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Report: Verizon May Challenge Netflix, Amazon on Video Streaming

Little is known about the service, such as whether Verizon would offer a Netflix-like subscription package

Verizon may roll out a video streaming service for television shows and movies next year that would be available to as many as 85 million homes across the United States, according to online reports. Little is known about the details of the service such as whether Verizon would offer a Netflix-like subscription package or an a la carte menu such as Amazon Video On Demand or Apple's iTunes store. Programming for the new service will reportedly be limited, at least to start, and may echo content found on online services such as Epix and Starz Play, according to Reuters.

Verizon already offers a limited amount of Internet-based streaming content through FiOS TV Online for subscribers of its FiOS cable TV service. FiOS TV Online includes streaming content from HBO Go, Epix, Nickelodeon, ESPN, TNT, TBS, CNN Headline News and Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. Verizon will also offer a FiOS TV app on Microsoft's Xbox LIVE marketplace for existing Verizon subscribers this month. In April, Verizon also announced a new platform to deliver premium video content to smartphones, tablets and Internet-connected TVs.

Given the company's limited work with video streaming, a decision to create a full-fledged online video service makes a lot of sense. Not only does it expand Verizon's ability to reach new customers, but it also gives Verizon a better foothold in a growing market of services that threaten to disrupt the traditional cable business.

But despite its reported willingness to try a new online venture, Verizon is also expected to limit availability of its new online video offering. The purported new service would not roll out to areas where Verizon already sells FiOS TV. Presumably, Verizon doesn't want to cannibalize its existing customer base by forcing FiOS TV packages to compete with its online-only service.

Contradicting reports

One anonymous source also told The Wall Street Journal that Verizon may simply be planning to offer video streaming as an added bonus for customers in areas where the company already sells Internet service but not cable TV, a move that would not put it in direct competition with major online streaming services.

Basically, it appears Verizon wants to expand its video streaming service, but nobody is sure yet what this new service will look like or who will be able to order it.

Connect with Ian Paul (@ianpaul ) and Today@PCWorld on Twitter for the latest tech news and analysis.

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