updated 02:59 pm EDT, Wed April 24, 2013
Device would directly compete with Apple TV, Roku
Amazon is planning to extend its range of tablets and ebook readers by selling a set-top box, according to a report. The device, said to be coming out sometime in the fall, will provide streaming content, such as movies and TV shows to the user from the company's Instant Video catalog as well as Prime Instant Video.
The report by Bloomberg claims that three sources close to the project have confirmed the device exists, which could in theory allow Amazon more control over how its Instant Video offering is presented to end users. Such a set-top box would directly compete with the Apple TV, Roku, Boxee Cloud DVR, and most game consoles that already provide access to Amazon content, as well as against traditional broadcast and cable TV offerings.
The project is said to be headed by Malachy Moynihan, a former vice president at Cisco that worked on a number of consumer video systems, who also spent nine years working at Apple. Andy Goodman, formerly of TiVo and Vudu, and Chris Coley of ReplayTV are also claimed to be working on it.
While the rumor is more outlandish than those of an Amazon-created smartphone, there is a slight hint that it may in fact be true. Amazon recently launched 14 television pilots in an effort to provide exclusive content to its Instant Video service, and a set-top box dedicated to the service is a natural extension. Despite the likelihood that Amazon would want to keep just its own service on the box, it is probable that other services, such as YouTube, would be allowed to create apps for the device, though Amazon could elect to deny access to direct competitors like Netflix and Hulu.