Amazon's set-top box could make its way to stores this year. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon hopes to begin selling a device that looks and acts like a Roku in time for the holiday season. While it would largely focus on delivering Amazon's own video content to buyers' televisions, the box would also allow other apps to run on it, helping it to compete with the vast content offerings from competitors like Roku. The set top box was first rumored earlier this year, though it was then targeted for a release during the fall, suggesting that development may have fallen behind.
Apps, streaming video, and a home for Amazon Prime
The box's pricing reportedly hasn't been discussed yet, but the Journal points out that Amazon has a history of pricing its devices fairly low and instead aiming to make money off of their use. Music services and video games could make their way to the device as well through third party apps, the Journal reports. Controlling the device will reportedly happen primarily through a companion smartphone app that serves as a remote, and it's still unclear if a standalone remote will be sold.
While the Journal doesn't say whether the set-top box will fall under Amazon's line of Kindle products, 9to5Google points out that Amazon recently registered a trademark for the name "Firetube" — a seeming portmanteau of "Kindle Fire" and "tube," as slang for television. Like its Kindle Fire line of devices, Amazon is likely hoping that a set-top box could bolster its own services, and in this case, Prime in particular because of the wide selection of streaming videos it grants access to. Prime isn't a bad deal as it is, and if the box ties into it nicely, it could get even better.