Amazon To Launch Its Own Set-top Box
April 25, 2013

Amazon To Launch TV Set-top Box To Rival Apple TV, Roku

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Amazon is set to release a TV set-top box this fall that will stream video over the Internet into customers´ homes, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported on Wednesday.

The device will directly connect to televisions, and provide access to Amazon´s video services such as the Amazon Video on Demand store and the company´s Instant Video service, according to the report, which cited three unidentified sources that could not publicly speak about the plans.

Amazon´s new set-top box will compete with similar products such as Apple TV, the Roku, the Boxee Cloud DVR, Playstation 3 and Xbox.

Although other set-top devices give users access to Amazon´s video catalog, by launching its own system Amazon can put its content more directly in front of customers while expanding its portfolio of devices. It also gives developers another reason to create apps for Amazon´s digital ecosystem, including its e-readers and tablets.

The new set-top box is being developed by Amazon´s Lab126 division, with the project being led by Malachy Moynihan, a veteran of Apple and a former Cisco vice president who worked on the company´s consumer video initiatives.

Among the other hardware engineers working at Lab126 with significant experience creating set-top boxes are Andy Goodman, a former top engineer at TiVo (TIVO) and Vudu, and Chris Coley, a former hardware architect at ReplayTV, one of the earliest DVR firms, Bloomberg reported.

Amazon has been rapidly expanding its video initiatives lately, including the introduction of 14 self-financed television pilots earlier this week. It is now gathering customer feedback to decide which shows it will produce as full series. The online retailer has also secured exclusive streaming rights to popular titles such as Downton Abbey.

A set-top box would give Amazon customers yet another way to view all of the company´s content on their TVs.

It remains to be seen whether Amazon will welcome competing video streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and YouTube onto its new set-top device. It seems likely they will, considering Kindle Fire users can already access those apps. But Amazon´s own content services will likely be more prominently integrated into the device.

Amazon has declined to comment on the report.