It’s already Showtime at Amazon

In an attempt to avoid being an also-ran to Apple’s expected iTunes movie announcement next week, Amazon has launched its video download service, Unbox. Movies — 1355 of them, it seems — are available from Warner Bros., NBC Universal, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, and others. According to the AP story, movies cost $7.99 to $14.99 to buy and $3.99 to rent, but we’re seeing a range all the way from $2.99 to $19.59 for downloads. Television shows are available as well, for $1.99 per episode (with your first TV show free right now). The service required a piece of software and will only work on Windows. Portability is limited to players using Windows Media Player and DVDs played only on the computer that originally received the movie download, as reported previously. Top that, Apple![Updates to follow.]