Amazon plots a move into the living room with Kindle TV set-top box

25 Apr 2013

Keen to exploit opportunities in the streaming business, online retail giant Amazon is set to take on the might of Apple, Microsoft, Netflix and Hulu in the battle for the living room with a new Kindle TV set-top box that will enable viewers to stream online video content.

The device, which is due out later this year, will connect with TVs and allow users to download movies and games on demand, as well as access Amazon’s expanding video services offerings, according to Bloomberg.

It is understood that the set-top box is being developed by Amazon’s Lab126 division in California. The project team is being led by ex-Cisco video guru Malachy Moynihan and former TiVo engineer Andy Goodman.

Amazon has been flexing its muscles on the streaming video front in the past year, financing TV pilots, and it has also paid to secure exclusive streaming rights to Downton Abbey.

The move will square Amazon up against Apple, which shows no signs of relinquishing its Apple TV ‘hobby’ and which sees iTunes as the ideal channel for selling movie and TV content direct into the living room.

As well as Roku and Boxee, the move by Amazon will also level it against games console makers Microsoft and Sony, who are planning to launch new versions of their popular games consoles later this year.

The move appears to be a logical next step for Amazon, which in the past few years has become a very successful hardware vendor, starting with Kindle e-book readers and lately with its Kindle Fire Android-based tablet computers.

While a smartphone is the next logical step, the evolution of a set-top box content to enable Amazon to direct content onto one of the most cherished of display devices – the TV – appears even more logical. What next? An Amazon television set? Time will tell.

Internet TV image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years