Could Amazon's expected foray into the increasingly crowded field of set-top boxes, available or in development, fuel the shift of premium entertainment content from air waves and cable to the Internet?
Amazon already has an extremely large customer base and has created a platform for delivering content to them with its Kindle e-readers and Kindle Fire tablets. They're expected to also launch a branded smartphone in the near future aimed at building out an ecosystem that could boost online product sales even higher.
Could Stream Original Shows
Now, Bloomberg News, citing unnamed sources, says the Amazon set-top box is in development at the company's Lab 126 in Cupertino, Calif., Apple's hometown, and could be available next year. It would include access to Amazon's existing video on demand service, and could also be a platform for the original series the company is producing at its own expense, the report said.
In diving into set-top boxes to stream video, Amazon would go head to head with Apple TV, which has failed to be a major seller, as well as Roku, one of the first and best-known in the field.
Earlier this year Intel announced a set-top box in the making, as well as a service for streaming both live TV and previously aired content. Tech giant Microsoft, for its part, is focusing on more entertainment delivery in addition to gaming through its Xbox platform, and the updated Xbox expected to be unveiled next month will surely have improved streaming ability and perhaps new content partners.
Google doesn't have a device, per se, but its Android-based Google TV platform comes integrated with some televisions and works with available "buddy boxes" sold by manufacturers.
With so many big tech companies clamoring for access to your flat screen, the days of broadcast and cable dominance of our TV and movie viewing could be numbered, some analysts say.
Leveling The Field
"With Google, Intel, and Netflix working against the same objective, the combined force of all of these well-funded efforts should change significantly the cable/programing dynamic," said technology consultant Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group.
"Google is making the most powerful push, actually, because they are delivering the high-speed Internet service that could be problematic for the other folks to provide." He was referring to Google Fiber, which promises to be "100 times faster" than standard broadband, but for now is available only in the Kansas City area, with plans to expand to Austin, Texas, and Provo, Utah.
"By so doing they are driving the existing cable and telephone providers to match, and that could level the field and give Amazon and the rest the headroom they need to pull this off," Enderle told us. " It won't be easy but there are an impressive set of resources focused on getting this done across some of the most powerful companies in the tech industry. "
Posted: 2013-04-26 @ 7:56pm PT
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