Lately, it seems that Amazon is trying to take over the technology world. They began with e-readers, moved on to tablets, revealed that they may be working on a smartphone, and now three sources close to the company say they are working on a TV set-top box as well.
The e-commerce giant is supposedly looking to introduce a device this fall focused on streaming video into its customers’ homes. Sources say the box will plug into TVs and give users access to Amazon’s expanding video offerings, as well as its video on demand store and its Instant Video service (which is free for those who are subscribers of Amazon Prime.) The Amazon set-top box is hoping to compete with similar products such as the Roku, Apple TV, and the Boxee Cloud DVR, along with more universal devices such as the Playstation 3 and the Xbox. Many other set-top options already give users access to Amazon’s video catalog, but by building its own device Amazon can put its content directly in front of users while expanding its lineup of devices and giving developers another reason to create apps for Amazon.
Earlier this week, Amazon introduced 14 television pilots (which they financed,) and are looking to decide which to make into a series to help expand its video presence. The company has also paid to secure streaming rights to hit shows such as Downton Abbey. A set-top box would give Amazon customers another way to watch all of the company’s video content on their TV’s at their leisure, and according to Jason Krikorian, former co-founder of Sling Media, it would certainly make some sense. Mr. Krikorian also pointed out that “they (Amazon) have a ton of content, an existing billing relationship with millions of users, an existing Android app marketplace that could be leveraged on the box, a reputation for solid hardware products, and a terrific channel through which to promote the product.” In simpler terms, a set-top box is the next logical step for Amazon.
One question is whether Amazon will welcome competing video streaming services onto its device, such as Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube. Kindle Fire owners can currently access those apps, so more than likely they would do the same for the box, but of course Amazon’s own video and music services will be the star of the show. So the last issue is what to name the device. The sources familiar with the project weren’t sure what it will be called, but if you look at Amazon’s history in the hardware business only one name would make sense: the Kindle TV.
Source: Bloomberg Business Week