Amazon plans own set-top box for fall, report claims

After conquering the low end of the tablet market with the Kindle Fire, Amazon may be getting ready to invade the living room with a television set-top box.

Citing three unnamed sources, Bloomberg Businessweek reports that Amazon is planning to launch the set-top box this fall. However, the report doesn’t say how much the box will cost or how it will stand out from other devices like Apple TV and Roku.

Roku 3

It’s obvious why Amazon would want to launch its own TV box. Existing set-top boxes and game consoles don’t put Amazon’s services front and center, or they don’t offer Amazon video at all.

With its own product, Amazon can steer people toward its Prime Instant Video service and its a la carte video offerings.

Bloomberg claims that Amazon will likely allow competing video services such as Netflix and Hulu on the device, just as it does on the Kindle Fire. Still, Amazon’s own services will get more prominent billing.

Why another set-top box?

But does the world need another cheap set-top box? That depends on what Amazon can bring to the table.

Apple TV

Just to speculate a bit, the company could offer tablet-to-TV streaming similar to Apple’s AirPlay—a feature not found on most competing devices—and it could extend its FreeTime service to the television to highlight kid-friendly content.

Perhaps Amazon could also dabble in gaming by offering a controller that works with games from its own Appstore for Android.

Most of all, Amazon could undercut the competition on price, just as it did with the Kindle Fire. If the company can offer a sub-$50 set-top box with solid features and a simple interface, it could be a big hit.

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