Despite offering a plethora of TV, movies and music for sale and rental, Amazon has relied on other companies to shoulder the load when it comes to offering products capable of streaming Amazon content. According to a report from re/code, Amazon is preparing their own proprietary streaming set-top box that will offer Internet TV channels.
Sources indicate that the new Amazon TV box could rollout sometime in March. Watching Amazon Instant on a TV now requires a ROKU player, TiVo or compatible streaming box. Amazon’s Prime service offers subscribers access to thousands of movies and TV shows, similar to Netflix. Netflix benefits from being available on smartphones, tablets, PS3/4, Xbox 360/One and the Apple TV. It makes sense that Amazon would invest in a hardware product where they could showcase both Amazon Instant rentals/purchases and Prime streaming.
Amazon was alledgedly looking into released a TV streaming box last year, but missed their launch window that would have allowed for Christmas sales. Sources indicate that the new box will run Google’s Android OS. A recent spurt in game developer hires suggests it could support games, something we’ve heard is coming to the 4th generation Apple TV.
What does Amazon have to do to make this a compelling alternative to either a ROKU or Apple TV? Both are sub-$100 products, so it would be difficult to compete on price. Perhaps bundle them free as part of a more expensive Prime subscription?