Amazon.com is working on a new subscription service that would deliver TV shows and movies over the Internet, ramping up the battle among Web companies to control entertainment in the living room.

The Internet retailer has in recent weeks pitched a Web-based subscription service to several major media companies, including General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal, Time Warner, News Corp. and Viacom, among others, according to people with knowledge of the proposal.

Amazon's subscription push is a challenge to rivals such as Netflix and Google as they race to dominate digital delivery of TV shows and films, encroaching on turf traditionally controlled by cable- and satellite-television providers.

Apple is also pushing more deeply into TV, and plans to announce 99-cent rentals of television shows through its iTunes store from News Corp.'s Fox and Walt Disney Co.'s ABC as early as Wednesday, according to people familiar with the matter.

Apple wants to offer rentals of new shows, available after they air, these people said. Apple is also working on a new device that streams Internet video directly to television sets, according to one person with knowledge of the matter.

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Amazon appears to be targeting a similar model to Netflix, focusing on older, "catalogue" content, according to people briefed on the meetings. Executives at media companies often view the availability of older content on the Web as less of a threat to their existing business.

Amazon's new subscription service would be viewable on a Web browser, or through devices such as Internet-connected TVs, Blu-ray players and Microsoft's Xbox 360 videogame console. Amazon currently sells individual episodes of TV shows on those devices, often for $1.99 apiece. It also sells and rents digital movie downloads.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.