With the holidays fast approaching, Amazon is reportedly going to release its own set-top box, which should compete with the Apple TV and Roku. It appears as though the set-top box would focus on providing access to Amazon Instant Video but presumably would include support for other on-demand networks such as Netflix or Hulu Plus.
At the same time as Amazon is gearing up to come out with its debut set-top box, Apple may be taking things a step further with its iTV. The iTV could come out as soon as 2014 if the rumors are correct and would provide a new competitor to what would still be a fresh Amazon product.
The Amazon set-top box is currently being referred to as Cinnamon, and will supplement Amazon's current expansion into the Internet TV and movie market. Amazon has already been stepping up its offerings in regard to Amazon Instant Video with 14 original show pilots (similar to Netflix's original content creation).
With its current expansion and original shows, Amazon may already be on the right track to compete with Netflix for online content but either way, the set-top box will help the company compete against Apple and Roku.
A Crowded Market
Set-top boxes have become incredibly popular and variations of the technology have also taken the world by storm. Between the Apple TV, Roku, and Google's Chromecast, the set-top box market is overcrowded, leaving Amazon at a slight disadvantage as it tries to enter the market for the first time.
Amazon is lucky however, as it appears to be approaching the market in the same way it approached the e-book industry. This means that instead of simply offering access to some of its current programs, Amazon may extensively integrate Prime Video with its set-top box, which could make the product similar to the Kindle in many ways.
Amazon is not trying to sell massive amounts of tablets by coming out with e-readers, it is trying to become the best content provider for books. This may be the same strategy that Amazon adopts for its video offerings. By providing an exclusive way to access Amazon video content, the company could become a major player in the online video market instead of just competing against other set-top box manufacturers.
Amazon's Prime service already provides access to thousands of titles (along with free two-day shipping) and only costs $80 per year. This price is extremely competitive in relation to Netflix and even includes some content that Netflix does not have.
Customers can already access Amazon Prime Video on some Internet-enabled set-top boxes and TVs but an exclusive Amazon device could boost the program's popularity.
So, if these reports end up being correct and Amazon does come out with a set-top box before the holiday season begins, Amazon may be able to put up a fight against Google, Apple, Roku, and even Netflix.