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September 3, 2008 3:24 PM

Look out, iTunes: Amazon video now "instant" with free previews

Posted by Brier Dudley

Just in time for the fall TV season, Amazon.com is boosting its movie and TV rental service with new features, including instant viewing and support for Mac computers.

Amazon claims that the service lets viewers start watching instantly in their browser, where the video is streamed, instead of waiting for content to download. The streaming service has been in limited testing; today it's available to all customers.

Previously Amazon offered downloads via its Unbox application to Windows PCs, Tivo digital video recorders and Windows Media Center Extender devices such as Xbox 360 consoles.

Because the new streaming service uses Flash displayed in browsers, it works on Macs and all sorts of different systems.

The company also announced free two-minute previews of all movies and shows in its library. Previews will play automatically when you visit a product detail page.

Amazon's video service is also being extended to Sony TVs with Bravia Internet connections.

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Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.