SEATTLE: US online retail titan has unveiled a digital video download service offering consumers thousands of movies and television programs to be played on PCs and portable devices.

Amazon Unbox has upstaged Apple Computer which is expected to launch next week a rival service via its iTunes music store in tandem with an updated iPod music and video player.

Amazon has agreements with more than 30 movie studios and TV companies, the notable exception being Walt Disney Pictures. Apple ceo Steve Jobs is the largest shareholder of the Walt Disney Company.

The e-tailer says it will charge $1.99 (€1.56; £1.06) per TV show, and $7.99 to $14.99 for most movies. Movie rentals will cost $3.99.

Hypes Bill Carr, vp of digital media: "Amazon has built the ultimate solution for anyone who has ever had a friend or coworker tell them that they missed a great TV show last night."

Data sourced from Financial Times online; additional content by WARC staff