Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Television Technology

Amazon Reportedly Working On Set-Top Box 100

Bloomberg is reporting that Amazon has plans to release its own television set-top box later this year. The device will stream video over the internet from Amazon's video service catalog. From the article: "Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos is pushing the company into a broadening array of hardware, including tablets, electronic readers and a planned smartphone. ... The set-top box is being developed by Amazon’s Lab126 division, based in Cupertino, California -- the city that’s also home to Apple. Lab126 has toyed with building connected television devices for several years, the people familiar with the effort said. ... Plans for pricing couldn't be determined. Amazon’s typical strategy is to sell hardware at competitive prices, sometimes at a loss, with the intent of making up for discounts through sales of content, including books and movies. Amazon could also use the set-top box to promote its online store.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Amazon Reportedly Working On Set-Top Box

Comments Filter:
  • YASTB (Score:5, Funny)

    by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @05:37PM (#43540793)

    Yet another Set-Top Box.

    My TV is less than half an inch thick, nobody is going to 'set' something on top of that.

    What I need is a Set-Bottom box so large that I can put my TV on it.

    • Most of them have a way to attach to the back of the set.

      Apple TV []
      ROKU []

    • by tattood ( 855883 )
      What we need is more televisions that have software built into them that can access all of the video networks directly. There are already DVD/Blu-Ray players that can play from Netflix/Amazon/Hulu/Youtube, etc.
      • i do agree, and pretty much all tvs made now have this stuff built-in. there can be issues though:
        1. hardware manufacturers won't always put the apps on older, yet seemingly capable devices.
        example 1: i have a samsung blu-ray player that is a few years old. it can play netflix, hulu+, ultraviolet (via vudu), but no amazon vod or hbo go apps. the player should be more than capable and not all of those apps came installed by default. i guess samsung wants me to buy a new player.
        example 2: my roommates' tos
    • Yet another Set-Top Box.

      My TV is less than half an inch thick, nobody is going to 'set' something on top of that.

      What I need is a Set-Bottom box so large that I can put my TV on it.

      Apparently some people haven't noticed that you can't sit anything on top of any television sold for the past several years.

    • what we really need is an industry standard component rack with a single umbilical to a television.

    • If only there were some sort of device the size of a USB stick drive that plugged directly into the HDMI port, and ran full Android, XBMC, or a full desktop OS. Oh wait. There is. I just bought one off the shelf at the legendary cutting edge technology powerhouse Walmart, for $79. Are we supposed to pretend these don't exist?
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Yet another Set-Top Box.

      My TV is less than half an inch thick, nobody is going to 'set' something on top of that.

      What I need is a Set-Bottom box so large that I can put my TV on it.

      How about a "set back box" that uses a lot of the deadspace behind a TV? the IR control signals can be either bounced off the back wall or a small little mirror/prism can distribute it behind the TV for all those boxes. You don't need to see most of them anyways.

      • Theres already a vesa standard for this. There are vesa mounts on the back of most tv's and many tiny client tv boxes, such as dish's joey boxes, will mount on the back of a tv. Since they use rf remotes IR is not an issue
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Considering 95% of the world won't be able to use the product, that's a lot of effort.

    I'd be more impressed if Netflix were doing it, they at least cover closer to 10% of the world's population and seem to have an interest in getting their service to more people.

    • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @05:49PM (#43540891)

      I'd be more impressed if Netflix were doing it.

      Not me. I thought it was pretty brilliant of Netflix to have every set top maker clamoring to include support.

      Then Netflix has no hardware anywhere, and whatever device you choose Netflix wins a bit.

      • by ethanms ( 319039 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @06:10PM (#43541095)

        I'd be more impressed if Netflix were doing it.

        Some of you people have short memories...

        Back in 2005 Roku designed their streaming media box specifically to stream Netflix content... for at least a couple of years Netflix was the only content available on it.

        I was part of one of the original focus groups while it was in development and it was plainly clear from the questions and marketing materials that this device was for Netflix only to start... it's only the last several years they've added Amazon Instant Video and other "channels".

        As most recent parent you mentioned, it was brilliance on the part of Netflix to avoid having their own branded hardware. This paved the way for many device manufacturers to include support w/o facing competition from Netflix itself. When you buy a TV or Bluray player today and it includes Netflix support you are far more likely to subscribe vs. if you had to buy your own hardware from Netflix.

        Amazon is creating a hassle for themselves... just like they have done by not producing an Android app for their streaming video (because it would compete with their Kindle). I don't want Amazon content on my Nexus 7 specifically because of this, and you'd better believe that it does influence my decision to buy Amazon content.

        • by CODiNE ( 27417 )

          It seems these days everyone has forgotten "Don't compete with your customers".

          Microsoft countless times, Zune, Kin, Windows Phone.
          Google making Android handsets
          Samsung competing with Apple on smart phones.
          Netflix and Amazon generating their own content.

          At least most of their partners are too stupid or unable to pull out of their existing relationships.

      • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @06:16PM (#43541149) Homepage Journal

        Agreed. And I'd go one step further and say that it makes no sense to buy a set top box built by any content provider, period. General-purpose set top box makers are competing with each other, which means that it is in their best interest to provide quality service for all content providers. A content provider, in contrast, has every incentive to make their service work well, but every incentive to make other companies' services seem substandard, assuming they even provide the ability to access those services at all.

        And on the flip side, it makes no sense to buy content from any provider that also builds hardware. It is in their best interest to provide severely degraded service for everyone else's hardware. Notice, for example, that Kindle's flowing KF8 support still hasn't landed on iOS a year and a half later. Notice that (according to Slashdot discussions a couple of days ago) Amazon's new TV show pilots are not playable on Android devices except for Amazon's Kindle Fire tablets. And so on. Because they sell tablets, they have no incentive to make it work on anyone else's tablets. If it doesn't work, they can say, "Hey, you should try our new tablet. It does everything your old one does, plus it works with our content." If it works on other devices, they can't make that claim. As long as other providers aren't playing the same game, and as long as it still works on all computers (which nearly all tablet users also own), Amazon wins by default.

        And people wonder why I won't buy books that I can't hold in my hand, movies that I can't stick on my shelf, etc. It's because of companies like Amazon that limit what you can do with content that you've paid for, not because there's a good technical or legal reason to do so, but rather for their own competitive advantage.

        Do. Not. Trust. Digital. Content.

        • I agree with all your statements, but sadly for the sake of sheer convenience I do buy Kindle content. At least they have done a good job of having a lot of reader choices even though they sell the hardware Kindle.

          Sometimes I buy digital TV shows also, but only if I can consider it a one-time watching fee, since there is no aspect of ownership involved.

          Digital movies? Never, until they are really mine to use as I wish.

          For hardware specific devices, I generally agree - unless you are buying the device for

        • Do. Not. Trust. Digital. Content.

          s/Digital/Proprietary Formatted/

          Digital was never a problem, and was maybe the best thing to ever happen for interoperability. I bet your 25 year old music CDs still work great, and the fact they're digital, is probably why you don't ever actually spin the discs to listen to their music anymore. ;-) Don't be dissin' digital content; let's be clear what the real problem is.

          • It's funny, when I take a DVD and turn it into digital content (using Forbidden Majicks!), I never have any problem trusting it. It's totally DRM free, will play on practically and device, and I can make unlimited copies....

            Oh, you mean DRMed digital content....

            Oh, by the way, the above is a fantasy story. It's impossible to turn a DVD into digital content without the consent of the Lords of Copyright. CSS for DVDs is completely unbreakable both legally and through forbidden knowledge. (I certainly don'

          • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

            Actually, by digital content, I meant "non-gratis digital downloads and streaming", though I'll readily admit that DRM does make the problem worse.

            With a physical product, even if the actual data is digital, there's something tangible. It can be traded and sold. It can be used as a Frisbee. More to the point, physical media inherently requires that the media be broadly compatible with a wide range of products by multiple companies, because the mere existence of the physical media necessitates that compa

            • physical media inherently requires that the media be broadly compatible with a wide range of products by multiple companies, because the mere existence of the physical media necessitates that compatibility.

              Ah, so you've never bought a Sony product (audio recorder or camera). I didn't realize there were people like you out there, and it gives me hope. Keep up the good pattern, for it has given you an idealism that I, for one, find very fresh and exciting. ;-)

              On to your real point...

              Actually, by digital co

        • And I'd go one step further and say that it makes no sense to buy a set top box built by any content provider, period.

          Every video game console is "a set top box built by any content provider". What device for playing video games on a television would you recommend instead?

    • What a stupid thing to say. Look, Amazon wants to make money. More users isn't the same as more money. There is a difference.

    • Considering 95% of the world won't be able to use the product, that's a lot of effort.

      Considering 95% of the world only has 5% of the money in the world, that makes sense.

      Considering 5% of the world has 95% of the money in the world, that makes sense again.

      Although, Amazon is going to get 0% of my money on this.

  • by Ensign_Expendable ( 1045224 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @05:44PM (#43540847)
    Skating to where the puck is, instead of where it's going.
  • by magarity ( 164372 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @05:50PM (#43540899)

    "Amazon could also use the set-top box to promote its online store"



  • ...than their shows.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    'based in Cupertino, California -- the city that’s also home to Apple'

    Exactly what reason is there for bringing up Apple as part of the summary of this post?

  • by Proteus ( 1926 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @05:55PM (#43540957) Homepage Journal
    No one I know would be interested in a device dedicated to a single provider's service. Everyone I know who uses Internet-based delivery for some of their media uses more than one source, and none of them would have any desire to have multiple devices. Perhaps if this was the only way to consume Amazon's video offering... but it isn't.

    There's already a number of devices (Roku, PS3, XBox, a variety of DVD/Blu-Ray players, etc.) that allow access to Amazon's Instant Video as well as Netflix and a host of other media services. I can't see how Amazon thinks it's a good idea to compete with that.
    • by Turmoyl ( 958221 )
      I hear you, and the absolutely limited experience that the entire Kindle line offers (e.g. the Kindle Fire HD, which is all things Amazon to the exclusion of all things Google, even though it's running on a (severely outdated) Google OS) does not bode well for a set-top box, especially when it has to compete with totally usable, cheap, all-in-one solutions like the Roku line.
    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      No one I know would be interested in a device dedicated to a single provider's service.

      Video game consoles are dedicated to the console maker's game download service. Where do you live where nobody is interested in a video game console?

  • by sesshomaru ( 173381 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @05:58PM (#43540989) Journal

    "Latest Update to Amazon's Video Player disables Roku Players and Internet Enabled Blu-ray players from playing their content."

    "An Amazon spokesman was quoted as saying, 'Unfortunately, due to piracy concerns, we are unable to continue supporting non-Amazon set-top devices. We are sympathetic to our customers who's set top devices will no longer play our content, and are offering them a $10 off coupon for KindleTV....'"

    • by neminem ( 561346 )

      Modded +1 funny? More like +1 "depressingly likely"...

    • Few people will buy a puck for every service, and more people will be using Netflix than Amazon. Roku would win that game.
      • Few people will buy a puck for every service

        Then explain people buying both a Wii puck to play Wii games and an Xbox 360 puck to play Xbox 360 games.

    • by garcia ( 6573 )

      As someone who has Amazon Prime (I got it for like $39 as a grad student and it's still good until this summer) and uses a Roku, I can tell you that I would definitely not be paying for a "KindleTV" + Prime if they dropped my Roku.

      Why? Because their library sucks, the interface is fucking terrible, and the way they don't group show seasons together into one show is just wrong.

      Amazon doesn't need to work on a Roku replacement, they need to work on a Prime Video replacement and pronto.

      • I really can't see them dropping Roku support as Roku is sold through Amazon stores and I'm sure the Roku folks will drop Amazon as a distributor like a hot potato if that happens.

        Amazon is smart enough to not let competition in other arenas kill their mainline businesses. Their video business is still fledgling and, as yet, does not have sway over other parts of the business. If they did, you wouldn't see Netflix in their App Store.

  • Their remote control needs only six buttons: "Buy", "Buy", "Buy", "Buy", "Buy", and "Buy Now!".

  • If they plan on selling any of these they very well better re-invent the Roku for this to gain any traction. Of course what they will likely do is subsidize the cost for the sake of all the content they hope to sell, but how cheap can you make a set top in the face of what's already out there? My top of the line Roku (which I love) is selling for around $80 with even cheaper models available. Fact is, Amazon video is the service I use the least--but I do use it sometimes. I love amazon, couldn't go with
  • Even with Internet streaming A list content choices are fewer than with a cable subscription. Hopefully the box will support DTCP-IP. SiliconDust started to support DLNA earlier this year for the HDHomerun prime which means you can finally have CableCard->HDHomeRun-> IP-> TV on any DLNA supported device in the home like a Samsung smart TV and smart phone. Even premium content can be played on DTCP-IP enabled devices like the PS3 which means the windows media server monopoly for premium content has
  • Like in particular, breaking access for devices based on Linux. People were observing that Amazon's business isn't in controlling access -- but if they're going into doing their own boxes (like Kindle) then coming up with ways to limit competitive access is very much their business.
  • Much as there was room for the Kindle e-reader, and still is. That's not to say that it's a good idea for consumers to get locked in to whatever method Amazon will use to entice people to buy THEIR box to consume content from them. But don't assume they won't sell a crap ton of these - they're Amazon.

  • Maybe it'll be more like the ATV1, where it's a local cache of all your amazon stuff. It'll download content while you're away, and probably provide airplay-like functionality from your kindle....except you don't stream from your kindle, you stream from your amazon box with the kindle being a transparent remote.

    I could see how that could be pretty handy. It's your amazon music/movie/book library in your house. As a plus, amazon could offer backup services, photo, etc too.

    For the third world, amazon could of

  • The Amazon Balkan!
  • Silly for Amazon to build its own hardware when they could just relogo Roku, ship it with 3 months worth of free Prime, and pre-set the Amazon Video subscription on it and be done with it.

    After all, they are just trying to get Prime customers, that's the name of the game. The hardware is just a means to an end, like Kindle.

  • Amazon can probably sell it to some people since they can slap it on their front page, but I am certain they can't make a better box than Roku and the software stack on the Kindle has been pretty much universally panned. I am not interested in any streaming device which is not Android-based. Google TV will already play Amazon video, as well lots of other devices, so it's hard to see why someone would pay Amazon for a certainly inferior device unless they sold it at a loss, which would be... a loss, since ot

  • I have no need to purchase a set top box. My Android smartphone with hdmi cable and bluetooth trackpad is good enough to watch pretty much any content I want from my living room couch. The one thing I wish I could do is somehow turn my Android phone into a Clear QAM tuner and use it to watch the free tv channels from my internet cable with an Android based XMBC app. I know there are usb tuner cards out there, maybe someone could make these work with an Android micro usb port.

    I do realize there are a steadil

  • Is there any standard for this type of device? Shouldn't there be one?

    Like, a standard for remote control via wifi and bluetooth. A standard for streaming from other devices. A standard on the types of medias to be supported.

    Is that feasible or even possible, given that this is basically a collection of standards?
    • A standard for streaming from other devices.

      That's DLNA with DTCP-IP. There's a standard, but key parts are secret because the major video producers want to make copying harder.

Do not underestimate the value of print statements for debugging.