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Amazon Prime May Get TV Channels

Amazon Prime Instant Video can already connect you with a lot of network and broadcast TV favorites, but it may no longer be content to offer that kind of eclectic selection. One report suggests that Amazon may be preparing to offer full channels via its streaming service, and its first target might be CBS.

Financial news site The Street claims that three media executives from Amazon are working in conjunction with its video team to offer whole online channels rather than just individual shows. Whether this means Amazon will offer live TV or just a complete selection of streaming shows (and news) is anyone's guess.

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The Street theorized that CBS might be willing to act as Amazon's first partner in this new endeavor, given how closely the two companies have worked before. Under the Dome and Extant, two well-received CBS dramas, aired on Amazon Prime four days after the network first showed them — the blink of an eye in terms of how long it usually takes streaming services to acquire new content.

As to whether the report is true, that's harder to gauge. Amazon would neither confirm nor deny the speculation, nor would CBS. Even if the two companies do decide to work together, it will likely take some time before they can hammer out a deal, and even longer before they can program the necessary infrastructure into Prime Instant Video.

If Amazon does decide to add online channels to its service, there's also no guarantee that CBS will be one of its partners, or its only partner.

Online channels for streaming services are hardly unprecedented: Sling TV and PlayStation Vue are both predicated upon that very principle. But Amazon Prime is a much cheaper service, and adding traditional channels could change how streaming services acquire and broadcast new programs. For now, though, it's only a rumor, albeit an intriguing one.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is an editor for Tom's Guide, covering gaming hardware, security and streaming video. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.