SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Online retailer Amazon.com Inc plans to enter the battle for living-room viewership in the coming months, launching a free, ad-supported streaming TV service, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing anonymous sources.
Amazon is likely to stream original, self-produced TV series and perhaps licensed programming for free to viewers, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
The newspaper said it was unclear how such a service would be delivered to consumers. Amazon did not respond to requests for comment.
Earlier on Thursday, Amazon said it will hold a press conference in New York on April 2, a rare move that comes amid rife speculation that it will unveil a streaming device, such as a set-top box, to rival the Apple TV and Google Chromcast.
Speculation is that Amazon is close to revealing a streaming device, a set-top box or a small plug-in device, or "dongle", that is similar to a USB memory stick, that can pipe video into the living room. It would compete with devices made by Apple, Google and U.S. television start-up Roku.
Peter Larsen, vice president of the company's Kindle division, will provide an update on Amazon's video business at its April 2 event, according to invitations sent out to the press on Thursday.
Technology blog Re/Code reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter, that Amazon will launch a set-top box that connects televisions to the Internet.
(Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman; Editing by Bernard Orr and David Gregorio)