Amazon’s third generation tablets are scheduled to hit the streets starting this month, but the company reportedly has more hardware in the works. Hot on the heels of reports that Amazon will launch its own smartphones in the coming year, the Wall Street Journal has new details about a TV box Amazon is reportedly building, which the paper says could be ready to launch in time for the holiday season.
As expected, the Amazon device will provide customers a way to play music and movies purchased from Amazon on a television set. Amazon Prime subscribers who pay $79 for free 2-day shipping, among other benefits, will also be able to stream thousands movies and TV episodes for no additional fee.
But according to the WSJ, Amazon’s set-top-box won’t only be able to stream content from Amazon. It’s also said to support music, video, and game apps from other companies.
In other words, it’d work a lot like a Roku, Google TV, or Apple TV device.
It’s not clear if Amazon will be able to match the number of channels available on competing devices right out of the gate. Roku, for instance, already supports online video streaming from over 150 sources including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon, Vudu and HBO Go.
It’s also not clear if Amazon would match its competitors’ pricing: An Apple TV runs $99, while you can buy Roku devices for as little as $50.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the project might even be killed off before Amazon’s TV box is even released, due to financial or performance concerns. But it makes sense for Amazon to try to flesh out its ecosystem for making digital content available across devices.
While you can use a Roku to stream Amazon Instant Video on a TV, an Amazon-branded box would likely be designed to work with Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets and other devices. You might be able to use your tablet as a remote control for your TV, for example. And it could give you one more reason to buy music, movies, or apps from Amazon’s digital content stores if you can buy once and run on your phone, tablet, and TV.