Amazon launched a beta version of its new video on demand service this week. Aptly named Amazon Video on Demand, the service lets customers watch any of the 40,000 movies and television programs immediately after ordering them. There is no need to wait for the entire video to download, as with Amazon's existing Unbox service or Apple's iTunes.

In a significant step toward vanquishing the local video store and keeping couch potatoes planted firmly in front of their televisions and computers, will introduce a new online store of TV shows and movies on Thursday, called Amazon Video on Demand.

Times Topics: Inc.Customers of Amazon’s new store will be able to start watching any of 40,000 movies and television programs immediately after ordering them because they stream, just like programs on a cable video-on-demand service. That is different from most Internet video stores, like Apple iTunes and the original incarnation of Amazon’s video store, which require users to download files to their hard drives.

The service works with both Macs and PCs as well as Sony's new internet-enabled Bravia HDTV's. If you'd like to read more, the entire article is available at the New York Times.