Pocket-lint found the Amazon.com Unbox service last night before its official launch, and woke up to the news that the service has indeed gone live.

The service offers films from six major Hollywood studios and TV shows from a number of US TV networks, including CBS and FOX.

Unbox is thought to be Amazon.com’s war cry against Apple’s rumoured upcoming movie download service, expected to launch next week at a special event on 12 September.

Amazon.com maintains that its site is the only one to offer DVD-quality picture from files that are compressed using the VC-1 Advanced Profile codec. Videos are downloaded, collected, and viewed through special dedicated software, called the Unbox Video Player.

Each video purchased can be downloaded to one computer, and then transferred to one other machine. It can also be downloaded on to a supported portable media player, like Creative’s Zen Vision.

Although each file can be burned on to DVD for backup, it cannot be played back like a normal DVD on a standalone player. Rented videos can be watched up to 30 days after purchase, but expire 24 hours after you begin to watch it.

Analysts are watching the development of the store carefully, as it will test whether video downloads make DVD sales suffer.