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Amazon Wants Its Own Set-Top Like Apple

Internet retailer prepping fall launch of box for streaming video, according to BusinessWeek

In a move to establish a beachhead on the living-room TV, Amazon this fall will introduce a set-top box for streaming Internet video from its on-demand and subscription services and possibly third-party providers, BusinessWeek reported.

An Amazon-built set-top, which has been rumored before, would certainly not be a surprise given company’s moves in the tablet space. Amazon’s Kindle Fire is butting heads with powerhouse Apple, which established and still dominates the tablet category with the iPad. And like its Cupertino rival, Internet retailer’s strategy is to establish a vertically integrated chain of hardware, software and services — which will drive revenue through content and apps sales.

Apple, which introduced its first set-top box in 2007,  sold about 5.3 million of the $99 Apple TV devices in 2012. The company is persistently rumored to be developed an integrated TV set that would provide broadband-delivered video.

Already, Amazon’s video services are available on a range of TV-connected devices — which it may soon be competing with — including Roku set-tops and game consoles.

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Amazon has steadily ramped up the content selections in its Prime Instant Video service, available to members of its free-shipping program. It has also funded pilots of 14 series through Amazon Studios, asking for feedback to decide which of them it will greenlight into full-fledged series.

Another competitive set Amazon appears to be trying to fend off are the game consoles, primarily Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation. Microsoft has positioned Xbox as a central entertainment hub in the home, and just this week began offering CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” on the box.

Amazon declined to comment on the report.

Set-top is being developed by Amazon’s Lab126 division in Cupertino, Calif., according to BusinessWeek, citing anonymous sources. Malachy Moynihan, former Apple and Cisco Systems engineering exec, is heading up project, report said.

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