reinstall Unbox software, move content back into the Unbox folder and use the “Import” option under the Help Menu to get Unbox to recognize the videos. I haven’t done this, and also don’t know what might happen if you re-import a copy of the video you wanted to release after you’ve sent it to another device.

Each TiVo seems to act like a PC, except it is easy to release the License: Just delete the Unbox vid (completely incl. the Recently Deleted folder) from the TiVo and within about 3 minutes the License is free to use on another of your registered TiVoes or PCs. 

As you can readily see, you lock yourself into a bad position downloading to PCs, so keep an unfettered License for your TiVoes.

* Edit: I might as well mention that sound is only MP2 Stereo. Also, since the 2500kbps for PC is video bit rate, I figure 2800 for TiVo is also; the 192kbps audio is on top of that.

See also –


One Response to “Escape Unbox Pergatory”

  1. HDTiVo Says:

    There seems to be no way to track your $15 credit except by totaling up your order receipts.

    One of the 3lbs episodes downloads only 30 out of 42 minutes to the TiVo. Amazon help says there have been a few reports of such problems and they are working on it.

    Amazon Unbox support personel have been very helpful, prepared and well informed. They really seem to have their act together.

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