Amazon Develops Set-Top-Box to Compete for the Living Room

Amazon to Compete Against Apple TV, Roku with Own STB

by Anton Shilov
04/24/2013 | 11:55 PM



Amazon is already selling a broad family of media tablets and is working hard on a smartphone in a bid to be able to sell content and other products to users on the go. As it appears, the company is also joining the battle for the living room with its own set-top-box. The Amazon STB will allow customers to watch movies, TV-shows and other digital content available from the e-commerce giant.

Nowadays loads of software, media and technology companies are trying to expand their presence into the living room with various devices in order to offer consumers content and services they will need in the digital age. The Amazon set-top-box will compete against Apple TV, Boxee Cloud DVR, Microsoft Xbox Live TV, Sony PSN, Roku and other, reports Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Amazon’s STB will offer video-on-demand, store, Instant Video service, Amazon Prime and others. In addition, it will offer Amazon-exclusive content not available on other’s platforms (earlier this week Amazon rolled-out Amazon Studios new TV pilots only available online).

The set-top box is being designed by Amazon’s Lab126 division in Cupertino, California, which has played with building TV-connected devices for several years, according to the report. The effort is led by Malachy Moynihan, a former vice president of emerging video products at Cisco Systems, who specialized on various consumer video initiatives. Among the other hardware engineers working at Lab126 with considerable experience making set-top boxes are Andy Goodman, formerly a top engineer at TiVo and Vudu, and Chris Coley, a former hardware architect at ReplayTV.

As broadcast entertainment TV is becoming largely irrelevant for the modern world, numerous companies want to substitute it with on-demand services and various online stores. Being the biggest seller of packaged media in the world, Amazon is interested in becoming a leading provider of digital content as well. Therefore, making something like Kindle TV makes a lot of sense for the company.

“It would certainly make some sense. They have a ton of content, an existing billing relationship with millions of users, an existing Android app marketplace that could be leveraged on the box, a reputation for solid hardware products, and a terrific channel through which to promote the product,” says Jason Krikorian, a general partner at venture capital firm DCM and the former co-founder of Sling Media.

Amazon did not comment on the news-story.