Amazon has launched its streaming video service for paying Amazon Prime customers in the US.

Amazon Prime Instant Video has a catalogue of more than 5,000 commercial-free streaming movies and TV shows. The service is a free add-on for subscribers to Amazon's £49-per-year Amazon Prime membership, which grants free two-day shipping, no minimum order size requirement and a price reduction on one-day shipping.

You can watch Amazon's offerings on your Mac, PC, media streaming device or an internet-connect TV.

Amazon's goal (at least for the moment) isn't to have the biggest selection, or even become the leader in online streaming. Instead, the etailer seems to be leveraging Amazon Prime. A market analyst told The Hollywood Reporter that bundling Amazon Prime with instant streaming is the company's way of offering a "core streaming feature as part of a more valuable, broader package."

One small but pertinent selling point is the diversity among Amazon Prime's selections. Viewers get a choice of a subtitled or English-dubbed version of 'The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nes't" for instance, which ought to please those who hate 'reading' movies.

Rumours about Amazon offering its Prime customers an unlimited movie-streaming service first started at the beginning of this month, following the etailer's acquisition of online and postal movie rental service Love Film in January. The rumours were fulled after Amazon posted a message on a web page that hinted at the move.

I do think that Amazon Prime Instant Video is a service to keep tabs on. If Amazon can offer the brightest gems with the option to customise (subtitles for any film would be nice), Amazon may have just unveiled a potential Netflix-killer.

Amazon has yet to comment on whether the service will be made available in the UK.

See also: Amazon sells more e-books than paperbacks