Amazon Planning to Release Television Set-Top Box This Fall
April 25, 2013 10:31 AM
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Amazon is looking to further advertise its services
Amazon is looking to complete its
by releasing a television set-top box as soon as this fall.
, the box will plug into user's television sets and allow the streaming of Amazon's video services -- such as the Video on Demand store and the Instant Video service.
The device will aim to compete with the likes of Apple TV, Roku, Boxee Cloud DVR, PlayStation 3 and Xbox.
It seems odd that Amazon would need a set-top box, considering Amazon streaming is already available through TVs, Blu-ray players and many other set-top boxes. However, with a box of its own, Amazon could place its own products on the forefront.
The company could adopt a model much like that used for the Kindle Fire, where hardware is sold cheap in order to lure customers to its digital products -- Amazon Prime. It's unclear whether competitors like Netflix will make an appearance on Amazon's new device.
Amazon's set-top box is reportedly being developed by the company's own Lab126 division in Cupertino, California.
Amazon has created quite a digital empire with its online store and services like Amazon Prime (which feature the Instant Video service and free two-day shipping for an annual fee of $79). It makes sense that the company is branching out into hardware in order to put these digital services into the hands of customers more quickly.
While Amazon has the Kindle e-readers and
Kindle Fire tablets
, it also plans to release a smartphone soon. A phone and a set-top box could polish off a nice collection of gadgets to carry out Amazon's goals of attracting more users and subscribers.
Just last week, Amazon acquired a Siri-like app called Evi for $26 million, which could possibly hint at the launch of
an Amazon-made smartphone
in the near future.
Amazon has even more incentive to spread the word about its video services as well, since it introduced 14 of its own televisions pilots earlier this week, and it’s now accepting customer feedback to see which shows should be produced.
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4/26/2013 10:46:11 AM
That's a big ask.
Hardware makers have traditionally been very, very bad at OS development - nobody seems to like the Android add-ons that Samsung and HTC add to their phones, for example. LG bought the rights to Palm's IP, but whether or not they know what to do with it is another story.
Software makers often take too much time on their software to be able to keep up with the hardware game. Apple and Google both take at least 3-4 years to come out with something new on iOS (iOS 1 >> much maligned iOS 6) and Android (Froyo >> ICS), Microsoft takes even longer to develop Windows.
These cycles aren't without reason, but they are still significantly longer than one would expect out of hardware changes, which can see major developments/price changes within a 6-12 month cycle.
I think we'll end up with three major lines of integrated TVs:
- Apple will come out with today's hardware (mid-high end stuff, but nothing radical), beautifully integrated with their devices and the iTunes store, easy enough for Mom and Dad to figure out. Then they'll upgrade it far too infrequently, and once they become established, might start cutting out useful 3rd parties (like Netflix) in favor of their home-grown products, which may or may not be better.
- Hardware makers like Samsung and LG will come out with tomorrow's tech (like OLED), but tied into crap implementations of OSes (Samsung's gesture based TV? wtf?), with little to no ties to media distribution. Customers will buy once, realize that it doesn't really change anything, and go about their lives as they've always done.
- Microsoft will tie their Kinect architecture into a TV, likely using technology not too far removed from XBox 720. Then, like Apple, they'll sit on it for too long, but unlike Apple, they won't know how to market it properly and it will end up appealing to a much smaller population than it should.
Whether or not Google would want to try doing TVs again is a pretty big question, but they didn't do too well the first time and they don't seem to be too eager to try again.
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