Services & Software

Amazon launches new video store

Amazon is apparently trying to compete with Netflix, Apple and Microsoft by opening Internet video store.

Corrected at 11:10 p.m.: Amazon customers do not need to purchase the Sony Bravia TV before accessing the new Video on Demand download store.

Fresh from a failed attempt at online video, Amazon is giving it another go.

Amazon is opening a streaming video store, called Amazon Video On Demand, that will offer 40,000 movies and TV shows for download and rental to people's computers, according to a story that appeared Wednesday evening in The New York Times. The service will be made available to a limited number of invited Amazon customers initially and will be made more broadly available later this summer.

However, in another part of Amazon's strategy, the retailer signed a deal to include the service in Sony Bravia high-definition Television sets. To access the movies on their Bravia TVs, users must purchase a $300 Bravia Internet Video link, the Times reported. Brad Stone, who wrote the story, noted that this "was an awkward extra expense, for now."

Future Bravias are expected to have the video link built into the TVs, The Times wrote.

Amazon is looking to cut similar deals with other TV manufacturers and set-top box makers, according to the story.

Amazon faces competition from Roku, the company that makes the Netflix Player, which streams movies from the Web to an owner's TV set and costs $100. The box has been applauded by reviewers and fans alike.

In addition to Netflix, Amazon must compete with Apple, Microsoft and a host of smaller players that are trying to enable consumers to stream video to their TVs.

Seattle-based Amazon has already misfired with it's Unbox download store. In that situation, critics said the service was a bust because it required users to download a separate software application.