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Amazon could launch ad-supported video service for Fire TV owners

Amazon is reportedly looking to launch a free, ad-supported video service for Fire TV owners separate from Prime Video, potentially adding a competitive edge against the Apple TV while fueling a rapidly growing ad business.

Amazon Fire TV Cube

The service, tentatively named "Free Dive," is being developed by the company's IMDb division, according to sources for The Information. Studio negotiations are in progress to secure licenses for older TV shows.

The service may be most similar to the Roku Channel. While the latter offers a relatively small on-demand selection, it's also available to anyone with a Roku device, supported by regular ad breaks. Roku has even announced plans to bring it to the web and non-Roku devices.

Amazon sells three Fire TV devices: a standard 4K dongle, the cheaper 1080p "Stick," and the recent Fire TV Cube, which includes an integrated Alexa speaker and can turn some devices both on and off, unlike most streaming accessories, which can only turn things on.

There's no equivalent of the Roku Channel or "Free Dive" on the Apple TV. It is possible to find some free content on iTunes, but this is scattered about and most likely to be free pilot episodes of TV shows.

Apple is known to be working on a slate of original high-budget TV shows for 2019. These may be gated behind a paid subscription.