Advanced plans for an anticipated new Amazon video operation have been revealed by screenshots of what appears to be a new Amazon digital video and television storefront discovered online by a former employee of the internet retailer.

Amazon has been working on the development of the service for some time and rumours of a forthcoming video store have been circulating for months. The screenshots were apparently discovered through a web search by a former Amazon employee.

The images suggest that the service will offer thousands of movies and television shows. There are signs that recently released movies as well as library titles will be available on a download to own basis at a price point around $9.99, with television shows at around $1.99, comparable to those on Apple iTunes. Movies may also be available on a rental basis.

Currently branded as Amazon Unbox, it uses a downloadable Windows application that connects to the Amazon store, manages downloads and acts as a player. The indications are that material is in Windows Media format, which could allow it to be transferred to compatible portable devices under digital rights management.

There are also suggestions that material is also available for viewing on a television screen, although this could simply mean using a media centre or compatible extender, rather than enabling them to be burnt to a conventional DVD.

The Amazon initiative appears to be the latest in a line of attempts to develop a viable online distribution alternative to delivering physical product. Such services are attempting to establish a price point for video downloads, in the same way that Apple iTunes has achieved with some success for music.