It’s no secret that Amazon’s business model with the Kindle Fire is not to sell hardware but rather, content. That’s why it makes perfect sense that Amazon is preparing a set-top box – codenamed Cinnamon – to deliver Amazon’s Prime Instant Video service directly to the living room.
People briefed on the company’s plans told the Wall Street Journal that Amazon has approached a number of media app developers and cable television providers in recent weeks. The company is looking for partnerships and sources say Amazon has given most a mid-October deadline to submit apps for inclusion on the device.
The hardware itself would resemble a Roku streaming player. In addition to delivering Prime Instant Video which is part of an annual Prime membership, the platform would be able to run apps and content from multiple other sources.
Rumors of such a device first hit the web back in the spring and would certainly serve as the missing component to Amazon’s video delivery service. At present, subscribers need to supply their own hardware – be it a Kindle Fire, a computer other home streaming device – in order to watch Prime Instant Video programming.
It’s unclear exactly when the device would launch or how much it would retail for. Similar platforms from companies like Apple and Roku command anywhere from around $50 up to $100 so somewhere in that price range would seem reasonable. Amazon typically likes to sell hardware as close to what it costs to manufacture as possible so we may even see them try to come in at an even lower price.
The Roku 3 has solidified the company's position as one of the most popular set top boxes. The Roku 3 features a faster processor than its predecessor, dual-band Wi-Fi support, as well as a revamped user interface that should make discovering content from its 750 partner channels a lot easier. As far a ports are concerned you get Ethernet, HDMI with up to 1080p support, a microSD slot and USB with support for H.264 MKV video files.
The Apple TV is a digital media receiver designed to play digital content like iTunes Store and NetFlix. The Apple TV features a micro-USB, HDMI, optical audio and an Ethernet port. It also allows you to sign in to your Wi-Fi account and use the remote (or better yet, the free Remote app on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch) to navigate around.
Google's Chromecast beams videos from your mobile device or computer directly to your television. The Chromecast is about the size of a USB flash drive and attaches to a spare HDMI port on your TV, it supports Android and iOS on the mobile side and Windows 7 / Mac OS 10.7 and higher on the computer side.
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