Amazon took its first stab at original programming last weekend with 14 new pilots. By the time those shows actually make it to series, customers may also have a new box to watch them on. According to a recent report, the e-tailer is working on a streaming device to compete with Apple TV, Roku, and Boxee, and the like, with plans to introduce it this fall.
Businessweek got the scoop from “three people familiar with the project.” The set-top box will give users access to Amazon’s catalog of streaming content, including both the a la carte Video On Demand selection and the $79/year Prime subscription service.
There are already several devices on the market that let viewers stream Amazon titles directly into their living rooms, including Roku, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and Sony Playstation 3. Additionally, users of Kindle Fire and Apple’s iPod, iPhone, and iPad can download apps to watch Amazon videos.
Likewise, Amazon’s machine will probably allow users to watch video from competing streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube. Even in that case, though, Amazon’s own offerings will likely be featured more prominently — much like Apple does with iTunes on Apple TV.
The set-top box is currently in development at Amazon’s Lab126 division in Cupertino, led by Malachy Moynihan, former VP of emerging video products at Cisco Systems. Andy Goodman, formerly of TiVo and Vudu, and Chris Coley, formerly of ReplayTV, are also involved in the project.
Businessweek speculates that the new device will be called Kindle TV, but no name has officially been announced at this time. Nor has a release date, although the sources say Amazon wants to launch it this fall, just in time for the holiday shopping season. Amazon, meanwhile, is keeping quiet about the new product, saying only “no comment” when approached by Engadget.