Kindle TV: Is an Amazon set-top box on the way?

A new report suggests that Amazon could release a TV set-top box by the end of 2013. 

Reuters
Amazon could begin selling a set-top TV box by the end of the year.

Later this year, and possibly as soon as the fall, Amazon will introduce a TV set-top box, allowing users to stream a range of content from Amazon's Video on Demand store and Instant Video service. That's the word today from BusinessWeek, which sources its report "to three people familiar with the project who aren’t authorized to discuss it." So no, Amazon has not exactly confirmed that it's going into the set-top box business. But it's an interesting idea.

After all, in recent years Amazon has charged full steam ahead into the streaming video business. Besides Instant Video and Video on Demand, its also sponsored an array of original content, including an experiment wherein users can view a bunch of TV pilots, and decide which one gets made. And according to Amazon internal projections (hat tip TechCrunch), plenty of people around the world are tuning in. 

It's worth noting that all that Amazon is already available through third-party devices such as Roku. Still, it makes sense that Amazon would want to cut out the middle man, and just sell its own line of hardware. BusinessWeek, which speculates that the device could be called Kindle TV, says design and implementation are being handled by Amazon’s Lab126 division, by a team comprised of employees with "considerable experience making set-top boxes." 

More when we know it. 

As we noted yesterday, Netflix has recorded a blockbuster fiscal first quarter, with 2 million new members – making for 29 million users, in all. Meanwhile, quarterly revenue at Netflix surpassed $1 billion, helping cap a major rebound from the Qwikster debacle of 2011. (None of which is particularly good news for Amazon's video business.)

"In the end, the [the new Amazon TV device] may be an effort to attract more developers to the Kindle platform and increase Instant Video’s popularity," writes Ed Oswald of Laptop Magazine. "By most metrics, Netflix continues to dominate the streaming entertainment content industry by a wide margin, and iTunes also holds an advantage when it comes to downloads." 

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