The market is already saturated with video streaming devices, but Amazon apparently thinks there’s room for at least one more.
Following reports in April that Amazon was working on its own streaming video device, The Wall Street Journal followed with word this week that the online retailing giant will launch the product in time for the holiday buying season and go head-to-head with devices from Apple, Roku and other CE makers.
According to the paper, the device, code named “Cinnamon,” will give Amazon an entrée to the living room using a device that shares traits with the Roku and will be as a conduit to deliver Amazon’s over-the-top video services and direct access to its broader retail offerings, as well a menu of third-party video, music and gaming apps and services. Amazon’s box entry will also present programmers and pay-TV operators with yet another platform for their respective authenticated TV Everywhere apps.
Amazon Instant Video is already offered on an array of devices, including iOS and Android tablets and smartphones, the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Roku boxes, Wii and Wii U consoldes, and connected TVs from Sony, Vizio, Panasonic, Samsung and LG.
The paper didn’t quote a price for the box, but said Amazon has given developers a mid-October deadline to submit apps for the new device. Roku, meanwhile, has just introduced a new family of devices for the holidays. The top-of-the-line Roku 3 sells for $99.99, while the cheapest model, the Roku LT, goes for $49.
As the 9to5 blog reported, a recent trademark application by Amazon Technologies has also spurred speculation that the device in question or one that could more closely mimic the Google Chromecast will be called "Firetube." Information about the trademark is broad in scope, referring to "software and a mobile software application for transmitting, accessing, receiving, uploading, downloading, encoding, decoding, streaming, broadcasting, sharing, displaying, formatting, manipulating, organizing, book marking, tagging, storing, caching, and transferring electronic works" to via an array of electronic devices.
Separately, Amazon has reportedly been sought as a partner by Intel Media as the division of the chipmaker tries to salvage its troubled plans for an over-the-top “virtual” MSO service.
Amazon’s not the only company that is gearing up to debut a new video device for the holidays. Samsung is taking pre-orders on Amazon for a $200 broadband-connected video client that will support OTT video apps and subscription pay-TV services via an integrated CableCARD slot.
TiVo, meanwhile, hopes that its new “Roamio” family of HD-DVRs are a holiday hit.