It's a wonderful moment when two everyday tools that have everything to do with each other come together and finally get married like we all knew they should. The tech version of When Harry Met Sally. They've been in the same building this whole time, passing each other in the hallways; IMDb and Amazon Instant Video. Both are owned by Amazon and, now, will work in tandem with Amazon X-Ray.
The feature, which was introduced six months ago for film, has now expanded to TV shows. It allows you to skip that part of the viewing experience where you have to pause, open IMDb in a new tab, and try to remember the characters name so you can be sure if you actually saw the actor on Sesame Street the other day. X-ray already knows who each actor on the screen in each particular scene is, down to that cop in background behind the police tape. The show is paused and the name and filmography appear right in front of you.
The feature is only available for 13 shows at the moment, including Downton Abbey, The Walking Dead, and Game of Thrones. Amazon plans to expand far past that. “Our vision is to make X-Ray available on every movie and TV show, we’re excited to make another big step forward today, and we are working hard to add X-Ray to more TV shows and movies in the future,” IMDb CEO Col Needham said. Hopefully device support will expand as well. Users of the Kindle Fire and the Wii U are currently the only contenders for X-Ray.
As for those of us who use Netflix, well, we're stuck doing things the old fashioned way for now. Usually when a feature like this appears on the marketplace, it's only got a couple of months before it grows, and all the competition develops their own versions. Amazon can use X-Ray to give it a valuable edge in the streaming video market, using it's industry standard against the industry standard, Netflix.
The Amazon Instant Video X-Ray is a really cool feature, one that gives a good impression of what tech is all about - tying things together and making a small part of the world neater and more user-friendly.