Will they, or won’t they? Rumors are heating up once again that Amazon is working on a set-top box for streaming digital media. Much like a Roku or Apple TV, the Amazon box is said to simply stream media from a variety of sources. Of course, we’d expect that Amazon’s library will be featured prominently.
The box, long rumored but never seen, is now reported as coming out in March. Re/Code is citing several sources who “are partnering with Amazon” as their informants here, but that leaves it pretty vague. Partnering with Amazon on content? Strategy? Manufacturing? There was no clarification, and Amazon — as expected — refused comment.
The set-top box is also said to be running a version of Android, likely similar to the severely hamstrung version Amazon runs on their Kindle devices. What remains unclear are Amazon’s gaming aspirations. There have been subtle hints and innuendo for months that Amazon would be building a gaming hub, but this new report can’t corroborate that.
While an Amazon set-top box is a smart idea, it further complicates things for consumers. Roku, Apple TV, Amazon, Chromecast — and none are (or likely will be) the far and away winner, here. Though the mobile centric fans will likely side with Chromecast here, we still don’t have an Amazon app that works with Google’s streaming stick, and that’s a problem. Apple TV has a leg-up with their iTunes and AirPlay utility, but that’s tied into their ecosystem pretty handily. Another offering, but a silver bullet from Amazon? Unlikely.