Amazon Launches Streaming Video Service has finally launched a much-anticipated competitor to Netflix’s streaming service. Amazon, led by CEO Jeff Bezos, is now promoting its commercial-free, unlimited streaming video service featuring 5,000 movies and TV shows, as part of its Amazon Prime shipping service, which carries an annual subscription fee of $79.

A screen shot of the service hit the Internet last month and rumors went wild, but today is the day that Amazon is officially promoting the service.

Some observers have wondered whether Amazon had enough content deals in place to launch the service early in the year, while others speculated that it would initially probably focus on library product and smaller films.

Among the films Amazon lists on its Web site as being part of the streaming service are Amadeus, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Best in Show, and Hairspray. Among the TV shows available are the UK shows Skins, The Office, Fawlty Towers, and Torchwood.

Lazard Capital Markets analyst Barton Crockett previously said that once Amazon had its own streaming offer, it “could become Netflix’s first meaningful streaming competitor.”

Amazon Prime’s $79/year price tag is lower than Netflix’s, too. For the streaming-only option for Netflix accounts, the annual subscription fee adds up to $95.88. Netflix shares opened lower on Tuesday.

What do you guys think? I think Amazon will only be able to compete if they offer better and/or more options for streaming than Netflix does.

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