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Old 04-24-2013, 06:39 PM   #1
fjtorres
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Businessweek: Amazon TV SetTop Box Incoming

http://www.businessweek.com/articles...tv-set-top-box

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Amazon (AMZN) is making e-readers and tablets and will likely soon introduce a smartphone. As it works to build all types of connected devices, that leaves a natural next step: a television set-top box. The e-commerce giant is planning to introduce a device this fall dedicated to streaming video over the Internet and into its customers’ living rooms, according to three people familiar with the project who aren’t authorized to discuss it.

They say the box will plug into TVs and give users access to Amazon’s expanding video offerings. Those include its à la carte Video on Demand store, which features newer films and TV shows, and its Instant Video service, which is free for subscribers to the Amazon Prime two-day shipping package. The Amazon set-top box will compete with similar products, such as the Roku, Apple TV, and the Boxee Cloud DVR, along with more versatile devices such as the Playstation 3 and the Xbox.
For an idea of what a Kindle FIRE STB might bring to the game:
http://wisetivi.com/vision.html

http://www.ouya.tv/discover/

This could get interesting.
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:19 PM   #2
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CNET considers what a kindle stb might be like:
http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33199_7...streaming-box/

A Wedbush analyst looks at the economics behind Prime video and the stb business:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-575...op-box-gambit/
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:24 PM   #3
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Interesting. If this comes to pass I wonder if Amazon will upgrade their HD streams from 720p to full HD (1080p). That would be nice, especially if it's not limited to their box.

Hopefully it would have Vudu, HBO Go, and other stuff besides Netflix & Hulu. A web browser (for streaming from network sites) would be great too. The other thing that would be nice is if they'd announce their full UltraViolet participation (supposedly they've 'signed up', but never implemented).
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:23 AM   #4
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I'm thinking that *if* they go Android on it (the only realistic way to bring something unique to the table) it would operate under the same rules as the Tablets. And the Tablets don't block out competing video apps. Given that the various video services are all to one extent or another complementary there is no way they can block out competitors without killing the product.

Unless...they are going to *give* the things away to prime subscribers.
(And even then I'm not sure it would fly...)

This is still a rumor but some folks (CNET, Wedbush, etc) seem to have taken it serious so there might be something there.
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Old 04-25-2013, 08:57 AM   #5
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It would need something pretty amazing to differentiate it from the Roku. One thing that would make me buy it immediately is if I could use it to access media that is on my home network.

Shari
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Old 04-25-2013, 10:06 AM   #6
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It would need something pretty amazing to differentiate it from the Roku. One thing that would make me buy it immediately is if I could use it to access media that is on my home network.

Shari
The Roku is very strongly focused on online video.
The opening for devices that go beyond that is still there.

But that opening could close pretty fast if some of the rumors about the new $99 (List!) XBOX360 Lite turn out to be true. (That one might be "free" with an XBOX LIVE Contract.) BTW, the 360 already lets you access media on your home network but I hear really good things about the WD TV line of streamer boxes.)

Anway, the frenzy over the new Unicorn is reaching fever pitch.
Wired has their own take:
http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/...=Google+Reader

Quote:
Amazon needs to offer more than the very best implementation of Instant Video; it needs to offer the best (or nearly the best) implementation of everything else. And it needs to be surrounded by a smooth, intuitive UI.

Part of that UI should be integration with pay-TV services from cable and satellite operators. According to a recent Nielsen study, only 10 percent of TV viewers have cut the cord. The Apple TV and Roku 3 are great set top boxes, but they take up valuable HDMI ports already being used by Blu-ray players, video game consoles, and DVRs. By placing a cable-card slot in the Kindle TV, Amazon could market the device as an all-in-one media center. Or better yet, get on board with Intel’s upcoming pay-TV service that’s transmitted via broadband. Intel could be looking for partners for its service.

As long as we’re telling Amazon what to cram into the box, we’ll add a DVR of course. Amazon’s cloud-based service, AWS just the ticket, perfect for a cloud-based DVR. The Boxee Cloud DVR already does this, but Boxee is still rolling out the service and the box doesn’t connect to cable. Amazon could roll it all out in one box, and as long as it’s cable-ready, it’ll replace the DVR cable box you fill every time you go away for three days.
Quote:
The whole package should be built atop a forked version of Android. Like the Kindle Fire, creating a semi-walled garden for apps would allow Amazon to push a device without having to create an entire operating system. But more importantly, Amazon could curate apps that enhance the Kindle TV experience. The Apple TV is the least exciting set-op box on the market because Apple keeps a tight grip on apps that run on the streamer. We’re still waiting for Cupertino to let us have HBO Go and Amazon’s Instant Video, for cryin’ out loud.

Amazon can tout a bevy of apps heading to the device much like Roku does. But with the Android base, those apps could include hundreds of games and apps. Amazon wants to sell you wares. So it would be no surprise if selling apps for the device was another revenue stream. In fact, don’t be surprised if you’re buying clothes, detergent, and soccer balls directly from your TV once the Kindle TV is available.

Last edited by fjtorres; 04-25-2013 at 10:10 AM.
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Old 04-25-2013, 10:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
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It would need something pretty amazing to differentiate it from the Roku. One thing that would make me buy it immediately is if I could use it to access media that is on my home network.

Shari
Amazon has been very aggressive on PRICE (see Kindle Fire vs iPad, for example). So with the lowest priced Roku at $50, how low could an Amazon box go? Free with purchase of Amazon Prime? Or free Amazon Prime with purchase of a box?

And I agree that Roku needs a way to access media from my home computer and my phone. (and no, I don't want the complexity of setting up Plex or whatever.) With the last Roku update, I can see the photos from my iPhone on my Roku, but not the videos. I only hope the videos are coming next, and that Apple is not going to block that functionality, since it would compete with Apple TV.
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Old 04-25-2013, 10:52 AM   #8
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IF they do this I hope it's less of a Roku nock-off and more in line with something like the old Boxee Box (but with better software).
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Old 04-25-2013, 04:23 PM   #9
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should this happen i certainly hope the box/service has buffering
those without speedy high speed internet would be happy to scarf that up if we could get HD
highest resolution i could get with streaming before i went back to satellite was 480p with VUDU
Amazon Prime streaming was shudder worthy
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Old 04-25-2013, 09:47 PM   #10
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We have a Boxee Box (which is great because you have VPN access, I can also use it to watch free Hulu) in one location and a Sony player with Google TV in another. The Sony has an Amazon Instant Video app and the browser works much better than the one on the Boxee. But both are great devices that can play local video and I am quite happy with them. If you want to go bargaing hunting you indeed can't beat the Roku. Perhaps Amazon will indeed give their boxes away with a subscription to Amazon Prime.

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Old 04-26-2013, 01:10 AM   #11
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We have a Boxee Box (which is great because you have VPN access, I can also use it to watch free Hulu) in one location and a Sony player with Google TV in another. The Sony has an Amazon Instant Video app and the browser works much better than the one on the Boxee. But both are great devices that can play local video and I am quite happy with them. If you want to go bargaing hunting you indeed can't beat the Roku. Perhaps Amazon will indeed give their boxes away with a subscription to Amazon Prime.
I hope Amazon will be more honorable than Boxee is. Boxee started out with a downloadable app for computers and then (after getting data from users) built the box and pretty much abandoned those of us who were using the application.
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Old 04-26-2013, 04:38 AM   #12
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I hope Amazon will be more honorable than Boxee is. Boxee started out with a downloadable app for computers and then (after getting data from users) built the box and pretty much abandoned those of us who were using the application.
Yes and no. The abandoned upgrading the firmware. But the box still works fine. It is not that it has become unusable. Sure there are some minor bugs, but I am not having any serious problems.
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Old 04-26-2013, 09:32 AM   #13
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I hope Amazon will be more honorable than Boxee is. Boxee started out with a downloadable app for computers and then (after getting data from users) built the box and pretty much abandoned those of us who were using the application.
They stopped new firmware for the box too, after a lot of promises that never happened, in favor of their new Boxee TV (which they renamed Boxee Cloud DVR). I get that they can't support devices forever, but some folks were left with some bad bug issues.
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Old 04-26-2013, 11:36 AM   #14
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This will be a home run. All the current players are pretty awful. They have channels but no programming. Apple has a very closed/iTunes box, Roku has no content, and Microsoft charges a monthly fee to OTT. Samsung has done the best job of bringing content to OTT and even the people who own the devices don't know they are doing it.

If you take away Vudu, Crackle, Netflix, Prime, and Hulu, what are people looking at? Cover those, and you just have to produce good enough content to beat Angry Birds. If this thing is a headless fire, then it should have access to all the games and apps in the Amazon app store.

Why would Amazon do this? Remember when we used to talk about interactive TV? Clicking on a commercial to learn more about a product or purchase it? Amazon loves Special Offers. There will be a lot of marketing data to be collected and sold. Amazon can host content to creators.

What can Amazon bring? For starters, they can negotiate a programing package similar to Samsung's. Amazon is big enough to negotiate good prices for content and smart enough to create compelling bundles (free shipping+movies and tv+lending library). Tight integration with Fire devices should mean remote control, fling, and scheduling (DVR) apps.

I'd love to see an RF-in and full integration of OTA (including TVGos).

I can see me sitting in front of my 60" 1080p Plasma (which was a Special Offer) browsing Prime and TVGos then flinging a YouTube video from my Fire to the box.
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Old 04-26-2013, 12:38 PM   #15
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If you take away Vudu, Crackle, Netflix, Prime, and Hulu, what are people looking at?
Sports.
NFL, NBA, MLB all have online streaming and on-demand solutions.
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