Will Nook Video be a Kindle killer?

Alongside new high-definition tablets, Barnes & Noble quietly announces a streaming and download service to challenge Amazon's digital offerings head on

The Nook HD
(Image credit: Barnes & Noble)

The Avengers, Breaking Bad, and Game of Thrones will soon be hitting the Nook. The tablet wars escalated again Tuesday as Barnes & Noble announced a video-streaming and download service to complement its new line of holiday-ready slabs: The 7-inch Nook HD ($199) targeting Amazon's Kindle Fire HD, and the 9-inch Nook HD+ ($299) taking aim at Apple's iPad. The new streaming service will let users download video from HBO, Viacom, Disney, and Sony Entertainment, and Barnes & Noble promises more partnerships with content providers soon. Nook Video will also let users integrate their DVD, Blu-Ray, and streaming video collections by using the UltraViolet service — viewers can begin a movie at home and continue watching it on the go. The move did not surprise analysts, who predicted that Barnes & Noble would introduce a video service after Amazon heated up the tablet race earlier this month by introducing the video-friendly Kindle Fire HD. Did B&N just get a leg up in the tablet wars, or is the company merely keeping stride?

The service is a must for B&N — but even it is not enough: Adding videos is absolutely "necessary" for the famed bookseller if it wants to "keep pace with Amazon's Kindle devices," says Phil Wahba at Reuters. Amazon already has an "enormous advantage" in that its customers can shop not only for books and entertainment, but for a wide variety of other physical products through its website. Eventually, Barnes & Noble is going to have to sell a wider product range, too, if it wants to stay competitive.

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