Roku begins private beta of Amazon on Demand

The $99 Roku set top box that ushered in the age of streaming Netflix became an open platform late last year and will soon be offering Amazon on Demand to all. The streaming service this week entered private beta for select Roku users.

Amazon's Video on Demand, a sort of re-thinking of Unbox, left its beta stage in September. At launch, the service offered over 40,000 movies and television episodes with fees ranging from free to $3.99 per rental. Amazon support on the Roku device balances the Netflix content with new releases, an area where the subscription service remains weak.

The service has been available in beta on Sony Bravia Internet Video Link-enabled TVs since September, and has been on TiVo since the service was known as Unbox. To purchase on-demand videos through Sony Bravia Internet Video Link, TiVo, and Roku, users must set up a "Compatible Device Purchase PIN" on their Amazon 1-Click Payment account. The same PIN can be used for all devices.

Some astute observation by Dave Zatz yesterday revealed that this beta comes with a software update that also shows a YouTube icon in its setup instructions.

Signups for the private beta have closed, and there is no word yet when a public test or official launch will take place.

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