In a drive to gain more customers for its movie-streaming service, Amazon.com today gave its Amazon Prime members a new benefit: unlimited, commercial-free, instant streaming of more than 5,000 movies and TV shows – at no additional cost. Prime membership will continue to be $79 per year.

Amazon Prime is a membership program that offers customers millions of items, including books, home and garden products, electronics, video games, clothing, accessories and beauty products. A compelling benefit of Prime membership is free shipping.

Amazon offers “Amazon Instant Video” for customers to watch movies on Macs; PCs; and nearly 200 Internet-connected TVs, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes that are compatible with Amazon Instant Video. A competitor to other streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Vudu, Amazon Instant Video is a digital video service that offers customers more than 90,000 commercial-free movies and TV shows to buy or rent on an a la carte basis. New-release movies often are available as soon as they are released on DVD, and many TV shows are available the day after their first broadcast – putting Amazon in direct competition with MSOs.

In separate but related news, Roku, a maker of video-streaming players, today announced that Amazon’s Prime Instant Video service is available as part of the Amazon Instant Video channel already installed on all Roku players.

In addition to Amazon’s video assets, Roku players also stream content from Netflix and Hulu Plus.

-Linda Hardesty

The Daily

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