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Amazon will let you stream free movies and TV shows through IMDb

Deborah Findling | CNBC Amazon unveils its FireTV at a press event in New York on April 02, 2014.

IMDb, the film and TV website owned by Amazon, is launching a free streaming video channel that will be available in the U.S. on its website and Amazon Fire TV devices, the company announced Thursday. Unlike streaming services like Netflix and Prime Video, IMDb Freedive does not require a subscription, and is instead supported by ads, according to a press release.

The streaming space is getting increasingly crowded as even legacy media players like Disney have announced plans to create their own services. Apple, AT&T and others are also planning to launch streaming video services this year. But IMDb's ad-based model could make it attractive to consumers who want to watch movies and TV shows without locking into a subscription service.

Equally competitive is the streaming device space, where Amazon Fire TV rivals Roku and Google Chromecast. These devices let customers stream content on their TV. Roku skyrocketed 25 percent earlier this week after releasing strong active user numbers, only to pare gains the next day when Citron Research warned of the competitive landscape, including a recent deal where Apple will offer content from iTunes on some Samsung TVs. Offering this free service on Amazon's Fire TV devices may be appealing to some customers, and it may become available on other devices in the near future.

IMDb said the service will soon be "available more widely, including on IMDb's leading mobile apps," but did not specify where it will be available.

IMDb Freedive includes some big names like TV shows "The Bachelor" and "Heroes" as well as movies like "Awakenings" and "The Illusionist," according to the press release. Previously, the site offered short-form original series along with trailers and interviews with celebrities.

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