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Amazon takes Instant Video service to the Xbox 360

Retail giant expands the reach of its movie services, enabling Amazon Instant Video to tap into the console's Kinect voice and gesture controls.

Donna Tam Staff Writer / News
Donna Tam covers Amazon and other fun stuff for CNET News. She is a San Francisco native who enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail and reading her Kindle.
Donna Tam
2 min read
The Amazon Instant Video app taps into the Xbox 360's Kinect voice and gesture controls Amazon

Retail giant Amazon continues to angle for a piece of Netflix's market.

Amazon and Microsoft introduced an app for the Xbox 360 console today that enables Xbox Live Gold subscribers to search for and play movies via Amazon's Instant Video service with a wave of their hand or the sound of their voice.

The new Amazon Instant Video app taps into the console's Kinect voice and gesture controls. It also offers access to Prime Instant Video, a service with more than 17,000 streaming movies and TV episodes available to Amazon Prime members at no additional charge, according to a press release.

A subscription to Xbox Live Gold starts at $5 a month. Amazon Prime is a membership program that costs $79 annually and offers customers free two-day shipping on their purchases. In addition, members get access to the expanding pool of movies in Prime Instant Video.

The announcement follows several other developments that seem to be aimed directly at Netflix's membership. The online retail giant launched its Sony PS3 app a few months ago and beefed up its library last month with hundreds of titles from Paramount. Amazon Prime customers can already view instant videos on their computers and other devices, such as Roku.

Anthony Bay, Amazon's vice president for video, said in the release that the Xbox 360 app was one of the most requested features from customers.

The new app also integrates Amazon's Kindle Fire and other features.

"Our integration with Kinect for Xbox 360 lets customers play and search for videos with the wave of a hand or the sound of their voice, and our Whispersync technology allows customers to seamlessly switch between watching on their Kindle Fire and their Xbox 360 console, without losing their place," Bay said in the release. "Also, Watchlist is a great new feature that lets customers keep a running queue of videos they want to see in the future."

Users can't rent or buy videos through the new app. To access the rest of Amazon's library of more than 120,000 movies and TV episodes, customers will have to go online to purchase or rent movies. These movies will be loaded into the app's library.