March 27, 2014 / 5:10 PM / 3 years ago

Amazon aims for TV business with free video streaming: WSJ

2 Min Read

A parcel travels along a conveyer belt at Amazon's new distribution center in Brieselang, near Berlin November 28, 2013.Tobias Schwarz

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Online retailer Amazon.com Inc plans to enter the battle for living-room viewership in the coming months, launching a free, ad-supported streaming TV service, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing anonymous sources.

Amazon is likely to stream original, self-produced TV series and perhaps licensed programming for free to viewers, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The newspaper said it was unclear how such a service would be delivered to consumers. Amazon did not respond to requests for comment.

Earlier on Thursday, Amazon said it will hold a press conference in New York on April 2, a rare move that comes amid rife speculation that it will unveil a streaming device, such as a set-top box, to rival the Apple TV and Google Chromcast.

Speculation is that Amazon is close to revealing a streaming device, a set-top box or a small plug-in device, or "dongle", that is similar to a USB memory stick, that can pipe video into the living room. It would compete with devices made by Apple, Google and U.S. television start-up Roku.

Peter Larsen, vice president of the company's Kindle division, will provide an update on Amazon's video business at its April 2 event, according to invitations sent out to the press on Thursday.

Technology blog Re/Code reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter, that Amazon will launch a set-top box that connects televisions to the Internet.

Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman; Editing by Bernard Orr and David Gregorio

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