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Amazon flicks on its streaming-video service

Internet retailer turns on its streaming video-on-demand service, providing ad-free streams of movies and TV shows to PCs and Macs via a Web browser. on Thursday made available to the general public its video-on-demand service, through which ad-free movies and TV shows can be streamed on Macs, PCs, and Sony Bravia flat-screen TVs.

The broader release of the Amazon Video on Demand service comes two months after the online-retailing giant began offering the service to a limited number of its users.

Amazon's service aims to enable users to instantly watch movies or TV shows via a Web browser on their Mac OS or Windows machine. The online retailer is also teaming up with Sony to enable users to purchase or rent movies and TV shows directly through Sony's Bravia Internet Video Link device on the Bravia TV sets.

Amazon will continue to offer movies and TV shows for download via its Unbox application. TV shows and movies added to Amazon users' Video Library accounts can be accessed and streamed to a Web browser.

"The ability to watch content instantly without downloading first was among the most requested features of our customers, and now it's live," Roy Price, Amazon Video on Demand director, said in a statement.