Amazon Unveils FireTV

Updated from 1:22 p.m. to include additional analysis in the second and ninth paragraphs, as well as retail availability.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Following weeks of speculation, Amazon (AMZN) has announced Amazon Fire TV, its new streaming device, that will compete against the likes of Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG) and Roku in an increasingly crowded market.

The new device, which looks similar to Apple's set-top box but is more squared off and "thinner than a dime," according to Amazon vice president Peter Larsen, was announced at a press conference in Manhattan on Wednesday, to a group of roughly 150 media and industry followers. Amazon is selling the device for $99 and plans to begin shipping Fire TV today. Amazon noted it's just 0.7" thin, and is silent even when running the most demanding applications.

Amazon Fire TV will feature a flurry of channels including Hulu Plus, Netflix (NFLX) SHowtime, HBO GO, Bloomberg TV, WatchESPN and Vimeo, to name a few, and of course give users access to Amazon Prime's Instant Video. It's the "best place to watch the most popular movies and TV shows in the comfort of your own home," Larsen said.

"This is not a closed ecosystem," Larsen noted at the conference.

In the press release, Amazon announced eligible customers would get a free 30-day trial of Netflix and Amazon Prime when they purchase Fire TV.

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