To the set-top list of Roku, Apple TV, Boxee, WD Live, TiVo, boxes from your cable and satellite dish provider (Comcast, Cox, Charter, Cablevision, Dish and DirecTV) and gaming consoles like Xbox 360, Wii and PlayStation that double as streaming devices, you can soon add one more – Amazon’s upcoming set-top box.
Joining the gaggle, e-commerce giant Amazon will put out a set-top box later this year that will stream content from its growing collection of movies and TV shows.
The box is being developed by Amazon’s Silicon Valley subsidiary Lab126, according to Bloomberg.
Details of the launch date and the pricing of the Amazon set-top are still under wraps.
Most likely, Amazon will bundle the set-top with its Prime Instant video.
Perhaps, buyers of the set-top will get one year of free movies from the Amazon Prime collection of mostly old films.
Amazon Prime membership currently costs $79 and comes with 2-day shipping for most products ordered from the company.
The company also offers a la carte selection of newer movies but they’re more expensive compared to renting a DVD from RedBox for $1.29
Amazon’s instant movie service currently works through the popular Roku box as well as a couple of other devices.
It remains to be seen if the Amazon channel will continue to exist on Roku after its set-top debuts.
Americans are getting overwhelmed and confused by the choice of set-top boxes.
I fear soon there will be incompatibility between the boxes and movie streaming services making life complicated for consumers.
All these streaming boxes pipe movies directly to your large-screen TVs using wired or wireless connections to your home network.
Amazon will never be a big player in movie or TV shows streaming.
In that sense, it’s similar to its rival in the brick and mortar arena, Walmart.
For Amazon and Walmart, movies and TV shows are just one more “item” in their vast inventory to peddle to customers.
Companies like Netflix, RedBox (DVD and streaming) and Roku are more focused on the entertainment sector and are a better choice for consumers.
Personally, I’d recommend that readers get just one box like Roku that’s not closely affiliated with any of the streaming service providers (although Roku too stabbed its customers in 2012 by aligning with Dish and forcing a lot of foreign channels off Roku).
I have used the Roku box for three or four now. Besides working well with multiple streaming services including the big ones like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, Roku offers decent live customer support as well even after three years of purchase.