Amazon X-Ray Aims to End Unidentified Actor Angst

Scientific American

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You’re watching something when what’s-his-name comes onto the screen. That guy...who was in that thing. Why do you know that actor? The obsession doesn’t end until you find the answer in your brain or on the Internet Movie Database app, IMDB.

But now Amazon wants to move those vital actor names from the tip of your tongue to the tip of your finger. In September, Amazon introduced X-Ray, a feature that people buying or renting movies through the site can use to instantly identify performers.

Just tap the screen as certain movies or TV shows play on your Kindle Fire tablet or Nintendo Wii U gaming device, and X-Ray gives you popup bios for all visible actors.

The info comes from IMDB, which Amazon bought in 1998. Viewers especially tormented when trying to identify voices of characters in animated films will appreciate IMDb’s catalogue of more than 5 million performers.

Amazon’s goal with X-ray is to edge out competitors Neflix, Hulu and Apple when it comes to streaming entertainment. Now we just need more 4G networks so we can actually watch all this stuff.

—Larry Greenemeier

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

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