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After failing to change the world with its Unbox video download service, Amazon has unveiled a new online storefront that serves up videos on demand.

As The New York Times reports, Amazon Video on Demand offers instant access to roughly 40,000 movies and TV shows. And vice president for digital media Bill Carrs thinks this is one groundbreaking idea.

"For the first time, this is drop dead simple," he gushes. "Our goal is to create an immersive experience where people can’t help but get caught up in how exciting it is to simply watch a movie right from Amazon.com with a click of the button."

Yes, NetFlix has offered streaming flicks and shows for more than 18 months. But unlike NetFlix's Watch Now service - which uses a proprietary browser applet - Amazon Video on Demand does not require specialized software.

And the introduction of streaming video certainly sets Amazon apart from arch-rival Apple, whose iTunes storefront has always required downloads.

Amazon's new service went live today for certain Americans with special invitations, and the company plans on opening the doors to the rest of the country later this summer.

The store stocks films and shows from all the major movie studios and TV networks - except Walt Disney and its ABC subsidiary. Remember, Disney is in bed with Apple. ®

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