Way to go, Amazon.com!

I have to say, I’ve always had pretty good service from Amazon, but this was above and beyond. I had rented a movie to stream through Amazon Prime the other day. The streaming quality was a little choppy when I started the movie. I just stopped it and restarted it and it was fine. Forgot all about it. I just got an email form Amazon, completely unsolicited:

Server problems likely caused faults for a whole raft of viewers, some of whom complained, and Amazon is savvy enough to comp everyone who was on that same choppy road.

We just had a similar problem: a Blu-Ray of The Matrix, given as a Christmas gift, turned out to be faulty. We hadn’t watched it because we’ve seen it many times; the gift was to a family member who wanted the HD version for his library. We were well past the return date, but my wife put in the request anyway… and they immediately shipped a replacement.

(They also said “don’t bother returning the faulty one, thanks” and then sent a return request with prepaid shipping… so we scratched our head and sent the dead one back.)

The same happened to us and we were able to watch the movie just fine.

Amazon service is pretty awesome…

I had to double-check the date on this thread, because I coulda sworn I’d seen it before.

How do you like that? :stuck_out_tongue:

AP clearly feels that it’s worth losing some small part of revenue to make damned sure no one goes away unhappy with their streaming service.

On the flip side.
I tried to watch an Amazon movie in hi-def and two minutes into the viewing it wasn’t worth pausing 15 seconds while the next 20 seconds buffered in.

I bailed out and then re-ordered the same movie in a lower format.
Amazon graciously charged me for both.

I’m guessing I could have notified them and maybe had my bill adjusted. I never got around to it. So, while Amazon was able to catch your issue their logic seems to overlook somebody voluntarily downgrading their choice in order to view the movie.

I’ve never looked on Amazon, but I’m pretty sure Vudu allows you to select lower resolutions. Every so often a max-res offering will have buffering problems and we’ll skip down a notch to improve things.

Missed edit: Just checked; yes, Vudu *does *allow you to select any resolution lower than the one paid for. Netflix and AP use a similar interface that does not. If there’s a way to manually override their quality selection, I can’t find it.

Vudu’s user interface overall is much more feature-rich (you can select and change several things while at pause) but it’s LOUSY at forward/reverse skipping. Annoyingly bad, in fact, especially compared to Netflix’s gem.

Amazon usually has an SD and HD version of their offerings. You choose which you want when ordering.

Yeah, when you don’t pay any tax you can afford to give away the odd $2.99 movie.


The OP isn’t questioning that - it’s that if you buy HD because you want HD, and the connection stutters over and over, there should be an option to select a lower-res version without paying separately for it. Vudu does it; Amazon Prime and Netflix should either offer the manual downgrade or have a better delivery-quality algorithm.

Ah, I see what you mean. IIRC, the MLB.tv package allows that as well.

I’m not sure why Netflix keeps getting lumped in here. First off, you don’t pay for individual Netflix movies. Second, they let you turn off HD while the video is playing, even, which is better than having to actually select a lower res version. Heck, it will even drop HD on its own temporarily, if necessary.

The only issue I’m aware of with Netflix’s automatic quality detection actually involves rendering. It’s when you have the bandwidth for a high quality stream, but your computer can’t keep up, even with HD disabled. I’ve only encountered this on my netbook, and the solution was to manually change the streaming bandwidth in Silverlight by Alt-Shift clicking (Opt-Shift on Macs) and choosing the Streaming option from the menu that pops up. And even that complaint goes to Microsoft for not allowing you to make that change permanent in the settings, rather that to Netflix.

BTW, that change can also be done to force the stream to stay in HD no matter what. You just pick a higher bitrate rather than a lower one.

You don’t pay for many thousands of individual movie and show episodes under Amazon Prime, either. Despite slight differences in the profit model, Netflix, AP and Vudu are pretty much head-to-head in the marketplace.

I fail to see the difference - Vudu gives you specific control of the resolution you’re watching instead of some vague algorithm-driven compression change. Netflix has an annoying tendency to pause to reset the compression level, sometimes repeatedly during a program.

How do you “turn off” HD on Netflix? And can you do it from the pause screen or do you have to exit the program and dive back down into the menus? What you seem to be describing only applies to PC/desktop viewing, not any of the appliances. Not all of us sit and watch “TV” on our laptops. :slight_smile:

Just to balance things out: I really hate Amazon’s Wii channel. I don’t dare think about how bad the streaming video would be at 1080 instead of 480.

It works beautifully on Roku, so I have to think it’s some limitation of the implementation on Wii.

Possible. I love basically everything else about Amazon except the horrible warehouse conditions I like to not think about.