Amazon says no plans to offer free streaming video service

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Amazon says no plans to offer free streaming video service
Amazon says it has no plans to offer a free streaming media service, addressing speculation ahead of a media event in New York next Wednesday.

Spokeswoman Sally Fouts said Thursday that Amazon runs ads ahead of movie and game trailers, but the company has no plans to offer a free streaming media service.

The Wall Street Journal reported Amazon is considering an ad-supported streaming TV and music video service.

WSJ said Amazon is likely to stream original, self-produced TV series and perhaps licensed programming for free to viewers, 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.

Amazon.com Inc. has invested heavily on making TV shows and movies available to customers who pay $99 a year for Amazon Prime. Members benefit from two-day shipping on certain items and access to videos including original series like "Betas" and "Alpha House."

(Also see: Amazon Prime membership hiked to $99 per year; first change since 2005 introduction)

Written with inputs from AP and Reuters

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