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Is Amazon working on a set-top box to compete with Roku and Apple TV? [Rumor]

Amazon Set-Top Box [1]

A new rumor is floating around that Amazon is working on its own branded set-top box. Unlike the Google TV platform, which is available through various manufacturers like the Android OS, Amazon’s box will probably be proprietary. It’s possible that Amazon’s box will even use the Google TV platform as a starting point- essentially running a forked version. Unfortunately, we won’t actually know until an official announcement is made.

I can say that this rumor is probably true, especially when you consider Amazon’s Prime Instant Video streaming service, a rival to Netflix. They also have quite a collection of digital content thanks to the Amazon Video on Demand service.

An Amazon set-top box will compete directly with Roku and Apple TV. While Google TV is a viable platform, many do not believe it to be a suitable competitor in the set-top market, hopefully Google will announce further support for the platform at this years I/O event.

Amazon clearly does not produce a lot of hardware, but what it does make it does so well- think, the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet series. I’m willing to bet that if they launch a set-top box it will be just as successful -if not more so- than the Kindle Fire tablet line.

The source for this particular rumor came from Bloomberg Businessweek. Although the source reveals that Amazon will feature its own streaming content on the platform, no light was shed on whether or not Amazon would also provide access to competing services like Netflix or Hulu. Allowing access to other streaming services could only help Amazon sell the product, but it’s hardly a guarantee that support will be offered.

If this rumor is indeed true, we can expect to see a reasonable price for Amazon’s set-top box. Like with the Kindle devices, they would probably sell the set-top for a small profit and recoup any losses through the sale of digital content. Google employs the same strategy with its own Nexus product line and it obviously works out in the long run.

There’s no mention of a projected launch date, so I’m not even going to bother to speculate on that. If a set-top box is coming, then it will probably be announced at this year’s Kindle event which usually happens in September.

Would you buy a set-top box from Amazon? Are you already an Amazon Prime member?

[via Bloomberg Businessweek [2], Android Headlines [3]]