The device – code-named ‘Cinnamon’ – is said to resemble a Roku player and is similarly styled as a platform to run apps and content from a variety of sources. It would also serve as a delivery vehicle for Amazon’s existing streaming video service—available as part of its Prime membership.
A set-top box would deepen Amazon’s reach into the living room, where it is currently dependent on other hardware makers to reach consumers watching video on TV sets. Providing a device of its own is a potentially crucial component to Amazon’s ambition of expanding beyond its core online marketplace business.
In recent weeks, Amazon has approached a variety of media app developers, as well as cable television providers, seeking partnerships for the rollout of the set-top box,sources told the WSJ.
Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos – who recently bought the Washington Post – has said he likes to sell devices, such as its Kindle Fire tablets, at close to the cost of manufacturing and profit from the sale of services available through the hardware. Roku sells its set-top devices for as little as $50. The two most-watched Roku apps are Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, according to Roku’s website.