As part of Amazon's expanding video business, the company is
reportedly working on developing a streaming media player or set-top box that
would deliver video over the Internet to TVs, Bloomberg
is reporting, citing anonymous sources.
A spokesperson for the company told B&C in an email that they "don't comment on rumors and
The Amazon Instant Video streaming service is already
available as an app on many Internet-connected devices and smart TVs.
But having a dedicated streaming media player would allow
the company to make its offering a central part of the experience, much as its
Kindle tablets are designed to promote the sales of e-books on Amazon.com.
The device would also heat up the competition between Amazon
and Apple. It already offers an Apple TV player that streams video to TV and
has long been rumored to be working on some sort of connected TV.
Bloomberg did not offer any details on pricing or a possible
launch date for the Amazon device, saying only that it is due "later this
While the report has been widely commented on, consumer
interest in streaming media devices has been relatively limited and Amazon
would be launching a device into an already crowded landscape, with a half a
dozen different devices currently available.
Intel has also said that it is planning to launch some kind
of video service with a player later this year.
Estimates of the total number of homes with streaming media
players vary. But earlier this month, Roku announced that it had sold over five
million players in the U.S. since its launch in May of 2008.
Apple announced record sales of its Apple TV players in the
quarter ending Dec. 31, 2012, with over two million sold worldwide, up from 1.4
million in the holiday period a year earlier. But TechCrunch estimates that
only about 10 million have been sold globally.
A wide variety of research from Nielsen, Horowitz Associates
and others has also found consumers are more likely to stream TV programming to
a TV from other devices -- such as computers, game consoles and mobile phones --
than from a streaming media players like Apple TV.
The Horowitz Associates, Multiplatform Content &
Services, 2012, survey, for example, found that only 6% of people aged 18
and older streamed TV programming each week from an Apple TV, Vudu, Moxi, Ruku,
Boxee or a Google TV device.
That was much lower than the 33% who reported
streaming TV programming from a computer or laptop, 22% on handheld devices,
16% from a gaming console, 12% from a cellphone and 12% from a tablet.