Roku on Tuesday added support for Amazon's online video service to its Internet-to-TV digital player, taking the online retailer into competition with similar services offered by Apple, Blockbuster, and Netflix.
The Roku player makes it possible for people with a broadband connection to connect to the Amazon service for renting DVD-quality movies and TV shows. Amazon has a library of more than 40,000 films and TV shows and offers Hollywood movies the same day they are released on DVD.
The Roku player also provides access to Netflix's video subscription service. The devices connect directly to most televisions and connect to the Internet either through a wired or Wi-Fi connection. Once the device is set up, a user must register the player with the respective service to get access to the content.
The Roku player, which is about the size of a paperback book, is for streaming content only and doesn't have a hard drive for storage. The device costs $99 and is available through the company's Web site or Amazon.
Blockbuster offers a direct-to-TV player built in partnership with 2Wire, a company that provides software and hardware for delivering Web content to home TVs. Apple offers movies and TV shows through its iTunes online store and sells the Apple TV device to connect the store to a TV.
While streaming and renting movies over the Web is small in terms of revenue when compared with DVD rentals, analysts believe that consumers eventually will turn to the Web for movies much as they have for music. Online music services have had a major impact on falling CD sales.
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